Thursday, 1 January 2015

Thank you. x.

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This is a long overdue post.

I never meant to stop blogging. It just happened. So this is a post to say hello, tell you I am happy, still loving Mr. Darcy - and also to say thank you.

This blog, for many years, was a really central part of my life. Because of this blog, I have loved myself more, loved my body more and also been loved - by many of you. The community around the world of blogging and the support and friendship we give one another is amazing. I cherish it.

There are a couple of reasons I stopped blogging… but first let me give you a Trigger Warning. This post mentions Cancer and Fear. I am okay - but it would be remiss of me not to warn you of this content. x. 

The Post I Couldn't Quite Write.

There was a post I couldn't write. That post, for a long while, kind of hog-tied my ability to blog any more. You see, at the end of 2013, I found myself a breast lump. A properly real, deafeningly scary, breast lump. The kind of thing you feel and don't query - "is this a lump?". No - this was the kind of thing you feel and think - "this is what the tell us to look for… Exactly this". Up front, let me say - I am okay. No treatments needed as the lump was benign. But. The lump was scary.  So scary - that to say it out loud was too much. But - here I go.

I found the lump one morning as I went to take a shower. Darcy was in bed still. It was late December and the cold water was taking a long time to warm up. While waiting, I thought I'd do a quick breast exam, which I probably do every couple of months. I lifted my right arm up, so my right hand was behind my right shoulder - elbow high in the air. I took my left hand and felt the top of my right breast.

And there it was. Right away. A lump.

Now, some of you may want to know what the difference was between the lump and my normal breast tissue; my breast tissue is soft to touch, while the lump was not. The lump was hard and defined - a very obvious difference and very scary thing to feel. I got in the shower and washed, overwhelmed and not wanting to acknowledge. I got out the shower, toweled off and felt for the lump again... There it was.

I flew into the bedroom to see Mr. Darcy. Darcy could immediately tell there was something serious happening as I sat down next to him and in a measured tone, asked him to feel the top of my breast. I handn't imagined it. Darcy was very careful how he spoke to me. He was gentle and leading, without telling me what to do. He also intuitively knew he had to remain calm for me. It was clear to us both that I had to see a doctor.

It was all really scary. My G.P. felt the lump and sent me for a day of testing at our local hospital. This is a day where they ultrasound, then mammogram, then biopsy ALL IN ONE DAY, as needed. It was actually really good to know that most of the testing would all happen in one day and even now, I feel lucky that my local hospital has a specific Breast Care Clinic. It was a scary morning. Just getting to the hospital was hard. We (all of us) know someone who's had breast cancer. Hopefully, most of the people we know have survived. In my head, I wasn't thinking about dying from Cancer, but rather losing my breast(s), undergoing chemo and having radiation therapy. I have lived through Cancer very closely with family and also with friends, and while they all showed great strength, the prospect of it happening to me was still very, very scary. I desperately wanted to know how bad my lump was so I could know what course of treatment I would have. I felt like KNOWING would make things better or clearer for me. But still, my friends; I nearly passed out when I was taken in to be examined. Such great fear.

I want to add, that in the lead up to my hospital visit, I did set my fear out of my mind as much as I could. I focused on other things - work, life, family. I even went on a road trip (!!), but, when the day of testing arrived - I didn't mean to be so fearful - rather, the fear was just there.

Needless to say, my testing went well. The lump I found was real and showed up on the ultrasound, but did not show up as malicious. The conclusion was made that I had a ridge of compacted glandular tissue at the top of my breast. NATURAL - but a hard and defined lump, nonetheless. A year later (today), and that ridge has migrated back into my natural breast.

I did have to go back and see a Consultant a few days after my testing… She confirmed the all clear. I left the hospital and sat outside and cried for about an hour. For weeks afterwards, this actually plagued me. Such horrible fear. Even now, I feel uncomfortable to really think about the fear that my lump caused me, and I feel somewhat ashamed knowing that there are many women out there NOT so lucky as I was. For support, I did end up calling Macmillan Cancer Support and of course, had my wonderful Darcy by me. AFTER the fact I told my mum and a couple of my girlfriends about it - but still held it very close. Fear is crippling, huh? And I didn't even HAVE Cancer.

