Wednesday, March 5, 2014

all clear!

IMG_8363 IMG_8354 IMG_8352 IMG_8357 IMG_8361 It's interesting to watch in retrospect how my 'the end of the world' changed as time went on.

At the start 'the end of the world' was literally, the end of my world. A few Saturday nights ago I believed I had advanced breast cancer and that I would die. I would fail at what my mum always says is the Mother's most important job - to stay alive. I would leave three motherless girls just as the big wide world was opening up to them, and my farmer boy, the love of my life. There were no words, just gut wrenching pain.

As the next few days passed my 'the end of the world' goal posts shifted as I read and heard more cancer survival stories. In my mind I started planning for a year, or years, of treatment. I would spend hours and days and weeks in hospital, I would be sick, I would be labelled, I would lose my hair, I would struggle and my family would struggle. I thought about it often, I listened to stories and watched others go through it and wondered how we would deal with it when and if our time had come.

As the week passed and we realised the lump was responding to the antibiotics and slowly shrinking, I allowed myself to hope for the best but kept myself in check. A few hours of normal life would go by and then I would remember that I might be standing there with a cancer inside me.

One evening I was in the shower washing myself when I ran my fingers across my breast and felt the lump and for a split second I panicked. I had forgotten everything and all those initial terrors pulsed through me. It was a strange relief to remember a second later that I had been there already and didn't have to go through it all from the beginning again.

Yesterday morning I woke up to the most brilliant sunshiny morning. The skies were clear blue, the girls were happy and chirpy on their ways to school and I felt strangely optimistic before what was going to be a long day of hospital sitting and testing.

On the drive to Ballarat I realised that in my heart I didn't believe I had cancer. I believed that by the end of the day I would be clear to go home and live the rest of my life. But then as we drove closer to the hospital it occurred to me that the goal posts had shifted yet again. They weren't really 'the end of the world' goal posts any more, but they were giving me a stomach ache and making me have no appetite and run to the toilet often.

I was no longer afraid of dying, now I was afraid of big needles being plunged into my breast to remove bits of the lump to analyse. Or I was afraid of being hooked up to another drip in my hand and being put under anesthetic and cut so the surgeon could remove the lump all together. I was worried about being admitted to the surgical ward, about being stuck in bed, about not being home when my girls got home from school, about not baking them muffins for their lunchboxes and about the stress on my beautiful boy. Or, I realised, I was worried about the results being inconclusive. About having to go home and continue on with this fear constantly at the back of all of our minds.

As I was sitting there waiting to be mammogramed and ultrasounded and poked and prodded I couldn't read or knit or focus on the facebook convo I was trying to have with my sister. I was completely and utterly aware that things were looking good and I knew that whatever the results were that we would deal with them, but I still felt nauseous.

First I saw the surgeon who was pleased with my progress.

Then I had a mammogram.

Then I had another mammogram to be certain they had covered every single angle.

Then I had an ultrasound.

Then the doctor came in and did the ultra sound himself to be certain they had covered every single angle.

Then I was told the words that I had been too scared to hope for, but was hoping for none-the-less, I was clear. I don't have cancer!! The lump was due to a mastitis and will gradually disappear over time.

My first thought was disbelief, then guilt, then happiness and then I raced to wipe that gooey stuff off my boobs and get my clothes on and find my farmer boy who had been moving the car. He cried.

I don't know why I am allowed to walk away from this so neatly and easily but I can promise you that I am not taking it lightly. Life can be upended in a second on a Saturday evening and I feel beyond lucky to be standing here, in the middle of my world with the luxury of hindsight and foresight. I feel like this is my 'get out of jail free' card. I feel like this experience is a responsibility.

And I feel for every single person out there who has had to deal with their own personal 'end of the world' scenario.

Big love to you all.
Now go and check your boobs.


xx



126 comments:

  1. That is the most wonderful news to hear Kate. I am so so happy for you, happy that you can be there for your girls and your farmer boys. I hope you can breathe a little easier now and just enjoy being. Hugs. x

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  2. I too had tears in my eyes. what good news for you. I have lived through this with my sister who found her first lump seventeen years ago. Take care and take time for yourself and for each of your family.

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  3. Yay! I'm so happy for you and your family. Wonderful wonderful news xxx

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  4. Just seeing the title of this blog post has made me all teary. I'm so fucking relieved for you!!
    My mammogram is booked in for tomorrow.
    Much love xxx

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  5. Fabulous news. So so happy for you.

