I have another slant on this. I have breast cancer, one of the 'sexy' cancers that gets an awful lot of attention. This is good for the obvious reasons, more fund raising, more money for research, people more aware etc. However, contrary to what people may believe, it is not just the men who don't go to the doctors when they should. I am one who puts off going. I would rather not deal with whatever the problem is. Hopefully it will go away if I ignore it. If I go now, it might get the ball rolling and that will be the end of me, etc., etc. Silly I know, and to those of you who are the opposite, I don't expect you to understand, just realise that there are people like that out there and there is no accounting for it.
Anyway, my point really is that I sit here, knowing I have cancer, knowing that it could kill me eventually, knowing that I have to go through some awful treatment in the hope that it won't. I am trying to relax and not worry too much yet everywhere I turn people are talking about breast cancer. It doesn't help that it is breast cancer awareness month. I watch tv and am told in the ad breaks that breast cancer is one of the biggest killers of women in Australia. Wooo hooo, thank you for that, just when I had managed to get it out of my mind for five minutes!
In all honesty, those ads are what helped me NOT go to the doctor. Surely there is a way of being aware without shoving it down our throats and using scare mongering tactics. I think these ads should be more generalised. There are so many different cancers out there and each of them are devastating to those that get them. It's not even just cancer, there are so many diseases out there and if we are truthful some of them are a lot more debilitating than some cancers.
Here's an idea. Why not push and advertise for better health. Encourage people to visit their doctors and have regular check ups. Once we are having regular check ups we can talk to our doctors on a more personal level. Get to know your doctor, get a good relationship going. Instead of going to a clinic and having a different doctor every three years when you get the flu and need a certificate, go regularly so that you feel more comfortable with them and are more inclined to tell them about something that is worrying you. I know that I eventually told my doctor of my concerns because I felt comfortable with her after I had been having more regular check ups.
Well, that's my rant. Sometimes advertising can be overkill and be detrimental to certain types of people.
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I have been following the 'don't stress about chemo, it's different for everyone' theory since being diagnosed. It's just that as it gets closer it's getting more real. My appointment with the oncologist is tomorrow and I am starting to stress about my scan results. Up until now I haven't felt like a cancer patient, just someone who has had an operation. I suppose after tomorrow the reality will be more obvious. I will have a date. The sooner I start though, the sooner I finish, so it's not all bad.
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A month ago I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer. They couldn't save my breast and I had a mastectomy a week later. I have had my scans and am seeing the medical oncologist tomorrow to discuss chemotherapy and hormone treatment.
Apart from the initial shock, horror etc., I have been very positive and coped well. Today I am having my first down that I am having trouble pulling myself out of. I am starting to dread chemotherapy, dread losing my hair and dreading the fatigue that I may encounter, not to mention any other nice little side effects that might come along for the ride. I have been looking forward to summer and the long days and the holiday season and now I feel so cheated out of them. I can't wait for winter when the worst will be over (I hope).
I know I shouldn't complain. My prognosis is excellent. I only showed signs of cancer in one lymph node and considering the size of the lump this is excellent news. My cancer is hormone receptor positive, so excellent news again. It's just all starting to get a little on top of me.
Is there anyone else out there (silly question I know) who can put my mind at ease about the lymph node part of the operation. The tightness of my scar and the numbness of my chest is starting to bring me down. I have been told that the numbness won't go away, please tell me this tight feeling will. Will I ever feel comfortable again with touching myself and not feeling sick?
I think really I'm just feeling so bad today because I am really concerned about the results of my scan and starting chemotherapy. It's all so scary.
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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.