So now it is Friday – just over one week since my diagnosis and I have to admit that I feel more tired than ever. Yesterday we attended my appointment with the breast care nurse. I did not really know what to expect from this appointment but it turned out to be really going over all the information from last week. A few more details and a chance to ask questions and make sure I understand everything that has been said so far but no new information really.

I say how exhausted I am feeling, I am told this is entirely normal. The pain from the biopsy area is quite bad at times and in strange places, getting worse day by day instead of better – this too is ‘normal’. My euphoric and positive state of mind in the first few days and my occassional present grumpiness and ongong lack of tears – yep, all completely normal. I want to press for definitive information, to have more knowledge about my diagnosis and biology but none of that will be available until my pathology reports three weeks after my surgery. Nothing is definite and everything is open to change – at least that is my interpretation.

I have the choice of a mastectomy or lumpectomy and I have decided upon the latter. I joke about not making a molehill out of a mountain (me and my lame jokes…) but really do not feel there is the need at this time for a mastectomy. With a lumpectomy it seems there is the chance that later depending on the pathology results there may have to be more surgery to remove more tissue but at the moment I am fine with that decision. Gosh there is so much to think about! I will stay in hospital overnight due to a past medical condition but will be able to go home the next day to recuperate for around 2 weeks with exercises. No lifting, no hoovering, no ironing – yaay! Yep there are benefits indeed! I am just hoping I can sew for a short while every day so that I do not get too behind on all the work I have to do for upcoming exhibitions and events.

It is looking very probable that I will be having chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but as yet nothing is set in stone. I wish I knew – it feels like it will be a very different experience depending on the treatment I need – I am in limbo. Five weeks till I find out. We go over more details about the surgery and recovery time and I have the date for receiving my results. We also discuss the wedding date.

We have a decision to make – a real toughie – I will write more tomorrow. x


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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5 Responses to Waiting

  1. Cathy says:

    Gillian, I will follow your journey, as and when you wish to share your experiences. Your writing touches me, you write with beauty and strength, just as you express yourself visually… A good friend of mine has been through a similar experience but is now stronger than ever. love to you cathy xx

  2. KirstyFish says:

    hey you )))))))))))((((((((((((

  3. Christine says:

    I said it on twitter but I’ll say it here too – sending you lots of love. x

  4. Gillian…..oh darling I hardly have words for you….this blog is so brave, and very beautifully written so far.
    My mum is a survivor as well, this made me think of her strength.

    you are far more together than I could ever imagine being.

    I adore you, I don’t tell you that enough. Please know I am here for you to chat with whenever.


  5. twinklyspangle says:

    I think you are very brave to write about your experiences, and I hope that they provide comfort to others who have received similar news.

    Stay well rested x

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