20th June 2011 - It was a split second of stillness that gave him away - in that one moment of motionlessness I realised he'd seen something he really didn't like on the ultrasound - and that nothing was going to be quite the same again. He was kind enough to give me a straight answer when I asked if the lump was something I should be thinking 'eeeek!' about ("You'll be having surgery within the next three weeks."). Biopsies were taken, we were assigned a Macmillan nurse and the whole world seemed to move into overdrive.  Three days in, I wrote the first poem:

lump

I object to your existence;
your, quite unnecessary, invasion
of my personal space.
I will not dignify you
with underlining or capitals.

You will not,
with your sneaky, snichty cells,
steal one more millimetre
than the thirteen
you have already stolen.

And don't even think
about a surreptitious diversion
into my lymph glands;
I guarantee, if you do,
you will be sorry.

I am serving you
with three week's notice
of eviction.
You will be, forcibly,
removed.

Make sure you pack
all your belongings;
there will be
no
other possibilities
for you, her
e.

© Samantha Newbury 23 June 2011

 

Important note - 

Although there was a lump inside, the only outward symptom I had initially was a finger length dent along the bottom left edge of my left breast, right against the chest wall. It looked just like an underwire dent, apart from the fact that it didn't go away overnight.  I had it thoroughly examined by my GP in May 2010 and she could find no evidence of a lump, so we put it down to underwire damage.  About 12 months later I noticed that the left nipple had started to pull inwards a bit, kept an eye on it for a month or so, and then went back to my GP, who referred me to our local breast screening unit.  I had a mammogram, which showed no evidence of a lump, and was examined by a consultant, who also could find no evidence of a lump, but sent me along for an ultrasound 'just to be on the safe side' - and it was the radiographer who found it, hiding right against the chest wall.  So if you find something that's not normal for you - be it a lump, a dent, a pucker, dimpling, a rash, an inverted nipple, or just something that doesn't feel 'right' - get it checked out.