Tina Tumour

My story,

It’s not as dark as you will originally think, Its actually kinda funny.

I have the tendency to react to bad news extremely poorly, by poorly I mean I show little or no reaction. I guess I never learnt how to process it, so when it comes to myself I always laugh it off. 21 years old, I find a lump, a chunky lump in my breast. I would describe it as a hard boiled egg, when you pushed down one end it would pop up the other, like one of them water snake toys you would get as a kid.

Months passed and I used it as a party trick for my close friends and partner, I found it hilarious, them on the other hand found it terrifying but it made me laugh and that’s all that mattered. I think I knew at the back of my mind I should have gone to the doctors but I just didn’t see the point, it wasn’t doing me any ‘ harm’ anyway.

Finally after enough months of moaning from my partner went by I decided to go to the doctors. I kept it private, told my family I was at work and told work I had a cold that I needed to get checked out. Got to the doctors, went in, sat down and started talking about other issues I had, like how I unwillingly throw up pretty much once a day everyday  (which actually still happens to this day) he said some words I nodded my head, the minutes pass and he starts stacking his papers and tidying his desk whilst asking ‘is there anything else I can help you with today?’  Screw It! I said to myself. I begun to laugh as I explained how I have this chunky lump, his faced drop a tad too quickly and swiftly stated that I probably should have lead with that.

I sighed and nodded my head, he asks me to go behind the screen take my top and bra off and lay down whilst he go gets a chaperone, honestly I would have preferred not to have one but he had gone by the time I realised what was going on. There I was chin chilling with the ol’ tatas out, I hear a knock on the wall behind the curtain and a voice asking ‘if I was ready’ what would have it mattered if I wasn’t ready? I’m topless on a table for goodness sake, did they not want to come in whilst I was slightly covered up?

Bearing in mind at the age of 21 the only people that had se this much of me was my ex and my current partner, now them numbers were about to double. I laugh and tell them its okay to come in, now stood beside me was my doctor and what seemed to be someone’s grandmother leaning over me. We go through the exam quite quickly as the lump was very prominent and hard to miss, he looks to see if there are any others, there was not. Time for grandma to do her thing, from memory it was either this visit or the next but she grabbed some form of needle whole puncture machine, she takes a small stab into my chunk and explains this will give us more information on what is going on. She goes and grabs me a tiny plaster to stop the bleeding, there wasn’t really much blood but I felt like a kid again with my plaster acting as a ‘Well done’ sticker.

The curtain closes and I begin to get dressed, ready to walk back through. Even though it wasn’t an awful experience at all, call me old fashioned I am just not a fan of being topless in front of people I never met before. Walking back to the desk I am just glad this is all over and will never have to go through that again. Oh how wrong I was. Its almost comedic just how wrong I was. It seems the printers were getting ready for an advertisements to see my breast, the more doctors the better and in the future more doctors came than I would have possibly imagined.

We sit down and he explains to me that I have a tumour in my right breast and due to its size it needs to get sorted straight away. Like I said before, bad news turns into laughter for me so from that moment on chunky lump was renamed as Tina Tumour. If you don’t understand the awful joke, she was named after the singer Tina Turner. Don’t ask me why, I don’t have the foggiest idea why I went with that name- or in fact why I named her in the first place. You will notice that I constantly refer to Tina Tumour as ‘her’ – again, I don’t know, just go with it.

Weeks pass and doctors appointments come and go, I now find myself in a caravan trailer looking building opposite Reading Hospital. I get called in for my appointment, go in and repeat the same as last time with the added bonus of getting an ultra sound done on my tatas . She turns the screen to me and we sit looking at this lovely blob. She starts typing on the machine and soon enters another woman. This woman was so damn bubbly it was such a lovely change seeing a happy person at my appointments rather than them all looking concerned all the time. She skips in, stops and looks at me in shock, checks her clip board then questionably states my name, I nod my head in agreement, she laughs and explains with my name and the reason I am here she imagined me as a much older woman. We laughed as she  leaned over and begun into translate the screen to me, she then stopped looking at the screen and quickly directed her focus back on myself. She asked me to show her the placement of my tumour, I did my ‘party trick’ to show her. The word ‘shock’ doesn’t seem to be a big enough word to explain her face. 8mm by 6mm if I remember correctly. Tina was huge. I get handed blue paper towels to dry the gel off and begin getting changed, she explains it is not often they get to see such a big tumour especially at my age. More general chatting goes on as she explains due to all these factors I will have to under go an operation.

