Well, I went to see my surgeon today as a matter of routine where I pointed out to him a tiny little lump in my armpit next to the scar from the last recurrence he removed. I was expecting him to say that it is just scar tissue. He didn't. He sent me downstairs to the imaging dept right then and there and had me scanned. They found a 6mm well defined lump and a 3mm lump. There was no blood flow to them and they weren't obviously attached to anything. A core biopsy was performed and now I wait. It could be one week or two -- depending on how busy they are. You'd think by now I'd be used to this horrible waiting game, but I'm not. My stomach is cramping and my heart is flip flopping in my chest. How can I stop my mind from wandering? Why won't cancer set me free? When can I stop feeling like death is hunting me? I went in feeling really bouncy and happy, gave him a great big hug and talked about my awesome holiday and his. I virtually skipped down to the imaging dept without any doubt in my mind that it would be nothing to worry about. As soon as I hear the words, 'core biopsy' I know it's something to really fear, and in my heart I think, 'Here we go again.' Everybody apologises to me -- not a good sign -- and I drive home dead inside. Numb. When I got home, my other half asked how it went, and I actually felt myself smile because it didn't feel real; I felt like I was acting out a scene in a play and I was stumbling on my lines so I smile to ease the embarrassment. This isn't happening again, surely.
I love my surgeon so much, I really do... but not fucking enough to go through this again -- thank you very much! (No offense, Charles). My ending is going to be happy, remember God?! That was the deal. So what's this all about? Just keeping me on my toes?
Tick tock... blink... echoes... tick tock...
When will this ever end? I have plans y'know!
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I remember after being diagnosed, I sat in my garden reading through the 8 billion useful leaflets thrown at me by my oncologist on the way out his door. As I read, it dawned on me that my life was never going to be the same again. Even once the treatment was over I would still be fighting invisible demons and physical restraints. Then I went through treatment for a year -- the works -- and at the end, after cancer and doctor appt's had become my life, it all ended just like that. The thought, 'Now what?' persisted like a tic. I felt totally lost and frightened.
My treatment ended two years ago and I can now happily say I am no longer paralysed by my fear of accepting my new reality and who I am. It DOES get easier, I promise, but it's an uncomfortable time and something you need to go through to complete your metamorphoses into a new and better you! Sending healing energy your way, LLx
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I've been out of the loop for a while for various reasons, but this has certainly grabbed my attention and roped me back in.
I discovered my breast cancer when my son was 2 months old and I was trying to breast feed. Not only that, I had a 15 month old, a 3 year old and a 13 yo -- all active boys!!! They were my driving forces. I simply could not imagine them growing up without me and decided to use every tool in the box to try and fix myself to make sure I am there for them in the future. It was a soul destroying time where I was trying to be super mom and driving myself into the ground trying to be a perfect cancer patient too. I nearly had a break down in the end, and then as if a miracle sent by God, my oncologist suggested a retreat where I could go and nurture my spirit in a quiet place. I'm not sure if Australia has something similar, but I went to a place called the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre. I got to meet a group of other cancer patients and meditated, rested, had healing and psychotherapy sessions. It gave me back the peace I needed in my soul, and the strength to know what was important to me and how I could share that with my children.
I decided to write a book, which is now published (!), where I told my children everything about my past, the present and what I wished for the future. I wanted them to know who I was as a person, what made me tick, my likes and dislikes. I thought perhaps if they could see clearly who I am - they would have a stronger sense of their self should I not be there in the future. More than anything I wanted them to know how hard I was/am trying, what a strong woman I am. Maybe when they are faced with something as soul destroying in the future they can draw on my strengths and experiences, and even learn from my failures. God knows I've had my fair share! I never wanted them to feel alone, and through my words I am hoping they will always find me and the comfort they need.
I feel myself getting choked up as I write this. It's not a subject I like to think about. All I know is that if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have chosen to be here today.
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This is incredible - I wrote the same thing in my book! After I looked in the mirror at myself following my mastectomy I thought, 'It's not my breast I will miss most, it's my innocence.' and had a good cry. It's been so wonderful getting to know you - we seem so similar! We are EXCEPTIONAL cancer survivors - lol - if I may say so myself! 🙂 Can't wait for you to read my book now. LLx
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Oh wow, I missed your comment for some reason Jo - sorry! You are absolutely right. When I meditate and it guides me to envision myself where and how I see myself in the future - I feel strength and happiness in the belief that I will be on my own, supporting myself, doing what I love best (writing and connecting). I won't feel guilty, I will feel empowered and strong. That's what gets me through. I know what I really want to do, but I don't want to cut my nose off in spite myself. I want to do it when it is the best time for ME physically and emotionally. I want it to be to my timing and reasons. If I had my way, my book would sell thousands and I would live in Brighton (city by the sea) and indulge in art and people. What could be better? A huge part of my recovery is about giving something back and feeling like part of my community. Having problems bigger than myself to focus on.
