Living in France and waiting results from biopsy...

Dear All
This is the first time I have wrote to the forum having only found it a few days ago and can see how much support and care is shared between all the members. Its exactly what I’ve needed and been looking for. I found a lump in my breast about 4 weeks ago and as my period was due decided to wait until it had passed to see whether the lump had disappeared but it never. I have a 1 year old and my pregnancy wasn’t easy, I gained almost 3 stone which I hoped would go when I breast fed. After 5 months of breast feeding the weight hadn’t shifted and we came to a natural end led by my son. About three months ago I started a healthy food eating plan and I’ve lost a stone and I think due to the weight loss I noticed the lump. After I found it I tried not to let my mind race away as I sadly lost my mum 7 years ago to ovarian cancer. I am unsure as to whether she had the gene that links breast to ovarian cancer as she was too ill in the end when they performed the gene test so the results were inconclusive… still the fear set in and the painful memories have been re-opened. I thought I was quite vigilant with checking my breasts as I found a lump years back that turned out to be nothing so I’ve always checked but since i got pregnant and my breast have been naturally bigger and lumpy from breastfeeding I cant remember if I’ve been so thorough with my checks… I don’t know when it appeared…
I live in France and my french is progressing slowly but I have no knowledge of french health terms so it gets tricky when I see my doctor with my dictionary. The birth of my son here was difficult but I just thought to myself how women have been having babies for years so if I let things run naturally I will get through and even though the actual birth was quite stressful (had a caesarian in the end) I am thankful for my beautiful son who keeps me smiling daily and I’m eternally grateful for every minute of the day. I called my Dr and translated his answer message after 5 attempts which said he was away until the following Monday… another 6 days on top of the 8 days already… the waiting suffocation and anguish was setting in and I found/find myself flitting between trying to get about my normal day with a little black rain cloud over my head to despair, fear, anxiety… trying so hard to stay positive but seeing my son and having the panic that I lost my mum when I was 30 and felt robbed of her… my son is not quite 1 and I’m painfully re-living what I went through but this time it’s me in the picture and I dont want this for my son… he needs his mummy… aarrrgghh! I am also understanding how much pain my mum went through protecting her four children and that must have broke her heart and that destroys me. She never showed her fear, she remained strong until the end and lived way beyond what her original diagnosis was. She was an inspiration and one of the bravest people I know. I wish I had some of her strength right now…
I decided to go direct to hospital rather than sit and wait as my Dr has no secretary or another locum, its just him on his own in our village and I needed to get moving on this. The lady at the hospital informed me that I needed a referral from my Dr so that was that and wait I shall. When I saw my Dr we had our usual limited vocabulary conversation and he tried to reassure me but didnt know how to really so it was very brief and said I have an immovable mass and needed a mammogram. He rang the medical centre for me as he knows my french limitations and I had my appointment booked for 2 days after. I thought this was fantastic that I was in so quickly and then again you stop and ask yourself why so quickly? Wednesday came around and the mammogram wasn’t too bad. The nurse didnt speak any english so it was done by shifting me around manually to get the right position. Slightly undignified but all for the right reasons so you just get on with it. I then sat in a room half naked for what seemed like a lifetime waiting for my ultrasound… clutching on to a picture of mum and holding the medal she used to wear… I know she is my angel and with me always but its times like this I realise just how much I miss her… I really need her. The Dr for the ultrasound could speak a tiny bit of english but as my stress levels rose my understanding and ability to speak french became harder and almost non existant. Its like someone is mumbling nothing at you and when its involving your life you really need to know whats being said. It’s stressful and not in the least bit comforting. I watched the picture on the ultrasound and then saw the black hole of doom appear! I asked her what it was and she said she didnt know but could rule out a cyst… I would need a biopsy. The next few moments seemed like a dream as I got dressed and said merci beaucoup at least a dozen times as I didnt know what else to say. I went to reception to get a biopsy appointment and was asked where I wanted it, I said I didnt care as long as it was the next available appointment… 8 days for the biopsy appointment. Another 8 days… I’ll be 86 by then with worry… (I’m 39).
So I had my biopsy last Thursday and it went ok. It was the same Dr who spoke a little english so she asked me where I lived, did I work, how old was my son and we made some headway in trying to distract me from what was happening. I had no idea what was going to happen other than what I had seen on google!!! I really have had to stop myself googling every little fear Ive had, the chest pain is now cancer in my head, which is more than likely to be anxiety and the back pain is bone cancer etc etc. Google is not good for heightening fear but in the absence of any information I had no choice until I found this site. I asked the Dr did she know what it was and she said I had to wait 10 days for the results… she didnt say it looks like this or that or anything really… Now its like I am watching my journey from outside my body… is this really happening to me and what will I do if it turns out to be bad news. I’ve gone from total despair to a surreal place which can’t comprehend the enormity of what might or might not be the outcome. I have found out that my gynae Dr who is so lovely and I was with for the birth of my son can give me the results and thank the lord he speaks good english. He brought life into my life with my son so lets hope he preserves it too. When I found this out I felt an angel had been sent to me.
Unfortunately my relationship with cancer hasn’t got any happy endings as it took my mum way too soon and that’s my comparison. Its bleak… I try to remind myself that I am only young and have so much to live for, to fight for and hearing the words of what stage and grade just pains me so much, I get a stabbing pain in my tummy and leaves me in tears. My results will hopefully be next Monday or before…thats where I counted my 10th day. I don’t have an appointment and I don’t know if I’ll get a letter or someone will ring. I love living in France but now I feel so lost… isolated… scared… without knowledge of what and where and how. This forum has answered many questions that I have had swimming round my head… I just needed someone to talk to that is going through the same thing, someone to understand or just has a happy ending to share. I am so glad I’ve found you all… here’s to waiting together!

