Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hello again...

It's been a while since I have sat down to write the blog. I have felt weird about coming back to it as I haven't really felt like myself and have wanted to shake off some of the anger before blogging again. It's been a few weeks since I recognised that I was having some issues dealing with life after cancer. Most of my head space recognises that life after cancer is glorious and should be celebrated; there was that part of me that was just annoyed about the whole thing. I would see girls who had long hair and bad hair cuts and I would think to myself, 'you b*tch, you don't deserve to have hair!'. My dear friend Lana left on a long overseas trip and I have really missed her, which I think added to my state of sadness. Rather than letting my anger and sadness stew, I sought some help for it. You get so much help when you are going through treatment, but there is just as much help when you are finished treatment and I decided to utilise some of that help.

I first went to see a psychologist who was recommended to me by a friend, but didn't specialise in cancer counselling. She was nice enough, but sitting there and telling her my story was pretty traumatic. I was surprised how quickly into telling the story that I started crying. I didn't think that the feelings were so close to the surface, but apparently they were. She also suggested that I draw my feelings. For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a talker, definitely not a drawer - so that wasn't going to work for me. I spoke to my breast cancer nurse about how I was feeling and she recommended that I see a psychologist at the Cancer Council Queensland and she has been brilliant (and free!!!!). Even in the few weeks from acknowledging I was struggling, seeing the first psychologist and going to the Cancer Council - I felt better. I didn't even cry when going through the details of diagnosis and treatment with the new psychologist. She gave me some really great tips about what to do when I start to feel those feelings of anger welling up inside of me. When I start to have those feelings, I have to think of something which makes me smile. So far the things that I think about include - any of my nieces and nephews, Barney's smiling face, the Reds having a home final and my tickets to the rugby world cup! It feels good to have things to plan and to look forward to without having to account for treatment schedule!

We have also broached the topic of dating and when do you tell a guy about the whole cancer thing. It feels like a whole lot of baggage to take into a relationship. Issues include - the uneven boob thing, getting cancer again and the possibility of not being able to have kids. At this point, it all seems too hard, but luckily I am not dating anyone, so don't have to have that awkward conversation. I was talking with a friend the other day and she said she would like to go home and be greeted by a man who tells her that he loves her. I am lucky that I do have that - but it would be better if the man didn't have four legs, a tail and answers to the name Barney!

In other news, I did the Mother's Day Classic Walk, which raises money for breast cancer research. My sister was the number one fundraiser last year and did the walk on my behalf as I was bald and sick and exhausted and couldn't get off the couch. However, this year I did the walk and was number 2 fundraiser for the event! I felt very proud to do the walk, but it was pretty confronting seeing the images of people who hadn't survived. I started getting upset and think about why I made it and they didn't. I started to think about if I had felt those little lumps and did nothing about it until after New Years - where would I be right now? I stop the 'what if' feelings by thinking of my happy things. I am fortunate to have so many happy things to think about.

I am feeling stronger in myself and feel like I can start helping other people get through this. On the weekend I am catching up with a 32 year old girl who has had her first chemo treatment. I spoke to her on the phone and she seems lovely and positive and upbeat, we even laughed a few times. I am prepared for it to be confronting and I have my many happy things lined up to think about if things go pear shaped.

I am glad that I went and saw someone to help me and I am feeling better for it. I feel that I am stronger and I can help other women get through this horrid disease and I am slowly working out who the post-cancer me is.

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