It’s 4.30am and I’ve just sat bolt upright in bed, I raise my left arm above my head and my right hand instinctively lands on a lump. Bullseye. 

I don’t know what made me do it. I am not normally awake at this hour. While I do self examine, I tend do so after I’ve showered at a more regular hour.  I don’t think it’s divine intervention or some spirit of my dead mother. I’d like to think that it’s my subconscious coming late to the party. Remember the scene in Speed, where Dennis Hopper is looking over black and white video footage, his stumpy hand to his mouth, his howl of fury as he realises that Keanu Reeves has managed to outwit him (like that would ever happen). I like to think my brain has been running over video footage, to be frank I’m so flat chested simply washing is all it would really take, for a day or two when – Boom! It’s remembered it felt something it previously hasn’t. And now I’m awake.

It’s 4.31am and I’ve just found a lump in my left breast. All of a sudden, I’m not  alone in my little flat anymore, it’s me and the Lump.

Normally, it’s at this point I’d be nudging A, my boyfriend awake, but he’s in London working. I imagine that he’s probably going to be grateful for that when I tell him about this later and I release my grip on the phone. I am in fact meant to be on a train later today to visit him and several other dear friends. Valentines Day is coming up, we aren’t big celebrators but this is different. A and I will be travelling extensively for the first half of the year, time together feels very precious. But should I be going to the doctor’s instead? I use two fingers to wiggle the Lump – back and forth, back and forth, as I contemplate what to do.

It’s 4.45am and without turning on the light, I’m googling. I’ve my Doctor’s office hours, various Bristol to London timetables, the NHS and Macmillan websites laid out in front of me by 4.55. 

By 5am, I’ve learnt I can see my Doctor first thing on Monday, and that lumps in women my age are almost always benign, especially because I have no other symptoms. I comfort myself with this. I try hard not to be a drama queen. I push all other thoughts and what my gut is yelling at me to the back of my mind. I fall back to sleep.

Later that day I head to London where the Lump and I have a really rather fabulous weekend.