Thursday, 30 December 2010

In Search Of Answers

18th February 2010

I asked my husband a very important question. If I was in pain and there was no cure would you help me to die? His reply was, “That would mean more pain, but I would not like to feel I was a burden on anyone.”
So it a double edged sword you want to end your life because of the pain and not hurt your family, but you also want to end your life to eases the burden.
Cancer brings you to question all sorts of things you would not normally question. Especially when they are highlighted in the public domain.

My father had a terrible death and that death you would not wish on anyone. He was sixty-four years old with two aggressive tumours growing in his brain. He had an operation to reduce the tumours, but the operation had no effect. The medication he was taking and radiotherapy was slowing it down, but it was only a matter of time.  
He had a strong point on the whole euthanasia view. If it was a dog it would be humane to put it out of its misery and it is excepted. So why let a human being suffer if his or her wish is to die?
I do not like the thought of people surrounding my bedside watching me struggle for my last breathe. My dad had exactly that and the morphine did nothing for his pain. Apparently they did discuss when nurses were not present to help dad die peacefully. His brain was getting slowly squeezed against his skull and there was no way of relieving the pressure. He had a number of strokes effecting his whole body. He was slowly shutting down and there was nothing that could be done.
I am personally glad I was not at my fathers’ bedside to watch him cry out with the pain, but my eldest daughter was. After a certain amount of time she had to leave so her granddad could pass away in his sleep. She was constantly phoning me to keep me informed of the situation and my heart went out to her, but it was a choice she took.
Yes, some would argue I should of been with my daughter, but both me and her discussed it at length and the thought of arguing (which there was) and my father dying. I know I would of ended up arrested and bang my volunteer work with children would be gone.
A selfish reason I know, but I did not come this far with what I do to have it be destroyed. My sisters’ would of taken great pleasure in watching that happen. That I am certain of without no doubt.
The day my father passed away I was doing what I do best. Altering and making costumes for a production that was to go on stage that very night. I know my dad was at that theatre knowing I was doing what he did best. Making something out of nothing and making sure it worked.
That night I took photo’s in the theatre and all around were orbs. I did not see them when taking the photo’s. Some would argue it was the lighting, but if there is something out there they look beautiful when blown up.

I bought the magazine I did a piece for to see my contribution.
I am ok with it just needs a few tweaks here and there. She should of put wide spread DCIS high grade and it looks like my treatment is finished by what she has written.

Take a Break Article: Issue 8, 2010

‘I felt like a ticking time bomb. I had high grade ductal cancer in situ
in my left breast. It meant that cells were turning cancerous. I had to
have my breast removed. When I agreed to a reconstruction I told
everyone. “I’m going to have a Pamela Anderson job.” I had the surgery
but without a nipple left I felt disfigured. My husband said: ‘Stay
positive, Sarah. The last thing you need to do is go to bed every night
So I carried on and he was right. I emerged from the experience a
stronger person. I am now very pleased with my reconstruction and I’m
supporting women I have met through Take a Breaks Mastectomy
Pride Facebook group. I wear my own badge with pride. What the
badges really say is: I’ve had breast cancer, been through it, understand
it and I am willing to talk about it.’

I received a message on facebook from someone I knew back at secondary

February 18 at 11:55pm
Hi Sarah,

I've got to say that you seem very strong after all you have been through. I spent most of the early part of last year raising money for cancer research here in Vancouver - I personally raised 12,500 and the group nearly 7.1million for the BC cancer foundation. I went to their facility afterwards and it’s amazing what they are doing to help find a cure. Just the other night I found a lump and thought the worst, but thankfully after a scan it turned out to be a cyst! Anyway, just wanted to say keep strong and keep spreading the word, as the more people that become aware and do their bit, the sooner we will find a cure to this dreadful disease.

Take care,

People use the word strong around me a lot. I am not strong, not at all, when the lights go out and midnight strikes I’m scared. I worry about my two daughters and how will they cope without me. My strength is in my children and the people around me. Without their positive influence I would disintegrate into a blubbering mess. The facts are I’ve painted my clown face so thick it is only a matter of time before it cracks and peels.
A lot of women are under the illusion that because they have had a mastectomy they are cured. That the problem is solved and now they can move on, but the truth is there is no cure yet. The surgeons’ knife extends your life expectancy, but you do not know for how long or if the cancer will ever return.
So what life I have, I have to live with zeal rather than mopping. Maybe that comes across as strength and a positive attitude that lights a room. I except the fact that we have to die sometime, but I don’t want to die in pain.
I know one person right this minute fighting for their last breath. His death is prolonged and painful just like my fathers. The only comfort he has is the pain relief offered to him and the fact his family are there. Now that is strength... 

Since I appeared in a magazine women are requesting to be friends on my FB page. When you think about it we are creating our own community group.
I honestly do not know if I will ever actually come to terms with my mastectomy. It was a fact it had to be done and there was nothing I could do about it. All I can do is be positive and not let it beat me.
Steve said I should be proud that my article is a positive for women to read. That it gives them hope in a dark hour, but with some there is confusion on their treatment. Why do some women have to wait on reconstruction?
There is a age limit to offering women reconstruction straight away. I find this wrong just because they are older than me does not mean they do not feel the same psychological effects of a mastectomy. These women are in a downward spiral because they have to wait one year before reconstruction can begin. Yes some women are delayed due to further treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But women like me with DCIS should be able to have reconstruction straight away.
One of the ladies I am currently talking too had to change her consultant before she could be offered reconstruction straight away.
The delays and excuses cause more damage than the mastectomy. You are built up slowly thinking that the treatment given to you has a reason. Only to find out that someone who is thirty nine gets the treatment that you desperately want at fifty.
Women are delicate creatures who are built up from images in the media. We all want the perfect body and the happy ever after story. But the bubble is burst when something like having your breasts removed leaves you feeling disfigured. I insisted I have my treatment done all at once because of its affects and emotional strain. If  I had refused to have it done straight away I would also be on that waiting list. By reading posts on forums that other women had left who had not taken up on the offer. I knew I had little choice in my decision do it or wait one year or more.
The reconstruction should be offered to all women unless their medication or treatment dictates otherwise.

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