My whole family has been suffering from Swine Flu. I was so worried about my partner that I called the doctor during the weekend to arrange antibiotics for his chest infection. I so focused on getting him better, I forgot to think about myself! Two days later I'm now on antibiotics twice the strength of his because I waited so long. I was sooooo angry with myself for doing that. I'm trying so hard to break free of those chains that hold me back from loving me. i don't want to be nice and conform anymore! I want to shout and shake my fist and tell people what I really think when they walk all over me. No more - choose another girl to do your dirty work.
Then I think, why can't I be as nice to him as I am to fellow cancer survivors? Why don't I have as much empathy for his problems as I do for ours? I've been chatting with Bernie Sigel, author of 'Love, Medicine and Miracles, and he says I think to much. I need to concentrate more on what I FEEL. Not easy for a control freak - lol!
I really appreciate your energy and reassurance that I am heading in the right direction. It's also refreshing to hear from somebody who was once in a very similar circumstance to me. No doubt you know only to well that feeling of hopelessness.
Thank you Jo! LLx
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I've been through cancer treatment and have come out the other side. I've made some vast changes in the way I live my life, but there's one area where I remain stuck and I don't know how to get unstuck without hurting anybody. I fear if I remain stuck, I will be the one I hurt most. Since going through treatment, my partner and I have grown apart. Actually, more accurately, I have grown and he remains where he has always been since I met him 12 years ago. When we first got together, it was all rushed and I didn't really have a chance to get to know him that well. We fought like crazy in the beginning, even separated, but then rather stupidly I decided to suppress all my negative feelings towards him in order for our relationship to carry on. We then had three boys together, and I have one from my prior marriage. Then I got cancer, and I realised how unhappy I am and I don't know what to do to help myself without hurting my children. They are 3, 4, 6 and 15. At the moment I just go on as if I am a single lady, but it really bothers me inside. He irritates me to no end - sometimes I feel like even throwing something at him! He holds all the purse strings - is rather well off - and I don't agree with his choices in how he spends. he won't even marry me because he's frightened of me getting any of his money should we split. I'm trapped and feel hopeless, and I know this is a very bad thing for my health. Anybody else out there going through something similar? Any suggestions? I'm dying inside and it doesn't have to be that way. I just don't want to hurt my children. LLx
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When my little sister, aged 20, was diagnosed with terminal cancer she told me my parents had said to her that I felt guilty I survived my cancer and she would not. I told Kay I never once felt guilty that I survived cancer. What did make me feel bad was that she seemed to be like the proverbial lamb waiting to be slaughtered while I was the intrepid fox who would have gnawed off my own leg to survive. I felt guilty that I was able to deal with my illness with so much more will than she could ever muster, and I wished she could because that WILL is what kept me alive and I wished that much for her for at least as long as possible. She didn't take that view and continued to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner and died not too long after. It was her choice, she made it and died the way she wanted -- a big lump of ice cream 🙂 That was a learning curve for me. It was difficult for me to stand by and watch and accept that she had made up her mind to die.
Then my good friend Catherine, having just been given the five year all clear from our oncologist, was diagnosed with another primary bc that had already spread to her bones. She was told it is just a matter of quality of life vs quantity now. While many of her friends have disappeared, I have chosen to be by her side all the way. It's very difficult because I keep talking in terms of having a future and choices (as one should), and then I realise what I have said and feel guilty. Then I prod myself and say, 'Just because it may appear I have a future right now doesn't mean I do!' Moments before Catherine had a future now she didn't. Life is like that. Any one of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I could live in guilt, it would be rather easy, but I choose to accept the moment for what it is and be thankful I am still here contributing to life. It's the people who are left behind that feel pain - not the ones who have died.
On that note, I must dash out. I have to go to Brighton seasisde to get some clothes for my holiday. I hope what I've said makes sense - I was rushing to get it out. No doubt it will make somebody angry or upset... LLx
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You are absolutely right - we are all here to express our own individual opinions, and that's all we were trying to do. It was not a personal attack, and I fear you've become rather defensive. Deep breaths - things are cool 🙂 LLx
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Did you guys in Austrlia get to see this? It's from an American show called, “So You Think You Can Dance” featuring Tyce DiOrio’s courageous choreography, drawing attention to the turmoil of a woman struggling with breast cancer, and its affects on her partner. Very moving :-(
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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.