Thursday, 10 March 2016

Operation Big Pants ~ Andrea

Welcome to my ‘Big  Pants’ blog. Perhaps I should start with why it’s called that.

I work with an incredible bunch of people who gave me the nickname of ‘golden balls’. Apparently I earned that for not shying away from difficult issues, challenging unfairness and trying to do the right thing. I was the one  who would place the ‘elephant in the room’ firmly on the table. On a number of occasions my status was elevated to ‘diamond encrusted platinum balls’ – how proud I was – quite an accolade.

In order to be able to carry these so called balls around with me I would joke that I was wearing big pants. One of my favourite sayings was that I loved a challenge. Little did I know the challenge ahead of me. I have read many accounts of how people have felt when given the diagnosis but I find it difficult to put into words – except that it is surreal.

On 16th October 2014 I was travelling from one meeting to another in my hectic work life when I had the phone call. I wasn’t particularly anxious because I’d been told when having a biopsy the previous week that he was 99% sure it wasn’t anything sinister. Exactly what I had wanted to hear. Besides I’d had a CT scan and ultrasound during  the last year which had been reported that my ‘funny lump’  was a congenital abnormality.

That day however the NHS was too efficient. The phone call I received was from the Breast unit telling me that they’d received a referral and I had an appointment the next day. Taken aback I asked whether it was for further tests. The voice said that I might have some tests done. Almost immediately I had a second phone call from the Specialist Nurse. She asked where I was. Driving I said. Shall I ring you when you get home she asked. No tell me now – I think I already know.  She said that everyone had been very surprised with the result of the biopsy and that a referral had been made to the Breast Surgeon.  I told her I had an appointment the following afternoon.

I rang my brother to tell him, collected my laptop from work (had a hug from my friend in the car park) and headed home. I got into the kitchen and told my husband. He looked as if I had shot him – he just stared at me. I shouted at him to say something but really there is nothing to say.

That was the beginning of my journey. I have always hated roller coasters – an ex-boyfriend made me go on one in Blackpool once.  I hated it and I think started to hate him as well for making me get on. It was the beginning of the end for that particular relationship. I’ve heard people say that it is an emotional roller coaster and it really is – the only problem is you can’t get off.

So, I am going to learn how to ride and enjoy the bloody thing. I am going to be in the front seat with my hands in the air screaming with a mixture of fear and excitement so that when I finally get to the end I can say – wow what a ride!

I don’t fancy doing this journey on my own so I am inviting you along for the ride. I can’t guarantee that it will be smooth, I’m not sure yet what I am going to write but I do know that I haven’t lost my golden balls – so be prepared!

As I am writing this the sun is shining, I’m sitting in the garden and life is good. I’ve got shorts on but hidden underneath are my big pants.

There are times when I think that this wasn’t the plan but now I have an opportunity to switch to plan B and who knows that might be a lot more fun.

When I was first diagnosed I made 2 rules for myself. The first was – if you can’t sleep, don’t lie there – get up and do something or anything. The second rule was that there would be no other rules – wow imagine the freedom that gives me.

Originally posted to Andrea’s own blog on April 18th, 2015

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