After this experience, trying to get back to blogging about clothes seemed frivolous. Finding a breast lump is what I wanted to tell you about. But this was a hard post to write, and my fear was a hard thing to confront - but THIS, was all I wanted to say. I wanted to share this experience as I feel, as women, we NEED to share these experiences with one another. And as this post got harder to write and more distance was set between myself and the experience, I got busy doing other things. Work (always!!). But also, in my down time - I just wanted to be with Darcy, be with friends and be with my dog. I thought about blogging, of course I did, but my heart wanted to be filled with other things. Offline experiences, as such!

I have, to some degree, passed my time for blogging. I still love the blogosphere and our world and our community, but I have moved to a different place, an offline place, and I feel happy. I would LOVE to tell you that I am back on the blog for 2015, but with a contract from now until November, I know that taking photos and writing posts will fall wayside, as I spend my downtime doing tangible things that warm my heart.

I am still around, just not on here.

So thank you, my loves, for your support and friendship these last five years. Thank you for your messages, affirmations, critiques and comments. You have helped fill my soul and I love you for it.

Stay true to yourself and love yourself always… or, on the "off days" just love yourself the best you can. Remember, we all have the "off days".

Have a great 2015.

Much love,

Em. x.


For advice on how to check your breasts, please follow either of these links:
BreastCancer.org - Self Exam.
National Brest Cancer Foundation - Exams.

11 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your scare. But so glad everything is ok! :) We miss you a lot... but you must do wot is right for you! Thinking of you an' hoping you will blog again some day. You are an amazin' person....an' I feel lucky to have found you on the interwebs. :) Be happy! :) XXX

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  2. Oh man, fear of cancer is just so hard to deal with - I go for a family history breast cancer check once a year, and even if my breasts feel normal I still feel incredibly stressed and scared until I get the all clear. I'm glad you're happy and healthy and I really understood what you were saying in this great post xx

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  3. Thank you for sharing and glad to hear you are ok! Wondered what happened to you xx
    I found a lump many years ago too ( also benign) , so know exactly how you felt.
    Take care x

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  4. I've missed you so much, and was really worried about where you have been xx The breast lump experience was awful, Ice had my share of cancer scares so know exactly what it feels like. I'm so pleased you are OK, but really sad to not see your pretty face and pretty pictures anymore xx Love you Em x

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  5. Sending so much love! It is a scary experience to go through, it is amazing at how crippling fear can be, even when you don't let it over run you. Thank you for sharing your story though. xox

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story Emma, just shows how important breast exams are and also how scary the whole process of finding a lump and then getting it checked out is. I've had a very similar experience to you a few years ago, and can totally relate to the feelings that you wrote about here.

    I have missed your blog posts loads, and I'm pleased that you've come back to let people know how you are and that you're doing well. Lovely to hear from you and that you're happy and settled. I hope that you return to blogging at some point, mainly because we are very similar body shape and size and I always loved seeing your choices of clothes. xxxKate

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  7. Oh gosh, I've actually got tears in my eyes reading this. I, as I'm sure everyone did, wondered where you'd gone and assumed you had other things to do that took up your time besides blogging. It's always sad when someone 'gives up' blogging, because we've missed you and will continue to, but it's completely understandable too. Blogging is just so time consuming and having a life outside of that certainly isn't bad or wrong, it's just a pity we won't see you. I'm sure if the day ever comes that I have a life outside of blogging, I perhaps won't have time for it either, but for now it's keeping me going as I'm unable to get out and have a life. Anyway, blethering now, glad to hear everything worked out alright in the end. Like you say, it really makes you think for those who don't have the happy ending. Must've been absolutely terrifying for you and that outer body terrifying thing that you can't control. Much love to you x

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  8. Hugs Em. That is an ordeal. I found my first breast lump when I was 15 and freaked the eff out. It was just a harmless collection of cells which dispersed in time but I remember the abject fear, and then I was paranoid about lumps for years.

    This is a reminder for me to start checking my breasts again. I haven't done so for a long time. xx

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  9. Loving your blog Em and sad to see you slow down but life gets in the way!! Enjoy life is the main thing. Ollie

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Hi there! Thank you for leaving your post. Due to some blatantly obvious spammers I have had to turned comment moderation back on with word captcha for older posts. Hopefully the spammers will bugger off and I can take some of the settings back to normal quickly! Thank you and smooches! Em. x