Tuesday, 26 October 2010
It’s weird how cancer takes over not just your day-to-day life but your mind as well. I am finding it harder and harder to ignore the annoyingly incessant little murmur; ‘oh shit, I have cancer!’ that never seems far from my thoughts. I wake up to it in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, in fact whenever I have a moment’s repose. I’ve ended up caught between being almost desperately practical about everything to wandering around in a kind of stupor trying to remember what it is I should be doing. It’s maddening, sometimes deafening and I wish it would just get the hell out of my head! I know I have cancer and I don’t need a constant reminder thank you very much!
My practical side is working overtime to compensate for all of this. For instance I should have guessed just how hard it would be to buy a simple mastectomy bra in my size when it’s hard to buy 30D bras at the best of times. I’ve spent hours in front of my laptop searching through specialist websites in the hope of finding something suitable. I’ve also made numerous phone calls as I continue the hunt for that oh so elusive garment. Someone I spoke to at a manufacturer said ‘oh I’m sorry but we only stock normal sizes.’ There was a very long silence when I asked if she could recommend anything for ‘abnormal’ people like me! I know that as a nation we are growing in size but for heaven’s sake I see plenty of women on the streets that are petite like me, where are we supposed to buy our bras!
This of course turns up the volume of that persistent murmur and once again I find myself thinking about cancer instead of what I need to be doing about it. It creeps slowly up to catch me unawares, one minute I am sharing a laugh with a friend and in the next I am plunged into despair at the thoughts of losing my breast. I’ve ended up in a kind of alternate reality where the thoughts and worry about cancer constantly dog my heels, threatening to overtake me, but so far not quite succeeding. This is worst at night because I am finding it increasingly hard to sleep. I wake up several times a night just thinking about the consequences of my diagnosis. People around me offer reassuring platitudes about how good survival rates for breast cancer are and that I should try not to worry about having a scar because the surgeon will do his best to make it as small and neat as possible. They are absolutely right and the logical part of my mind is nodding in agreement with them, but cancer is still Cancer and treatment comes with no guarantees. A scar in place of a breast is still exactly that and something that I will have to look at every day - not something to look forward to!