I thought it would be a good idea to lay out where I am now in terms of health following treatment for breast cancer.
It seems I am going through the ‘year ago today’ stage. I do something and think ‘a year ago today I couldn’t do this or that.’ The Christmas and New Year period was particularly like this because last year was so bad.
So I thought I might do a little update and see how far I have come and what I expect to happen next.
Physical health: I have mentioned many times in the blog about the tiredness and lack of stamina and strength. I used to pride myself on the fact that I was strong and able to chop trees or lay a hedge all day. Towards the end of treatment I could hardly walk. I lost all that strength and it is taking longer to get back than I thought it would.
As in yesterdays post I think a lot of it has to do with sleep disturbance and just not having the energy to do as much or last as long. I expect to improve on the sleep in the next few months and therefore the stamina etc.
The menopausal symptoms are an issue all day and night. I hope these will improve with the anti depressants that the GP offered me. I will let you know.
Other side effects have been increased aches and pains which have arisen in part due to the tamoxifen. In a year or so I will be swapped to another protective drug so these symptoms may go. I suspect lack of sleep does not help.
On the more positive side of the story I have now got fingernails, eyelashes and hair. My head hair grew back grey and curly. It was grey underneath and I have been dying it for years but the curliness was surprise. I am a bit undecided about whether I like it or not. I liked the shorter hair I had as it was growing. I can’t say I miss the wig though.
Mental Health: Throughout the whole process of diagnosis and treatment I have been positive, (mostly), and I feel that I managed well enough apart from the odd down day, and that could only be expected.
Earlier I mentioned going though the ‘this time last year’ phase but before that I had a ‘why bother?’ phase.
Certainly, since I have returned to work in May I have noticed that although I care about what I am doing and on the surface I am my usual self, I am not feeling it. In fact I would say that I am emotionally flat at the moment. I think it is in part due to tiredness, but also I am now processing what I have been through. Life is back to normal, and the world has stopped revolving around me. It is both good and at the same time a little odd as I readjust back to that normality.
When I first returned to work I didn’t want to be there AT ALL. I am ok with it now but planning hard for retirement in four years.
I do not think I am depressed and I do think it will pass eventually.
I suppose that once you have been though this sort of intense life experience it has to affect you in all sorts of unexpected ways. There is also the chance, however small that the cancer will return and I would like to say that it isn’t worrying me except that I think it is, at least on a subliminal level.
So overall I would say progress is slow and will continue to be so. I need to continue to push the boundaries and keep moving, and monitoring. I acknowledge that I am finding it difficult to accept the slowness of recovery but at the same time know things will continue to improve.
I realise that all of the above sounds a little whiney and miserable and I am sorry for that, but I do want to put it out there that just because the main event is over that there is a way to go before things have settled into a new normal.