Saturday, 4 February 2012


I had my routine mammogram at the Shooting Star Unit in Wrexham Hospital just over a week ago so you can imagine how upset I was to receive a phone call the next day calling me in for another mammogram. I had my appointment scheduled for last Thursday when the radiographer was in the unit so if I needed a scan or biopsy it could be done then and there.

I was so glad to have the Gathering 20 that weekend which took my mind off my situation and gave me the posititivy and strength to face the challenge that lay ahead.

When I got to the unit, they explained that they had seen a slight change in my other breast and wanted to do another mammogram, if the area "went away" during the mammo then great, it was just me but if not they needed to take a closer look.

There was no lump palpable and the area in question was quite deep so the Xray team had to mark the area with the X you can see in the picture. The mammogram itself pinched like hell this time because they had to get a tight squeeze.

Unfortunately, the lump didn't "go away" during the mammogram and so I was sent to see the radiographer for a scan.

From what the radiographer could see, he decided he wanted to take a biopsy. So the area of my breast was numbed and a scanner was used in order to locate the area with the biopsy needle (pictured above). The reason they needed to use the scanner was because the area they were looking at was so tiny (good news for me).

It was quite a long drawn out process because he had to "rummage" around in order to get a sample and that was tense.... putting up with the sensations and waiting for the click (rather like an industrial stapler). Two samples were taken.

I had a big sigh of relief when it was over I can tell you!

So this is the dressing they placed over the biopsy site, had to remain in place for 24 hours to avoid any infection.

 A little bit of blood seeping through the dressing.

This is my lumpectomy scar from my last cancer. The lump was the size of a ten pence piece and a stage 3 tumour - not nice! The reason the scar isn't very tidy is because I had a hematoma after the operation, Mr Cochrane offered me the opportunity to go back into theatre to have it drained but I wanted out of there quickly and didnt want any more pain so I gracefully declined. Later on Mr Gates tried to drain it through the scar but it wasn't playing ball. I don't mind apart from the pain it gave me and the scar really doesn't bother me because I see it was a "medal" - proof that I kicked cancers big fat ass!
Not so long ago, if you had a breast tumour all of your lymph nodes were taken out. This left ladies with a disability, with lymphodema, a painful condition and compromised life style. Due to research they now inject into your nipple before the operation and they can trace the lymph nodes directly linked to the cancer lump. I got away with only having three nodes removed and thankfully these were cancer free. The scar under my arm is neat. I haven't regained all of the feeling in that area even after 3 years but it honestly doesn't both me at all. Oh and after surgery you pee blue lol.

I can feel the "pull" of the op sites when I move but I have full mobility so its not an issue for me at all.
So this is what the biopsy site looks like now, bruised but nowhere near as bad as the biopsy taken from my last lump. Last time, even wearing a sports bra I was unable to run for weeks.

I had a brief chat with Mr Cochrane after the procedure and his words were "you can see I am relaxed, you can see I am not concerned". Basically if the area in question does turn out to be cancer, it has been caught right at the very start of its growth, I am totally amazed that they spotted it at all. So the upside of it is, it will mean a small lumpectomy, some nodes taken to be checked and thats it!!

I am very lucky to be living in North Wales and to be treated by such a competant and amazing team of surgeons, nurses and oncologists, I honestly do owe them my life.

NOW: important note here!!! I am not posting this to get sympathy, I am not posting this to get comments like "oh aren't you brave". I am not brave I just get on with the shit life throws at me, I deal with things head on because thats all you can do. I am writing this post so that if it is read, it could put a persons mind at rest, a cancer diagnosis doesn't mean horrendous disfigurement or a death sentence.

When I was originally diagnosed, I searched the net looking for pictures of lumpectomies and the ones I found were severe and very frightening.

Also, breast cancer isnt limited to us ladies, 300 men are diagnosed each year! Also, cancer doesn't have any age boundaries. Keep vigilant!


  1. Keep on fighting Sara, hope that you come through this. Was a pleasure to meet you and Jason down in Wales last weekend. Love Hope and Strength to you.

  2. this is a great straight forward post. I appreciate the information. I have 4 sisters, one has had a lumpectomy - that was many years ago. I have had two friends with breast cancer, one died 5 years after treatment from bone cancer, and one lived 25 great years after. I also have one friend still living (20 years) In all 3 cases the breast and all the lymph nodes were taken in 'radical' surgeries. The one friend still living suffers with the lymphedema disfiguring but she has taken piano lessons and now wows us with her clasical music. thank god this is no longer considered the only treatment. thank you for sharing with us.

  3. What you have written Sara is very matter of fact and re-assuring , like most people- I don`t quite know what actually goes on when something like this is first diagnosed-thank you for explaining it all-it`s amazing how technology has moved on -it sounds like you are in excellent hands no pun intended !

  4. My late friend Cheryl Radford was even more brave than I, her cancer was dreadful but she shared photos. I think that the more you talk about cancer the less scarey it becomes. When I was first diagnosed I was distraught because all I thought was I was going to die, having been through what I have been through I know I am in the best care possible and I know that my prognosis is good. I just want other people to be reassured and not scared.

  5. Sara you are brave as you have already battled it once and you know how tough that is.. also I have been through that deep core biopsy thing ( they took 12 samples under xray) 45 mins in the machine so I know that is painful and scary .. keep writing about it it is great for you and educational for others .. Oh and I am sending positive thoughts that all comes back clear xxxx


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