After this time, I didn’t have a care in the world when it came to taking my top off in a room of doctors I have never met before, it just became the norm.

With scans and plans all ready, soon enough operation day came around, this whole bizarre situation that was happening in front of me still hadn’t settled in, in fact it still hasn’t even till today. I walk into the hospital, starving as I missed my time limit that I could eat or drink, get signed in and sit to fill out some forms. It felt like forever waiting in my fluffy slippers playing Uno with my partner, when finally, it was time for me to go in. This was the worst part, not because I was scared but that I had to leave him knowing he was only on the other side of the door, I needed to feel his support to keep me confident. I’m walked off and shown to my bed, unpack my little travel bag and get changed into this stunning hospital gown and weird green footless socks. I kick back on my bed and whip out the ol’ Gameboy completely forgetting what was about to come, doctors come and go asking questions, sorting out post operation sandwiches options. My doctor comes in and explains in detail what will be happening whilst I am under, he continues to talk whilst whipping out a blue marker pen dotting and marking where the incisions will be- Including an arrow? What? Was there a chance they would slice into the wrong one? Fantastic.

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You couldn’t make this up

My doctor leaves and I go back to my game, I don’t think I have ever concentrated on Mario so much in my life. Other patients get called from time to time, disappearing down the hall and round the corner. It feels like I am waiting forever. Knowing that my other half was on the other side of the wall in front of me, I now choose to spend this time trying to focus on the yellow painted brick in hope that I have a secret gift of X-ray vision that I never knew I had.

Oh sh*t.

My name got called.

It’s happening, okay we got this. I get out of bed and begin to walk towards the corner that swallowed up so many other people before me. Passing doors and questioning which one I will be walking through I am quickly turned and directed to the correct door. Its a white room, white cabinets, white bed, it all felt like Narnia it is was so cold. As I climb onto the bed nurses and doctors begin to swarm in, they repeat the same information about the procedure that I now feel I have heard a million times before, when all of a sudden I see a needle coming my way,

tumor5
Hand needle thingie

the nurse calms me down and explain its how they will put me to sleep. In it goes, easy! this doesn’t seem that bad at all. They put a tube in my hand needle without saying a word and turn the switch to let the liquid in to my veins, I quickly stated that a heads up would have been nice! I begin to explain that I want to see Tina when she comes out, as they say ”we’ll see what we can do” I feel my veins turning to ice higher and higher up my arm, we begin to count, I state that I don’t feel tired and I don’t think this will…

I’m moving, I am defiantly moving. Am I? I think so. Before I get the chance to open my eyes my mouth seems to be saying words that I don’t remember thinking, well not words, I was singing, I was singing either the most appropriate song ever or the most inappropriate song ever. I don’t think you are ready to know what I was poorly singing straight after hitting slight consciousness.

‘They see me rolling, they hating, patrolling, I know they’re all thinking I’m so white and nerdy.’

Yes not only was I singing Chamillionaire but I also remixed the end with the Weird Al Yankovic version, worst part is I just kept repeating that same line over and over and over and over and over and over again. What a way to make an entrance through the halls filled with the nurses- Someone laughed. Who in the flaming heck was that, turns out I forgot that for your bed to be moving you need a nurse pushing it, this is how I met my recovery nurse, what a star he was, he loved my singing and went on to say how he had never seen someone wake up in such a good mood before. He then rolled me back to recovery to wake up a bit more and later returned with my sandwich. I have never eaten a sandwich so slowly in my life, I thought I was sober at the time, oh how I was not.

Here is a Snapchat I tried to send to my friend that wished me luck right before I went in.

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Yep, I managed to save it whilst high as hell, you can’t help but laugh at this point. I look so helpless but still trying to get the correct spelling for you’re but it seems the apostrophe was just too much for me. I’m still pretty proud of that.

I guess an hour or two passed during this as it was time for me to pack up and get ready to go home. I guess I got changed as next I remember I was sitting in the car with a pillow under the seatbelt so it didn’t press onto my stitches. I must have fallen asleep as next thing I knew I was back at my partners home two and a half hours away from the hospital. All cosy in bed I still didn’t feel any pain at this point and I thank Bluey for that. Bluey you ask? Yes Bluey, during this time his family just adopted a kitten and what a cutie he was. I nick named him Killer, due to the fact he was so tiny but acted like a lion running around and pouncing on my hand, even chasing after my plastic hospital bracelet, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend recovery. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.png

I spent the week in bed, cuddling this handsome fella and letting the other main fella in my life wait on my every need, including supplying me with energy drinks, dinner and the occasional head tap followed with ‘how you feeling?’ I really was feeling alright, due to the amount of pain killers I was on, I had pretty much zero pain except from when I would wake up first thing in the morning from rolling onto my front during the night. As the week came to an end, it was time to pack up and travel back home to start getting ready to get back to work.

