My own day of dread.................Singer Kylie Minogue has been diagnosed with breast cancer - so sad it should have happened to such a beautiful young woman. More annoying that it takes a celebrity to bring the issue into the public domain.
Breast cancer is a woman's greatest nightmare. Campaigners has been pressing for years to have screening available for younger woman - shameful that it's not readily available on the NHS for all women. It's always a cost consideration that's the real deciding factor - money is always available in the public coffers for war but not for saving lives.
I've been having regular screening for several years. A doctor made the decision for me some years ago and I've been on the register ever since.
Even so the process is old fashioned, painful and not foolproof. Seems we are a long way from having the alternative MIR screening now commonly used in USA and other countries.
I've often wonder who designed the screening contraption - such a ridiculous design - must have been a man - so unsuitable for the shape of women. I have a fuller figure but the twisting, prodding and squeezing is so uncomfortable and for me actually painful - what about the women who are not so well endowed or a little frail - how do they manage. The whole process is a real turn off.
18 months ago I was reluctant go and face it again - changed the appointment twice. That was the year I got a shock. I received a referral letter to a consultant for further tests. I was so scared - had visions of no bust and loosing my long hair - just blanked it from my mind during the three weeks wait. What choice did I have - either that or drive myself mad by worrying.
The dreaded day arrived - more tests and the consultant told me to wait. Wait I did for over 2 hours - my heart was pounding. Somebody came to offer me some counselling. Sorry but she got a short swift response. I know she was just being kind but I'm not good with sympathy, I just want to know what's what.
After what seemed eternity, the consultant and another doctor came to collect me - two of them; my heart was full of dread. Smiling they showed me the xrays but my mind couldn't take in properly what they were saying - something about detecting lumps which were cysts and most likely not malignant but for some unexplained reason they had started to grow. Apparently they must have been there for years and nobody had told me - that really did annoy me - years! my brain screamed.
Heard a voice saying the larger ones should be removed immediately as a consent form was handed to me for my signature - like a zombie I signed. I thought they meant later in the day but no they insisted there and then whilst they were both available. Didn't dare argue and the sight of the huge needles and syringes made me wince so I closed my eyes. Presumed they would give me a local anaesthetic but no they held me whilst in turn they stuck the whopping great needles into my breasts.
God! the pain was excruciating. I was too shocked to even shout out - felt sick and faint. Having finished, the nurse was called to give me a cup of tea.
I was dismissed and handed a perscription for high dosage Evening Primrose oil and a leaflet explaining the benefit. First time I have ever known alternative medicine prescribed by a doctor.
The whole thing over, I didn't know what to do with myself so in a daze I went back to work. Thought it a better option than sitting at home thinking about it all day. It took me days to get over the experience and it still makes me cringe just thinking about it but at least I should consider myself as one of the lucky ones.
Had to go for more tests a few weeks later. Seems the medicine worked and everything has stabilized. It really was a scary experience - this years screening, to my greatest relief I got the all clear
My heart goes out to any women who has breast cancer.