So, I was woken up, on the morning of my appointment at the Breast Cancer Clinic, in a strangely ironic fashion.
The news on the radio was that Dame Sally Davies (the Chief Medical Officer), while giving evidence to a Commons select committee, said the public should contemplate the risks of cancer before drinking alcohol.
"Do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine - think Do I want the glass of wine or do I want to raise my own risk of breast cancer?" She old MPs. "I take a decision each time I have a glass".
(By the way, The Sun newspaper headline on this topic reads: TOP DOCS BARMY ADVICE: IF YOU WANT A GLASS OF WINE, JUST THINK CANCER. They are obviously not, yet, on message!)
Well HURRAH FOR SALLY in flying the flag for non-drinkers. In my case it's rather like slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted. But this is not the case for the majority of you, so pay attention!
I made my way to the clinic where I was greeted like a long lost friend by all the nurses - bless them.
After a stint in the waiting room, checking out the newbies (poor little mites), I was called in by the genius-surgeon-with-terrible-bedside-manner.
He did a recap of all my stats: 23mm, grade 2 invasive lobular carcinoma, negative lymphs, 92% chance of non-recurrence, blah blah blah, after which he invited me to remove all my clothes above the waist.
So, I'm sitting there, with the doc and the breast nurse, half naked, when he decides to have a discussion. He tells me, at what felt like some length, that he wants me to talk to a journalist about my whole breast cancer experience.
I agreed swiftly, just to put an end to the whole half-naked-chitchat thing, and because some warped logic told me that if I was in the news as being 'cured' of breast cancer, it was even more in their interests to keep me alive for as long as possible...
I may live to regret that one. I hadn't planned to become the poster girl for breast cancer, as well as the (secret) one for sobriety.
Anyhow, he copped a feel, which he seemed happy about (in a medical sense, you understand), and told me that I need to come back every April for the foreseeable future for an ultrasound. In addition, I need to come back every October for a mammogram.
AND, on top of that, there's a new blood test for ovarian cancer, so they took a vial from my arm, and told me they'll repeat that one every twelve months too.
Oh, and I see my oncologist every May to have blood tests to check for cancer markers.
So, on the upside, I am going to be monitored to within an inch of my life.
On the downside, every time I go in for one of these tests I have to deal with the flashbacks and anxiety....
....which is why my post tomorrow (inspired by Ulla) is on Managing Anxiety - Sober.
Thank you all so much for all your comments, thoughts and best wishes. It helped hugely knowing you were thinking of me.
(If you're new to this blog, and want to read about my breast cancer 'journey' (hate that expression) from the beginning, then start with this post from October: I Need Help! Or, if you'd like to read from when I first quit drinking then start here, from March: Mummy Was a Secret Drinker)
Love to you all,