Good morning all, firstly I want to say thanks to so many of you for your sharing as it’s helped enormously through the waiting to be diagnosed period, just knowing what I’ve been feeling is normal makes a huge difference to accepting this.
It’s taken a while, due to broken machines, changing hospital, and a couple of other problems, but I’ve finally been told that the lump in my breast is cancerous. I’m still playing the waiting game however as the doctors fear it has spread beyond just my lymph nodes and that I may be looking at a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer, so, more tests, a full CT scan and waiting ahead before I can even discuss what my treatment options are.
I have been told that I am certainly going to need a full mastectomy and lymph node removal with chemotherapy and radiation, the order of it all etc depending on results yet to come.
I’m someone who likes to plan, we go on holiday and I have an activity planned for every day, from scuba diving, to quad biking, to cycling, to parachuting, all planned, all known in advance, this not knowing is kinda driving me potty right now!
I have an amazing husband, (our tenth wedding anniversary today! Yay!) who knows me well and has taken me shopping for front fastening PJ’s, lightweight fluffy gown, fluffy bedsocks, booked a bra-fitting at M&S with an advisor who has experience with people pre and post op, we’ve also shopped for some of my favourite essential oils for relaxation etc etc… So, I feel a little in control and extremely supported by a husband who when the consultant explained that I wouldn’t be getting a breast reconstruction for at least a year if at all and asked how we felt we would cope, simply looked him straight in the eye and said “I’ll have a spare hand free to stop us falling off the bed then!”, I have an employer who from the beginning has simply said “whatever you need, tell us and we will do it, look after yourself first”, family who have been amazing and openly talk to me, friends who are secure enough with me to simply say “I don’t know what to say, but if you need me just ask” so I feel truly blessed in that if I have to go through this it’s with the best support possible.
The cancer itself almost doesn’t bother me, as long as the diagnosis is primary, even though I’m looking at stage 3, I’m feeling fairly positive, if it’s secondary it’s a whole different ballgame and I’m not even daring to look at that possibility until I’m told I need to (fingers crossed the CT scan finds nothing), the surgery I can cope with, the loss of my breast with my husbands attitude bolstering me is going to be tough, but do-able, the chemotherapy I’m not too concerned about, hair loss etc which for most women is a biggie is something I have coped with before as I suffer periodically from alopecia, so psychologically I have that bit down already, the rest I know I’ll deal with day to day, the radiotherapy I’m not sure, but again I know I’ll find my coping mechanisms. Singly all problems I know I can deal with, put altogether its overwhelming and scary as hell, triggering my worst fear, not the cancer, but depression.
My past includes a year in hospital under section 3 of the Mental Health Act, 8 ECT treatments during this time and since then a few emergency admissions under section 2, treatments with anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, tranquilizers etc etc. My absolute pride in being able to say I have beaten this and for the last 11 years haven’t needed medication, I’ve had depressive episodes but with my husband and family and friends I’ve been able to overcome, to see it coming and to tackle it early and head on, I have coping mechanisms in place which work. I’m terrified this is all about to crumble around me, that the energy needed to fight this isn’t going to be there because it’s going to be needed for the cancer. I feel the pull of depression calling me to give in to it, it’s seductive I know it’s power over me.
I know what I’m feeling right now is normal, of course I’m bursting into tears unexpectedly, of course my moods are up and down, still waiting on a full diagnosis doesn’t really help, but I am worried that given my history I’m going to struggle with this, I’m off to see my GP today to talk to him, I’m not sure if I should pre-arm myself and go onto some anti-depressants now, but I’m guessing that without knowing what treatments etc I’m looking at, especially by way of possible hormone/chemotherapy treatments, he may be a little reluctant to start me on anything right now, and I may be underestimating myself and able to get through this without…
I’m rattling on now, actually, writing it down helps put it in perspective a little, for anyone making it through my meanderings, I apologise for the long-windedness but thank you for making it!