How I feel right now

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.

Daffodil

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:

Angry

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.

Frantic

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.

Guilty

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.

Grateful

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

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10 Comments

  1. Kate Tunstall, The Less-Refined Mind
    30th March 2017 / 11:11 pm

    Oh Mim, as always when I read these updates I just want to give you a big cuddle, because I don’t have the words to convey what I want to say.

    I’m so sad to hear of the friends who have let you down, sadly it’s a weakness in their character because they can’t handle your situation. As somebody on the other side of the world, it’s frustrating for me that they don’t do the one thing that would come so naturally to me if I were only close enough, and throw their arms around you. Still, for every one who has not been strong enough to do that, I know you have many more friends, family members and readers supporting you and sending you messages of love.

    As ever, I’m always here for you to offload should you want to. I can’t promise to always say the right thing, but I can promise to always listen. And I’m so glad to hear that your husband has been so wonderful – I know myself having a rock like that can be the difference between coping or not.

    Lots of love xxx

    • 30th March 2017 / 11:43 pm

      Thank you, thank you and thank you, beautiful Kate. You could never say the wrong thing, ever. As I’ve said to you already, the only real wrong thing to say is nothing at all. I’m so grateful for your friendship x x x

  2. Jenny England
    31st March 2017 / 10:19 am

    Hi Mim
    I am new to your blog. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer Triple Negative, 7 and a half years ago. I had surgery but refused chemo and radiation as I don’t believe that destroying your body and immune system does anyone any good. I also believe that this cancer does not have to be a death sentence. I am still here and reasonable well. There is a good book I can recommend – Radical Remission by Kelly A Turner. It is very positive and uplifting and is the end of many years research into the factors that have kept people alive after cancer. All the best with your personal journal.

    • 31st March 2017 / 11:15 am

      Thank you so much for this Jenny and I’m so so happy to hear that you’re doing well :) I will absolutely check out the book – I often wonder if chemo and radiation were the right decision too x

  3. 3rd April 2017 / 9:23 am

    I am so paranoid about cancer and the thought of leaving my children terrifies me. Reading this post made me want to reach out and hug you, you are so brave and so honest writing all this. So sorry for your loss and I hope you continue to stay healthy and to live life to the full x

    • 3rd April 2017 / 10:04 am

      Thank you so so much lovely – motherhood is hard enough isn’t it x x

  4. Monique
    3rd April 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Dear Mim, thanks for writing this post. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer just over a year ago. Had surgery, radiation and chemo, finishing treatments last October. I don’t feel angry that much, but I can certinly relate to the sleep deprivation and the balancing act between hope and fear.And although I feel OK right now, I just can’t be sure I really AM ok. How can you place trust in your health, when it betrayed me so much just a year ago! So, I feel for you, and wish you and your family nothing but the best!! Love, Monique

    • 4th April 2017 / 10:15 am

      Yes I completely know what you feel – we have to put our trust in something don’t we but at times it’s definitely hard. My anger from the early days had subsided but after the loss of my friend, it did come back. I think our lives will forever be a bit of a rollercoaster now but I’m sure in time it will get much easier :) Wishing you so much love and good health too and thank you! x

  5. Jodi
    21st April 2017 / 6:04 pm

    I don’t know what to say but thank you for venting to us. You must be extraordinarily busy with your blog and social media, please don’t forget to take plenty of time out for you. I love your reviews and advice xo

    • 21st April 2017 / 6:31 pm

      Thank you so so much for that Jodi x x

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