When I last posted in June 2015, I had good intentions of posting everyday. I wanted to play catch-up with my “Best of Breast” news posts (which has now 10 months’ worth of backlog!) and to finish telling what happened post-mastectomy and nerve damage.
But life for me this year was like sitting blindfold on a roller-coaster: divorce … house-sale … recurrence … more cancer treatments … my cat dying of cancer … having to find somewhere to live … financial pressures … work pressures.
In the midst of all that, I made a decision that I was going to find something larger than the cancer, that would take me beyond cancer, so that in the morning, when I woke up, my first thought wouldn’t be: “oh shit, I’ve got cancer”, “what supplement should I take”, “what research should I be doing” etc. to heal the cancer.
For the past 4 years, healing the cancer has been my sole focus. My identity had become caught up with being a cancer patient. Now, I wanted to be the person who whether or not she had cancer, would be able to look beyond cancer.
I can’t say I’ve been 100% successful, but at least I’ve tried.
I stopped writing this blog because I lost heart. And also, for me, baring my inner thoughts on a blog carries a lot of vulnerability. I was afraid someone from my office would read the blog and then put two-and-two together. I could not bear the thought of 1000 members of staff asking me how I felt, or their pity.
I was working until mid-way through my cancer treatments because work for me was something to get up for. Then I got put on medical leave, and it was a relief that I didn’t have to juggle pretending I didn’t have cancer at work.
It’s taken me many months to finally pull my socks up. There were mornings when I fought to get up.
For many years I’d shut myself off from friends, colleagues, family because I didn’t want their pity over the cancer or my failing marriage.
This year, I took the plunge and made new friends. Friends who held my hand during cancer treatments. It takes a brave soul to sit in a chemo suite surrounded by cancer patients. I am so grateful to my friends who were there for me, and I’m also grateful that I took the brave step of letting them through my armour. Trying to go it alone was tough. It’s been infinitely easier with a few good friends.
Someone said I was an inspiration. I get that quite a lot. It’s mostly from people who don’t have cancer. I don’t think I’m an inspiration. An inspiration is when you think: “gosh, I’d like to be like her”, or “I’d like her life”. I think most people are probably thinking: “There but for the Grace of God … thank god I’m not her”. I made that comment to someone and she said that being an inspiration meant going on, no matter what.
And I guess that’s what I’ve been doing this year. Just going on. Plod-plod, one foot in front of the other. Ploughing through the shit. And trying to grow some roses on the muck.