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  6. Oh Kate, I had no idea what was going on for you but I am so pleased you have had a positive outcome. I finally got around to buying your book the other day and have been immersed in it and inspired by it as we plan our trip to the territory in a few months. Would love to get a few more travel insights from you about this part of oz. Can I shout you a coffee.. Karen McAloon xx

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  7. So pleased to read this. I have been thinking of you often over the last few weeks.

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  8. oh kate, the relief has swept over me in goose bumps. thank goodness xx

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  9. Tears here. I'm so happy for your news. Hurrah for healthy breasts!!

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  10. I cried when I read Bren cried- the relief!!! I am so so happy for you, for all of you! Biggest happiest love & hugs to you lovely Kate xxx

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  11. Wonderful, wonderful!!! Great news.

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  12. Wooooooooo Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

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  13. I understand the overwhelming relief you all felt. So happy for you and your family.
    Now go spread some more love and happiness....
    Keryl

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  14. ***exhale!*** I cried when you shared the discovery and am tears again tonight. I appreciate your sharing and am so glad you had good news. best.

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  15. I am so pleased for you and your family. And yes I'll check them tonight.

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  16. So good to hear all is well Kate. I didn't even know it was possible to get mastitis at any time other than when you are breastfeeding. Perhaps I need to pay more attention to these things. Happy days ahead to you! x

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  17. Wonderful news xx Thank you for sharing your fears and yes, a big reminder to us all that life really could be too short:)

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  18. Held my breathe while reading this.....so so very happy for you all....go,live a big and simple life. Xxxxxx

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  19. I was waiting for the end of this post. I almost skipped to see the end result. Thank goodness you are all ok! I know too well how life can change in an instant. Late last Friday I went out to water the veges and needed to go up to the dam to fix the pump. I walking around the edge of the dam and I slipped in the mud as I have done a hundred times before. This time I broke both bones in the bottom of my right leg. I was so lucky to have my 20 year old son there with me. I could have been there for hours, I could have fallen the other way and drowned. So while I am couch bound for many weeks, and bored stupid, I am still thankful to be here and have my 3 gorgeous boys to look after me. Mr 16 makes the perfect cuppa tea!

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  20. You are SUCH an wonderful person! Hooray for good news. Big hugs. xoxo

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  21. Fabulous result....so pleased that your tear rendering journey has a happy ending....although I'm thinking this isn't the ending but the beginning of a different life. Something like this is life changing I think
    Huge hugs x

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  22. Such good news for you-yea!

    Feeling very relieved for you.

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  23. Phew Kate. I am so relieved for you, and your girls and your farm boy, love of your life. Having my mammagram in two weeks! hugs all round. Jane x

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  24. So happy for you... so relieved for you... had been thinking about you and this bloody lump journey so much... thanks for letting us all know you're ok!
    Love that pic of your girls & boy looking out to sea...
    Regular checker here :-)
    xx

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  25. wonderful news. its funny I don't even really know you but your dilemma has been in my thoughts. So glad you are ok.

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  26. So relieved for you! We went through a similar scare recently (with a similarly positive outcome, thankfully).

    Here's to embracing the chances given us, and rejoicing in the blessings that follow!

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  27. Oh goodness, I am so relieved, I can't even imagine how relieved you and your whole family must feel! Thanks for letting us know, I was thinking about you often and hoping for this exact outcome! Have the most wonderful week celebrating and relaxing and spending time with your girls and your farmer boy!!!

    Fine

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  28. Wonderful news, Kate, I am very very happy for you and yours! Boobs checked! Xxx

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  29. Such great news Kate, and a beautifully written story x

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  30. Wonderful news Kate! Sometimes it's those "Saturday night moments" that help us to refocus on what's important in life .... Sending light, love and laughter. xxx

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  31. Thank goodness, thanks for sharing this Kate. Heather x

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  32. I am so happy for you and your family! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  33. So, so glad to hear. Jeepers.
    Boobs are being checked annually - lost my mom to the boob-monster.

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  34. I have tears in my eyes. I am so glad your outcome is the happy one, Kate. And you hit the nail on the head. On hearing such wonderful news you wonder why others cannot walk away from that nightmare too. Savour every day with your wonderful family.

