Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I have had cancer, now what?
It has been 17 months since my breast cancer diagnosis. So much has happened since November 25, 2009 - when I think about it sometimes it makes my head sore. Going through the gruelling treatment I think I was in survival mode, just doing what ever I had to do to get through each day. It's been over a month since my last treatment and I have felt a mixture of excitement, relief and anger. I didn't realise that I was feeling angry until a few weeks ago.
Last week I received an email from a friend's mother, who is an amazing woman who has battled cancer three times. She gave me some good advice which started me thinking about the past 17 months. She said that she found the first year after treatment stopped was very hard. She told me that I had to make sure I had to look after myself and be kind to myself. When you are going through treatment, you have the support of friends and family, everyone is aware of the tough times you are going through. It is very visible - I was bald, pale, had dark circles under my eyes and was generally looking pretty gross. When treatment finishes, people think that you and life are back to normal. I expected me to be back to normal, but after 17 months of being consumed by cancer - I am not sure what 'normal' is anymore. I will never be the same person I was before my life imploded on that November day, I am not the cancer version of me and I am not sure where to go from here.
I still have the support of family and friends, but now I find that little things which wouldn't have bothered me before - just piss me off. I have this underlying feeling of anger and I think it is because I am not sure where to go from here. My hair is back, I am working full time and life is good - but I still feel angry. I don't know how to shake this feeling off and not sure how to move forward from here. I know that I want to move forward and get as far away from cancer as I can. Right from the beginning I said that I don't want to be known as a cancer survivor, I will always be Karen, who just happened to have had cancer. But, now what?