My youngest son (19) and a group of his friends did the Manningham RFL earlier this year and raised over $8,000. I was so proud of them all. I did the survivor lap with my husband, eldest son and his fiancé. I have the purple survivor sash hanging up in my dressing room to remind me that, even though I am going through breast cancer for a second time, I'm still here therefore I'm still a survivor!
... View more
Hi, I'm just going through this for the second time. I had breast cancer 12 years ago with chemo and radiotherapy over a similar period: 8/9 months.
Do you remember the old cartoons where the coyote is running at top speed, suddenly runs off a cliff, stops, looks down with a "what happened! and a "what happens now!" expression? That's how I felt at the end of the treatment. For months, everything had been about "the running" - getting through the treatment, the new things to learn about my cancer and my treatment, inhabiting a different world of hospitals and nurses, dealing with many people with whom I would not normally come into contact. Also, being "special" and "different", even if not in a way generally regarded as positive.
Then one day, it's all finished, back to "normal" life - going back to work, having to do the housework again, meet other people's needs and expectations. Everyone's joy that it's over, you've survived! ....and yet there's an emptiness and a big readjustment that you know is needed but no one else sees. To them, you're back to business-as-usual, you may even want that yourself. But are you the same person? How has your experience changed you? Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. Even exploring where this journey has taken you and what this new world looks like to you can be daunting. Maybe think of this stage as an equally essential part of your "treatment" - you've fixed your body, now time to fix your mind/feelings/life?
Did I do that? No, I didn't. I threw myself back into my old life as if nothing had happened. It was in denial of what I had been through, I couldn't acknowledge it. This time, 12 years on, I'm dealing with it very differently. It's only on reflection that I can see that there was a lot of unfinished business that I ignored. By the way, I'm being far more accepting of and gentle with myself this time. I am surrendering to the process and I feel fine about it.
If you do nothing else, at least acknowledge how you a feeling. It's OK. If others don't or can't understand, maybe talk to the Cancer Council Helpline (I didn't accept any of that support last time - what a fool!). Just being able to be honest to someone about what's on your mind (did it myself this morning) I have found incredibly affirming and quite liberating!
OK, I think I've rambled on enough. Congrats on getting through the treatment and best of luck with the rest of your life! Hope this was helpful.
... View more
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.