    Stephanie

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  35. So glad to hear your news Kate. Looks like you are all breathing deeply and experiencing such wonderful relief and joy that all is well. The ocean has an amazing, regenerative energy.

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  36. Oh what a shock!!! To open your blog in the first time in a couple of weeks and begin to read this. I am pleased beyond words that everything has turned out "normal" for you.
    My husband got cancer when our little girl was 1.5 years old - and I had the same thoughts of raising a little girl who would never know her daddy. We were lucky and now he is cancer free - but I know those feelings - it is awful.
    Congratulations wonderful lady xxxx

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  37. Oh! Mwaa mwaa mwaa mwaa mwaa! Thank you for sharing so honestly your personal and scary time. I'm so glad all is well in your world.... I'm breathing out and checking my boobs very soon. Lots of love xxxxx

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  38. Wonderful news. I can imagine the relief for both yourself and all your family. Cancer is such a terrible 'taker'. I lost a young family member to it three years ago, and another family member is currently finishing a course of chemo for hers. It's tough, but hopefully, more medical break throughs can help to eliminate the pain and heartache this disease causes. Thank you for taking the time to share this....I'm off to check my boobs! Take Care xxxxx

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  39. Fantastic news Kate. I had a lump under my arm at the end of last year and thought the same thing, thankfully it was just one of those things that antibiotics fix and it shrunk, and also the doctor said that a few people get these things as they age. It looks as though my body is going through a few changes and wearing things out but we still get to be alive and do the things we love. I hope you dont have any more scares like that. Now you can relax.

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  40. Wonderful news ! I can very well imagine your relief and feeling "reborn" to life...
    I went through the same thing at age 35... I am now soon 58. :)

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  41. I am so very happy for you. I had a scare once, and I know a little of what you went through. It's terrifying, but it also gives you a new appreciation for absolutely everything I think. Sending you a big cyber hug. CJ xx

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  42. Boobs checked. Thrilled to hear all is well.

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  43. Such great news!!! At the end of your words i had tears in my eyes. I think your "end of the world" will change you forever in a positive way. I send you a big big hug from germany. Also for your family.
    Breastcancer Survivor Martina♥♥♥

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  44. The best news Kate, I am so happy for you and your family xx

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  45. Such good news!!! I'm so glad the nightmare is over for you and your family. Yes I must get checked, it has been too long. Excellent news!

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  46. great news Kate! "now go and check your boobs" - hehehehehe - still giggling - loved it and will do!

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  47. Good to read your positive news. I had mastitis which turned into an abscess when still breastfeeding middle child (in Australia! now back in UK) so I knew it wasn't malignant lump and thought your symptoms looked similar in a hopeful way. Want to hear a funny story now your imminent stress is over? I was in emergency with sky high temperature and huge lump, streaky boob etc, puking up fairy bread I'd nibbled at a kids' party earlier. Seen by various doctors and nurses poking and prodding me. When yet another one came in I whipped up my top and exposed the offending breast quick smart. "Uh, I've just come to take your temperature," he said, looking mildly shocked and sticking a thermometer in my ear. So, a gal can still flash her boobs unexpectedly in a hospital bed, it would seem! Have a restful recovery :)

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  48. Best news in, like, ever. You're awesome. Big virtual hug for Brendan who must've been hanging on by fingernails for the last couple of weeks xxx

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  49. This is all kinds of wonderful. So happy for you and your family.

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  50. Glad to read you are healthy and cancer-free! :-) Enjoy the feeling of relief!
    Take care,
    Anne
    P.S. Lovely pictures! Makes me long for a day at the beach!

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  51. I just finished my antibiotics for my mastitis. One of the worst infections that I have ever had - knocked my whole body out of whack - I could barely stand for two days. My lump is gone and now its back to normal. So glad that your ordeal is over. Who would have thought that it was mastitis since you aren't nursing?

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  52. I am so very, very glad for you. Stay well.

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  53. Fantastic news! So glad for you and your beautiful family xx

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  54. amazing words beautifully written....
    i am so so happy for you all xxx

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  55. God bless you, I'm so lucky for you!

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  56. Yay! Dancing a jig here for you!

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  57. Yahoo! So very happy for you and your family! I know the progression you talked about. Mine was multiple myeloma cancer which took ten months of treatments. Driving away from the hospital after the end of the last one, I was crying and saying to my husband, "It's over, it's over!" I am now in complete remission for a little over two years, back to work for two years and feeling wonderful! I'm know you're not a God person, but I sure am glad He was in my corner!

