I had a health scare. It was only a few weeks ago but the word biopsy sends shivers through me even now. It wasn't dramatic, but for a moment I experienced fear. Fear of the 'C' word.
I have been through this before, 5 or 6 years ago. Same sort of thing: a lump where lumps should not be. It was fine! I had my ultrasound and they told me that I didn't have cancer. The end. I have never even thought of it since, until I found the new lump which felt...different. A scary different.
Things have changed in the NHS since the last time. For a start, things take a lot longer and there were far more women being shipped through the same process. Then I had the biopsy sprung on me (I was expecting to be told I could go home, and I felt myself shaking as they told me. I'm not scared of things like that, it was the shock). It hurt.
I received a non-diagnosis. This is the NHS' way of saying 'we don't see any cancer but we aren't going to say you haven't got it in case you sue our arses if, on the remote possibility, you do and we missed it'. It does not comfort you.
I was also told that I'm suffering from stress (well, it was a stressful situation...). The consultant asked me about my lifestyle and job. He was very passionate about stress in the work place being the cause of so many illnesses. I didn't realise that it can increase the risk of cancer as well. I have always just accepted that my job can be stressful and carried on.
Over the winter, I have not been out exercising like I used to. Sure, I still go to kung fu which can burn up to 1000 calories in an evening, but that's pretty much it.
Exercise for me is like water to a plant: I need it. Even S commented on that fact when we were stuck in the car for hours travelling up to Scotland. Without it, my stress levels increase, and I get a bit grumpy and restless. So, stage one is to get back into running (no problem. In fact, I have been waiting for the lighter evenings). I went out on Wednesday and it was really good. Oh. and I seem to have been signed up for a half marathon. I don't know how...
Because I am virtually in constant pain, I have been told to change my diet. I don't know why but I am rebelling. Being told to do something for your own good is fine...but being told you can't have something makes you instantly want it. Why is that?
The irony is, other than caffeine and the very rare piece of cake I managed to acquire from work, I had no interest in these bad foods before I was told "no". Now I find myself running around work hunting for biscuits like a ravenous vulture searching a desert for carrion. I am not impressed but I can't help it.
I am hoping everything will balance out in the end.
Rebellions aside, the whole thing has taught me a number of lessons. 1. Life is much more fragile than we choose to think. 2. good health is important. 3. friends, who are there for you no matter what, are the most precious gift.
I also discovered the people who aren't genuine friends...people who actually didn't really give a shit about my situation and cared more about themselves and the fact that I wasn't there to help them with their dramas. I'm 33 and I'm still learning.
Friendship is a two-way thing. Some friends are always going to be transitory (i.e. you need that kind of friendship then you move on) , and other friends are with you for life.
My friend, M, sat with me for the full four hours of the first hospital session. I knew other friends were there for me if I needed to talk. That is friendship.
So two things you shouldn't take for granted: your health and your friends. You wouldn't do very well without them.