Oh HI GANG. As if it’s the last day of the year tomorrow. Whaaaaat is that all about?
I’m currently in Luxembourg and the peppermint tea here tastes like mayhem. I’ve been drowning myself in it because Christmas came and I forgot all about IBS and I’m now at war with my digestive system. Overdoing it about thirty seconds after arriving home on Christmas Eve and inhaling an entire ham has meant spending a lot of time recovering horizontally and wondering why no one on my Facebook timeline has got engaged yet.
Can we just briefly discuss the fact that there were no proposals but there was a viral post going round about the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Facebook needs to install a hypochondria filter because it turns out ALL the symptoms of ovarian cancer happen to you between Christmas and New Year – tiredness, either constipation or diarrhoea, stomach ache, weeing constantly. I am all for raising awareness – I am the queen of symptom checks – but this is one helluva comedown.
Anyway, moving on. New Year’s Eve. Guess what I’m doing? Nope. Wrong.
I’m getting a BREAST SCAN.
Oooooooh, they chorused. Cheeky, isn’t she? Tomorrow I got me a hot date with the NHS and I’m getting my kit off. Don’t wait up.
It’s quite bizarre thinking that the last hours of this unforgettable (for want of a better word) year will be spent half-naked getting clamped and probed. Until it’s happened I can’t comment on just how traumatising this experience is but right now it’s got about as much appeal as an all you can eat tofu buffet or spending any amount of time with hairless cats.
This little hospital rendezvous is the result of my boobs hurting on and off since July for no apparent reason. Now I can tell ya breast pain sucks big time because things that are supposed to make you feel better at all times like hugs and showers are all compromised and become activities that induce pain and (if you’re me) a lot of fear and panic. Also IMO sometimes it feels like a mild heart attack and it often makes you want to check yourself out at inappropriate times like at the front of the bus or at one on one meetings. I might also slip in the fact that I’ve abandoned all forms of oral contraception because hormones hate me and as I began writing this on the plane a condom fell out of my suitcase onto the seat next to my boyfriend’s mum. It gives you a pretty accurate idea of how I’m feeling these days that this was both a positive and reassuring moment, because I’ve now experienced something more uncomfortable than a breast screening, and survived.
So this pain advanced from mildly inconvenient and desperately unsexy on holiday with Eduardo in July into an overwhelming health paranoia and emotional pitfall this winter which recently culminated in the worst medical experience of my life. They always tell you never to let a guy feel you up unless he cares about you deeply. Same goes for doctors, guys, same goes for doctors. If they act from the start like they don’t give a shit about you do not undress and let them touch you. It’s not worth it. My doctor’s total lack of professionalism, tact and care plummeted me into a pretty grim 24 hours of worry and the most needy Whatsapps of all time. (Soz to all my friends.) Curled up on the sofa I couldn’t stop thinking about dying, how little I’ve achieved in my quarter of a century, trying to work out the most effective way of turning this website into a cancer blog and googling wig options for twenty-something girls with large foreheads and bad rationale.
I’m grateful now though that what tipped me over the edge that day urged me to register at a new GP, as I discovered (perhaps unsurprisingly) that for the last three years I’ve been putting up with shitttttt healthcare for no reason. In London’s surrounding counties there are actually medical professionals who care, know how to talk to you like a human being and feel you up in a way that doesn’t leave you more distraught than the time that pimp tried to stick his hand up your skirt in Piccadilly Institute. Turns out this pain isn’t imaginary and nor is it simple to deal with but I’m also (touch all of the wood please) not dying. I now have the joy of going to a breast screening clinic only hours before being hostess with the mostest 2k15 but at least with any blessing this means my year might end worry-free.
It’s not at all surprising to me that a body related nightmare is the subject of my last blog post of the year. I’d be selling myself short if I thought of anything less catastrophic and mildly inappropriate to document. I do love a positive overshare though and talking openly about all this is so important to me. This whole saga has been excruciating in more ways than one for many months now, not only for me but for Ed, who has to deal with my ridiculous fears on a daily basis, my parents dealing with the aftermath of the walk-in clinic, for my best friends who’ve gone as far as feeling their own boobs and describing them to me on Skype to comfort me, and anyone at the pub on Christmas Eve who got to hear the story from start to finish. I’m constantly scared of my body but these fears are made so much easier when we talk; they become palpable, contained, less nightmarish.
I’m a hypochondriac and I worry unnecessarily until I have answers, but breast cancer also runs in my family so my fears are not unfounded. I have seen real damage and struggle but at the same time unforgettable bravery, beauty and inspiration. Deep down I think I have the guts and the genes to deal with whatever comes my way. I just need to stop getting ahead of myself and to up my self worth a bit and not delay getting the right help when I need it. So girls, this year, give your bits a good squeeze for me and look after yourselves ’cause we need to rock this planet for a long time yet. And the one great thing I’m learning through this ghastly experience is that we always deserve dazzling new underwear to be the best we can be.
Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2016. Thanks for sticking with me for a whole year. See you on the other side…xxxx