Sunday, 5 December 2010
I didn’t have a very good night last night, partly because my wound hurts where it is healing but also just thinking about everything that is to come over the next few months. As a result I woke up this morning feeling like I am in free-fall without a parachute. Remember that stupid little voice in my head reminding me I have cancer? Well it’s back with a vengeance today and it doesn’t matter what sort of displacement activity I engage in, I just can’t find any peace from its incessant murmuring. So here I am writing in the hope that putting it all into words will help somewhat.
So what is it that has made things worse today? It’s hard to quantify exactly but it is a kind of creeping dread of what chemotherapy is going to do to me in the short term. I’ve done the research, read the experiences of others but cannot quite reconcile myself to what is going to happen. I often struggle with my health anyway so part of it is the thought that this is probably going to get worse because my body can only take so much abuse before it starts to rebel. Also the fact that I am going to lose my hair will be the final step in identifying to the world that I am being treated for cancer. I hate the fact that already some of those around me want to define me as a ‘cancer patient’ and demonstrate their pity for my situation. I know it sounds horribly ungrateful but I don’t want people to pity me, just to have a little compassion, sympathy and also patience as I do my best to negotiate through these difficult times. I am lucky in that I have lots of friends who are being wonderfully supportive but it only takes just one adverse comment from someone who knows me less well to send me into a downward spiral at the moment. I try to ignore it but somehow I can’t quite find the wherewithal to do so.
So here I am, falling inexorably towards the abyss, stony ground or perhaps the river that will sweep me away. I am hoping that when I finally get there it will be to fall into the river because at least then I might be able to swim my way out of it all.
Thursday I go for a CT scan to check to see if the cancer got further than my breast and lymph nodes and then after that I will begin chemotherapy. I’ve tried very hard to try and see some positive sides to it (more on this another time) but today I am searching hard for that stoical streak that has so often helped me in the past. All I can say right now is ‘tomorrow is another day’ and one that I hope brings back that elusive stoicism.
ETA - this is several days of updates as we've been without broadband for almost a week.
Sunday 5th December
I had my CT scan on Thursday – wasn’t much fun getting to the hospital for 8am in the snow but it’s all done now, so now I guess I wait to find out when I will have my first chemo cycle. After things were finished at the hospital we went into town to try and sort out a proper mastectomy bra as in a couple of weeks I’ll be getting my permanent prosthesis. What a palaver that turned out to be – thank goodness for the caring staff in the lingerie department! I am in possession of just one bra with two on order that might, if I am lucky, also fit. It appears that pretty much all the major specialist bra manufacturers are discontinuing making them in smaller sizes, nice eh? I guess if I was feeling entrepreneurial there’s a business opportunity in there somewhere. . . ?
Meanwhile on Friday I sorted out the next thing on my list – a wig. I opted to go to a local specialist trained through Trevor Sorbie’s excellent My New Hair scheme and I am so glad that I did. I was treated with care, compassion and respect – if you live in the North Devon area this is the place to go if you need a wig for any reason at all but particularly if it’s for medical reasons – Your New Hair @ HQ The Salon
It turned out to be something of an emotional experience because once you have the wig cap on it is possible to get an idea of what it will look like when you’ve lost all your hair and I found this quite upsetting. I tried on several long styles and a few in colours similar to mine have been ordered for me to try on the 14th. Whilst I was there I also tried on a few in shorter styles and if I am honest I didn’t really like the look of myself with so little hair – it seemed like someone else was looking back at me. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it though as next Tuesday I’m having it all chopped off!