What is it like to be diagnosed with breast cancer? What is it like to have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction? What goes on inside the head of someone just diagnosed? How do you tell people that you have breast cancer? I am starting my story from the beginning.
My Breast Reconstruction Diary Begins
Well here I am again. I believe that everything happens for a reason but what is the reason for my second breast cancer diagnosis in four years? It is a good question to ask but thankfully, I haven’t gone there too much this time as there is not really an answer. I haven’t done anything wrong; I haven’t caused it; it is just my destiny for whatever reason.
Different to last time, I have a strong sense of this just being a blip in my real life, rather than how huge this felt last time.
Cancer can be very scary, depending on its type and stage and how much you understand about the cancer or cancer in general. At this point, this is a wee cancer – early stage and possibly only surgery is required. However, I am going through the testing stage now – chest x-ray, blood test, CT scan (thanks for coming Gill) and bone scan – within a few weeks, the specialists will know much more. And …life can be full of surprises. Also, once the breast lump is removed and analysed, that is where the real info is.
So for now, I am waiting for my surgery date, test results and….for the fun of it, I have been given a brand new job at work. Being ill is very busy: often we need to work often full time to pay the bills, have numerous hospital appointments and treatments…while trying to mentally process an illness plus contribute productively at work. Having a new job has been the icing on the cake. To be fair, the job is interesting and the people really nice but the timing, awkward. But maybe that is what life is about…ups and downs, learning and growing and…the timing is not up to us.
Overall, I am in a good frame of mind. I feel a bit flat at times and really enjoy fun stuff (a weekend in Foxton with the girls was brilliant). But I would conclude that this is my journey; it can be lonely as it is very difficult for people to understand…but ultimately the growth and strength which grows with this experience is amazing. I am so much stronger than I was before cancer.
What’s on my mind (in circular patterns):
- will I need to have chemo? I hate chemo. I’m not sure if the gains outweigh the costs. Did it really work last time? I want to do cancer differently this time so what does that mean for chemo?
- surgery – when will it be? I know it will be sore; I’m scared of the pain.
- telling people – is so hard. I have not told many people this time and for friends/family, it is also hard for them too (people sometimes start treating me strangely but luckily, most of those people aren’t around me anymore).
- work – I’m a bit stressed by the workload so need to manage that stress.
- money – how much sick leave will I get? will I ever be able to own my own home?
Well that is probably enough for now.