It seems quite a while since I wrote anything, a lot has happened in our fund raising ‘tour de friends’ world, and my battle with settling down on the drugs has continued.
I mentioned last time I recently had my 3 month CT scan which confirmed the drugs were working, however it raised further concerns, due to my cancer living off my hormone oestrogen, I have been receiving monthly hormone injections to shut down my ovaries for 8 months now, yet the scan showed them still working… Bloods tested and an ultrasound confirmed they were still doing their thing, with a radiographer stating I had one very dominant left ovary.
So here I am now awaiting an appointment to have a hysterectomy, after this revelation emotionally and physically I wanted to curl up and give in, struggling to have consistent days with the oral chemotherapy, train for the coast to coast ride, carry out a full time job, and then hearing that a fellow colleague and fire fighter Karen Land had lost her battle with Breast Cancer, well it broke me.
And as I write this the stand up to cancer bake off has just aired, with Karen and her family bravely doing a piece and showing the world how hard life is living with this disease thats here to stay, hearing her break down and say she didn’t know if she would have another Christmas with her children was soul destroying.
My friends and family said they had been expecting it for months, yet I wasn’t prepared two weeks ago to be sat in a meeting with my husband and a member of Notts Fire HR department, let alone be in floods of tears explaining my situation, how hard I was finding life and work, the new knowledge of Karen losing her fight just became way too overwhelming, I think the world just caved in, I began to believe this time next year I would be in a hospice, the reality of my diagnosis crazily becoming very real, For the first time since diagnosis in 2016 I felt frightened, I’m not being treated for cure anymore, my head had to come out of the sand and accept the 5-10 years life expectancy stats they quote at you in Hospital.
I think I had hit the wall and was genuinely exhausted and needed to let myself off the hook from everything, work, cycling, lack of energy that prevented me from investing in valuable friendships, including my husband, I don’t think you can ever be the same version of yourself after cancer, especially living with secondaries, but I do recognise I need to find a new normal that is achievable, sustainable and maybe new things to do and try that allow me some happiness.
I am part of a closed group on facebook called ‘BRiC (Building Resilience in Breast Cancer) lead by an amazing lady called Professor Naz Derakshan, she has also experienced breast cancer, and recently released a Pod Cast, (Listen Here) explaining how a study has revealed 80% of women with a breast cancer diagnosis experience PTSD for at least a year after their diagnosis, I cannot recommend listening to this enough to anyone going through Breast Cancer, we all end up digging deep and being everything to everyone, whether its a need to feel normal, pride that you are still strong and able to do all you did before, or just sheer pretending, but reality will catch you up eventually, and I think its so important to find coping strategies that allow you to let yourself just be, and do whoever you need to on any given day without a sense of guilt from your inner critic, especially when recovering during and after treatment.
And thats what I’m working on, opening up to my employer and friends has started the process, and it turns out it was only me thinking I was going to be bailing out when I raised my white flag. My oncologist recommended I try and learn at the moment to live a month at a time until he’s found the format of drug taking that my body can live with, I felt angry after being told this, It made me feel more owned by the disease, so I shut myself away from everyone because I felt the bitterness would spew out at totally innocent friends and family who can happily live a normal life, now I’m starting to learn to spin the negatives into positives, and live a week/month at a time with things and people I enjoy and love, its not easy but I cant bear spending every day in a negative mind set, thinking I won’t see my pension/retirement, or dreams wont be realised, places not visited, I cannot control the cancer, but I can make the effort to be kind to me, enjoy the now. Some days the crazy will kick in and I hear a song on the radio and I’m back to planning my funeral music, but I laugh now and tell myself ‘Louise, really! again? lets find a loud, jumping 80’s beat that makes me smile!!
I’ve planted some seeds for the garden this weekend, first time ever! I’m really looking forward to simply watching them become seedlings, and my husband and I have started to make little plans, ones that allow me bite size chunks of stuff to look forward to.
So here I am, signed off sick from work by my Dr, awaiting a hysterectomy and sadly no longer able to do the coast to coast ride, the thing that kicked off this whole story and blog journey. Steve, my husband will carry the baton for me, and hopefully my operation will be done in time so I can still go and support (loud-haler to be purchased for shouting support out the minibus window)
The positive reality is we have raised a lot of money lately, Mansfield Fire Station raised over Five Thousand pounds selling the calendars, the pride and joy of seeing them present the Kings Mill Hospital Amazons Breast Cancer Support Group a cheque for £5k was immense.
Steve’s 92 year old Granny raised a total of £410 by doing a Tombola at Kingfisher court Care home, which saw the Oakdale Care Group matching that amount to a grand total of £820
Notts Police raised over £900 cycling on a Wattbike from New York to Police HQ, Notts Fire PT by day and Zumba teacher by night Charlotte Hashim and Crew Manager Andy Oxnard spent months organising a Zumbathon at the Nottingham Wild Cats arena, raising over £800, so many people and businesses offering prizes for the tombola including spa days was truly humbling.
And for me the highlight!!!! Has to be the Flash dance video, created for no other reason than because it is my go to tune to jolt me out the funk and gloom, I work with and know some amazing people, maybe cancer gets me more yes’s than no’s these days but, to make a video edited in his own time by colleague Jazz Hayer, with support and help from Notts Fire, Notts Police, Paddy Tipping and a lot of friends on their days off purely to raise awareness of two very importance charities, it just makes me smile and feel life is good watching it.
We all stepped out our comfort zone the day we did this, but isn’t that what life is all about.. please watch…. please share… go wild and donate even! and please let it make you smile 🙂 it’s all for helping others.
Watch it here….