Home General discussion


kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
edited November 2018 in General discussion
Today is the first anniversary of my mammogram. I was pretty stony faced. Nine months before my sister had died from breast cancer and I was resentful of the inefficiency at the front desk, the pink positivity messages and images plastered everywhere, and the long wait, despite the fact I had an appointment. I was asked if I wanted to take part in a study comparing detection results between 2D and 3D mammograms. I'd be randomly assigned. Always happy to be part of a medical study I said yes. I got 2D.

It was a shabby shabby building, not a nice environment. The woman doing the mammogram was professional. Serious, but pleasant enough. She made small talk about kids, mine, hers. I get it, but I really didn't want to talk. I just wanted it over and done with, to get the hell out of that dingy place. The mammogram was uncomfortable but no more than that.

As I was getting dressed she said sorry, I just need to do one more. Why? The image is a bit blurred, it's not unusual, the plates might have shifted slightly. Bra off and back I went. After it was all done she wished me good luck. Why? With the teenagers she said. Oh yes, you too.

I left, recovered my mood and congratulated myself on getting it done, how efficient and good I am. Virtuous even...

The boob she re-imaged (blurred image my foot) was the right one with the tumour in it, and three weeks later I knew what the good luck wishes meant.

It's weird how the anniversaries of trauma are unsettling. I mean, time is a manmade construct and it's just another day determined by how long our planet takes to travel round the sun, right? I mentioned it to the psych on Thursday and she said the memories trigger our nervous systems to 'remember' as well, and we physically relive our response. I don't have trauma round that mammogram, but three weeks from now I won't be able to say 'this time last year I was happy' etc. My naive innocence was about to end and as I approach that time I am feeling unsettled by it.

I theory my life is better now. I'm certainly healthier with, as far as I'm aware, a body free of cancer. However in fact, I'm sadder, sorer, mutilated, diminished and more tired. It's difficult to feel it's a victory. I hope the second anniversaries are better than the first ones.

How are your anniversaries?



  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,960
    Coming up to mine, too, of course @kmakm.  When telling my manager of the appointments, she said that she didn't expect my mind to be on the job then.  If the shocking dread I felt going to the oncologist last week is anything to go by, I can't imagine what I will be like.  And I knew that there was nothing to be concerned about with that appointment.

    At my screening mammogram last time I was shaking too much to notice a lot because I was so scared of it hurting badly like a previous one had.  The woman was extremely gentle and reassuring but after taking the plate of the right boob, she asked me if I had any scarring, and then took another.  It didn't really register with me as anything wrong until, of course, I got the call back - then I went into a tunnel of white noise.  If they hadn't emailed me the appointment details, I would not have known when and where to go.

    I can remember sitting in the waiting room watching people go in and out - all anxious on the way in, some coming out smiling and others white-faced with shock.

    This time last year I felt well and strong and was planning a road trip for the school holidays.  This year...
  • ArtferretArtferret MelbourneMember Posts: 259
    Having gone through what feels like what has been a multitude of first anniversaries between the two of us since July it's nice to know I've come through it ok. Each time the next anniversary was reached I'd become moody, more reflective and then it would pass. After Fred's one year appt we felt drained, so good to have another zero psa, after mine, it took me a few days for it to sink in and the tears of relief to come. Now, I'd just like my sleep to readjust itself! Next year will be better...
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,544
    The first anniversary is a double edged sword.  It's good in one respect because the "active treatment" is over and not so great as everything is still so raw.  It's only just happened and you haven't had much breathing room yet and things are still really quite sore, well too sore to be squished up in a machine.  I still had a massive seroma and thought the thing would pop!
    The scared, confused emotions are still very close to the surface and your brain is going "did they really get it all"  Well at least mine was. I went through the drill mammo, U/S MRI, like  a zombie, as stone cold as I could get it.  Every twitch of the mammographers or radiologist face means something to you. What are they looking at, why is it taking so long, do they know something theyre not saying?  You know what I mean.

     I think the only one I spoke to that day was the woman doing the MRI who asked me if I realised I had one breast bigger than the other because she had trouble lining me up in the machine.  I won't repeat what I said to her.

    Then that massive sigh of relief when it's all done and good. Celebration time.

