Post doc visit

what a mammogram machine looks like or can look like!

Yesterday I went to the local Paphos General Hospital to have a mammogram.  Upon arrival I said I have to be in Nicosia today (two hours away) so its quite urgent.  The first chap I saw told me off for not arranging the appointment another day! I said it was not me that arranged the appointment.  Then when I went to register, the chap there also told me off saying that I wouldn’t have time, and the results wont be ready, and why did I leave it so late.. (nightmare so far) I said I just need to have the test, I don’t need the results.  Miserable sods.

Anyway, I get into this tiny room with a mammogram machine thats older than my dad I expect, and this woman who appeared to not know what she was doing proceeded to prepare this machine!   She then went on to tell me shes so stressed and cause of this she was diagnosed with parkinson disease when she was 50.

I wore something that would not require me to strip down to my pants so ladies do not wear a full dress rather than a top and skirt or something! I wore a strapless dress that just required pulling down! Hows that for preparation!  Anyway, I placed my right brest on this plastic plate, she then pulled and stretched it and then stood on a button that then flattened it. It is rather uncomfortable not too painful but still painful.   she pressed this button and then said it didnt work and wondered why.  She trotted out to get someone else who reset the machine and then proceeded to do the same whole thing with my right boob.  And then she said, sorry the machine is broken. (no shit Sherlock!)  They got the technician, the electrician and finally they all said I could leave an apologized.   Two flat boobs and no results.  It could only happen to me! I did find it all rather amusing..

The Bank Of Cyprus Oncology center in Nicosia is really nice.   They have this massive picture of what looks like heaven or the Elysium my husband said, were heroes and fighters go to die on the wall as you enter. Wasn’t too sure what to make of that one.   Everyone waiting seemed normal every day people but you could see the odd one that had no hair, or scarves on their heads, and someone who had recently had facial surgery.  I wondered if it was melanoma or something else.   I felt bad for them. All of the people were there cause of cancer and couldn’t beleive I was was one of them.

My height, blood pressure, weight were all taken down and a file was created with my photo taken to go in it to avoid any mistakes they said.  I smiled for the photo. I wondered if anyone else did that.    The Doctor that I saw reminded me of House cause he had a limp. So I will now know him as Dr House! He read my file then started talking to me of the seriousness of my condition.   He said that Melanoma is unlinke any other cancer and that diagnoses can depend on mm’s in sizes starting from 0.7! Anything above that is completely different diagnoses.  He said that my 2mm final leftover and my other above normal sized mm skin cancer bits meant my melanoma is aggressive.   He said that the first diagnoses could have been due to my pregnancy and hormones making it so.  In the old days they used to treat women with anti hormone drugs.  I wonder if taking the pill for ten years suppressed it? I must ask him that.

He said that I will need radiotherapy for sure and some other treatment after interferon or Chemotherapy.  However interferon is a drug they like to use in America but not so much in Europe due to its 5% success rate.  Chemo is probably a better choice but he doesn’t know yet.   He said that its good that my cancer is localised and they can target it.

Side effects of Radiotherapy will feel like sunburn.   I wont be able to wash there AT ALL during treatment and they will provide me with some kind of powder. He did say I can only wash it if I feel stinky. Hello? Its roasting sweaty hot in Cyprus..  My right lung will be slightly affected a little during the treatment which will give me a cough but that will go when treatment has stopped.  It can leave scar tissue in my arm which can lead to lymphedema but not on all patients.

He said to be positive, and not to change my lifestyle and that once he has looked through my file with this other doctor, they will decide what the best way is to target my incurable disease to help stop it from coming back.   My right armpit wont be affected again but unfortunately the rest of my body is still at risk.  Thats the thing with melanoma.  It can come back anytime anywhere and there’s not much you can do about it really.

So of course I’m terrified.  I’m so angry.  I just want to be ok and not have to worry.  Im super pissed off that this has happened to me just when my life was falling into place.  for the rest of my life I will have to deal with wondering if the pain in my stomach is just wind, or a headache is just a headache.  And to top it all off, I may even loose all my hair and my fertility and get a really fat right arm.  I know its a small price to pay in the exchange for a long life.  But still. I want my hair, I want my health and perhaps more children and I like my arm just as it is.

So all in all another crap day for me yesterday, from flat boobs to a shit diagnosis.

Saying all that though I didn’t get upset. Or cry. I guess now  I’m going through the angry stage.. watch out for road rage and rudeness when you least expect it. I apologize for my upcoming self!

Alethea is still in here somewhere though and she’s fighting and she’s smiling.. on the outside anyway!

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Where to begin?

Once upon a time there was this girl (me) who when she was pregnant with her first and only child (so far) was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in her back from a mole aka freckle, beauty spot etc in December 2008. In March 2009 during c-section further re movement of back tissue was done to ensure all the mole was gone.  This was done successfully and results where good.  After that, blood tests came back clear, a CT scan that also came back clear in October 2009. Excellent. This girl and her husband and son lived happily ever after.

The present day.

On April 13th I found a lump in my right armpit. It was a tiny lump. Hubby insisted I go check it out. I did. The doctor said it was just a swollen lymph and its probably nothing to worry about, the two aren’t related and to go back if it grew. Well it grew, rapidly. On Friday 30th I had general anesthetic as they said it was a cyst that was growing and removed it. On Tuesday the 4th of May the doctors said it was malignant melanoma. They said it was related to my back mole. They took out sourrounding lymph nodes to check them for too.  On 06/05/10 I was diangosed with malignant metastatic melanoma.

How crap is THAT. I mean you go about your daily routine, working, paying bills, arguing about what channel to watch on TV, how expensive it is to go shopping these days and then this happens. And everything else doesn’t matter.

I was in my sons room getting him ready for bed and I was dancing around trying to make him smile and I wondered, what if I dont get to see him grow up?  What if he grows up without his mum? What if he turns out different, just because he didnt have a mum?

Then I ask myself, can I have more children? Should I have more children? I mean what if I have more children and then my poor husband will have no one to help him if I die?

A thousand questions I have asked myself at the same time as trying to remain positive and saying I am going to beat this.  But am I?  I will do my best! But what if my best isnt good enough? How do you fight the inevitable if something is inevitable?

Tomorrow I am going to see the oncologist. He will tell me what ammunition I will be needing to fight my war against melanoma.

Here you can read about it.