I don’t think I’ve written in a while about my cancer journey.
Some people hate the term ‘journey’. I can’t say it bothers me. I don’t see it as a journey as such but I can’t be bothered trying to come up with a better term.
I want to let you know a few of the things I’ve been feeling lately because, well, this is a personal blog so let’s get personal! I just want you to know, before you read on, that I’m fine. Don’t worry about me because I’m ok. I just want to be honest about some of the challenges I’ve been feeling recently.
So, now it’s the end of March.
16ish months ago, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer – a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer affecting just 15% of breast cancer patients.
By ‘rare’, I mean there is no cure. No proven method of treatment that will send it on it’s way. For those lucky to be diagnosed early, a cocktail of the strongest chemotherapy is thrown at it in the hope that it will make a difference.
For some, it does. For me, it is working so far. For some so very close to me, it hasn’t. It isn’t.
By ‘aggressive’ I mean it grows quickly. It grows and spreads exceptionally quickly. So much so that from what I can see, you get the ‘all clear’ one day and the next, it’s throughout your whole body and you’re, well, fucked. Sorry.
This is how I feel right now:
After my initial diagnosis, I moved through the 5 stages of grief in the space of a few days. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance.
I’m a naturally optimistic person (if this is the first time you’ve heard from me, you won’t be getting that impression now, but I am). However during the first few months of my diagnosis, when chemo tore me physically and mentally apart, I’ve never experienced anger and rage as I did then.
My husband literally had to pin me down. I screamed until my throat was sore. Why me? Why not someone else? The bad people. Why didn’t bad things only happen to bad people? Why me? Was I bad?
My best friend from chemo, my buddy during the past 12 months. The girl who shared my experience, who truly got me because she was going through it too. My middle-of-the-night texting buddy.
They scheduled our chemo sessions together so we’d have a friend to talk to as our drugs were administered. A new mum too, a beautiful and strong and supportive angel who did not deserve this disease.
She’s gone this week. I’m so angry.
And I can’t let go of the anger I feel towards the people who let me down after I was diagnosed. I know I should and I need to talk to someone more about this. It’s a more subdued anger now but it’s there, nonetheless, in the back of my mind.
I’m annoyed at myself for investing in friendships for so many years before my diagnosis that have simply not delivered when I needed them most. Why did I waste my time? You have let me down.
If you feel like I’m pulling away from you, it’s because I am. No, it isn’t the disease. It’s you.
I have very few moments of calm. In fact, scrap that, I have no moments of calm. I meditate and thank goodness it helps.
But my mind is so often racing with all things cancer.
I’m constantly torn between living each day as if it was my last but finding the time to be mindful and live in the moment. What a bloody contradiction.
I just want a minute’s peace. Or an hour’s sleep.
Oh the guilt.
I’m told to stay positive for my kids. To appreciate the fact that I’m ok and healthy and alive. And I know it’s all coming from a good place and that you want me to feel better and enjoy my life.
I am enjoying it. I’m so, so utterly grateful to be here, to be a mum, to feel healthy. I can’t get rid of the guilt though.
I suppose it’s just an exaggerated version of the ‘mum guilt’ that we all feel. It just extends to my whole life now.
Am I present enough in my children’s lives? Am I doing enough for them or with them. Will the day come when I won’t be here for them any more? I don’t want to talk about that.
So so tired
I’ve been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. Certainly since my teenage years. Funnily enough, cancer didn’t help that little situation :)
Let’s be honest, as a Mum, sleep is a challenge. Even if your babies sleep through the night, you wake instantly if someone else in the house so much as turns over in their sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, I no longer lie in bed thinking dark thoughts about death. I think it comes back to that whole ‘live each day like it’s your last’ mindset. I fight myself. I want to sleep and desperately need to but I often can’t mentally ‘let go’ of the day to fall asleep. I want to stay awake, to keep fighting and living. Sleep feels a bit like giving in.
I’m so tired and it’s written on my face every day.
The anger, the guilt, the lack of sleep – well, as horrible as they can be to live with, they make up only a small percent of my time.
I just wanted to share with you that these feelings are still here for me. If you know some one else on this journey, they might still be there for them too.
I’m grateful for my health because today, I am healthy.
I’m grateful for my strong, strong husband for holding me tightly and never letting go. A weaker man would have let go.
I’m so grateful for my beautiful and healthy babies.
To my family and friends who outnumber the shit ones a million times over.
To those of you that have followed my journey, have sent messages of love and support and who have supported my blog, which is now my livelihood.
I am not wallowing. I am not plummeting. I suppose I just felt like sharing today because it had been a little while.
Thank you for listening x x x