The calm before the storm

Emily Dickinson quote

 

Well since I made my first impromptu post I have been overwhelmed by the response. That’ll teach me to think that it’s only a select few that actually read my posts. I can’t say how heartening it was to receive so much support and love, and for that, a simple “thank you” doesn’t really seem enough, but I am immensely grateful.

It was a post that seemed to strike and chord and produced tears in some and laughter in others. I hadn’t intended the former and I was happy that the humour was deemed acceptable in the latter. The general consensus was how bravely and positively I was taking the news. While I sincerely hope that continues, I have a sneaking suspicion that my show of strength is actually masking the face of someone who hasn’t really got a bloody clue about what is actually about to hit her!

It has been a strange period of time since the diagnosis. An initial flurry of receiving and confirming hospital appointments made us feel it was all very real and now it’s all gone quiet and almost back to normality it seems sort of unreal again. This is, of course the calm before the storm that is due to blow in next week.

Of course what we’ve had to do was let me people know, except we’ve not really done that either. Apart from my announcing it to the world and his wife across the ether, we have only announced it to immediate family and close friends.  I don’t think it’s a case of denial, but more a case of wanting to keep things as normal as possible. But we’ll have to do it. It’s a process that has been likened to ‘doing’ the Christmas cards. We get the address book out and produce a list of who has to be ‘done’ which is usually left until somewhere approaching the last postal date. I say we, but I mean this in the Royal sense as in me. It’s a job I hate and half way through I get brassed off, hand the cards and list over to OH and say here, they’re your friends and family you do some. Our approach to informing people seems to be following the same process, but with little more grace involved.

What I have been doing in the past week is investigating exactly what is going to happen and what I need to do. I called a halt on the former when I started reading far too often about the mention of needles and infusions. I’ll deal with that when I’m a bit more drugged up and out of the game! I did discover however that my little interloper is actually called an Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, which I’m pleased to discover accounts for 80% of all breast cancers. This means a) by now they ought to have a pretty good idea as to what to do with the blighter and b) it’s common – I should hate to go ‘posh’ at this stage in my life, down to earth, common cancer will do. On the subject of names, my OH has christened the lump Boris – no explanation needed for English readers (for other readers google Boris Johnson). I’m leaning more towards George (as in Osborne) yet another unnecessary parasitic lump!

What I do have to do, is actually prepare in a more practical way for what is about to happen. Funnily enough it also seems to be following the Christmas theme in that it involves a lot of cleaning and buying of lingerie and toiletries. Now anyone who really knows me, will acknowledge my relationship to cleaning is a fairly loose one. I long ago decided to adhere to the Quentin Crisp philosophy of cleaning. In our house it largely gets done before we have visitors, and definitely before my mother puts in an appearance. However, there are the odd occasions when for my own peace of mind I feel the need to have things all ship-shape. Maybe it’s a psychological need to take some control, but this is one of those times. I feel I really need things in order so cleaning is on the agenda for the weekend.

Before that I also need to go shopping for items to take into hospital with me. The trickiest of these items to buy in my neck of the woods without resorting to the big smoke is a non wired comfortable bra. Now the oncologist when she mentioned this had clearly ignored the fact that my old, greying, elastically challenged bra that accompanied me to my initial examination fitted the bill exactly. So the search is on for something more suitable that won’t require a second mortgage. Think less Victoria’s Secret and more Patricia’s Practicals. Apparently I need this post op, and according to the literature I can sleep in it, if it feels more comfortable. Sleep in it! The first twinge of pain when taking the damn thing on or off and I’m living in it.  This might not be as disgusting as it sounds as I’m also exhorted to use unscented soap and lay off the deodorant until the wound has healed. Consequently I’ll already be on my way to developing my own personal exclusion zone.

Somewhere in all this I also need to find the time to schedule my book related posts to keep me in the spotlight when I go missing in action after next week. If you’ve decided to follow me on this ‘journey’ thank you. I can’t promise it will always be light hearted, but it will be honest. I’m also only calling it a journey as everyone has to have one these days, and I’ll try and make it a roller coaster for full effect. This of course will also stand me in good stead, if I discover that as well as a lump, I have a voice. I’ve got a perfect X-Factor sob story!

