When I started my Moving Forward Diary, I wanted to share what it is really like to move on from breast cancer including the lows and the highs. My goal was to be real and breakdown some of the unknowns and fears about breast cancer and what life would be like afterwards. And show women that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to show that:
- There is life after breast cancer and survival for the majority of us, at least 85% in NZ
- Healing does not follow a strict linear path
- Recovery from breast cancer treatments often takes as long or longer than the treatments themselves
- There are significant needs and issues post-breast cancer; primarily a need for support as many women go in to depression post-treatment
- There is a pathway and support for all of us; that we all are different but there is support for every single one of us
- Many people will not understand how you are feeling but there are many of us here who do understand and are here for you
- Life after breast cancer is confusing; they talk about the ‘new normal’ and those words do not begin to skim the surface of the enormity of grief, identity, mental health and physical health issues that can surround you at various times
- Breast cancer is a type of personal development in that as you know yourself more, and realise what life is about and that life is finite, amazing life changes can take place
- There are many things that we can not control (e.g. cancer) but there are lots of things we can control (e.g. our attitude, going on holiday, taking new risks and changing things in our life that don’t work)
But ultimately, I wanted to provide some inspiration and show you that life can be great and even amazing after breast cancer. That you can go forward and life a life you love. I hope I have shown that despite all the snakes and ladders of my life.
Since the end of April, my life has changed enormously. I met a man, Joel, and have fallen in love.
I wanted to share this with you as I want you to never give up hope of good health, love and a life that you love.
I must confess to kind of having given up on a ‘the one’. After two breast cancers in the last six or so years, a relationship break up after the first breast cancer and lots of hard times in between, life had not been going that smoothly. I kind of felt that perhaps that part of life was over for me. I also have enough scars on my body and didn’t feel at my best.
I’m also quite quirky – have strong beliefs about a just and kind world – in helping others, living in integrity, being vegetarian, not drinking etc … I thought it would be hard to find someone compatible with me and also strong and kind enough, not to worry about my scars and to love me as I am with no regard for the past breast cancer at all. I have learned that with the right person, breast cancer and the scars have no meaning.
So …I have met the love of my life and I have never been happier. It has taken a lot of steps for us to meet: Joel had to move cities and become the wise, lovely man he is. And I had to heal enough from breast cancer to be the positive, strong person I am now. We are the perfect match.
It is really exciting to think about a future together and life has changed profoundly for the better.
Two years ago this month, I had some of the biggest surgeries of my life and recovery was hard. I met Joel two years almost to the day after my breast cancer diagnosis. I think the crappy times are gone and life is trending upwards. It is amazing to see that life can be magical after so much of the opposite.
Thank you Sandra for introducing us!