OK, are you sitting down? Appropriate drink close to hand? Good. Then I Have News. While I was playing with the kiddies in my Pops’ stunning garden in the sunshine this afternoon (we’re having an Easter holiday slash recuperation at my parents’ house) I missed a call on my mobile from an unknown number. 121 kept calling me, as it does, insistent that I pick up the message. When I finally got round to it, it was a voice I didn’t recognise, but it quickly became apparent who it was, and what momentous news she had to impart.
In summary: ‘Hi Maja, it’s Tracey. I’m sorry you’re not there, because I have some good news. I thought you’d like to know before Easter that I’ve got all the results back from the surgery and it’s all looking super. No further surgery is required.’
Yup, that’s right. The hard bits really and truly are over. There is no cancer, or pre-cancer, in my body. The margins are clear, and I have escaped a mastectomy. The gamble of going for the reduction (known as a wide local excision) has paid off. AMAZE.
The lovely and terribly clever Miss Irvine also said on the message that she’ll go through all the results in clinic next Wednesday. I wonder if the DCIS had in fact disappeared as a result of the chemo? (Remember that officially this cannot happen, but a couple of other women with the same situation as me have found the invisible, threatening pre-cancer melted at the same time as the active tumour.)
Oh, the relief. I can’t tell you. I wasn’t spending a lot of time consciously thinking about the possibility that the surgery hadn’t been a total success, but it must have been preying on my mind because I immediately felt about a foot taller and one hell of a lot more cheerful. I told my Pops and had a very big cuddle, before calling DH (more tears) and significant others. I decided to wait until my mummy walked in the door after work to tell her face to face (yet more happy tears). The Pol Roger’s on ice, waiting until DH joins us in Salisbury tomorrow night.
Somehow, the interminable physio (which I have been avoiding, because the thrice daily exercises to get my arm moving again after the lymph clearance to avoid lymphoedema are tedious and It Hurts) seemed a lot easier this evening.
I was already encouraged today, not only by the gorgeous weather, but by the doc at the walk-in clinic where I went to get my manky dressing changed again this lunchtime saying it was the best breast surgery she’d ever seen, with incredibly thin scars that were healing beautifully. Apart from the bit at the t-junction of the anchor-shaped scar, which I was warned would heal slowly. I’ve had this final dressing changed already once this week and will probably need another couple of changes as there’s some alarmingly bright yellow leakage which is apparently ‘quite normal’.
Otherwise, the steristrips are off, and my nipple is happy enough in its new home to actually have some sensation, unlike the right side of my minibreast, which is still numb. Hilariously, I can see a couple of tiny dissolvable stitches around my nipple, like a little Frankenboob. This makes me feel very aware that I have been sewn back together. I try not to think about this too much.
Anyway, who cares. I may have five weeks of radiotherapy, five years of tamoxifen and three-weekly cycles of herceptin until November to still contend with. But that’s gonna be a walk in the park compared to chemo and surgery. The bottom line is that the invasive stuff is over, and has been successful, and all the rest is mopping up and making sure this doesn’t happen again.
So please grab that San Miguel/Earl Grey/Sauv Blanc/Merlot/Tropicana next to you and raise it in the general direction of Wiltshire, with the Polish toast: na zdowie. To your health. WHOOPITY WHOOP!