S1

From emails  sent to friends after seeing first bc surgeon (=S1), mid-July.

Have seen the surgeon now – who did not quite read me right, and only has one approach to even small breast cancers (= slash and burn), though he did modify his attitude a bit as our meeting went on and clearly realised that signing the informed consent form was not a foregone conclusion. He’s a surgeon, after all. B did a great supporting act. I am going for surgery (delaying it a bit so we can do our planned fun summer things first), but if all is clear after that, might hold on radiotherapy. I’ll never know if it’s the best decision or not – feel a bit of a wimp for not holding out against it all, but the stakes are possibly high, and feel I’ve got to check there’s no cancer spread. I believe I see an oncologist later on.

I haven’t found any women in my position in the sense that, like me,  they feel caught out by the screening programme. There’s a lot of support out there for bc patients, but I think that the  supporters mostly assume that women need support for fear, anxiety about surgery/deformity/death. The bc nurses are a bit “cutesy” as B put it, with trained sympathetic smiles. I’m not knocking all this, and it would not be true to say I have no fears and anxieties about surgery/deformity/death, but my main stress at present is the feeling of having been  – and being – duped into being processed through a system. Yet I can’t quite refuse it all.

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