In November 2017, I found a lump in my breast. I was pre-menstrual at the time so I decided to wait before making an appointment with my doctor.
Still, given that I am fairly body aware and had never felt anything than a little tender during that time, I was concerned enough.
My health hasn’t had the greatest track record but I’ve been generally well for a number of years and I found it a little ironic that I should be dealing with such a thing when I’d actually been taking better care of my body with regular exercise and acupuncture treatments. My 83 year old therapist had been adamant about to giving me extra help during the Autumn/Winter, and here I was feeling exhausted, with unexplainable prickling underneath my left ribs… and a breast lump.
My period ended but the lump remained, so off I went to the doctor. My family tried to reassure me that it was most like ‘nothing’ but agreed that there was no point taking chances.
My doctor didn’t think so either. I’ve never in my 37 years been told by the medical profession that my age was a ‘considerable factor’. I almost joked that I wasn’t 57! But it didn’t seem like the moment to joke and I knew what he meant. I also couldn’t help but think of pre-menopause. Seriously not. That didn’t seem like a fun option either.
Anyway, my age, my history and the lack of pain in that area meant that my doctor wrote a referral for a biopsy and mammogram within two weeks.
I left the doctors in shock. The look on my Mum’s face said it all. She’s been used to my body doing bizarre things all my life. But hearing the word ‘biopsy’ made it a bit too real for us both.
What about those prickly pains I’ve been getting in my rib cage? And my acupuncturist? Maybe his request to see me more regularly had been ‘hunches’ that something wasn’t quite right?
Those 12 days were the longest ever. I prayed. My Angels were working over time. Again. I told some friends, who each had their own reactions and in turn gave me great insight into the very fine line between being hopeful and encouraging and being slightly blasé about possibility of cancer. It’s one thing to say it’ll be fine but to be there, in the midst of the wait and uncertainty is another. I will never again tell someone ‘not to worry’ at such times. 90% of me already knew it would absolutely fine. 10% of me was terrified that I’d just manifested myself an exit-plan after an incredibly wobbly few weeks back in the Spring that had me wondering if my loved ones would be better off without me. No, no, no. Not like this.
I thought of my superhero friends and clients who were facing endless appointments and chemotherapy. How selfish it was of me to be so self-absorbed at at time when they were already suffering greatly. They would’ve given anything to have my ‘maybe’. They were also much braver than me. Or that’s how it felt, anyway.
I resolved to deal with whatever life brought me and arrived at the hospital strangely peaceful. My emotions were often like the ocean that way – stormy and intense and yet once felt, could calm just as quickly.
Still, I was ready for this wave to be over.
‘Oh yes!’ The sweet consultant replied as she examined me. ‘You do have a lump.’
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Yes, I do have a lump, I thought. That much is obvious.
‘But you actually have two and I’m sure they are cysts… but let’s see.’
I expected her to send me for a mammogram but instead she laid me down there and then and explained that there weren’t enough radiographers before Christmas so they’d try to drain fluid first to put my mind at rest as I’d have to wait for a scan. What?! More waiting?!
My heart was in my throat… but I was never so relieved to see fluid – a dark green liquid coming out of me. Ewww! It looked disgusting but meant good news. A benign cyst that had already disappeared within seconds. And the second one, too.
She told me never to dismiss such lumps, even if they re-occurred but that she hoped now I could go home and relax. I felt weirdly validated in that moment. After so many mysterious medical happenings in my life, the fact that she could treat, cure and explain my symptoms in the space of 15 minutes was comforting and humbling.
My body must’ve experienced delayed shock as I found myself shaking uncontrollably in bed that night and then sleeping for hours and hours. I was so deeply grateful and yet completed drained (no pun intended!) by the whole experience and everything going on around me felt like noise far too loud for my heart.
There’s nothing like the possibility of serious illness to put life into perspective and see what’s truly important. On reflection, I find it interesting, too, that I discovered my breast lump after seeing Amma, the Divine Mother, where I shared my desire to be a mother in this lifetime.
I was acutely aware of the lump during those few weeks, and the fear that rose up within me, but I also noticed a flow of energy that pulsed through my body so naturally – the deep, feminine desires that were often shoved away while busy being of service to others. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs reminding that sacrifice in the name of service is out-dated crap that is actually the opposite of love!) I could feel them loud and clear.
So I’m listening. I am contemplating. I am WTF exhausted. What a month. What a year. There’s no great conclusion because there never is, is there?
However, I am relieved to tell you that regardless of my age or circumstances, I will not wait to be a mother or a lover. Because I already am her right now. Every curve. Every line. Every lump. Every breath. Every moment. I AM Her. And so are you.
You are also my hero if you’ve managed to read this very long winded way of saying, all is well. Thank you