Saturday, November 13, 2010

Almost a year has passed

Almost a year has passed since my world imploded, it was November 25th 2009 when I found out I had breast cancer. Coming up to the one year mark, I feel a bit weird. As I reflect on the past 12 months, I realise just how much has happened and what I have gone through. I have spoken to some friends who have also just passed the 12 month mark and they have the same mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am happy that it is almost over, but on the other hand I feel exhausted from having to fight against it. It is unusual for me not to be able to convey how I am feeling, but the best way I can describe it is - weird. Things just feel weird. It is like I don't fit into my old life, but am not quite ready for my new life. I am not worried about going for my 12 month scans and mammogram; it may be naive of me, but I am not worried about the cancer coming back. There is nothing I can do to stop it returning, but I kicked its ass once, I will do it again if I have to (which I am really hoping I don't!).

Last weekend I went to the Relay For Life, which is organised by the Queensland Cancer Council at the RNA. It was amazing to see the amount of people who where there to support people who have been lost to cancer and are still fighting against it. They had a candle light ceremony which ended in a video montage of images of the people that have been lost to cancer. I am not sure if it was the photos or the Sarah McLauchlan song that went with it, but it hit me like a smack in the head - why me? I don't mean 'why me' as in why did I get cancer, but why did I survive it and they didn't. There was one lady who was diagnosed and passed away four weeks later. How can you be happy in your life and then be gone in a month? How can you fight against something in a month? It makes no sense to me. It has really compounded the feeling that I want to give something back to the people that have helped me through the past year and also to the people who are going through this battle. I know a lot of people refer to it as a journey, but I am not a fan of that term. Journey brings up images of driving along a country road with the wind in your hair and a cool soundtrack blasting through the car stereo. Cancer has no cool soundtrack and the only wind that you have is caused by chemo and has the toxic power to knock out a small child.

My treatment continues and I continue to battle with fatankles. Although my fatankles now have a friend - fataboob. I have lymphodema in my left boob. I had the humiliating experience of having to have my breasts weighed. It was all very technical and done using a Tupperware kitchen scale. I was surprised to know that the affected boob weighs one and a half times the unaffected boob. So you can imagine the difficulties of buying a bra that makes both boobs comfortable and happy. I am seeing a physio who specialises in lymphodema and cancer rehabilitation therapy. She is amazing and has taught me a lot of things that I can do to ensure that the condition doesn't get worse. I am required to sleep in a compression bra, which not nearly as sexy as it sounds. I am also required to do special massage to get the fluid moving; which resembles feeling yourself up, but I am told it has a medicinal purpose!

Overall, life is pretty good. Work is going great and I am loving it. I am also busy planning my birthday celebrations. Hopefully, this year they won't be highjacked by cancer! It is almost Barney's first birthday too. He continues to grow and is now the size of a small horse, pretty soon I will be able to put a saddle on him and charge kids for a pony ride. My focus for the next few weeks, coming up to the anniversary, is to remember how far I have come and not to dwell on the bad stuff. Treatment was horrific, but I got through it. It is the getting through that I will focus on.

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