Monday, 21 April 2014

My Breasties..

This is going to be a super lengthy post. To cut story short, I was referred to Dr. Joy Lee in Mt A to check my breasties (aka breasts) due to pain and lumps.

Below the chronology of what happened the past a week or so.. I'm just so glad I'm OK!

I'M OKAY!!! (hmm.. ok.. I am feverish and have very bad sorethroat and all, but heck, what's flu compared to cancer?!)

Except for one small cyst on my left breast, I'm breast cancer-free for the next 3-6 months at least. Dr. Joy says I do not have to go back to her ever year if not necessary. She's really nice, she taught me how to do self-examination. She also says I can do further checks if I want to, but in her opinion, it's not worth it. Why, she's the expert here, so I trust her. She has seen and touched much more breasts than we have ever seen and touched ours!

Now that my breasties are normal, they became a benchmark, so I have to get used to what's normal so that I can tell what's abnormal in the future (touch-wood) if it happens. (so many so and so and so eh?)

I'm really grateful that all this is covered under my Company's insurance.


21st Apr'14:

Butterflies in my stomach while I clear my work in the office before the appointment. Hate the feeling.


Been waiting in Dr Joy's since 1.5 hours ago. So they do not take appointment as it is, they do first in first serve. I should have came much earlier.

Sitting and waiting is tormenting.

Although technically it's like seeing a Gynae. Problem is I didn't come here for routine check, I'm here to have my lumps checked.

The staffs have friendly face. Dr Joy comes out every time she released a patient and takes another card in personally.

Listening to the staffs making conversations and phone calls make me nervous. All I could hear was biopsy, mammogram, biopsy, mammogram and "doctor suggest you see her again next year" which is so cool isn't it?

It was finally my turn after 2 hours of waiting..

20th Apr'14:

Woke up from a dream about my scan. I'm just so glad I chose private specialist, the wait is much shorter compared to govt specialist. Seriously cannot imagine waiting for months to know the outcome. Few days is tormenting enough.

IZ was extremely gluey during sports class today. Something never happened before. He wanted me to sit with him during the warm-up exercise. While I would be glad if he's gluey coz I am expecting or something, it's different matter altogether when I know I'm NOT.

I couldn't help wondering if he sensed something is amiss with me.

Since I was being referred to a specialist to have the lumps in my breasts checked, I feel anxious all the free time. Whenever there's a split second to spare, I would be thinking of the lumps and the possibilities.

Hubby and I talked. We both agreed if it's time, it's time. We are hanging on for the worst.

I thought I was ready for the worst. What can be the worst? That the lumps are indeed cancerous? 

All thanks to Internet, I'm ready for the "processes" ahead. Register, scan, how many lumps, what's the sizes, need biopsy or can conclude straight that they are benign, etc etc. I make conscious effort not to think about the cost involved, what is money next to good health?

Then came all the reflections in everything I do (or I don't do).

If indeed it's cancer, there's a list of to do:
1) cut hair short (and eventually shave them if need to go for chemo)
2) join support group
3) stay strong for IZ
4) keep smiling
5) fight fight fight!

19th Apr'14:

Today's therapy was good although it was not all smooth sailing.

Went to the Clinic to collect the referral letter. I am relieved they chose Dr Joy Lee from Mt A. Although I read some review about her cool character etc.

Massage lady came, and she asked why the lump on my right breast is so big. And asked when it developed. I have absolutely no idea. Seriously I'm not sure if I ever not have lumps before? I can't be sure!

Can't help feeling worried about the outcome now that another person confirmed my breasts are lumpy.

So, I'm not imagining what I felt.

18th Apr'14:

It's Good Friday public holiday. We had a great morning as a family. Later in the afternoon, Issac and I had fun at a play date.

While we were at the playdate, I contemplated to tell my group of mommy friends about Monday's appointment, but decided against it. I was not ready to face them knowing yet.

17th Apr'14:

HR passed to me a list of hospitalisation charges for govt and private hospital. Talk about efficiency.

Hope I do not need to use any.

Statistically, 9 out of 10 women have lumps in their breasts. So, I'm quite sure what I feel are lumps. Dr confirmed that. I just need some high tech machine to tell me if they are benign, no?

Gynae told me 1 out of 10 women will have breast cancer, I hope I'm not so lucky.

Went to sinsei for my stiff shoulders and neck. He took longer than usual to check my pulse. In fact, he checked thrice each hand. I was half expecting him to look into my eyes and tell me some bad news. But he said I caught flu bug, it's just that it's not fully "developed".

On the hindsight, Jen is moving in early next month.

If indeed it's cancer, it's probably a blessing that she'll be here, and I will not feel too lonely.

If it's not, what else! I should keep celebrating life with my bestie!

I just have to keep telling myself fortune teller told me I'll live till 80yo! (although ironically, he also said I'll have many children including a pair of twins.. which didn't happen)...

*cross fingers and toes*

16th Apr'14:

Clinic called me at 10.13am, saying referral letter is ready. Knowing my HR requires a copy of the referral letter, I asked for the letter to be copied. I was told the letter will not be sealed, so I can make the copy myself.

