Monday, January 28, 2008

Pucker up

I can't decide whether or not I just invent these things to feed the paranoid side of me but on Sunday I got a call from the dermatologist to say the lab results were back on my scoop excision and the suspected basal cell carcinoma was simply a benign mole.

Hurrah for that.

But hours later I find myself obsessing over my breast again. And I just called the breast care nurse and fixed a physical exam for 12.45 on Friday with the Professor. Mainly to reassure myself but also to check out some genuinely new symptoms which have been concerning me.

Firstly, the pain I got (which I initially mistook for lymphodema) moved around to the front of my chest area, where my breast meets my ribs (in fact, just under the lumpectomy scar) and took ages to dissipate. It's still not quite gone - I can feel it when I stretch my right arm straight up and it is slightly tender to the touch in the immediate area.

Plus, there are still occasional twinges within the breast. I've always been told this is natural after surgery and radiotherapy to an area - so it's probably normal - but then I first discovered the lump because my breast was 'twinge-ing' at me. So I developed a sort of superstitious faith in believing my body was warning me. So I see twinges more as warning shots, fired within my very own bow, and can't help but be concerned.

Finally, I've noticed puckering of the skin around the scar area over the last couple of weeks. It bothers me this, as I have read that skin puckering can be a symptom of cancer in a pre-operative state. But in a post-operative state? Would it carry the same meaning? Or is it just a symptom of having recently been sliced open, had bits removed, sewn back up again, pumped full of drugs and blasted with radiation?

I mean, after that sort of treatment, anybody would forgive a little puckering up. Wouldn't they?

Either way, as the lovely breast care nurse put it in her lilting Scottish voice. "It's probably nothing to worry about but you should come in. I mean, I can't reassure you over the phone."

I hope she's right. I'm sure she is right. But I need to know she is right.

And, to be fair to me, these are new symptoms. They are worth raising.

It's frustrating as I am starting to rebuild life after the last year. R and I are starting to make some pretty big life-changing decisions (which will change things significantly for the better) and as we go through that process this is the only doubt that is niggling at me. It is the only thing holding me back. Maybe it will always be there, but a small trip to the hospital on Friday won't hurt in the short term...

1 comment:

irene said...

I am so sorry you're having to go through this, Anne-Marie - my thoughts are with you because that sort of anxiety is pretty familiar. No wonder you're getting vision disturbances as well, if you're having such totally understandable worries. You're obviously very sensible in having all these things checked out early. Keep us posted!
Irene