Know Your Lemons

These words are, by far, the most difficult, painful words I’ve ever had to write. When I started blogging I promised to share the good, the bad and the ugly with you. This post is definitely not good. It’s bad. It’s ugly. It’s traumatic.

2 weeks ago I found myself at hospital having a lemon seed sized breast lump checked out. At that point I was hoping and assuming it was harmless, but within 2 hours I was leaving the hospital with a breast cancer diagnosis.

The turmoil that followed was horrific – telling the kids, my parents, friends, family. I’m not actually going to give you all the gory details. You don’t have to walk through that hell with me. Don’t even try to imagine how painful it is to have those conversations or hold your children while they shatter into a million pieces. Just don’t go there.

Why me? I’ve thought about this a lot during the last couple of weeks. Have I done something to bring this on? Could I have spotted it sooner? The truth is I have just been incredibly unlucky. I don’t smoke. I’m only 46. I’m fairly fit. There’s no family history. I found the lump early (it was only 13mm on diagnosis so classed as small) so realistically I wasn’t going to find it any sooner than I did. I didn’t hang around after I found it either. I Immediately  booked an appointment with my GP and just 2 weeks later was diagnosed despite the referral period spanning Christmas and New Year. 

The support I’ve received from family and friends has been phenomenal. It turns out I had an invisible army standing beside me all these years. And one by one, as they heard the news they’ve stood next to me, asking to walk through my worst nightmare with me, holding my hand and drying my tears. I’ve felt competely humbled by the love I’ve been shown and I could not have got through this last fortnight without my army. Most of them will never truly understand what an important part they’ve played.

And Ad. What can I say? He’s carried me, and the kids, through this truly horrific time. It was he who broke the news to the kids while I held them – and he held all of us. He has been there right beside me (well usually in the waiting room but you get what I’m saying) at every scan, biopsy, mammogram, MRI and consultant appointment. He’s held me when I’ve completely fallen apart and lost the plot. He’s picked me up, dusted me off and prepared me for the hours ahead. My rock. 

But it’s not all been doom and gloom. There has been laughter through the tears and moments of clarity, feeling like I can now see clearly what the important things in life are. Some good will come out of this hell – I truly believe that. Already a huge group of my (mainly) non running friends have decided to run a local race for life event to raise money for charity on my behalf. I am unlikely to be able to join them but will be waiting at the end with bottles of fizz and a camera!

And the laughs? One of the funniest moments was being told (through sobs) that I have a lovely shaped head so will look ok with no hair πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I’ve taped cod liver oil capsules to my nipples before being subjected to the MRI scanner. At this point I expected some of my girl friends to jump out at me, finding it hilarious that I’d fallen for something so ridiculous. The MRI scanner probably needs a special mention – think lying face down on a massage couch; hole for my face and 2 extra holes for breasts to dangle through. 😱😱😱😱 My friends will tell you that I’m not shy with playing the cancer card either – it’s been out many times already. Let’s face it there aren’t many good bits to this shit so I am going to milk it when I can! 

I’ve also been totally spoiled; flowers, cards, anti-sickness sweets (chemo here we come), clothes, stress relieving herbal pills, vouchers for delivery of home cooked food so we don’t have to rely on Ad’s truly awful cooking, magazines, chocolates (complete with inspirational message!), a good luck charm. The list goes on and on! 

Anti sickness chemo pills!
So many beautiful flowers – I ran out of vases at one point!
Loving the sentiment – and I hope so too!!!
My pre-chemo hug in a box! Complete with vouchers for

The t-shirt from my broken hearted parents ❀

A coin to carry around with me ❀ This is special – it belongs to a friend who was given it when she was going through tough times. And now passed on to me.

So what now? Well first of all each and every one of you reading this need to go and check your breasts – men too. If I hadn’t decided to check myself that night then my prognosis could be much worse. Get to know the lumps and bumps of your breasts so that you are able to spot any changes. This isn’t a disease just for the old or infirm. This can attack at any age, any sex at any time. The know your lemons campaign is fabulous – there are so many symptoms to be aware of. It’s not always about finding a lump.

My cancer is shown on the final lemon – a small invisible lump. That I was incredibly lucky to find.

And how about me? Treatment will begin soon. First for me will be chemotherapy, followed by lumpectomy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. I’m feeling positive and strong and will get through this. Other than actually having cancer everything is in my favour – I caught it early, the lump is classed as small, and I have the most common form of breast cancer so the consultants know how to hit it hard. I am relatively young, fit and otherwise healthy. 

I can do this.  β€β€β€β€

19 thoughts on “Know Your Lemons

  1. Hi Mandy,

    Have read this to Anita … slowly … so that we could both absorb what you are saying. A couple of days back I read your blogs on New Year and Abs’s rabbit, knowing your plight, reading in those words that you were writing with rather more unsaid.

    As for checking the lemons I’ll do it in bed tonight.

    With all best wishes and the rest,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry! I pasted a link in above, instead of what I had written and pasted!! Just started following your blog, and you are such an inspiration. What an eye opener. Things can change in a flash. Life can go from being so normal, to something so alien. You have all the right ingredients to knock this in the water. Good luck with the chemo xx

    Liked by 1 person

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