Thursday, November 25, 2010
Today is exactly one year since my diagnosis. I have been thinking about this day for a while and I still can't work out how I feel. I am not sure if I feel happy, sad, nostalgic or just exhausted from the past 12 months. I am not sure whether I should celebrate or hold a memorial. It is just strange. When I think about what has happened in the past year, I am happy that the worst is behind me, but also sad because it is still not over. I am not ready to celebrate as my treatment has a few months to go and I am still dealing with side effects of treatment (ie. lymphoma and fatankles). I have been told that it can take up to twelve months for the chemo drugs to work out of your system. I find this strangely comforting, as I think if the cancer had the balls to come back, at least there is still something in my system to knock it out.
I am still seeing the physio for the lymphoma and am doing my daily exercises and stretches. I have been able to avoid having to wear a compression sleeve, which I am relieved about as it is starting to get steamy here; and a compression sleeve isn't the summer accessory I was hoping to purchase. I do have an array of stretchy tape going up my arm, across my back and around my boob. This is supposed to help create new pathways for the lymphatic fluid to drain, I am not sure how it works, but it appears to have helped. I also have to wear this bumpy pad thing (yes, that is the highly technical name for it), which is supposed to massage your boob. Think of it as a masseur sandal for your breast. One thing that I thought I would never have to do was pad my bra - but that is just added to the long list of 'things that I have had to do this year that I never thought I would'.
As I have said before, I don't feel like the old me and not sure how I feel about the new me. I know that I still hate my hair and don't really recognise myself when I look in the mirror. So many people have said to me how I suit short hair. The comments have ranged from 'it really brings out your eyes' to 'you are lucky you have such flat ears' to 'you have great high cheek bones to be able to carry it off'. Whilst that may be the case - it still doesn't make up for the fact that I had long hair until I got cancer, had chemo and became bald! Having high cheek bones and flat ears isn't much of a consolation. I know that people are being kind and trying to make me feel better about my post chemo fuzz, but nothing is going to make me feel better about it.
Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the year that was. Whilst it was a tough year, I discovered I was tougher. I remember at the beginning, some friends didn't know what to say. One friend called me and could only swear to me on the phone. One friend told me to look to Belinda Emmett for inspiration (that didn't really give me much comfort since she passed away from breast cancer!), but I knew my friend was trying to be supportive. I have been speaking to family and friends about how they heard the news. The day I found out was such a haze, I can't remember who I called and who I texted and who found out through the grapevine. I was talking about that day with my mum and she still gets very emotional about it.
The year has both gone quickly and slow. Going through chemo I felt every minute of every hour of every day. Since I finished radiation, the year has gone very quickly. Getting back into the routine of work and immerse myself in a new challenge has made the past two months fly by. I can't believe that next week is December and more importantly the week after that is my birthday! Birthday plans are in full swing and it should be a fun night. I am having my check-up and scans before my birthday, just like last year, although unlike last year - this year the results will be something to celebrate!
2010 has hopefully been the worst year of my life, but luckily I have had the best of friends and family to help me get through. I am looking forward to seeing the back end of 2010 in a few weeks...bring on 2011!!!!!