"If you wake up and don't want to smile
If it take just a little while
Open your eyes and look at the day
You'll see things in a different way
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow"
The year is drawing to a close and like many I am casting my eye back and reflecting. As I made plans with my family for the year ahead I mentioned "I won't be having surgery this year" and I realise how this has punctuated my year-and the previous one. In a year where I faced major surgery and had times when I was investigated for lung and bone secondaries it's such a relief to say that. My recent visit to the clinic and negative mammogram means I now have a clear run for another year till my next appointment. This is partly because I have declined further treatment but I have done this with knowledge and its my decision which I can change at any time.
My decision not to have further surgery is to protect my wider health and perhaps because for 18 years I haven't been symmetrical, maybe it's just who I am now? The time it will matter most is when I buy a new bra. And readers , that time has come. Yesterday I did a bra amnesty. Ugh! I have one that fits and around 15 that don't. They reflect the ups and downs (!) of the last two years. There are functional ones ( pah) and attempts to cheer myself up ones but they don't fit. The best one I bought in breast cancer awareness month , when a significant donation went to Breakthrough. It seems fitting somehow, no pun intended...
So soon I must brace myself to get back into the lingerie department. And much though I dread it, want to scream at some one, want to punch attendants if they mention chicken fillets ( the women can explain if you don't know about these) ....I know I can't buy it on amazon. Perhaps this isn't the week as I am now on antibiotics for a chest infection and the emotions are close to the surface......be warned.
The other treatment I discussed was tamoxifen or similar. I was on it five years previously and know the side effects can really affect your quality of life. I stayed on it because I knew the research and my children were young, I took no risks. But recent research had pointed to the benefits of taking the drug for 10 years. So having declined it last year I thought I should revisit it.
And we talked it through. I learned there are some indications that smaller doses, different regimes and so on can reduce risk with less cost to the person. But that's not common practice yet as the research isn't complete. How hard it must be to have that research funded. After all the drugs companies want us to use more not less, charity funders tend not to fund this kind of research, do governments then need to take up the mantel? After all this is about life, both quality and quantity and both are important. But in the end armed with the information, I still decided not to take it. My cancer was early and so on balance of risk to my wider health and quality of life ,I know it's the right decision.
The surgeon supported me with the words." The role of the doctor has changed, we no longer tell people what to do, we give them the information and support them to make the right decision for them". I wish we could clone him! He absolutely gets what person centred care is.We need more like him.
I am therefore approaching 2013 unfettered by imminent treatment and beginning to feel able to move on. That really feels good. As my life transitions into a new phase in January that knowledge is liberating. I can almost let myself be excited about the future again. But more of that in my new year blog.
Reasons to be cheerful. We had a wonderful run up to Christmas with family and Christmas itself was lovely. Good company, good food and beautiful walks on the beautiful Balmedie beach. Perfect. And Cara the pup was on charm offensive, she was indeed a wee star! And the quote I started with is a Fleetwood Mac one. Hope the song lifts your day as it did mine.
Vintage Fleetwood Mac