My Diagnosis

A fairly long post about how I was diagnosed initially with breast cancer


At the end of May 2022, I was still breastfeeding Boy 3. I felt some pain under my left breast - it was a small blocked duct and the pain quickly cleared. I could feel a lump though, it didn’t hurt but no matter how much prodding, poking and feeding that I did it didn’t disappear. I forgot about it for a few weeks and then realised it was still there. I decided to get it checked, just in case, so planned to get a doctor’s appointment on the Monday morning.

Monday morning arrived and whilst I was waiting for the surgery to open, I had a shower. The lump was still there but I could also feel a lump in my armpit and started to panic. I phoned the surgery at 8am and got an appointment for that same day at 9am. The doctor was lovely and examined me - she felt the lump straight away but said she was unable to feel anything in my armpit. She referred me to the breast clinic at the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe hospital with words of comfort and reassurance, she said that most lumps turn out to be fine and hopefully it was just breastfeeding related. I was also told that I should get a call in a few days as on the “Cancer Pathway” I needed to be seen within two weeks.

I am not a patient person. I can’t sit and wait so I got on the phone trying to get an appointment sorted for as soon as possible. I waited a few days and then finally managed to speak to someone who told me that my “urgent’ appointment would not be for at least five weeks as they were so busy. Five weeks. Five weeks to find out whether or not I had breast cancer. Mr B and I couldn’t wait 5 weeks - the turbulence of emotions was just horrendous. I needed to know so we paid to go private and I booked an appointment for the Tuesday with a consultant for £200. I was told that if the consultant was worried about the lump then she would arrange for me to have scans straight away.

Tuesday arrived - the big boys (Boy 1 and 2) went to school and Mr B took me to the hospital. The private hospital was definitely a step up from Stepping Hill with comfy chairs, ambient music and fancy free coffee machines (although I guess when you’re paying to see a doctor, the coffee isn’t actually free). I asked Mr B to take our toddler (Boy 3) out and leave me to it, I said that I would ring him when I was done but would not give him any news over the phone (good or bad). The consultant immediately put me at ease and went through everything with me, asked lots of questions and then asked if she could examine me. She immediately felt the lump and then said that she could also feel enlarged lymph nodes in my armpit. I got dressed and went to sit back down with her. Her first words were “I am very concerned” and I burst into tears. She told me in no uncertain terms that the lump was malignant and I would need an ultrasound and mammogram to confirm this and to get more information. She explained that she would now be able to refer me back to the NHS urgently and that she would refer me to her colleague who also works at the Nightingale Centre.

I was taken down for a mammogram and whilst sitting there waiting I felt so vulnerable and scared. I will never forget the kindness of an older lady who saw me upset and came to sit with me and hold my hand. In retrospect, she must have been dealing with her own emotions being there so I cannot thank her enough for taking that time to sit with me. After the mammogram I went for the ultrasound, the radiographer showed me the tumour: jet black and rock-like on the screen, the malignancy of it was clear. She told me that she could also see 5 enlarged lymph nodes - I would need a biopsy and a CT scan. The biopsy alone would cost over £1000 so she suggested I had that done on the NHS once I’d been referred back over. I had my answer. I needed to know whether or not I had cancer and I now knew. Job done.

I rang Mr B to tell him I was all done and would walk down to the high street to find him and break the news.

I had no intention of this being a post of parts but this seems a good place to stop, regroup and then move on to the second part of my diagnosis which I will do in a separate post.