On 17 July 2013, I went for what I thought would be a routine mammogram – my first. All was proceeding as expected when the operator said “We need to take a closer look at this area.” Suddenly, it wasn’t routine anymore.

The atmosphere ramped up as people bustled around carrying films with knitted brows. After a lengthy ultrasound, I sent JP the following message:

Note: JP and I call each other Ted

The specialist who took the biopsy seemed very concerned. So I started to come to terms with the likely outcome. The probability of this has been present for most of my life, as I lost mum to breast cancer in the mid 1990s.

Back home, Google did what it does and filled in lots of gaps and five days later, the GP confirmed the probability was now an actuality. “You have high grade DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ. So it’s abnormal cell activity but it’s contained within the duct. So it’s not really cancer.”

Well Dr. Google disagrees. All the information about this kind of ‘abnormal cell activity’ was housed on sites that mentioned the ‘c’ word:

where to find out about a "not really cancer"
where to find out about a “not really cancer”

But I take her point that as a non-invasive strain it’s less worrisome. So it’s cancer. With a little c.

Next steps for me is a consultation with a surgeon, which I’m lucky enough to have arranged for tomorrow. I’ll report back.

10 Comments on Why the little c?

  1. Have emailed you but just wanted to add here that we’re thinking of you so much and sending huge love across the globe. Beautifully written as always and I know you will take this all head on and deal with it gracefully, stoically, brilliantly and swiftly. Keep laughing gorgeous girl and speak soon xxxxxx

    • Hello Tess, I’m so pleased to hear from you, thank you for your encouragement. Hey I’ve just realised I can control your avatar this end, I might have a bit of fun with that later x

  2. Well my Friend, I love your writing, your attitude, your sense of humor – the whole bit – just not the sitch….that sux hard…Still, I think that you are well equipped in so many ways to deal with this part of your journey and no doubt will take a bunch of positives from it. Here with you all the way xx ps – get on the green drink STAT! (Santos bulk super greens a bargain at $99 per kilo) pps – its an acquired taste!

    • Thank you, Suze, and you definitely did your bit in making me face up to the need for mammos, so you’ve already helped and I know you will continue to be there. xxxx

  3. Sam – you are an amazing person, mum and so much more. Your family is so lucky to have you. This is a brave and important blog – just like Angelina’s disclosure – you will unknowingly help many by writing this blog. Incredibly generous of you. I know I am far away, but please call if you just want to chat. I have listened to and supported other friends through this and am happy to be there for you. You will make the right decisions that will mean you will be there for JP and your children and family and friends. And we will be there for you. Lots of love, prayers and hugs. xx

    • Karen I am truly humbled by your kind words and the offer of support. I am feeling very nurtured at the moment, one of the positives from this situation.

  4. Sammy Leader – well oh well oh well. I am happy to hear you writing about this journey, so often taken alone. You are the woman for the job Sam! I have just finished working with a dancer – checkout our Facebook page -TracksuitWA – who ten years ago was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. She was determined to turn her ‘journey’ into a solo dance performance, which could show the aspects of her thoughts which people don’t often get to see/hear/access. You can see some photos on the page. It was one of the most remarkable performances that I have been involved in. Fascinating details and yes, brave. The journey is so hard to place words up against. Serina has been asked to perform it again and again, and I think it is because her solo dances the emotions, and becomes something that is somehow easier to speak about. You are doing the same thing with this blog. Go you. pxx

  5. Hey Sam,
    what a journey you and the team have been on! I’ve been struggling with what I could comment with. I know that I have my very own personal relationship with how others view “my condition”. With this in mind I was left unsure of how to approach this. Then today on a visit to my neurologist, I realised what it was that reading your account has given me. You have a fantastic ability to turn the tables on what is, a very disempowering experience. By taking control and adding a touch of you, you give life to an alternate view of the “slings and arrows”. This is a great skill and we are richer for it. Certainly, your journey will provide solace to those who go through a similar experience and indeed others who will be inspired by your succinct words. That being said, i’m still well aware that you are in the midst of the struggle and your strength and determination are being challenged at all times. In this I can only give my heartfelt wishes to you,Ted and the family.

    • Hi Andy, how great to hear from you. I am always really pleased to hear my writing has helped others, in fact it is the biggest compliment my writing can have. It is so important to me not to be defined by cancer, the more I think about it the more I realise you are what you do and not what you have. Let’s get the clans together and celebrate soon x

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