4. The impatient patient is born….

The shock of the “C” word hits and suddenly a rational, fairly sensible person becomes a gibbering heap.  On hearing those words “cancer” and “mastectomy” my mind went into overdrive.  “No, no, no, some sort of mistake surely” .. at that point I told the room I would need to swear and did (F*ckitty F*ck became a favourite) and tears appeared and ran down my face.  This was not the outcome I had thought I would have.  Silly things popped into my head.. surely I was too tall for breast cancer – I’m 5ft 9ins,  no one in my family had it, I had breastfed three babies so it must be a mistake, how would I tell our grown up children and my parents.  At this point one of the lovely breast care nurses came in, I sat up got dressed and started firing questions at her:  could it be one out (mastectomy) one in (implant), what next, when, what sort of time line… didn’t they know that I was back at school the next day and this was all really, really, REALLY inconvenient – I had meetings to go to, new classes to teach, my team of coaches to manage and lead, new A Level and GCSE modules to plan.  Breast Cancer doesn’t care about any of that and within the space of an hour the Impatient Patient had been born.  A cup of coffee, lots of tissues and a handout later and Nick and I walked back to the car.  The sun was still shining, Derriford was still busy, the buses were running, people were going about their business but I felt physically sick and scared.

Tip: If you are called back to have a follow up mammogram make sure you wear a top which is easy to get on and off.  Don’t be embarrassed as the medical professionals have seen everything before.  Don’t take their matter of fact attitude as unkindness – this is their role, they are the experts and they go above and beyond to help.  It is okay to cry, they have lots of tissues.


Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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