One Lump Or Two? Just One Lump of Cancer For Me Please…

I’m not scared about the lump. I’m scared there’s more than one. Which is of course completely illogical, but up until last week cancer was something that happened to other people, so logic isn’t my strength right now. My normal is no longer normal. I now have a “cancer nurse” whose mobile number is stored in my phone.

I’m okay with one lump. One lump can be cut out, removed, dissected and conquered. And while all conversation is contained on the lump, it’s pretty much all I can think about. I can now feel it, but I can’t, but I think I can. Is that it? Does my arm hurt? Is it under my arm? What’s that? Was that there before?

In a dark room with a nurse, a radiographer and a radiologist they all look at it on the screen. All I can think is that ultrasounds without babies aren’t half as interesting. There’s no happiness, no fingers and toes, no heartbeat. They measure it, poke it with a needle and then break the news that a core biopsy is needed.

“We’re going to give you a local anaesthetic, cut the skin, and then make our way to it.”

“How far down is it?”

“About a centimetre. I’ll count to three and you’ll hear a sound like this…”

I heard the sound of a stapler; a faster, louder, angry stapler”.

I wonder if we really need to upset the cancer right now? How do you take three pieces of something that’s only 4 mm long? While it has been sitting there growing I’ve left it alone. Was this going to make it angry? Was this going to make it spread? Did we really need to do this?

It felt like a punch to the boob. A precise and deliberate punch. One, two, three….wince. One, two, three…wince. By the time we got to the third I was ready to punch back.

“Do you want to see them before they go to the lab?”

Three bits of skin tissue floated in a tube of blue liquid.

“They look like little worms” I mused.

It was later when the other appointments were booked, the MRI, the X-ray, the bone test, when someone politely reminded me that we needed to check the cancer wasn’t anywhere else.

That was when logic went out the window.

That was when last week’s breathlessness at the top of the hill meant lung cancer not general unfitness. That was when the tinge in my back meant bone cancer not just the need for an ibuprofen. That was when the stitch in my side became liver or maybe even ovarian cancer. All of it obviously hiding just like the breast cancer was.

Except it’s not. It can’t be. I’m young (I know this because my surgeon who is a good twenty years older than me keeps telling me I’m young and I believe everything he says).

Tomorrow all of the tests are done. Five hours of scans, rays, dyes, and magnetic beats. Tomorrow night they will tell me that it’s just a lump, that I had nothing to worry about.

Tomorrow I can go back to being logical.

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  1. Oh, Kirsty, all the hugs. Hang in there. Eat something nice. Hug the kids.

  2. Dearest Kirsty, we’re all behind you, you’ve become a much loved best friend. Kick this one out of the ball park!

  3. knowledge is the best medicine right now, I remember the waiting, the anguish of not knowing. Once all the tests are back you can make a plan, it’s better knowing exactly what you are dealing with. I’m thinking of you xx

  4. Oh darling, I hope that logic does take over entirely tomorrow – and that little bit of cancer is indeed just that. Hugs from Sydney-town for “My Friend in Qatar who is now in South Aus”, and lot of love – you are in my thoughts xx

  5. I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be alright as I had a lot of people say that to me and all I wanted to do is scream “But it might not be alright”. I believe that all these thoughts are part of the process, there are moments for logic and moments where your mind needs to go to crazy places in order to come back and deal with the new ‘normal’.
    Whatever happens, you’re in the right place with the right people around you. That’s all you need.

  6. Kirsty I am feeling all the feels with you. It is perfectly normal to go through these feelings and doubts. Just like you said they found it and the rest is covering the bases or asses. Soon they’ll have a plan. I wanted it all to happen immediately too , for the worry to ease.
    You’ll learn new coping skills and this too will pass. One moment or day at a time iand don’t think too far forward .

  7. So many things I want to say, but a few beautiful women have already said it. Even though be moments when you feel alone, please know that you have sisters who have been there done that standing beside you, holding your hand, and lifting you up. Myself included. Xxxx

  8. Logic and cancer are strange bedfellows. Utilise the logic in the “what do I need to do” moments but let your mind free when it comes to dealing with the thought of cancer and what it means to you, and in your case, your family.
    You may find that these flights of paranoia and fancy make the actuality easier to deal as you realise how silly you’re being and that defining yourself as just a cancer survivor is doing yourself an injustice; just as you’re not just a mother, a daughter, a friend among others, you are a gestalt of experiences, loves and your life.
    Best of luck with it all Kirsty, you’ll beat the li’l bastard.

