It started with a lump of course. I discovered it myself and at first thought nothing of it. I am a buxom girl and lumpy bits can be par for the course! But after a few days and an increasing feeling of unease, I did begin to wonder. I chatted to someone I know who has had breast cancer and although I definitely decided to have it checked out I felt reasurred that cancer is almost always not painful and with my breast feeling very tender that seemed to be a good sign.

So a couple of weeks later I made an appointment at my GP. The doctor was lovely and again reasurred me that it was very probably a cyst, that it felt like a cyst and if she could she would just drain it there and then but had to refer me to the breast clinic anyway.

Two weeks later, off I trot to the breast clinic without a second thought. Last appointment of the day, an examination with the nurse and then I am having an ultrasound. Then the words biopsy and mamogram are mentioned and I say ‘whoah’! Yes that is exactly the word that passed from my lips. ‘I though I was here to have a cyst drained!’ and I am informed that it definitely is not a cyst but no mention of any other possibilities.

It is hard to remember what I was thinking at this point. Hindsight of course is a funny thing. Did I start to question my absolute certainty that there was nothing to worry about? The pain in my breast certainly had been worrying me and of course the discomfort of three biopsy ‘clicks’ is not the most pleasant of procedures. I do remember going home feeling a bit ‘shocked’. Trying my hardest to think positively but there is no doubt that going to the clinic with the expectation that I would be having a quick five minute procedure and then that all changing to a whole other thing in a heartbeat, well this did a funny thing to my brain and I returned home feeling slightly shell-shocked.

Then I got on with the rest of my week.


About gillianleesmith

A lifetime fascination with storytelling, history, fairytales and folklore, has led me to create imagery based on the everyday whirling mind of a person who does not always wish to be rooted in the realistic present. Themes of times gone by and reminiscence are especially evident in my designs and my work often delves into the expression and characterisation of our human nature, which we may hide away and only ever glimpse at when prompted by a reflection of our inner selves. My character sculptures in particular are a nod towards my own imaginations, avid reading and childhood dreams. They are a way of seeking the perfect representation of our character. Each tells an original tale, with a single image that endeavors to embody a whole life story in an uncomplicated way. My most recent work begins to explore ‘dwelling places’, a place where we can truly be content and again the setting that truly represents our character and history. Each material used is carefully chosen to create layers of texture incorporating textiles, paper, paint, hand painted imagery and meticulously detailed hand embroidery. The combinations of varying media help me to create many layers and textures, which are evocative of the memories and history that is integral to my work. Graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in Performance Costume in 2005, I have since been working on my own creations as well as teaching workshops with community groups. More recently, I have been coordinating a project involving reminiscence work with older people. This has been a huge source of inspiration to my latest artwork and themes of memories, dreams and childhood.
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