Posts Tagged breastcancer
During the course of this dreadful disease , almost everyone I know has told me in one way or another that I am really courageous or brave or strong. And cancer in general comes coupled with war words like “fight” and “survivor” and “battle” etc etc…
The vain part of me likes to hear that, but somewhere I wonder if I being a hypocrite by acknowledging these adjectives.
Because I am THE most coward person I know!!! I tend not to go looking for an adrenalin rush. I would never willing do skydiving, or jumping in an ocean or any adventure sport really. I am also really non-confrontational. I go to great lengths and great pains to avoid a fight. My way of dealing with most problems or unpleasant tasks or confrontations is pretending that they are not there for as long as I can, (and also kind of hoping they go away on their own) and then finally just dealing with it all the while thinking about how I will treat myself later.
And that mostly summarizes how I have dealt with the cancer as well. and it so strange that people insist its “courageous” just because that the right thing to say? And it really doesn’t feel much like “fighting” when you are just curled under a blanket pretending all this is isn’t happening.
I dont say this isnt hard, or that I am not handling it well…. but I just feel it is a result of not having any choice. Cancer just came and knocked my life off track… it could have happened to anyone and they would dealt with it the same way, and you know why …. because what’s the alternative? Not deal with it.. or go crazy with
And maybe that why those terms get associated with every cancer patient…!!!
So today was Taxol #4 … and the blood counts are finally doing well. But as we all know its impossible to have everything going well at the same time…. so this time my liver has started to cave.
Due to abnormal liver function results , which is likely from the chemo , buts need to be managed before it causes more damage , I now have some dietary restrictions. So I have to cut down on everything that doesn’t taste terrible, and eat more of everything that is terrible.
More joy! <sigh> ( Please noone tell me to look on bright side . There is no bright side . Yes I get to save my liver , but if you remember a few months ago , my liver was safe and I could eat what I wanted. )
We also visited the last Doctor , in my health care entourage, the radiation oncologist. He talked a lot about complex calculations , angling techniques, radiation level calulation etc etc . To me , 30 min after chemo…. I dont really know what he said, but well , 33 doses and hopefully my boob will only be “mildly seared” and not ” fried to a crisp”.
Clearly I am not handling this all that well, afterall.
So the taxol has been on for 2 weeks now… overall its definitely better than AC. I have no fatigue and no nausea. My eyes feel much better. Taste changes are there but quite minimal.
The big side effects of the taxol are the body pain. Some days its my whole body, and others its just hips and legs. I hate the pain killers, (some make me groggy, some make me nauseous, and none of them take away all the pain) so I just deal with the pain, like a woman. But I am crabby and grumpy all the time. I make long faces when some one tries to hug me, and just overall am a terrible person to be around.
The other side effect is the nerve damage to my feet. Now I was always clumsy to begin with… so this doesn’t make it any easier. It takes forever to stand up and get walking.
So yeah , I have not being the sunny & cheerful , farting rainbows and burping flowers self. But But But… i am planning a holiday just after this treatment ends. Yes right after. The Onco is not happy at all… but you know what … I don’t care. I intend to go on this holiday , come what may. I have worked round this shit for so long now, I cant a bear it even for a minute longer than I have too.
When I knew I was going to get chemo, I imagined I would be the sole young youthful person along with a bunch of old people looking at me and feeling sorry for me…. And I thought it would be so depressing.
Well it isn’t like that at all. I mean its still depressing but for the opposite reason. At Karmen Wongs clinic everyone doing the chemo is more or less my age. It feels good to know you are not alone…. But seriously it is so depressingly unfair to see so many young people having to deal with this shit…
On a not completely unrelated note… Whoever decided tht chemo can be called “therapy” needs to be shot.
1. Everytime someone asks me how I am … I assume they really want to know .. So I tell them. Sigh
2. I have now a whole laundry list of side effects. Sometimes I whine about one or the other.I hate it when the listener goes oh but that’s not so bad , or it’s a small thing or whatever… Yes that ONE thing is not so bad … But there’s like 500 more that u don’t know about .. So just make cooing noises or say ‘there there’ .. Ok?
3. As much as the fact that I am bald did not matter … Now that the hair is falling .. And my head is so patchy .. It IS depressing. Earlier I looked in the mirror and saw a woman who was coping with cancer well.., and now I see this ugly strange creature ..
5. I never imagined that I could hate water. The sight of it .. The taste of it .. The way it feels in your stomach .. Ugh!
Today has been all about acceptance, (or least trying to accept). I did not have too much to do. A blood screening test came back , with all results normal. Doesn’t change the fact that I have cancer, but I count this as a minor win.
I am having a hard time accepting that I have cancer. Here are some examples of things I felt today.
- Obsessing over seemingly insignificant details : Ever since I have found out about the cancer I have been obsessing about how the doctor said she cant save my nipple. I had no idea I cared so much about my stupid nipple. But right now , I just want to NOT lose this. I feel like I can go to any lengths to save my nipple and my breast.
- Inability to accept that I am sick : Physically I feel fine. I feel like if I just don’t go to the doctor I can continue feeling fine. Its the going to the doctor that is causing all this worry , stress, and upcoming loss of nipple. I have this strong urge to just stop seeing this doctor.
- Wanting time to stop and fast forward at the same time : I want to hold on to these few days before the surgery as long as I can. Since I don’t really feel sick, or feel any pain, am not on any medication, its easy for me to imagine I am alright. I will always think of these as “pre-cancer” healthy days. But then a part of me also wants to skip past the coming weeks , to the part where I am all better. The part where I look and feel like I do today.
- Desperately wanting back the “Monday” worry : Monday , 7 May 2012, was the last day, that was not about my breast. On Monday morning, I was worried about work, about calls and emails I had to return, about meeting K parents. Ever since the cancer has happened , these things have stopped mattering to me. I desperately want to feel worried about those things again. I want to be normal again.
I am actually exhausted even though I haven’t done anything.
Mostly I felt optimistic thought the diagnostic procedures. I had statistics , age, genetic history, and health on my side.
But the day of the diagnosis was very hard. Deep inside I just knew that the result would not be favorable.
I reached the hospital a good 30 min before my appt, but could not find the courage to walk into the clinic. I was sure they would have the report and did not want to be alone when I opened it. I waited in the lobby of the hospital till K showed up.
We went to the surgeons office and the receptionist told me to wait for the doctor. I asked for the report , and the words Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma just jumped at me. And then for the next 40 min, I was just sitting around with tears streaking down my face. The wind was blown out from K too… he just sat there holding me… mumbling .. “we will beat it”.. “we will fight it”…. and such like.
We met with the doc, she ran me through the next steps and everything. I cannot remember anything of what she said… but i do remember her showing us pictures of a mastectomy… Horror like I have never known, it filled my whole being.
The next step is to check for spread of the tumour to other parts of the body. To know what stage this is.
Right after I had to call my mom. When she picked up the call, I could almost feel my mother willing me to say the word “benign”, and I felt so dreadful that I could not say it.