1st December 2010
Life has it’s peaks and troughs no matter whether you have cancer or not. It is whether you can admit to yourself that the cancer is not to blame, but a combination of circumstances. People can become very angry because of this diseases. They do not have to have had cancer for this to happen either. A loved one/friend may of had/have the diseases and it’s affects leave an emotional hole. When you come across theses people you have to bow out gracefully. Your positive approach they do not want to see or accept. That’s why they say you are insensitive because you are not silent to this disease. But people have to understand just because you smile does not mean you are not crying inside.
Karen informed me the lump on her neck has started to grow again. I am so worried for her, but she is taking it in her stride. She has been here before and to her she will beat it again. Karen asked me not to repeat anything to the BC girls until she knows what the results from tests are. But deep down I think she knows her battle is going to get even harder.
I had my assessment this week for my upcoming operation to remove the calcification. No matter where you go cancer is all around you. As I walked into the room I could see the nurse who was assessing me seemed distracted. I had filled in a form with all my personal details and answered a few questions. Two of which I could not answer not until I had spoke to a nurse/doctor. I took a seat as we went through the form. One question was to do with indigestion/ulcers. I have been having stomach issues lately which I need to see my GP about. And the other question was the affects of anaesthetic. My heart rate was accelerated in recovery after the mastectomy.
After chatting with the nurse the questions were soon cleared up. When she saw what I was having done and that I had a mastectomy in October 09. Her eye brows raised with a tilted head and we began to chat about it. She said, “But how do you get through it?”
It turns out she had a mastectomy eight years ago and now her BC had returned. The women was in a dark place it was plain to see. I could feel her pain and the fact she had to remain in a role of distance was distressing. I reassured her as best I could and I told her you have too. I had a Chemo, courage & corsetry calendar with me. I was posting it up to another BC girl. I undid the package and we flicked through its pages while I told some of the girls stories as far as I knew them. Then I tapped my finger on Karen’s picture. I said, “Like you her breast cancer has returned and she is not letting it control her. It is her life and she will not remain cornered. It is you fighting you and for whatever the reason you must look for goals, a positive. Once you have achieved that the fear will subside. You have beaten the cancer once you can beat it again. I and Karen plan to climb Ben Nevis this year. That is our goal and all of the other girls are doing the same looking for goals, not just looking at cancer. Do not look back look forward see your cancer as another wake-up call. It is easy said than done I know, but you must do this. Please don’t shut down your not the only one fighting this diseases and you won’t be the last. Just take every day as it comes.”
Once my assessment had finished I stood up and rubbed her shoulders with my hands and I told her to remain strong. The fear in her eyes was there, but she could not show emotion. The shock of what she was going to go through was still sinking in. After all she had been there before and new the statistics, she is a nurse.
For a nurse to feel so isolated in an environment that treats this disease is shocking, but no matter how much support you receive it leaves doubt. Doubt on your treatment and doubt on the future. She had explained to me how scared she was. That her work was her only distraction from her upcoming treatment. The thought of remaining in an area with just four walls to talk to caused more distress to her. So she chose to remain working like most BC women.I cannot understand why my outlook on life is so different. That I am not looking at death or like this nurse talking about it. I do not even have a will. Even though I should actually have one not because of cancer, but I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Yes I worry for my girls and the what if’s, but not about my death. Is that the answer to get through this? I have noted that our BC group is divided emotionally. Some actually thought about death like the nurse, but others never even stopped to think about the possibility of death. Why is this? Should I be talking about it? Can I talk about it? Well I am now, but I am not dead. I am very much alive and no matter where this conversation takes me. The reason I am alive is because I have not doubted the outcome. I have fought my way to this position in my treatment. I have come to the conclusion there is no room for doubt with cancer. You must remain active to this disease, but look for other outlets so it does not remain your only conversation point. That is why you must set goals to achieve where possible.