    My second year scans were a little early and we all know what happened with that one.  A big fat "we have no idea what that thing is, but I don't think we'll poke it at the moment"  
    The second surgery anniversary (that's the one I count as my two years) was much better, more time has passed and you are stronger and able to control those fears more efficiently.  Was I happy, absolutely.  
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
    edited November 2018
    @kezmusc The only one I'm kind of looking forward to is the first anniversary of my BMX & recon. That will be 27th April next year. That's when the last of the cancer was removed. If I'm ever in the mood to celebrate, that's the date I'd choose.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,348
    edited November 2018
    I am coming up to my 1 year anniversary since detection .....my  previous mammograms (6 months earlier) were a breeze, but they were useless as they were never going to pick up my tumours anyway - I was given a VERY false sense of safety & security for a decade or more.   When detected by my GP, I was hopeful that they were a cysts (as it had been 40 years previous) - but it wasn't.

    Having been thru Keith's cancer diagnosis, surgery & chemo & anniversaries (8 years ago) I really thought I would handle my own diagnosis better.  But not so.  Keith was always very fatalistic with his outcome from the cancer as 75% die within 5 years of diagnosis (He would say "if I die, I die") but I wasn't prepared to let him die - and he has had a fulfilled life in the last 8 years, tho currently feeling a bit flat now that he has decided to stop competing!  

    I'll be having my mammogram & ultrasound in the next week or so & hope that everything is OK - but I won't be as totally trusting of it as I was 12 months ago.
  • Anne65Anne65 Member Posts: 418
    @kmakm My first anniversary mammo is booked in for one month from today...4th December! It was 6th December last year when I got the news from my doctor. I was speaking with @Sister  at the luncheon a few weeks ago about our anniversary & we both agreed that is will be a very emotional & testing time. Wow, I remember like it was yesterday, not a year ago, & how much we have all been through. I "met" so many of you on here at the same time & we were all going through this together from the very start. My, how much we have all learnt!! Our results, operations & treatments have varied greatly but we have all one thing in common......a strength &  resilience to fight on & not let this disease beat us. We have all stumbled but the friends we have on this forum, will pick us up & get us through. My thoughts & prayers are with all of you going through the anniversaries as all the emotions & fears come to the surface again. I would like to think we will all be stronger but fearful that if the test shows something, then we all know what we are in for! The saying of @iserbrown hits it on the head & we must remain positive. We can all do this together & support each other through it.  Hugs to you all xx
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
    @Anne65 My diagnosis was the 4th December. A very dark day. I'm glad you're feeling positive, such a nice way to feel. It sounds like you'll get through your anniversary with aplomb. Thank YOU for all your lovely support. Big hug, K xox
  • Anne65Anne65 Member Posts: 418
    @kmakm Wow, kindred spirits! I'll be thinking of you when my boobs are jammed in that machine & wishing you much love & hugs!!!! I wish we had better memories of that day but perhaps we can make better ones together. I am glad that when I have my mammo on 4th, I will get the results back soon after as i have an appt with my breast surgeon later that day. At least there will be no waiting. We must all think positive & try to look forward with strength. Hugs xx 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
    That is an awesome post @SoldierCrab. I do not feel remotely like that but I'm glad you do. I've planned until the end of January but beyond that, I got nothing. It seems like tempting fate and besides, the few ideas I have are impossible. I don't feel stronger than this time last year, I feel weaker. I don't mean to be a downer. I simply want to speak for those who don't feel strengthened by their BC experience. I'm presuming I'm not the only one...! K xox
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
    Gosh, thinking of me while you're having your mammogram @Anne65! I hope we're doing something fabulous in your imagination! Big hug, K xox
  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Smithton Tas was Bathurst nsw Member Posts: 3,416
    Its ok to acknowledge where you are Kmakm, I shared where I am now.....12months after diagnsois I was a total mess. want to give you all hope it does get better easier, but still stressful.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,974
    @SoldierCrab Noted  :*
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,960
    I think that it's important to share how very anxious we feel around this time coming up to our first - it's nice to know that I'm not the only one losing it.  It's wonderful to think that in a few years we may be able to face this with more pragmatism.
Sign In or Register to comment.