As the year goes by I pass anniversaries to do with my Cancer. the one in June when I first spotted my lump, the one where I had my first mammogram and lump biopsy, results day, mastectomy day, lymph node clearance, first chemo, last chemotherapy, first radiotherapy and last radiotherapy.
Last month I added a new one; annual post surgery mammogram. I will have one of these every year in September for the next 4 years, I have had this years already.
I am glad to say it showed nothing.
Post cancer you slowly recover, get back to normal, or a new normal if things have changed drastically. With breast cancer they cannot year tell you that you are clear and you be 100% sure that this is the case. A mammogram may show that you are clear in one part of your body but there are no tests yet to show an asymptomatic brain, spine or liver cancer. These are all breast secondaries.
For a while people irritated me by asking me if I was cured now. I think that was partly because the answer was a bit more complicated that a straight yes or no. I didn’t want to explain especially because everyone want me to be cancer free. It seems almost ungrateful to moan that I can’t say and it may come back. I have been given a second chance, what is there to feel miserable about? ENJOY LIFE!
I also didn’t want to think about it. After all I feel mostly OK. I don’t want the prospect of secondaries, thinking about them meant that I could not commit to getting on with my life, ‘just in case’. I have felt to be a bit in limbo. There is a feeling for me and everyone else that when you look OK you are OK. What is going on inside is a completely different thing, it is as if you are waiting for the worst to happen.
I am a positive person on the whole and find the malaise limbo creates to be frustrating and not helpful. I have felt stuck.
As ever, I don’t stay still for long. To solve this immobility I returned to a strategy I used when in the depths of chemo. I have written a mega task list and each day take one or two things off it and do them. In the last few months I have had a complete money makeover, cleared clutter from a shed; the spare room of doom has been redecorated, furniture moved round and everything given a place or reallocated to the bin, charity shop or people in need. Its a focus of activity for ten minutes or so a day that makes me feel like I am making some sort of progress. It is working too.
I am beginning to feel like my normal self and I can live with that.