  9. Alison - Talking Frankly says

    I cry every time I read your blog post because you think scarily like me. And that’s obviously a compliment TEE HEE. So many of my friends have been where you are. And they are going strong years and years and years and years and years and years and years later. But it’s the sneaky nature of cancer that I hate and I can NOT WAIT until you confirm that it’s just a little bit of cancer. Stay strong girlfriend and PS. #F89KLOGIC. Feel the feels. You are worth it xxx

  10. You are being incredibly brave. I’m sending you all my best wishes, and hopes for the best results possible.

  11. MsCaroline says

    Ugh – the ‘what ifs’ and what I call ‘racing brain syndrome’ – more painful than any torture ever devised. Best news is exactly what you said, at 4mm, there is almost no likelihood that the shxt has spread, and you must hold on to that until you get official confirmation and can breathe/cry/scream a sigh of relief. God, this whole thing just sucks. I am already looking forward to your ‘one lump’ announcement, and will be obsessively checking my FaceBook feed for it. Just hang on a bit longer and know there is a HUGE force out here in the Universe sending you all the very best. xx

  12. I need more sleep. Am sitting here snorting and sniffing with great looks of concerns being shot my way from the kids. I think you never believe it will happen to you… Until it does. The thing about you Ms Kirsty is in the short time I’ve known you, your strength,wit and down under ‘lets get on with it then’ attitude completely shines through. As I cherish each day with my family I read stories like the journey that is unfolding for you and think “if and when my time comes, this will be how I will deal with it.” You are going to kick this gremlin’s arse….and we are going to be inspired by you every step of the way ! Xxxx

  13. Sending you much love and very gentle hugs

  14. So many wonderful comments all with great advice, I couldn’t add anything more. Just know that you’ve got lots of friends here. Oh and that when I was seriously ill it took a long time before I stopped worrying that there was more wrong or that it would come back. It’s perfectly normal to be paranoid right now.

  15. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and love your honest yet off-beat way of looking at things, especially this latest. Know that you have people far and wide thinking of you, sending you positive thoughts, energy, prayers, whatever. Please keep us posted because even if we don’t know you personally (although we feel we do), we’re rooting for you and the best possible outcome.

  16. Gawd, thinking of you today xx

  17. SorrentoMoon says

    Kirsty I read all your posts, ALL of them. I am still in disbelief about what is currently transpiring in your life at the moment. I keep thinking you are writing about someone else. The strong positive outlook you always show in life will serve you well during your trying times, so HOLD ON TO IT! I wish you nothing but the best of outcomes going forward. x Denise

  18. Hi Kirsty, I’ve been out of the blogging world for a bit and just jumped back in – went straight to yours and, oh gosh, I was shocked and worried. You are such a vivacious and positive person (who has done so much for expat women) and this will see you through this – in the meantime, please know that you are being thought of. Sending all my good wishes. xox

    • Ps, I literally went Nooooooo out loud while reading. And, I should have identified myself better, Marianne aka Circles in the Sand. I have such happy memories of my trip to Doha. We will meet again in Dubai or Doha x

  19. Long time listener, first time caller….
    I have been in your shoes. But I was away from family at the time of surgery and it had to be done. The faces of my children were in my mind as I went under and my face must have looked so afraid that the surgeon cracked a joke. The nurse said “oh my god that’s my sister’s name and I love her” when I answered her question about my name. At the time it was comforting but now… I bet she says that to all the girls 🙂
    There are no words, but just know that women like me are in your corner, and I wish you nothing but blue skies.

  20. Oh, Kirsty, I may not know you but through your blog, but I am constantly thinking about you, waiting to take that huge sigh of relief with you… Sending you love…

  21. Elissa Sarich says

    Take care Kirsty! Make yourself the first priority now as rest & recovery is important. Sometimes life taps us on the shoulder to say “slow down and smell the roses”, and I say that as I’m laying in bed sipping tomato soup & recovering from the flu!?! I too must heed this advice!
    Hopefully as you’re typing your update next week you’ll be reflecting on the difference a week can make, the marvels of modern medicine, the love and care of family & friends around you and bask in the gratefulness of having your health. Because at the end of the day we don’t have anything if we don’t have our health. Look after YOU 🙂

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