Hello Rubydoo

Welcome to the forums, this must be a very worrying time for you but you have come to the right place for support.

I’m sure the users of the site will be along to support you soon.

Best wishes

June, moderator

hi rubydoo your story has moved me so much. The language barriers and isolation you must feel right now being in France for this must be incredibly hard must be heightening an already very stressful situation. You sound like your coping well despite how lost you might feel. I get my biopsy results later today so for me the wait is nearly over but now I wish I had another few weeks before my appointment. I know you’ll find support here so keep checking in. Thinking about you and all the best x

Thank you for your kind words Charmom… I will be thinking of you today. I can understand why you wish the appointment was three weeks away. You wait for the day anxiously and then when it arrives you’re not sure if you want to know!! Sending you strength and courage to see you through. I’ll keep an eye out for your results… I hope it all goes well xx

Have sent you a private message

Hello Charmom , Sending you positive vibes and big hugs for today for your results. Let us know what happens . Love Tracy xxx

Have sent you a private message.

Hi how dreadful this must be for you having to cope with the language issue on top of all of this. Do you have someone you can take with you to appointment who could translate for you? Surely there must be a friend, associate or someone who would Help? The French are normally so good at speaking our language it’s the British that don’t do so well with languages as everyone wants to speak ours. I do hope you can find someone to go with you, even here it’s is always best to take someone with ou to appointments as there is a lot to take in and it helps for a second pair of ears and someone also to ask the questions you want to ask but might be too upset to do so. x

Goodmorning all…
Woke up with crushing pains in my chest, pains in my back and the FEAR! Not a good day. I’ve taken one of the anxiety pills that the Dr has given me (not had one up until now as not sure what to expect and prefer to be in control), so I’ll just have to see how it works and hopefully it will stop the shortness of breath. I’m so tearful and haven’t had a morning like this for a little while. My mind just woke racing with darkness and it hasn’t eased up. My first thought is to write to you… Thank you for my messages it really means a lot.
I have taken my husband to to all the appointments, mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy etc but they shooed him back when he came with me. He understands and speaks much better french than me but wasn’t going to argue with the Dr. I do have a good friend who I have asked to come along to the results with me should it not be the english speaking Dr I get to see. She works so its difficult but she has cleared this with her boss yesterday so thats reassuring. Still I cant imagine how difficult it will be for her to deliver the news if its bad… Its not a nice position to put your friend in. My husband is going to take me to the surgery today to pre-empt the appointment and say I want my gynae Dr to give the results. Its vital its him, I don’t want anyone else.
My little boy is playing in his pen and has just given me the most beautiful smile and giggle and is now dancing to Cbeebies… he’s such a good boy, very playful and happy … now that is something to be extremely happy and thankful for. I should keep my mind focusing on him. Perhaps I’ll get us ready and head out for a walk. Its a pretty grey wet day and the clouds are low on the mountains but Im sure the fresh air will do us good if we wrap up warm in our waterproofs.

