What a different week this one is turning out to be. Last week was relaxation, mooching and evenings in front of a log-burning stove in the total peace and quiet of the country. This week is hospitals and hours on the phone to the Department of Work and Pensions. Over the weekend, I find a new swelling on my chest. It is not a hard lump but it wasn’t there before and so I know I need to get it investigated. After a visit to Holly, my fabulous psychologist, I trundle off to Charing Cross to see if I can find my breast care nurse. I leave a phone message on the way. They never answer the phone, in my experience, so I am never sure they receive the messages I leave. After a cup of coffee and a couple of hugs in Maggie’s, I go to the Breast Care Department. There is another department nearby which is called ‘Breast Investigations’ but I have no idea what they do. Surely all the investigations are done in the Breast Care Department? Anyway, I ask if Vanessa, my nurse, is around. No, she isn’t. She’s on ward rounds. I explain to the receptionist why I want to see her or, failing Vanessa, will risk seeing any of the other nurses, including the one I fired for total incompetence and lack of empathy. There is no-one available and she bleeps Vanessa who says she cannot see me today but I could come back tomorrow and she will see me in clinic. I cannot face the thought of adding another trek so decline as I know I will be seeing the lymphoedema nurses on Wednesday.
I go to the oncology clinic to see if I can find a lymphoedema nurse and I am in luck! I find Jeanne sitting in her office, writing notes and she kindly agrees to examine me. She looks at the swelling which, she proclaims, is in a line and very pronounced but, prodding and poking a bit, she agrees it is fluid and asks if I have been overdoing it, carrying or lifting heavy things. I don’t think I have but I tell her I have had a throat infection and she thinks that is the cause. Apparently, even if I have an infection in my big toe, it can and will still affect the lymphoedema, simply because there are fewer lymph nodes hanging around to deal with those pesky infections. It can also turn into cellulitis which I know is serious but I’m not sure what it is and don’t intend to google it. Such a relief to find out the swelling is nothing to worry about and just means more massage. It does throw into stark relief, however, that any lump, bump or something out of the ordinary means it needs investigation now and what a pain that is. And please don’t mistake this for paranoia as this is now just a sensible precaution. Life can never be the same as it was BC (before cancer).
The psychotic cat does not want me to blog. She does not want me to use my laptop or put anything on my lap which prevents it being available for her use at any time she chooses. She sits on the arm of the sofa, smugly obscuring the mouse by keeping it warm and trying to control my destiny. She may be right. On the website of the Guardian today a photograph of me and Mr Mason is shown in an article about sex after a diagnosis of cancer but we are only shown coyly from the shoulders down. Tastefully done, my floral shirt is recognised by one of my friends who sends me a text to alert me to it. Perhaps this is the sort of bad behaviour the psychotic cat is trying to deter me from.