This is my first time here - actually wasn't sure if this was going to be something that I was going to do. But feeling a bit lost today. So, where do we start? Ok so it's week two of my 6 week treatment for Stage 4 Cervical Cancer. Stage 4 as this is a cheeky little 1 cm bugger escaped and spread to a lymph node up near my right kidney but hasn't spread to any another major organs. My initial prognosis was stage 2b2 so that's what I tell people not to scare them. In fact "telling" people seems to be the hardest part of this journey so far for me. Taking one day at a time the first week of treatment was scary, and threw me around a bit but by the weekend I find like the "old" of about 5 months ago before this whole journey started. It started when we collectively decided as a family to take an overseas adventure and post to a third world country for 3 years.. so seeing as the health facilities weren't going to be up to Australian standards it was best to get everything checked out. Several tests, teeth done, everyone's immunised, husband had the chop and the final hurdle and then hello something isn't right. At first I was told it was fibroids, so I went to a the Gyno and she said it had to be more than that. And 2 weeks after that, cervical cancer, no overseas adventure, just an adventure of another kind ...
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Occasional Contributor
Wow, what a whirlwind of life changing experience for you and your family! I hope you're managing ok with the loss of your adventure. I too found that breaking the news to people has been difficult. How do you drop "by the way, I have cancer" into conversation? My diagnosis was in July, and word spread quickly at work but I am still finding colleagues that don't know. I have been surprised by the variety of reactions, from sympathy and concern to complete discomfort and insensitive remarks. I also had Stage 4 cancer at diagnosis (which is common for Lymphoma), but someone from work assumed that it'd been found early and chirped "at least they've found it early." I struggled to cope at first with the thought of being riddled with tumours, but once I started chemo it felt like I was getting somewhere. How many kids do you have? How have your husband and kids been coping? Catherine 🙂
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New Contributor
Hi Catherine I heard somewhere once that "If you want to hear God laughing, you tell him your plans"! At first I felt disappointed and and hell of a lot ripped off. But then the realization that if it wasn't for organizing the trip and making sure myself for a change that I had a full health check, once I started that process, believe it or not, was when symptoms or the idea "something is not right" started to crop up. I feel like telling my boys who are 10 and 12 was actually, and keeping in mind it being one of the hardest things so far I have had to say to them, compared to the reactions of some adults, much easier to deal with myself because they asked honest questions and gave honest reactions. So far they have been coping well, my youngest showers me with cuddles all day long who can't love that, and my oldest just started puberty - so a lot of time spent alone and sometimes outbursts of anger. They seem to be doing okay and I am truly lucky. My husband - is just amazing really. At times he is really quiet and well, he's never been best with his emotions but he has taken on a lot and I am grateful that I chose well. How about you - Catherine? How is your husband coping and do you have children?
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Occasional Contributor
How true, I guess every cloud has it's silver lining and things could've been worse if you hadn't been getting a full check up! I have a son and 2 daughters. My son turns 12 on Friday, one daughter is 7 next month and my other daughter is 4. After diagnosis, I came home and Googled "How do you tell children you have cancer?" I then sat them down and explained what Lymphoma was, about good and bad cells and reassured them that it's not their fault and they can't catch it. I then asked if they had any questions, and one asked "Can I have ice cream?" Clearly not a distressing conversation then. I've since had discussions about reduced immunity, likening white blood cells to 'Pac Men' and saying they eat germs, but I have less in my body so I get sick more easily. My son has coped remarkably well despite having depression in the past. We get along well and talk openly. I've told him that he can contact Canteen if he wants to. Miss 6 has been the most anxious, and has unrelated fears (that the dog is going to die, that slugs are going to slither into her bedroom, etc). She has seen a social worker at school and is getting better. Miss 4 has just been extra clingy and affectionate, but she was always a Mummy's girl. My husband has been affected, but does the typical bloke thing and doesn't want to talk to anyone about it. His way of helping is to sit with me during chemo and help with the housework and kids. I completely appreciate this, but sometimes I just want to have him listen and give me a hug.. It's a lot for a young family to deal with, and it's only natural that as mum we care about how our loved ones are coping.
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