Feeling like a fraud….

Occasionally, I have thoughts about my cancer that I find hard to understand or communicate, even after all I have been through, I m starting to feel like it isn’t real anymore. So much happened last year and there was so much to take in but now my appointments are quite spaced apart, it feels strange to say “I have cancer”.

I guess I have been thinking more like this after starting back at work. They are still unaware of my illness (my line of defence, they haven’t asked). How do you explain to someone that you have cancer which is incurable, but you don’t feel or look ill? How do you reassure people that you are perfectly fine to carry out your job even though the big ‘C’ looms over you?

When people hear cancer (and I’ll admit I felt the same), you think of someone being very ill and they either go into remission or die (sorry if that seems a bit of a harsh word). No one really talks about or knows about how many people are out there living with it and could be living with it for 10, 20 or many more years. There is plenty of advice out there about how to cope after cancer and how to ‘live’ with it (i.e. diet, fatigue etc) but nothing out there that talks about day to day life, how to actually live with it or how to look to the future. I love planning things to do, places to go etc, however sometimes I worry about how far in advance I can plan. I am hoping by 2018/2019 to finish my degree and graduate but is this planning too far ahead? Is it worth it? I guess if it were to happen within 5 years of diagnosis, they would have at the very least hinted at the possibility. However when I was first diagnosed I was told it could be 5, 10, even 20 years and that was before the chemo worked better then expected. Or was that my hint?

Anyway I’m disgressing slightly, the point of this post was to talk about how I feel a fraud when I tell people I have cancer. I have no visable signs of illness, I’m not in any pain and I have no side effects from my medication (yes, I know I should and I do feel incredibly lucky). However, this is what makes me feel like a fraud, there are so many people out there (too many in my opinion) who are suffering terribly and I am sat here feeling nothing. I feel how I did when I started this horrible journey, when I was first diagnosed I couldn’t bring myself to say I had cancer because it didn’t feel real, like they had made a mistake. This is exactly how I feel now.

I feel like I am stuck in limbo at the moment, trying to find out what the new me is like and how I fit into this new world.

And so this isn’t a completely depressing post, I thought I would end on a positive. My blood tests have all come back fine today so tomorrow I will be having Herceptin, Perjeta and Demosumab! (I am about 10 weeks overdue my demosumab)

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Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life

I had a discussion with a couple of the girls on the workshop yesterday about how being diagnosed is bittersweet.

On the one hand you are dealt with something you wouldn’t wish on even your worse enemy and on the other, it makes you take stock of your life and makes you want to make the most out of it.

If I had been told I would do even half the stuff I have done in the past 8 months, this time last year, I probably would have just laughed it off. However, since my diagnosis I have done so much,

  • I met my favourite boyband
  • I have made some incredible new friends and reconnected with others
  • I shaved my hair off for charity
  • I completed the Race for Life and even ran a little bit of it
  • I have been able to manage running home, caring for my children, endured surgery, chemotherapy and the shock of having cancer and continued studying towards my degree
  • I’ve held a Strawberry Tea for Breast Cancer Care
  • This weekend I am going to be completing the Midnight Walk for Katharine House Hospice
  • I went on a Look Good Feel Better workshop and to Hoar Cross Hall
  • I went on my first study visit to Liverpool (something I was very nervous about doing)
  • I am booked to go on another study visit to Brighton next month but this time I will be going for the whole weekend
  • With my family I have been to Nottingham, Bath and London all in between my treatment
  • and countless other things

But the best thing is, it’s only September so there are plenty other things I could do! If I’m honest, I have no idea what will happen before the end of the year but I’m excited to find out.

Like I said before, having cancer is bittersweet, it is only now that I am really enjoying life and having the guts to do all the things I want to. So my advise to all of you reading this is if there is something you want to do, just do it! Don’t be afraid, don’t think you are being selfish, just get on with it! The only person you are letting down is yourself and if like me, you’ll be excited about what it will lead to next.

So until next time, I’m off to plan another adventure x