Today I attended Sunshine Hospital for a Nurse-Led appointment with breast care nurses Mel and Lisa. The aim of the visit was to have a discussion about the last twelve months, how things were going and find out if there was an area that the Breast Care nurses could help me with.
It has been a rough twelve months with many changes in my personal life, which compounded with the recovery from Breast Cancer. The highs and lows have taken a toll, however, it seems like I am on the up again.
Unless you have had the first-hand experience of being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease such as cancer, it is very difficult to imagine the position that the person has been put into. Life is turned upside down, inside out and back to front in every way imaginable. It feels like a threat and an attack on your world, the uncertainty is frightening.
So far I think of myself as being fortunate, always one to find the cloud with the silver lining ! the cloud was having a right mastectomy, and the silver lining was not needing chemo or radiotherapy. The ongoing treatment known as Endocrine treatment includes 10 years of a daily dose of Tamoxifen and monthly Zoladex injections to ‘turn off the ovaries’ and hence stop the hormone oestrogen and progesterone from circulating in my body. My team of oncologist and doctors found through pathology results that the only type of cancer I tested positive to was hormone positive. So cut out hormones and stop the chance of Cancer ‘setting up shop’ again somewhere else.
Where am I 12 months down the road? I am doing well, fit and healthy physically and mentally.
As soon as I had recovered enough from the mastectomy I threw myself back into work and study, for me this was the signal I wanted to send to myself that I was ok, alive and ready to continue on with life. Almost like a way of ‘faking it till I was making it’ in many ways it worked, in other ways I had not given myself enough time to deal with the fallout of cancer and the true effect that a chronic illness has on you. I didn’t want to be unwell, and I was frustrated by the thoughts of a re-occurrence and the way that people would give you a pity glance if you talked about it. In the beginning, it stirred at my emotions, and my fear of its return was still raw and sickening. So I tried to block it out as much as I could, only choosing to talk to my close circle about the details and kept it to myself, to begin with. Even now, there are some places I go and don’t wish to disclose, I just want to be Flick, just me without that bad dream attached to my reality.
Commonly said is the fact that you are never completely cured of cancer but you learn to live with it; this is certainly true. I think that in life generally, we are presented with many series’ of choices and it is up to us how we respond to those choices. You could choose to live in fear, or you choose to just get on with it.
For me I think of this as my plan b journey, my ticket to go and live life. It has given me a whole new perspective around making the most of every day, as well as limiting my patience when it comes to drama and negativity. I have zero time to be kept down by those low energies. Another way to put it is I have become more mindful and try to live in the present moment as much as I can. This feels right, and something I wish I had been doing earlier.
I hope that you find my blog interesting and welcoming enough to tell me about your journey of being a Breast Cancer survivor. I look forward to hearing from you.