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  58. I am so so happy for you and your precious little family
    Thea xx

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  59. Stopping through quickly but so pleased to hear it's an all clear. Check boobs. Hug family. Repeat. (But probably not all at the same time). :)

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  60. Wheeesh! What a relief. Now go have a great life with your little family, watch those girlies grow up to strong independent gorgeous people. I think you deserve a lovely cup of tea and wander round the garden. Cxx

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  61. I'm so relieved for you Kate. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story here. It is such a great reminder to need to check our boobs often. We lost my mother-in-law to cancer a few years ago and it had started, many years before as breast cancer. They would never have found it, if they hadn't been doing an ultrasound of her chest for something else. She didn't have a lump - so it would never have shown on a mammogram. The cancer had developed in her milk ducts. I'm hopeless at keeping my preventative health checks up to date but you've inspired me to go and make an appointment to get checked out - because life's too short to be too busy to see the doctor. Thank you.

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  62. Oh Kate! No words sweet friend. Just much love to you all. x

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  63. Kate there are no words that can express how happy and relieved I am for you and your family that your tests were clear. Love to you and yours.
    Anne xx

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  64. I'm so happy for you Kate. I've had this annoying lump in my armpit for years now and always flared up when I was breast feeding or pregnant. I'm pregnant again (due in 10 weeks) and thought I would just mention it to my doc yesterday. He said that it amy be a lymph node, gland, cyst and breast tissue. Not too sure so I'm off to a scan next week. Trying not to think of the C word and hope that it's just one of the others that he thinks it is. The not knowing is the awful part! Love to you and your family xx

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  65. How scary, I'm glad you have the all clear. Your blog is beautiful, thanks for sharing your story.

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  66. I'm so glad for you and your family. Thank you for describing the changes in the "end of the world" feelings so well - I can relate to them and glad for the reminder to appreciate the life that I have.

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  67. You have been so quiet...I have been waiting and hoping for good news. So, so happy for you and yours. xx

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You do write so beautifully.

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  68. So pleased for you Kate - you must have been absolutely terrified. Your story has definitely reminded me to do a self-examination more often, it's something I've always neglected and really shouldn't.

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  69. I'm so happy to hear your good news, so relieved for all of you xx

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  70. Great news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doing a happy dance around the room for you - mwah xxxx

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  71. I have been there and I know that hell and that sweet relief. So glad you got the all clear xxxxxx

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  73. Beautiful. Very happy for you! :)

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  74. I'm really happy for you!! Ciao ^__^

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  75. Estoy muy contenta de que todo vaya tan bien, estas pruebas son oportunidades que nos da la Vida para valorar lo que de verdad es importante y disfrutar de todos los dones que nos regala a cada momento.Un fuerte abrazo.

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  76. Does it sound cheeky if I say, I knew it, and I told you so ... self same thing happened to me, but without quite so much scary stuff as I got my diagnosis much more quickly, it's the high temp that gives it away, So forget it now, don't keep prodding to see if that lump's gone yet, it'll take all the longer to clear, ask me how I know?

    Have the best weekend Kate x

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  77. That really is the most excellent news Kate...see, I told you the river was flowing in the right direction. You're gonna be an old (slightly bonkers) old lady one day, your end is a long way off :)
    Much love ♥

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  78. I rarely comment but I cannot but express my happiness for you and your family. How wonderful :) xox

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  79. Yes, been there. Blessings to you.
    Gail

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  80. First time I've commented but just wanted to say how glad I am for you and your family. Have thought of you over the last few days and I'm delighted by your good news. Go well!

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  81. Woot! Go you good thing! That's fantastic news. So happy for you xxx

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  82. Wonderful news Kate, so happy for you all. The same thing happened to me some years ago, so I can totally identify with the whole of your experience.
    Jak x

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  83. So glad to hear all ended well for you kate xxx

    I have lumpy boobs and have had to do the US route twice now (both times have been benign) as I sit here now with achy boibs, youve reminded me I should go back for another check up.

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  84. the VERy Best outcome, so very happy for you and your guy and girls :)

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  85. That's great news Kate! I'm very happy for you and your family. :-)

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  86. Kate I am so so relieved for your outcome.
    I've been reading quietly all year and when you shared last month throughout the whole post I had
    felt my heart caught in my throat. Thankful that you write and share. I adore your heartfelt posts.