Confirmed with HR again that specialist fee is covered under Company's insurance. I guess this insurance bit really helps. In the event I require surgery or hospitalisation, Insurance will pay for 4-bedder room, and I will have to pay the balance. Fair enough. It's really better than paying everything on my own.

Somehow my heart just couldn't stop beating really fast. I feel feverish throughout the day. I wonder if I caught flu bug or I have some psychological issue. Too anxious about Monday appointment probably? I'm scared of dying apparently.

Asked hubby if he's afraid I will die, he said "of course!".

Oh ya, received pap-smear's result, all is normal, yippie!

15th Apr'14:

There was no call from the Clinic. I called them to follow-up after lunch. They called me back and asked which part I want to check first, my shoulder or my breasts. Although my shoulder/neck still giving me problem, I somehow feels my breasts ought to be checked first. Instinct, you can call that.

So the Clinic staff told me she'll look into it and make appointment. So I asked her where would the specialist be, she said most probably Mount Alvernia. I heaved another sigh of relief and asked for a female specialist. A friend who gave me 2 recommendations (without knowing I was the one who needed the recommendation), was all from Mt A. I was telling her "so it seemed Mt A is famous for breasts specialist".

Later, the staff called me again and said appointment is made in Mt A, on 21st Apr'14 (the first available appointment due to Good Friday holiday) at 11am.

I'm more settled.

Read a bit more on breast cancer and all. It's less intimidating with the facts and information. But it is depressing to read stories about cancer patients/survivors/victims. I imagined how I want to be if the worst really happen. For sure I do not want to be remembered as "she was always crying in pain". Just like how I remember my neighbour who screamed and cried in pain when she was dying of bone cancer.

I'm not sure if I'm afraid, but my mind did run very fast. It feels as if nothing else matters now.

What ifs.. a lot of what ifs going on in my mind.

I went for a short 20 mins run without IZ. I was at peace, glad to be able to breathe fresh air, glad to be able to run and sweat, glad to be able to listen to music, glad to be able to see the sky and the trees.

I'm not willing to let go yet, but if it comes, it comes.

I felt feverish, but I slept better.

14th Apr'14:

Told HR and asked if our insurance card covers. Insurance agent then came and explained that consultation in a specialist is covered, as well as X-ray and etc. Unlimited. What a relief.

Clinic called me and said insurance company said my card is not covered. Oh, then we realised coz it's referral to a 3rd party X-ray and Ultrasound. After clarifying again and again, to and fro, it finally confirmed that the clinic would have to write a referral to a specialist clinic, and not test in specialist clinic. I'll be covered if it's the former but not the latter.

Later that night, at about 9.25pm, clinic called me and asked if I have any preference in which hospital. I told them no, but I prefer private specialist for shorter waiting time.

That night I couldn't sleep well, coz I'm not sure what I'm in.

In the event all these checks proved it's nothing worrying, then I would be relieved.

But if in the event all these checks lead to subsequent checks or operations, then where would that lead me to? Will I be covered with my insurance? Is it sufficient?

13th Apr'14:

Woke up feeling pain all over, breasts, shoulders, neck etc. Decided to put an end to it, and got a Q number at Sterling Clinic.

We were told it would be a 3 hours wait.

Meanwhile, brought helper to Lim & Chan Clinic for medical check-up. So decided to check-in myself. Unfortunately it was a male doctor, so I only told him of my shoulder pain. He ruled out nerves problem. And prescribed pain relief and oilment. Well, to be honest, I've not been too convinced in this clinic. Have you ever questioned why this clinic is not crowded while people still want to go Sterling (just across the road) when they know it'll take hours and hours?

It wasn't until a good 4 hours later I get to see Dr in Sterling Clinic.

Dr. confirmed that my breasts are lumpy. She also confirmed shoulder pain is not caused by nerves. She said it's probably something poking on the nerves. Either bone spur or growth etc.

And so we decided to go for X-ray (for shoulder) and ultrasound (for breasts).

They told me they will have to check with insurance company if my insurance card covers the X-ray and Ultrasound.

Meanwhile, I was to take some medicine.

12th Apr'14:

On and off I still experience the electrical shock on my left shoulder blade, exactly same spot. Every time it happens, hubby would help to press to ease the ache.

11th Apr'14:

I experienced super sharp pain at one point on my left shoulder blade. It's so sharp it could jolt me, just like an electric shock.

10th Apr'14:

Time flies, another year went by. Went for pap-smear check today. As usual, there was this urge to fake a bump whenever I stepped in TMC. Somehow I always imagined the preggers were all very smug about their bumps. Hahaha! Maybe I was too, once upon a time...

Dr Yvonne asked about IZ and if we really confirmed not having another one. I think she relented and accepted that we would not have another one. I made a mental note to bring IZ next year so that he could see who "cut me up and brought him out".

I told Dr Yvonne about my concern on breast cancer and all. She said since there was no family history, I can start doing mammogram at the age of 40. Meanwhile, I can do my own self-check.

Ovaries were cleared, uterus was cleared, no cyst no abnormalities. I heaved a sigh of relief, and look forward to pap-smear result to be mailed in 2 weeks time. (result came back few days later, cleared of cervical cancer too!)

I have completely forgotten about the breasts pain I experienced lately, till in the night, when I had the pain again.


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