Kirsty Rice has four children, a loving husband – and breast cancer. In these extracts from her blog, she reveals her innermost thoughts as she tackles the momentous changes after receiving her diagnosis.
I can’t imagine there’s ever a convenient time for a cancer diagnosis, but mine felt particularly discommodious.
It was our last “fun” day before heading back to Qatar. I’d planned lunch with a girlfriend and for the first time in what seemed liked weeks of a grey and wet Adelaide winter, the sun came out over stunning blue skies. Saturday would be a day of packing and cleaning before flying out in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The fridge had been slowly cleared, and the last minute jobs were diminishing tick by tick from the list.
I drove into town for my mammogram reminding myself of what needed to be done in the next day. Pick up the barbecue cover from the hardware store on the way home, buy some vanilla essence at the supermarket, grab that last bit of dry-cleaning. I scored a rock star carpark at the front of the clinic and settled into the familiar waiting room, I’d been there for a mammogram a year or so ago.
The longer I waited the more agitated I became. I didn’t need to be here. I was sure there was nothing wrong. I was going to be late for lunch. And why were they making me have a mammogram when the GP had suggested an ultrasound?
As the radiographer arranged my bosom between the cold glass plates of the machine I made small talk. “So do you get your mammograms done here?” I asked. She did. Her boss did them. I thought of all the things I’d done with various bosses over the years – no boob holding.
As I stood shirtless reading the cartoons and health notices on the wall I thought about lunch, a glass of wine, and how beautiful it must be at the beach. I moved forward when asked, held my arm up when told, tilted to the right when instructed and winced as the glass plates were tightened. When it came time for the ultrasound the small talk extended. Kids, school, husbands. We found a connection, giggled at how small Adelaide could be, and then she went to get the doctor. The moment they walked back in I knew something was wrong.
A lump, 4mm, a fortuitous discovery. We’ll take a biopsy, but we’re pretty sure it’s cancer we’ve seen enough to know. Go back to your GP now she’s expecting you, I’ll make an appointment for you to see the breast surgeon this afternoon, the sooner we get onto this the better.
There were so many more words in between the sentences but I’ve lost them. I know I said something about having to take my children back to school in Qatar but the minute I said "children" my voice changed. I said something about my husband, it was the weekend for him, a bike ride, a birthday brunch of a good friend, I was about to ruin his day. And Penny, she was on her way to my house for lunch, we’d talked about it the night before, it was going to be fantastic. Can I just text my friend Penny?