Was 21 years ago now. I had just given birth to my beautiful son and 3 weeks after he was born i found "the lump". The lump that was to turn my life upside down for quite some time and also those around me, friends and family. At first i decided "the lump" was mastitus, so i promptly made an appointment to see a gp. I couldnt get in to see my normal gp so i made an appointment with one i had seen before but didnt like. Oh well, i just need some antibiotics or something so that didnt matter! Little did i know! He first prescribed penicillin and i was to go back 3 days later if there was no change. So duely made an appointment to see him again after 3 days. Then i had to go for ultrasound treatment on "the lump" and back again in 3 days if that didnt make a diff. Back to him i go! He then calls in a more senior doctor (who happened to be a friend of the family) and asked him what he thought. His reply was "blocked milk duct most likely". Luckily the gp i was seeing didnt buy that one and stated that he would like to do a biopsy to just see if it was anything more sinister or not. In the mean time i go back to my normal gp to have my check up after having my son and she says the same re blocked milk duct. I should explain that "the lump" was under my arm in breast tissue, although not in the breast. So i then have a biopsy performed and go to get stitches out and am told they cant tell from that one what is happening so we need to do another biopsy. I asked if the frozen section had defrosted on the way and if that was why they couldnt tell? haha I also ask for second biopsy to be delayed a bit as i was meant to go to country week that w/e and no way i could have gone if i had undergone a biopsy on the friday, "no"!!!!! was the answer to that one. So i go have the second biopsy and over hear the nurse afterwards asking my mother if anyone was going to go to the doctors with me to get my results. Hmmmm, this cant be good i think. The diagnosis and my world drops out from underneath me. I am told "the lump" is amelanotic melanoma and you could have a month to live or X amount of years. Now what i want you to do is go away and live your life like you only have a month to live. My gp also asked me to make an appointment in 3 days time to go back and see him as he said i wouldnt remember much of what he was telling me. (How lucky am i to have such a great gp?!?!?) Now i was a single parent and that meant going to a court of law and deciding legally who was going to raise my son if i wasnt around. I should say here that is something i never could bring myself to do. Who was going to raise my baby the way i wanted him raised?? No one i could think of and luckily i was able to stick around to do it. At this point in time i moved back in with my parents and then life took on a new level of travelling to perth for an appointment which i may need to stay for 1.5 days for and just be prepared to stay overnight. So we get to the clinic in perth and i dutifully sit down and wait and wait and wait. No one told me we were supposed to hand our little pink slip in. lol So two hours later i politely inquired as to how much longer i might expect to wait, to have the most lovely receptionist exclaim that i should have handed said pink slip in and she would see what she could do. I get to see the oncologist who examined my arm and promptly went to get another oncologist to examine said arm. The second oncologist leaves and he is replaced by another and they all confer and decide that none of them can find the primary, so they will just deal with the secondaries. I get the same story from them as from my gp. Back to the receptionist and am told i need to come back tomorrow, so we ring a friend and stay overnight with her and head back in the morning. On arrival i am told i need to go to G block as i have been admitted. I am liked ohhhhhhhhhh my!! We have only bought enough clothing and supplies for 1 night and they are proposing that i be in hospital for 2 weeks!! Crickeys!! Each day i am sent for tests that have already been done. The nursing staff were just fantastic and used to fight over who was going to pick up my son when he was awake. 🙂 It got to the point where we needed to go home just for one night to get some things sorted. I was told i ran the risk of losing my bed, but it was a risk i had to take. So we did a quick trip back to Bunbury and back up the following day a lot more prepared. So after seeing 7 doctors in two days i am pretty much reeling, although prepared for the big op that i was to have. I had most of my lymph glands removed from my right arm pit. My aim after that op was to be able to move the arm up above my head again. The next day after the op i couldnt pick up a pen in that hand neverlone move the arm and walking was agony. The physio came round to get me out of bed to walk down the hallway. Walking towards me was my sadistic professor type surgeon who had the sickest sense of humour of anyone i know. He saw me coming in the opposite direction and lifted his arm and waved gaily at me. lol Not sure i laughed at the time but certainly later on i did. Although i did manage to exact a bit of revenge against him. I returned to see him for my check up and he inquired as to whether i was having problems and i replied "yes, i am umpiring basketball as i cant play and am having immense problems doing a jump ball" haha He just looked at me and told me to go home!! I repair enough to be sent home and start off with weekly visits back to the hospital for checks which then go into fortnightly ones and so on and so forth until at the 3 year mark i was told i didnt need to go back. An amazing journey was had with good and bad lessons learnt. More good than bad though and like everyone else here i have been through the mill and myriad of emotions and everything else that being told you have "cancer" encompasses.
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Contributor
i cant believe they made it so hard for you. you must have been ready to kick them all up the butt. i would have. i have had wonderful treatment from everyone at Charlies from the office girls right down to the Doctors. the only problem for us was the fortnightly visits, when you live 5 1/2 hours from Perth its a long way to travel. They coordinated some of my visits together so that we could stay a couple of days then come back later. now seems to be the hardest part as i am away from my husband. we have never been apart in 33 years of marriage and i am feeling it. its always hard when i go for my appointments as i am so well and other are not. i am unsure what to say, what to do and how to act. i am not sure if others feel the same way. anyway had better go and get a meal ready. cheers and thanks for the chat. Linda
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Super Contributor
Hiya Linda Actually it just outlines to me how much things have changed. Although even today with the amount of treatment that i had i would still have to travel, although overnight accommodation may be on offer, depending on times etc... Yes, i feel the same if someone is not travelling so well which reminds me how people that dont have cancer will find it with me. :) It is incredibly hard to be away from family and friends, very challenging indeed. As with all challenges in life, once we get through them we grow! Charlie's rocked back then and i believe they still do. So to all those that work there kudos. Take care and talk soon maybe. Julie
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Contributor
Hey Jules2, My story is somewhat different to yours and in some ways so similar. The biggest thing is my son was 2 months old when I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcenoma and my world was turned upside down especially being a new mum on top of it all. I couldn't look at my husband for weeks because I had some strange notion I had failed as a mum, you'd think I would have been thinking about up and coming operations and treatment but my mind was stuck in this mode. I kept telling myself I had to survive because I did not want my mum or MIL to bring up my son, my mnatra became "I wnat to live to see my children's, children grow". I am luckey, I am 3 years out and doing well. Although my world was rocked when my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer when our son was 2...I was like I wnat to gte off this ride. Both of us had alot of run arounds and misdiagnosis, but fortunately in the end they worked it out before it was to late. Your right the positive lesson; however hard they were learned, and more than the negative and we get to start again. Hope all is well with you and yours, 21 years ago you've done well :) Amanda XX
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Super Contributor
Hey Amanda Wow thats great that you have gone onto the 3 year mark, congrats!!! I am sure your world was incredibly rocked when your husband got diagnosed, it not unimaginable and yet difficult to imagine how difficult that must have been for you both and as a family. It was hard being a new mum and being diagnosed, but then i guess its hard anyway. Everyone is affected in their own special way. I spoke to a newly diagnosed guy last night and he is simply reeling from his diagnosis and they have him on the track for treatment asap. I really did feel for him. I am ok (cept for radiation burns), just finishing off my round of radiotherapy for my 2nd gig of cancer. Which btw is a completely different cancer so i can still say i am a survivor right? lol Thanks for your message and i hope that you are doing ok and your family too. It really is a reminder not to sweat the small stuff and get on with life. :) Take care. Julie
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