Milestone, anniversary, landmark moment, commemoration — whatever you want to call it — today marks 12 months!
It was 12 months ago when Ross and I sat in my GP’s office and she said THOSE words “you have breast cancer.”
We knew. We had known for a few days – not officially – but we knew. The scans, biopsy, phone calls to bring our GP appointment forward a day – it was all adding up to bad news.
I honestly thought my ‘shit fight’ would be over by now. I had honestly hoped at least.
When I first met with my surgeon three days after my diagnosis, one of the first things he told me was to put my diary away! I like to be organized and still love my written, hard copy diary. I had it with me that day and as he talked about treatments (starting with chemo, followed by a mastectomy and then radiotherapy) I flicked through my diary pages and, for me at least, I had it all done and dusted by now.
And I guess his treatment plan is done, but my diary planning didn’t account for a dodgy BRCA gene, a delayed start to radiotherapy because movement in my arm had been restricted by surgery and my lack of understanding about how long recovery would take between all these stages.
It’s been a mongrel of a ‘journey’ and while it is not over within my timeframe – with reconstruction, second mastectomy and ovary removal to come – it’s all gone OK!
So, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Every case of breast cancer is different. Every treatment is different. How everyone reacts to their treatment is different.
- Phenergan makes me sleep like a baby (even when the cricket or tennis is on the TV in the chemo room)
- Taking steroids at 10pm and then forgetting to take your sleeping tablet sent me loopy and meant I was wide awake at 3am buying tickets online for me and my 10-year-old daughter to go and see her YouTube hero Tyler Oakley (and here’s the three of us before the show because in my drugged-up stupor I also purchased VIP meet-and-greet tickets)!!
- People are inherently kind, generous and just amazing – from dinner, High Teas and lunch box snacks to flowers and fluffy robes
- Oncology nurses are some of the most incredible people on the planet
- I am only just starting to like the colour pink again! I was diagnosed in October – breast cancer awareness month – and at first I wanted to pop every bloody pink balloon floating around in Dr and radiology waiting rooms
- I love my family more than anything on this earth and hope out of all the lessons they have learned about life in the past 12 months they truly know what is means to have empathy for other human beings
- It looks pretty funny (and lopsided) when you forget to put your temporary prosthesis in your bra!
And what I’m hoping for now:
- That I’ll be writing my 2-year ‘anniversary’ blog from America when we take our family back there again having been in 2013 to help celebrate my 40th birthday. We thought that was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but given what we’ve been through in the last 12 months we’re busy planning (and saving) to go back again once my surgeries are done
- After the final chapters of treatment/procedures are over, at the end of every annual check-up I get told “see you again at the same time next year” and not any sooner!
- The sickening and still very raw and emotional memories of treatment fade sooner rather than later
- I am always thankful for the amazing family and friends I have in my life – I could not have done all of this without them