Today girls I woke up and I ranted firstly I internalised it but then I got onto Breast Friends facebook page and I wrote a post……… angry – well maybe it’s not anger its frustration. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s the month that we can all do our bit to educate and raise awareness about Breast Cancer. I have seen so much amazing content, my heart breaks while reading the all too familiar stories of “You have Breast Cancer” but my heart is also inspired by the bravery and strength consuming the ladies as they embark on a battle to regain their much deserved health.
Why did I wake up angry today you might wonder. Well it’s simple I think there is more to Breast Cancer than just a diagnosis. It’s like throwing a stone in a pond it’s not just a splash there is a ripple effect. Yes its awful being delivered the news that you have Breast Cancer, believe me I know that. But it doesn’t just affect the patient and treatment is not your only challenge. There is walking out of the hospital as your heading is spinning and seeing the world continue as yours crumbles. I took a Luas home after my diagnosis I never use public transport and I picked the day the arse fell out of my world to do it !!! Believe me I was screaming on the inside as I looked around at people who probably had their own worries but had no idea of what had just happened to me.
Telling your family watching and worrying how they will react is such a hurdle. During treatment our children do not stop needing us and we can’t stop being a mam for the duration of the treatment. Mortgages need to be paid, petrol needs to go into cars for god sake the dog still needs to be walked even when you don’t have the energy to make yourself a cup of tea. That is the reality of Breast Cancer. You don’t get a special pass on anything just because you are fighting for your life. Instinctively we want to protect all of our loved ones we don’t want them to see the fear pain and suffering but by god that takes energy. I was so grateful during treatment that I had amazing support from my family and I was able to keep my life as normal as possible during treatment however I would have loved to have read somewhere that yes its hard staying strong for everyone and its okay to feel overwhelmed and struggle from time to time.
The treatment part of Breast Cancer to me is the honest part, it does what it says on the tin, while having its challenges and rough days at least you know when going in what is to be expected, you may even have overestimated how bad it will be and be quite relieved when you actually are going through it all I know I was, you will lose your hair, probably your breast, you will have bad days but they won’t all be bad some will be very good. For me there was some really magical times during my treatment I was blown away with the kindness and compassion of people something which instilled in me a desire to be a better person.
I think it’s when the treatment stops and you have been given the all clear then the unexpected challenges present themselves. You walk out feeling bad that you are not skipping and jumping out of the hospital because you are afraid of what is going to happen next. Obviously any of us who have finished our treatment and have been delivered the good news that we are cancer free are so grateful but there is a fear that takes over it could take a week or two to kick in but it strikes. An ache or pain can cause so much worry. Where is the support when someone who has just recovered from Breast Cancer feels afraid. Relying on loved ones and family members to tell you not to worry isn’t enough. There is the life after Breast Cancer stuff crops up for example what if you want to have children, that may not be possible after treatment, who is there for a girl who has to deal with that, what emotional support is provided when dealing with this devastating blow. Or if you are single, who helps you regain your confidence when it comes to finding love, I know that is something so many girls struggle with. I was single and my romance started in the Radiation waiting room it’s a long story and one I will share with you some day. But I say girls don’t lose hope. I just wish there was more support for girls. And it’s not being moany or negative it’s stuff that’s hard to accept and deal with but I feel with the right support could be made so much easier.
Then there is the medication that you may have to take afterwards the side effects can be awful. But the benefits outweigh the negatives. Girls struggle with weak bones, mood swings, thinning hair but do you know what because they are cancer free they give themselves a hard time for feeling bad. And they have to get on with their day to day lives I wish there was more support and advice for those girls.
Life goes on and it certainly doesn’t start and stop at Breast Cancer. Since I was diagnosed some great things have happened in my life. My life is a good one and I would definitely consider myself to be a positive and happy person, like I’m happier that I was before Breast Cancer. I take chances, try new things and have as many laughs along the way as possible. So for me to have days when I am anxious and fearful and perhaps feeling a bit sad for myself because ever since chemo I have sore feet well that doesn’t take away from me being happy and positive, it doesn’t make me negative or a victim it just means I have days or even moments when I feel a bit fearful. If I hear of another girl who is feeling unwell or unhappy well it upsets me because I do think that there should be more emotional support its not sympathy that survivors want it’s just a bit of recognition that feeling fearful is ok and perfectly normal.
So I am only one person but I am here for all of you if you need me. I am happy to share my stuff to let you know we are all in the same boat. You are all welcome to contact me at any time I will always be honest with you and do my best to help.
Today I’m sending you all lots of positive vibes and hugs xxxx