I had my two kids three years apart. Beautiful ‘pigeon pair’, relatively easy delivery, supportive family, almost enjoyable breastfeeding. All went well.
I noticed a problem after my second one, though. I was losing a small amount of urine when I coughed or laughed too much.
Naturally, I asked around. The ever-helpful mums from the local community reassured me that this was how it was supposed to be. They told me I should wear this little disability as a badge of honour. All that was said with the demeanour of experienced matrons. I had to trust them.
Or not. I went to my GP to check this out.
My GP, a 30+ woman, a mother herself, reassured me that what I had was ‘normal’. However, some things could be done to alleviate the problem.
She promptly referred me to a ‘maternity’ physio. The physio, another 30+ mum and a lovely jovial person reassured me that all would be well. After all, I was young, a former athlete who did twelve years of ballet.
There was nothing to worry about. Life was like at the beginning of some movie about a happy family living a life of abundance in an affluent community.
There was still something bugging me about my now little problem. I could not quite accept the reassurance that I had received. Is it just anxiety?
Acting decisively, I was back at my GP the week after preparing myself for a tough conversation. My GP did not dismiss me at all. Instead, she examined me thoroughly and ordered some tests, including a mammogram.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It shows if there is anything wrong with the breasts. My mammogram did show something wrong. It was breast cancer.
I experienced shock and disbelief.
Later, my GP explained that some breast cancers cause hormone changes. The change in hormones caused dryness in the urethra and the bladder. Losing a bit of urine or incontinence was caused by that dryness.
The long and difficult road to health is ahead of me.