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  87. I just read your post, and it made me cry. I am in a similar situation at the moment, but involving my digestive system. I'm scared to death. I'm scared of the tests to find out if I have cancer. I'm scared of them not finding anything. I'm just plain scared. I'm so glad you have the best possible outcome. I know exactly how you've been feeling. xo

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  88. It's amazing how lucky you feel can be relative to what you are going through. I mentioned in a previous post that my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks ago and her and our family are shocked and devasted given she is the picture of health. A lump underneath her arm led to her going to the doctor so she had breast surgery and then facing the year long chemo and radiation ahead. Devasted and of course all facing this. Then on Thursday morning she was told she needed a body scan, brain scan and bone scan and were told the news would not be good. We were very scared and yesterday morning were told it hasn't spread and my sister and our family think we've won the lottery and she is happy she only has breast cancer. The breast care nurse said it's amazing how your priorities change. 2 weeks ago breast cancer was shocking but today that is a blessing compares to what we thought would be worse. So happy you have for good news but it is a very scary thing whether you have it or are finding out if you have it or don't have it. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  89. Thank you for your openness in all your posts. I think that the generosity of spirit shown by you and many other bloggers has helped me to become more open in my community. I am taking a tea break at the moment from making a pea teepee (thanks for the idea!) in my front garden in inner city Nottingham, England. Work is slow going because so many people are stopping to ask about it and chat. I've even had one boy who didn't know what peas are �� Now I can't wait to stand around eating them with everyone who walks past! Thank you for being part of strengthening my community.

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  90. oh goodness. Such good news, and a good shift in perspective too. I am waiting to hear about a close family member's medical tests and it is frightening indeed - the mind gallops way ahead of the specialists. I must remember to check my boobs more often...

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  91. Such wonderful news Kate - delighted for you, and these things do change our perspectives of life, as in, 'just do it'; just do all the wonderful things that you love and that make you happy :)

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  92. Could I feel happier for you? no :)
    This is the most excellent news...now go live your life (and please continue to share it with us in this beautiful blog) Much love x

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  93. Dear Kate,

    I just needed to tune in and say that I've discovered a lump in my left breast and I have mammograms and ultrasounds booked for Thursday. I guess I'm feeling pretty much the same as you. Being a mother of three is a huge strength AND it makes me feel so vulnerable too.

    Warmest wishes from France,

    Stephanie

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  94. Whoop! Whoop! All best wishes to you. Sending lots of healing vibes to everyone with similar worries…hope you get good news too. xxx

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  95. Your post brought tears to my eyes.
    Lots of hugs!

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  96. Goodness Kate! I've only just caught up on your last few posts and I have tears in my eyes. I'm so sorry your lovely family had to go through this rolleroaster and so very, very glad you are ok. SO glad!! Much love from me and Reubs xx

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  97. I'm ever so very glad you've got the all clear Kate. So glad.

    My Mum has end stage breast cancer and the last six months have been the most beautiful and also most broken moments of my entire life. As we count my Mum's life here with us in days, I realise what a treasured gift a Mum is. I worry that I haven't adored her grace enough.

    I'm so very glad you are well, for you and for your gorgeous girls. xxx

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  98. Kate!!! This is such great news! I am so relieved to hear it. What a roller coaster. I've been thinking of you heaps the last couple of weeks and have been hoping this would be the end result. xxx

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  99. It really is such a big responsibility to take every day we are given and live it to our best ability - a big responsibility and a joy
    So relieved for you
    xx

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  100. I've been off the internet for a week or so, but so wanted to say how pleased I was to read this news. What an awful time for you and your family and it's so wonderful that it has turned out well. A great reminder to us all to never take our lives for granted. Cxxx

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  101. Wonderful news. What a relief for all of you, xxoo

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  102. Such good news. It made me cry. Glad for you. Xxx

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  103. phew. Scary scary. I feel anxiety for you just thinking about the time you had waiting to find out.
    My mum keeps asking me to go and get that genetic test done. I'd better i think, seeing as I am one of those girls that have lumpy boobs, which makes it really hard to know whether it's a lumpy boob lump or a cancerous lump. Argh, going and finding out if I am predisposed (i.e. the gene test) scares the shit out of me. It's one of those "I know I must, but first I have to build up the courage" kind of things.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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