 

 

51 comments

  1. Have just been accepted by Macmillan Cancer Care to run the London marathon for them next year and raising £2500 which I have pledged to do seems even more worthwhile reading your post …. Lots of love Celia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Boris is a good choice! For some unknown reason my first tumour acquired the name of Horace, where that came from I will never know but ‘he’ was certainly called a few juicer names in his duration!
    As far as a comfy bra, ask your Macmillan nurse they are a mine of information & can often work miracles! Failing that this site can be a bit expensive but might give you a few ideas (bear in mind they deal with ALL types of surgery so I’m not suggesting you need anything major!) http://www.nicolajane.com/
    Wishing you all the best on your journey .. strange as it may seem I have made some wonderful friends on mine xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Ali, I have spent a couple of hours trying on ‘alleged’ comfort bras, all of which seemed bloody difficult to get on, when you consider you’ve got stitches in one breast and an armpit! I’m seeing my Macmillan nurse on Friday before my pre-op so I’m going to take along what I’ve bought for her assessment. I’ve still then got the weekend to travel a bit further afield to buy something if needs be. Thanks for the link I can investigate that as well. Thanks for your support xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t know how but I missed the first post, Jill and I was so very sorry to read it. Sending you all good wishes for successful treatment and a crushing defeat for the enemy. Thinking of you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill I admire your sense of humour and your honesty, such a honest post I’m sure with such a positive attitude you will come through this. I wish you all the best and if you need help in posting any of your reviews please give me a shout. Take care lovely lady and always here to support you 😘😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lorraine, very much appreciated. I shall be trying to get my Five on Friday’s all scheduled this weekend to see me through the next couple of months and I’ll be scheduling some Throwback Thursdays. If there are any reviews – reviews require reading which ain’t exactly happening right now – I’ll see what happens. Thanks for the support xx

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  5. I was off grid earlier in the week because my laptop suddenly began making very alarming noises so I missed your post on the 22nd. You’re sense of humour is evident and if that what helps you get through, long may it continue. I had my diagnosis of liver and colonic cancer more than a year ago and like you had no idea what was going to hit me. Thankfully you don’t have too much time before the treatment begins – its the vacuum between diagnosis and treatment that I found hard. MacMillan were wonderful – any questions of confusion I had about terminology or treatment effects, they could answer clearly and promptly. Should you need them, their counselling service is excellent. But as others have said we’re here for you too Jill and keeping all digits crossed for a good outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks Karen, I feel like a bit of a fraud right now as I look and feel fine, which all adds to the sense of unreality. It will kick in next week when I meet up again with my nurse, Jane, who is lovely and then have my pre-op. It’ll be a long weekend before the isotope injection on 4th and then surgery on the 5th. Really appreciate your support and hope your looking at a positive outcome with your diagnosis.

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  6. Oh Jill, your humour is infectious, you managed to make me smile even though you have such a journey in front of you.
    I intend to take every step with you.
    Sending all of my love xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Jill – with that attitude and sense of humour Boris (or George) has no chance. Not sure how supportive your bra needs to be, but in a search for comfort I recently discovered crop tops at Matalan – you can step in and pull them up, which might make life easier https://www.matalan.co.uk/product/detail/s2601735/padded-lace-crop-top. I notice in their wider bra range that they also have a few post surgery bras that might be worth a closer look… xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Anne, I will investigate Matalan next weekend. Tbh I don’t know how supportive either. If I had my way I’d happily pass for a week or so, but perhaps there is a medical need for some support. I bought 2 pairs of ‘comfort’ bras today. They were comfortable once on, it was getting them on I wasn’t happy with. They ‘stall’ across the top of your chest/underarm – exactly where the stitches are! However as in your suggestion above it occurred to me that working from the bottom up might be better. I see my MacMillan nurse next week so I’ll take them with me for advice. Matalan is still looking a good call though to see if their options are better. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jill, you are amazing, and I see how many people care about you. You faced the challenge of being forthright, and so many are grateful. Hugs to you! I also love Emily Dickinson.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ive been kind of MIA and didn’t know anything Ive just read your other post. I’m so sorry 😦 I loved this post, though, and your sense of humour.

