More biopsies

So we are back from our holiday in Seattle had a great time but jag lack is the pitts.

Back to 2015 and our holiday in France. Whilst away my son received his AS results. We had planning on going out to eat that night but the results were not good so we were all in a bit of a funk. My finger reached a crazy size so my husband had to cut off my wedding ring. Unfortunately it still kept getting bigger and meant that riding the bike was painful. The day before we were due to leave our gite (a few days earlier than originally planned) I phoned my doctors for an appointment and, amazingly, got offered one for the next day. Had to explain that I would still be in France then so could I come on the Thursday. Arrived home late on the Wednesday night.

Doctors first thing on the Thursday. Appointment was with a newly qualified doctor who didn’t have any idea what was wrong so she called in a colleague – it was the doctor who originally referred me to the breast clinic. He was apologising for the fact that I had cancer, he was convinced it was a cyst. I was just thankful that he referred me when he did. A few tears were shed at this point. No further forwards on the finger though.

Back to the hospital in the afternoon. Still nothing concrete. Biopsies of both breasts were inconclusive but they wanted to re-do the right side with a right handed doctor (the last one was left handed!). They did however discuss likely course of treatment.

Before holiday it was suggested I would have operation then hormone treatment, now they have decided on chemo, operation and radiotherapy but still not found the source of the cancer. Another wait for the outcome of the biopsies.

This year’s holiday was definitely not the normal for us. Usually we load up our estate car with fishing kit, bikes and musical instruments (yes we have been known to take cornet, French horn and euphonium on holiday) and stay in a gite in rural France for a few weeks. This year we flew to the USA and stayed in a house under the SeaTac flight path. Rather than relaxing (which you can do on a 3 week holiday) we spent every day off doing stuff. The weather in Seattle has been hot – we chose to go there as it wouldn’t be too hot. Walking at altitude in Mount Rainier park was hard work – the most exhausted I have been for years. Also visited Snoqalmie falls and North Bend where they filmed Twin Peaks.

As for the jet lag …. never realised it was so debilitating. I thought it was just being tired, not feeling sick as well. Anyway home in time for the youngest’s A level results – she is off to her first choice university next month.





Exam Time

Exam time is stressful. Unfortunately for my two kids my cancer diagnosis was at the beginning of two very important academic years, GCESs and A Levels.

We were very open with the kids about my diagnosis (more abut this in future weeks). In fact I think I probably discussed reconstruction options with my son (then 18) a bit too much. I was however worried about them possibly being compromised by outside factors during their exams.

509430532We contacted the school in advance of their exams and explained the situation. They were great. From a pastoral point of view they would keep an eye on the kids in case they had a melt down and they would let the examination boards know that during the exam period I was undergoing radiotherapy.

Whether or not they were given an uplift in their grades we don’t know (and don’t want to know) that is not why we disclosed the information. It was more that during such a stressful time for them at school that those who care for them at school were aware.

Two years on and the eldest has just finished his second year uni exams and will shortly be home for the summer. Unfortunately the youngest still has 6 exams to go over this week and next – but at least this time I am around and able to support her.

Schools and universities need to know if a parent or other relative is going through cancer treatment. There is no point in saying after an exam that their preparation/concentration was affected by external factors. They will be supportive and, if necessary, contact exam boards.

Good luck to everyone taking exams.