Dear Rubydoo

Your story sounds so familiar to me. I live in Spain and without this forum I would have been a major basket case. I am 3 months post treatment and doing fine. So first thing - you can get through this - you are in a black, dark place just now but you can get through this. It is the pits but it is doable. There are too many of us who have gone through this life changing experience but we have come through it - so will you I would also say you need to find a translator - not a friend as you need someone who is your support system but not too close so they can take all the details in and deal with any difficult appointments etc. I have a translator and she is worth her weight in gold - if appointments go wrong she can go and sort the problem out etc. eg. my initial mamograms went missing and we could not progress any further but she went into the clinics office until they found them. I am thinking of you today with all my heart & soul wishing you all the best. I am part of the April Bunnies. Have a look at our threads through all the darkness we have found laughter and light. One of our most important rules is Do Not Google - there is a lot of information out there but stick with this web site where you will get the facts from the moderators etc. There is also a thread for younger woman with children - join them and I am sure you will find all the love & support you will nedd to get through this. Take care xxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Campo
Thank you for your kind words and advise re translator. I will contact our local Marie to find an independent translator or I might even speak to the hospital to see if they have one there. Each day I am drawing closer to the results I find myself on such a roller coaster of emotion… I woke up with a short fuse today followed by fear of being a day closer and then a torrent of tears… damn this cloud of impending doom. Its like my emotions are building to a such a level I’m struggling to manage them. I spend so much time on my own its easy to let your mind run away… I wish I was home with all my friends and family around me. I do have friends here but they are all busy doing their own thing and probably dont give it a thought that I’m stuck here. Its only you thats waiting not anyone else. To add to it my car has been off the road for over a month now with a broken Cam belt so I cant even get out for a drive to take my mind off things. I’ve never felt so trapped. Something has to change… well I have just got my wish… its snowing!!! Its almost almost a year to the day my son was born… it had snowed the day I went into the hospital… It looks so pretty here in the mountains when its snowed…beats the grey rainy days we’ve had for the last week anyday. Woolies and hats on… here we come!!!
I will be checking out your April bunnies… laughter and light is exactly what I need right now and the friendship and support I get from this site.
Thank you…

Hi Rubydoo It might be an idea if you need treatment to get yourself back to your family so that they can help support you or can someone can come out to you if you require treatment. Do not do this on your own. Your husband obviously needs to keep working and I am sure will give you all the support you need but he will not be able to be there whilst working. Try to start taking control if you can. If you need treatment work out practicalities - ie. preparing and freezing meals so that if you are tired you have meals prepared for the days you are not interested in food. I know it is going to be a horrible time until you get your results - in some ways once you get the result it gets better because then the way forward is being planned and organised. Wish I was with you to give you a big cuddle. Hang in there girl - YOU WILL BE ALRIGHT AND YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS!!! XXXXXXXX

Dear Campo
Thanks for cuddle… you’re an angel I really appreciate your kindness and warmth. I definitely need all the cuddles I can get. I have thought lots about going home recently… This week has been the longest week in my life. I do need my support network around me to cheer me up and just be there. My husband is flat out with work and not home until late eve then out again first thing. I’m sure its his way of dealign with things, which I understand. There are some perks of running your own business but when things need to be done by a certain time then its all hands on deck and we just have to deal with that. As for me… well I feel like Ive made myself a little hole that I’m sat in and just cant scramble out of it. I haven’t left the house all week because my little boy has had a poorly tummy to the extent an accident out and about wouldn’t be a nightmare, along with that I haven’t got my car back on the road yet and my energy levels are so low its just been easier to stay in. The staying indoors though is driving me insane… where have I gone, who is this person and what should I do to snap out of it… I feel the waiting is keeping me prisoner until I know… its all so intense and suffocating. I do know the less I do the harder it is to do anything… its a vicious circle!
I suppose i should at least try and get out for a walk today… even if its just around the block. Its a beautiful crisp icy day in the mountains and the sun has just rose above the peaks and everywhere look so pretty and sparkly white. My mum always used to say try and do one positive thing a day and focus on that… I’m going to give it a go… Thanks to all for listening… its so reassuring knowing you are there.
Much love xxx