    Muchos besos y abrazos desde Barcelona

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well we certainly need to get rid of this Boris along with its namesake and give them both a good kick up the backside!

    Love your humour and practical approach Jill.

    On a practical note, a friend of ours is going through something similar and I asked advice from friends over what to bring her during a hospital stay.
    These are the suggestions that I did use to make up a gift bag:
    Cozy bed socks as feet get cold during treatments
    Crossword puzzle book
    A good pen, always needed in hospital for filling out menu cards or whatever.
    Note pad
    Crystallised ginger for nausea
    Nothing with a strong scent (I chose lavender toiletry treats from M&S)
    An adult colouring book and coloured pens
    Books is a given
    Comfy PJ ‘lounge pants’ bottoms and large slouch T shirts (nothing tight fitting)

    Will keep reading and following your journey.
    In my thoughts

    Caryl x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Caryl – can you come and visit me 😊
      Bought myself some PJs and loose tops this afternoon, will use the PJ top like a jacket. At this stage don’t know if I’ll be kept in overnight, but all your ideas valid for relaxing and passing time at home as well. My holiday bag always has colouring books, puzzle books, coloured pencils etc. However a more bag/pocket sized combo might be a good idea. Hoping I get my reading mojo back to get some reading done. Love the idea of crystallized ginger – will add that to my list. Any more ideas and suggestions gratefully received. Love Jill xx

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  11. The very best of luck to you – and you really are amazingly calm and humorous about it. It can’t be easy. My mother had breast cancer when she was 36 (and is now 77 and doing fine) and she said there is no such thing as a comfortable bra or an easy one to get into. But perhaps bras have improved since her experience – I just hope they don’t cost the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marina, your mother, in my limited experience, is correct. I struggled in and out of numerous “comfortable’ bras yesterday. As they are intended to pull on over your head – you can see the immediate problems. Faced with limited arm movement from the lymph node biopsy and a sore (or hopefully not much more) chest from the lumpectomy, they ‘stall’ at precisely the point you least want. Having removed one of them by stepping out, I figured stepping in, might have to be the way to go. On the plus side, they were only £5. As whatever price they are, they all require a degree of skill and dexterity I struggle with before the op, I decided I wasn’t prepared to pay over the odds for the privilege. Even better news however, is hearing your Mum survived the bras and more importantly the cancer xx

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      • That’s why I shared her story – I was a very young child then and she was terrified she was going to leave me an orphan. And now my sons are older than I was at the time. So she gets to watch them grow up too. I hope the nurses have some advice for better bras. I’ve heard there’s one that fastens at the front, like the breastfeeding bras.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m seeing my nurse on Friday before the pre-op so I’ll take my purchases along and get her advice. I’ve still got the weekend then to travel a bit further afield to buy something else if needs be. xx

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  12. Hi Jill,
    What a brilliant post and despite being assured of all our support, I am convinced you will be your very own tonic as you have already grabbed Boris by the balls and taken control of what is your situation. And in my opinion, you chose the correct name because let’s face it, who wants odious George anywhere near our boobs?!
    Sending love,
    Trish xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right Trish, the only George I’d want anywhere near mine is certainly not the odious Osborne. That however is a totally different story that will, for the sake of decorum, stay safely stored in my head! 😉 xx

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  13. I’m so sorry, Jill – I must have missed the first post when I was deep in new book launching. I applaud your attitude, I’m not sure I could be that upbeat, much less write entertaining blog posts about it. Please accept my sincere good wishes and positive thoughts, and let’s hope this karma thing works, right?

    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Terry, it’s easy to be entertaining right now, the s**t hasn’t hit the fan yet. Hopefully I’ll still be as positive, I’ll try to be or those blog posts are going to get pretty depressing. Hope the new book goes well xx

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      • Wish I believed in God, then I could say prayers for you…. but it sounds as though you have a good chance of beating it. If it’s any encouragement, I know 4 people who’ve had lumps, and all are alive and kicking, two of them many years after 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cheers Terry, I’m afraid I won’t be praying either, it’s down to me and medicine in my view. The positive thoughts and wishes of others however do have a supportive effect which is always a boost xx

        Like

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