On Thursday 7th July, 2011, I went to Cork with Dave, my husband, and the two children. We went to the Bonds Hospital at 12:30pm. I was getting my mole removed. I had to be very strong as the children were with us. After all the relevant paperwork was done, I was brought into the surgery. Dr. William O'Connor (fab doctor) and two lovely nurses were with me. I was nervous but I kept saying to myself that it would be fine. I then lay down and I was given lots of local anaesthetic around the mole. The injections pinched but when the anaesthetic kicked in, I felt no pain. I lay on my right side and the doctor started on my left shoulder. I was awake for everything and I could feel various tugging sensations. I knew that he was taking 5 mm all around the mole, but what I stupidly did not realise was how deep he also went. He went approx 10 mm down. So, he took a good chunk of skin and tissue. He stitched me up, 23 external stitches, and I don't know how many internal. And that was it! No painkillers just off you go! My skin felt very stretched afterwards and I knew it was gonna hurt when the anaesthetic wore off. It was worse that I thought, but looking back it was not brutal pain either. I think that it was just the shock of it all.
This is a photo of the mole on the day that it was removed.
I then had to wear a waterproof plaster over it for the next two weeks.
The scar after two weeks when the plaster was removed. 23 stitches externally.
We all went for something to eat then and I was so glad to have the family with me. It took my mind off my left shoulder. Then off to the CUH for a mammogram at 3pm.
They dropped me off and I went in myself. I had to go to the Regional Cancer Center South in the CUH and that sign alone scared the hell out of me. It made me nervous. I didn't like it at all. So in I went to the Breast Care section and told the receptionist that I was here. She was lovely and I sat down and waited. When you are waiting in a place like that, lots of things go through your mind. What am I doing here? Do I actually have cancer? What about everyone else sitting here? Are they sick? I was terrified. The building itself is so calming, all pretty purple colours. And the staff are amazing. So unbelievably caring.
I was called in then and I didn't know what to expect. Once again, the lady doing it was extremely nice. I had to undress to the waist, stand by the machine and then one breast was placed on the machine. The top of the machine is then slowly compressed on top of your breast and basically your breast is squashed until you can barely bare it and they take the mammogram. The actual mammogram itself does not hurt, it is like taking an x-ray. And it is very quick once you are set up. The best part is that once it is done, the pressure on your breast is removed immediately and you are free, so to speak. It is done at two different angles on both of your breasts. I didn't really like it. The squeezing sensation was unpleasant. You are also standing up. It was just weird I guess.
When that was done, I went back out to the reception and I was told that they would contact me with the results. I was delighted and thought "yipee, that's the end of that, I'm never coming back here anyway". In my mind I felt that I had a tough day and I just wanted to go home. I was naive and did not even want to consider any other options.
9 out of 10 mammogram results are clear and cancer free. I did not want to be in the minority.