Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Squeak Squeak!

First of all I should say I'm fine, all clear and nothing to worry about. Now, to explain what I have actually been worrying about over the past month: I found a lump in my breast.

I am terrible with anything medical-related, I am a total hypochondriac and am also pretty much nervous/scared of hospitals and lots of things associated with them, e.g. I *hate* needles. So when I found a lump I obviously thought the worst and got quite worried (understatement) about it, enough to get me to book an appointment with my GP.

My the GP was fab (I should say all GPs I have ever had/seen have been fab, I'm sure it's part of the job description) and after my burbled explanation had a bit of a prod around and declared that it was likely that I had a "breast mouse"! I believe that the more formal, medical description is fibroid adanoma (excuse spelling or medical inaccuracy here).

[ I would provide a link to some information about this but I'm not going to searching Google as I'll only likely find something else that might freak me out - if anyone has any good links (Jen, you had one :) ) please post them in the comments for others to find/use ]

Anyway, I was assured that this is perfectly benign and nothing to worry about but, as a precaution my GP referred me to the breast screening clinic to get it checked out. I was obviously quite pleased to know it was nothing bad and promptly forgot about it until I got the letter asking me to book an appointment - the NHS now have this choose and book service; not the worlds most swish website but it works really well and is a fantastic system (Note to NHS IT department: honestly the website is fine, please don't try and modernise it and put swishy AJAX and things in it'll just complicate matters :) )

I finally sat down to book the appointment on Sunday and got it for 10:10 this morning - and there were plenty of other alternatives as well. I guess this may not be the same for busier hospitals but it's still fantastic being able to choose days and times.

Very nervous and distracted this morning, in fact have been since I booked the appointment - obviously thinking about things too much (ignorance really is bliss sometimes, for some of us anyway). Got there in time and parked (that's a miracle for most hospitals! Wish they wouldn't charge for parking or at least make it easier to pay - "No Change Given" pay and display is a bit cumbersome).

I got seen by the consultant within, what seemed like only 10mins of getting there. Explained everything about the lump, the hormones I take, other pills (spironolactone in my case), and how far I am with transition. He then had a bit of a prod around (as did the medical student with him: really does anyone ever say "no" when asked if a student can be present, I always say yes immediately and dismiss the question) and confirmed that it felt like a "mouse" or possibly a cyst. Said I'd have to have an ultrasound to check and then they may have to stick a big needle in my breast (he phrased this alot better/kinder than I just did!).

Waited again for a very short period of time before getting the ultrasound, the doctor doing that said almost immediately that it was instead a cyst, nothing to worry about, probably didn't need the needle and was all fine. Phew!

Had to wait again for her to write a report on this and then for me to see the consultant again. Really not long waiting at all, or didn't feel it anyway :)

Consultant said that they *could* use the needle, then quickly said there was no need to, remembering my earlier comments about that procedure! He suggested that given my age (he did actually get it wrong and knocked 5yrs off me - that really cheered me up) cysts were normal and that also, because my hormones were all over the place at the end of last year (I was trying out gel then panicing and going back to patches) that this would also explain their development. Apparently menopausal women can develop cysts due to their hormones fluctuating. So, no need to go back, unless I want the cyst removed (I don't, have plenty of other lumps/bumps and blemishes and in no rush to have anything removed that isn't going to hurt me) so all clear.

Every single doctor/nurse there was fantastic; they were so lovely and reassuring and chatty and the whole visit took only an hour and a half in total, and as I said, it felt quicker and they really went through the packed waiting room very quickly (only two people there when I left).

Really, the NHS is fantastic! I know people complain about it and I'm sure there are cases where things are less than perfect but I am more than happy with the service I've got on the, thankfully, relatively rare, occasions I've needed to see anyone.

Anyway, I learnt a few things today: 1) even though you are desperate to get out of the hospital it might have been a good idea to nip into the toilets and put your bra back on (bouncy boobs not ideal on half-sprint back to car lol) 2) don't muck around with your hormones! Will be sticking to prescribed patches and regime from now on, nice and stable is best.

Me and the mouse are going to get some lunch now, "squeak" :)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Photoshoot for me!

I think I've finally got some recent pictures of me that I might actually like (or don't cringe too much when I look at them anyway)! Must say thanks to Rachel first of all for taking them and doing such a fantastic job (given that we work together on shoots before I knew she would get the best pics possible).

I was actually trying out some different lighting and background setups for portrait work; we can't afford to get the frames and special paper/material that would be used in a studio, nor can we really transport that kind of kit to the places we wanted to shoot. So I came up with a slightly cheaper alternative using bed sheets (it's surprising how big a king-sized sheet actually is: 275cm square!).

I did try and take some pictures just using the remote trigger for the camera but it was much better to ask Rachel to do things properly. Also this meant I got to have some pictures of me: I've actually wanted some more up-to-date shots as my profile images are looking rather dull.

Anyway, we spent a rather fun afternoon shooting me in different outfits - also meant I got to learn a bit more about poses and camera angles as this is something I need to get a bit more experience with. I've uploaded the pictures I liked the best to my website, these are processed (very little) by me. Rachel has done some more interesting processing of the images and I'll try and get these uploaded at some point as well.

Overall, a very productive Saturday :)

Goodness it's cold!

Just went out for a quick cycle around, I had been feeling like getting out alot this week but when it actually came to today when we have glorious sunshine I just didn't get round to it. Until I finally snapped and decided I needed to get myself out and about no matter how lazy I was feeling!

Really glad I did push myself to get out as I feel so much better for it now, even if it was a bit of a strain cycling around York in the cold - just shows how out of condition I am after nearly a month of not commuting to work on my bike (due to the snow/ice mainly and then Christmas of course).

Just hoping that the weather next week is a few degrees warmer than it has been so that I can get back to my cycling commute - need to save money even more now given the rise in the cost of diesel, and more importantly I really need to get back into shape (or a less fat shape anyway)!