One year ago today is the day I found the lump that started me on this tumultuous breast cancer journey. Yeah I said journey. Whatever.
I’ve survived waiting, and not knowing.
I’ve survived the diagnosis of the hardest breast cancer to treat, and the cancer with the highest relapse rate. The cancer with no targeted treatments. The cancer that research has not been able to find a way to treat successfully.
I’ve developed patience and a thirst for knowledge in order to educate myself.
I’ve survived Dr Google and his dire statistical outcomes.
I’ve survived 12 months of the worst stress and anxiety I have ever experienced. It’s still ongoing, but I’m getting a handle on it.
I’ve survived 5 surgeries, including the loss of both my breasts, with 2 more to go. Next up is the prophylactic hysterectomy and removal of ovaries and tubes, next Wednesday. Then implant exchange.
I’ve survived the devastation and fear for my family after the diagnosis of having the BRCA 2 mutation. But not only me, my mum, my uncle and my sister all tested positive. 2 sisters and 3 nieces, 2 nephews to go.
I’ve celebrated my beautiful daughter Adele and gorgeous niece Teigan testing negative.
I’ve survived 5 months of the harshest chemo. Nausea. Weight gain. Hair loss. Mouth ulcers. Vaginal & rectal ulcers. Yuck. The pain.
I’m Surviving and living with the after effects of chemo: menopause, joint inflammation, paralysed diaphragm, fatigue, insomnia, chemobrain, fucked up endocrine system…….
It’s been a year of pain, physical and emotional.
It’s been a year of discovery and realisation. Realising what a tough woman my mother is for surviving this twice. Realising how strong the bond is with my Deli and that even though many kms keep us apart we are still as close as ever, but God do I miss her.
Cancer has also reopened communication amongst my family and brought us closer. For that I’m thankful.
It’s also been a year of swallowing my pride and learning to accept help from family and friends.
It’s been a year where my friends & family (including my ‘adopted’ family) have stepped up and have been my rocks when times were tough, when I needed some normality, but mostly when I needed a hug and to feel loved and cared for, and worthy, and fed, almost on a daily basis.
It’s been a year of making new friends, friends I’ll have for life. Mostly however, it’s been a year of being grateful I am alive, and I fully intend to stay that way for many, many more years to come as cancer cannot, and has not, taken away my fighting spirit.