Now I was fully recovered and back to work, it was time to hear my results, I was told to call up for my results, yet every time I called they never seemed to know. I called multiply times till one day I had a letter telling me I had a doctors appointment coming up? I didn’t book one? I was told there wouldn’t be another appointment due to the stitches being dissolvable. I didn’t think anymore of it until appointment day came round, I travel back up to reading hospital, got lost in the massive building but finally found where I was meant to be. I sit, I wait, finally its my time. My doctor starts by asking how I am feeling and how I feel it went, I said it was great, did not have a single issue with it. Now this is where it gets confusing, when I asked whether it was benign or not, he couldn’t give me a straight answer. Basically they tested Tina but could not work out for the life of them if she was cancerous or not, they couldn’t say if she was benign or malignant. I would have thought it was obvious either its one or the other right? apparently not, he then went on to say confusing doctor jargon and ended with ‘we will need to perform another operation’ something about removal of the margins? I guess I was so confused I didn’t really take it all in. He quickly carried on offering me the operation to happen next week as he felt it needed to be done as soon as possible. Slight issue there, that operation date he was offering… It was on my birthday, my 21st. I didn’t know what to do, I asked if there was any other dates available, he looked confused and wondered why I didn’t want to jump at the chance of getting it done and out the way. I proceed to explain that I did not want to spend my birthday in a hospital bed. He begun to laugh feeling silly that he had not checked his chart and proceed to offer me a date a few days after, I agreed said my thanks and left.

Describing to my mother what was happening was the worst, she expected me to walk out and we could put this all behind us. I couldn’t answer her questions or offer any support, couldn’t explain that it was all going to be okay because I had no clue, it was like Schrödinger’s Cat, at one time I could be completely fine or I have cancer. How do you explain that to your mother.

My birthday came round too quickly, honestly I was more excited about my next operation than turning 21. I’m not really a party girl and I all I can remember from my birthday is my partner surprising me with vegan Oreo cupcakes that was more than enough to make me happy.

Not long after it was time for Tina Tumour’s come back tour! We went through the whole process again, this time with my father waiting for me after. All went smoothly and you will never guess what happened once I woke back up. You got it?! I was singing my ‘Riding dirty’ remix all the way back to recovery like the total badass I am. I kept singing as I ate my sandwich whilst simultaneously trying to teach father the lyrics. Still off out of my head it was obviously time for some horrific selfies

Damn I am such a cool kid *sighs*.  This time I was so hopped up on pain killers I do not remember traveling home at all, In fact I felt so good I stupidly decided it would be a good idea to go out that night, you know have a belated birthday night out with the girls.Why did i do this? Because I am an idiot, that’s why.

tumor6This is how I walked out of the hospital. I used a few makeup wipes to poorly remove barely any of the pink dye, decided to keep on the same vest top and just threw a Hawaiian shirt over the top with my plastic cover protecting my new stitches still on show. This outfit alone should have screamed ‘DO NOT LET ME INTO THIS DIRTY CLUB’ but I can’t lie, I did have a great night. One drink was enough to last me the whole evening due to still being so tripped out on painkillers but please for the love of life do not go out after an operation! just go home and rest- I was extremely lucky I wasn’t knocked or pushed during the night and didn’t leave with an extremely dangerous infection.

After that night I went back to focusing on recovery due to the area being a hell of a lot sorer because to it was the second operation in the same area, as well as not having such effective pain killers as before and probably due to my stupidity of going out.

Recovery now over, I went back to my lovely doctor to finally get the results I desperately needed to know, what was Tina? Were we friends or foes?

He couldn’t tell me. After two operations he still couldn’t tell me- at this point I had given up, was I ever going to know? He explained that it was a case of wait and see if she ever comes back or not, he booked me in for a check up for a year later and said if I notice that she comes back I would need to go straight to my GP.

It was my 22nd birthday a few months ago.

I have called multiple times about when my appointment is, no one seems to know, they say they will call me back, they never have. I have made an appointment this Friday with my doctor, I hope its almost time to find out if Tina is gone forever.

Wish me luck?

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