The health activists month writers challenge popped in my in box today so I thought I would join. It seemed appropriate as its an anniversary for me and I wanted to write about it.
It's two years since I was
diagnosed with breast cancer again..yes again. It was on Easter Monday
actually, so two years ago that was a different date. But it was that
day when my soon to be surgeon phoned to say yes, it's cancer but its
very early and treatable. Great news its early,I thought , then got on
with the job of packing it in to nice boxes to deal with and hopefully
I knew the ropes after all. I knew how it worked, I
would decide what assaults on my body I would need to deal with. I knew
that my early diagnosis meant relatively light touch treatment. I knew I
would need time off work but that was ok within limits. I knew that
some people I thought I could rely on would disappear . I knew that I
could be honest with my now adult children and minimise the impact. I
knew we would get through it and come out the other end. Yes with the
uncertainty of return, but that had always been a background feature in
my life. I knew I was in control, right?Are you laughing yet at my
naïveté ....well smiling wryly if you either know me or have travelled
this road yourself maybe.
So ok the truth is there in part...the
previous conviction gave me a helpful understanding of the routine, the
roller coaster emotions, the fear, the savouring of life. But like other
kinds of previous, the sentence wasn't in isolation, the physical and
emotional impact was cumulative in a strange way.
So what did I
learn instead. Well the toll has been harder than I thought. My energies
have yet to return to their previous state, my emotions are still
fragile at times, the likelihood of recurrence more at the forefront of
my mind. I haven't been able to stop the impact on others but they are
ok if I am. I have given up my job as a director of Breakthrough Breast
Cancer for many reasons....but it's helpful not to have breast cancer
omnipresent in my life and not defining me. And this time I have
responded differently to the cancer. I have not put my knickers on top
of my tights to prove my super woman status and prove that the cancer
hasn't affected me.
No this time I have thought how do I want to
live........and how I want to live is focusing on what gives me joy,
plays to my strengths in my career, gives my time with those I love and
time to smell the roses and write too. So this is the point I say I'm
glad to the cancer for helping me find this place.......?
Emmmm....that would be a big fat no!
I am immensely grateful to have choices to make a difference in my
career and enable others to as well. I am benefitting from having a
better balance in my life ( not there yet but it's unfolding....). But
frankly I would rather have got there myself and made the decision with
the wellbeing to fully enjoy it.
So two years on I look back and have
wry smile at my thought I could control it so it didn't have an
impact.... And acknowledging the sadness for what i have lost. But I'm
so glad I'm here embarking on an exciting and enjoyable next stage in my
life and career. Thanks for travelling with me at times and a heartfelt
thanks to those of you who have supported me and cheered me on.
Its Easter Monday so as well as an anniversary for me its a message of hope is it not. So I am sharing this beautiful image too as a reminder for all of us whatever our beliefs.
health activists challenge is to write a post everyday in April so I
will see how I do. But I decided to join as I rediscovered how much I
enjoy writing since my diagnosis, and it seemed a way to celebrate the
good too....Wish me luck!