When you usually see cancer, it is in adverts or leaflets. It is censored and made to look comfortable for its viewers. The article below is about a series of images that depict real people living with very real cancer. So are funny and some aren’t but this is the reality. I’ve even included one of my old photos to this post
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)
So I’m preparing for my port to be fitted tomorrow morning & it will be done under a general anaesthetic so this means after midnight
– no food
– no bright lights
– no water
Oh no wait! That’s something else.
I’m just not allowed to eat after midnight & drink only water up to 7am. Sounds easy enough however I’m not a great lover of plain water & I’m a little put off the idea of having to arrive at hospital for 7:30. Hey, maybe I will resemble a gremlin in the morning if I don’t follow the rules?! Anyway, this time tomorrow it will all be over & I won’t have to be cannulated every 3 weeks!
So I’ll let you all know how I get on 😀
Over the past week I have been feeling a little down, maybe it’s just the time of year, however after Boxing Day I have started to feel a lot better.
I am now looking forward to the new year and planning plenty of things to do with family and friends. At the start of 2014, I thought this was the year that things were going to happen i.e. I was going to build up my business, I wanted to do a lot of things with my family and all this was put on hold when I was diagnosed. Back then I felt so lost and had no idea what the future held for me. Nearly a year on, I’m still a little unsure but I’m going to get on regardless.
Although 2014 was pretty rubbish (my diagnosis has put a bit of a black cloud over things) there has been so many great things have happened too, such as
- Meeting the Backstreet Boys (Sorry I’m going to keep going on about that for some time still)
- reconnecting with old friends and made lots more
- completed the Race for Life and the Midnight Walk for Katharine House Hospice
- I’ve completed 2 modules towards my degree
- been on some lovely trips away with my family
- Raised lots of money for charity
- had a few interesting adventures
So the morning post has arrived & I start to go through. The usual stuff then I come across a letter from Breast Cancer Care. I assume it is just a generic letter asking me to donate but I open it anyway.
Just as thought, it asks you to donate. However, this was a little different. It was about a man’s effort to raise £50,000 by Christmas Eve. With it there was a letter explaining his wife had secondary Cancer & had done lots to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. What resonated the most with me was when he said “he was watching his wife die in front of him”. As someone who has secondary breast cancer, I really don’t like the thought that my family is watching me die or that I am just waiting to die. I have no idea how long I have, the oncologist has never put a limit on it. I’d like to think I’ll be here for quite awhile, maybe I’ll become a medical marvel? I’ve been in the extremely small percentage in getting this type of cancer at my age and the treatment I have received has worked better then expected so maybe I’m going to live for another 50 years (benefits of being the exception to the rule I guess).
I know they have to use shock tactics to get people to donate & if you can donate, please do. However I hate seeing this stereotype of people with cancer! The Macmillan advert is the worse, believe me I have seen a chemo unit that empty & sad. There are TV’s, comfy chairs, the most incredible people to chat to (fellow patients) & lovely staff who sit with you to chat & make you a lovely cuppa.
Today was kind of a day off the treatment as the machine was having a service so I thought I’d plan a catch up lunch with a friend and a few other bits and bobs.
To start the day off I thought I’d wear a new dress I’d been looking forward to wearing. All was going well until I looked in the window and saw I looked like Sinead O’Connor (I’ve got nothing against her but I don’t think the look suits me). That was a little upsetting, I just wish I had my long hair back. It doesn’t help either when you are feeling exhausted and poorly.
I dropped my children off at nursery and headed home to spend some time with my dog before heading into town to buy Lynda Bellingham’s new book and have lunch. When I met my friend, as usual it took us ages to look at the menu as we were too busy talking. I had my usual a nice healthy salad with a lemon meringue to balance it out (hehe). We had some brilliant conversations and giggles, most of it was the kind of “had to be there” to get it but I had a great time. It was nice to be able to forget everything I’m feeling at the moment and just let loose. The only problem was it never seems long enough.
After that it was back to it, sadly being a mum as well as a cancer patient means life never stops. You never have time to wallow in self-pity or sleep for hours on end. But I guess it has helped me to stay so positive, watching my two children (even though they can be little tinkers at times) makes me want to fight so I can carry on watching them for as long as I can. Nothing can brighten your day like your child giving you a cuddle or telling you they love you. Things have been difficult for both of them, my little girl especially, as they are both too young to understand what is happening to Mummy.
Well this evening my plan is to do a little bit of coursework, settle down with some chocolate and start my new book.