The following Monday, I had a call to come to the breast clinic that day. I dropped work, and drove to Cheltenham. One thing to warn about breast exams, it is basically going in to a room and taking your top off multiple times – my advice – pick clothes and bras that can be slipped on quickly!
The ‘boob specialist’ came in and did a quick manual exam – unfortunately I’m a child and a large proportion of this is feeling under the arm pits, looking for swellings and bumps. I am ticklish there and unattractively snort laughed throughout – honestly, it was embarrassing, I’m nearly 40!!!!!!!!!
I was then sent for a mammogram. I had heard a mammogram is like getting your boob shut in a door – so I was a little worried it would be painful. After dressing, I went to another room and undressed again, the mammogram specialist was lovely and asked me to ‘flop’ one of my boobs on to a plate where she manipulated the breasts to get the right picture. I was more fascinated (being a well endowed girl – organic growth from pies and wine), how men or the less curvaceous managed to ‘flop one out’ for a good picture.
My boobs were then sandwiched between two plates like playdough and I was told once again to re-dress and await the next test – the ultrasound.
The ultrasound was kind of my favourite – you know that scene from Titanic – Kate Winslet asks Leonardo DiCaprio to paint her like one of his French girls. Well that was me, tits out, arm above my head tilting (I want to say seductively) and warm oil spread over my bare chest. I have never felt like such a clinical porn star and again was highly amused. Trust me, you have to take the laughs when and where you can with cancer!
The team conducting the scan were brilliant, pressed the equipment on my boobs, and told me that the results were likely showing some cysts that had been there since puberty. I was quite enjoying myself until they wanted to take a biopsy just to check – I hate needles and had not had one shoved in my boobs before.
So with the oil now going cold, a kindly nurse took my hand whilst the biopsy was being taken. Now thank goodness for numbing gels, I barely felt a thing, but the great news was my cyst was highly mobile, and to take a sample was proving difficult. So whilst I was talking to the nurse about my favourite subject (her dogs), the poor specialist taking the sample was having to move the equipment in my boob to catch a floating cyst. I genuinely felt her pain about ten minutes in, it was nearly lunchtime, and I had the equivalent of a kamikaze fish needing catching in a boob juice pond. My only job was to lie still but when the successful biopsy was taken I did want to high five her (note I didn’t).
The good news, the specialist was certain that the cyst was benign (and it was confirmed quickly that week), so I could go back to focussing on one cancer not two!