A Voyage of Discovery
It was a Tuesday evening and I’d been taking a shower after an exhausting (ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration) Aqua Aerobics class. I could feel a hardening around the outer edge of my left breast. It didn’t feel like a ‘pea sized lump’ I’d often heard about and had checked for; and having been on new medication that affected my hormones, I thought it was probably down to that. But I did have that niggling doubt. ‘I’ll see if it’s there in a few days’ time’, I thought.
A week later and having felt it every day, I was at the same shower after class and I thought I could feel it was firmer. I started to worry a bit more. So, I made my mind up I was going to call my GP’s surgery in the morning and get booked in.
Overnight I’d worked myself up to worrying A LOT. At 8.00 am on the dot I was on the phone. All the lines were engaged!! Someone had managed to get through before me!
Fingers crossed I wasn’t going to get the third degree from the Receptionist – you know, there’s always one that no-one likes to get through to… ‘please not her…please not her!’
After 20 minutes I got through.
I got her.
Now – you always get the same question in response to your question of ‘please can I book in to see a Doctor today?’.
‘I’m afraid we have NOTHING today; the first appointment I can offer you is Friday. Is it urgent?’.
It was Wednesday. Two days to wait is normally fine when I’ve had to book in before. However, that day (and bearing in mind I was talking to ‘her-with-no-empathy’) I felt this WAS urgent.
Rather than say ‘yes’, and wait for the questions, then feel indignant about having to divulge everything to justify getting through the door, I quite calmly – but with a hint of sarcasm said:
‘Well I’ve found a lump in my breast and would REALLY like someone to look at it asap’, my voice was wavering.
To my surprise, and relief, immediately her voice changed.
‘Oh. Right. Yes of course, let me have a word with one of the Doctors and I’ll call you back. On this number? Right, good. Let me take the details’. I was pleasantly surprised.
Half an hour went by. Come on… come on. Then the phone rang.
“Hello, it’s the surgery, are you able to come up as soon as possible? By 9.30? We’ll get you looked at”.
“That’s brilliant, thank you, see you shortly” I said calmly.
I didn’t think there were ANY appointments…but hey I was grateful!
Then a wave of anxiety hit me.
“KIDS!!!!!” I yelled. I know its half-term, but you HAVE to get dressed! Oh God, I HAVE to get dressed!! I need to go up the surgery now and you’ll HAVE to come with me and sit in the waiting room!!’. You’d think I’d just banned them from TV, the moans and groans I received.
We rushed about and when we got there, I was seen within 10 minutes by a female doctor I’d seen before, and therefore became instantly more relaxed. We talked about the changes I’d noticed, and she examined me. She said that as I’d noticed the change, and she could feel it was more ‘nodular’ than normal, she would refer me. She also spotted puckering underneath the breast, something I’d not seen.
That same day, I received a call from the Receptionist at the Breast Cancer Clinic at my Hospital to arrange an appointment for the following Wednesday.
This was a good start. The NHS says you will be seen within 10 days, so I took the first appointment they offered.