I just had my annual breast check-up and I am grateful to say that I am cancer free. I was diagnosed in April 2011 so this was my three year check-up.
On getting home from the hospital, I realised that I was completely exhausted. It wasn’t just the nearly one hour wait to see my specialist but just that I had the mammogram a couple of weeks ago. I have been waiting for the results but as well as that, over the last couple of months, I have been waiting to get all these appointments done (with fingers crossed to get the all clear).
Many of us know what it is like to be one appointment away from a diagnosis. Everyone is equal – cancer does not discriminate as it can happen to anyone. And then life starts to spiral in another direction. This time, luck was on my side and I got to go forward with Plan A instead of Plan B.
I feel for all those who are not as fortunate. At any time in the last months and years, I have had either a friend, family member or a colleague going through something similar to me. We all end up being part of a hidden support network giving support and encouragement when it is needed.
I also appreciate all the messages of encouragement. The hugs and offers from friends to accompany me to appointments. It may seem that I am a veteran at breast cancer; parts of it do get more familiar and sort of easier in a sense but no part of going to the hospital, being examined and waiting for a result gets easier.
I find it particularly difficult to be around all the medical equipment and seeing lots of ill people. I just find that quite unsettling and I get particularly frazzled by people talking about their diagnoses or pain quite openly in front of other people in the waiting room. Sometimes I sing to myself so that I don’t need to hear all the talk of tumours, anaesthetics, procedures and keep my head in a healthy state. Headphones are also good.
3 years on
I finished all my treatment 1.5 years ago and I am starting to feel really well. I don’t seem to catch every cold or flu around and I’m now working four days and seem to cope with that well too. I do find myself exhausted by Friday and need to rest a lot. But I am getting more energy and feeling better all the time.
I am enjoying work more and starting to look for more permanent work instead of fixed term contracts.
I have a cross trainer at home and do half an hour every night. I have been eating well and eating more superfoods such as coconut oil, cacao powder, goji berries and things like this.
I am enjoying making plans again – writing, helping with breast cancer events and just doing more with friends and family.
What has helped me in my recovery:
- Things to look forward to
- Someone to talk to about what things are really like
- Weekly acupuncture
- Being able to write about my experiences
- Friends and family
- Doing exercise daily
- Eating really well
- Working in a job that I really enjoy
- Lots of support and an amazing medical team