I haven’t posted in over a month. I just couldn’t seem to do it during radiotherapy. Wow what a slog that was. 20 sessions – everyday for four weeks. I didn’t have to travel far and I wasn’t long in the chair, but going everyday, stressing about delays as I wanted to make sure we got home in time for my daughter, doing the 20 second breath hold, just feeling so exposed with arms up breasts exposed – it was exhausting and I am so glad it’s over.
I’ve also had 7 of my 18 Herceptins – so still a way to go there. I think the Herceptin side effects are getting easier though, perhaps my body is building up some sort of tolerance? I don’t feel as fluey or breathless (yesterday I was able to walk a fair old way down to the beach and back) so that’s definitely an improvement.
It’s not all plain sailing though. I have a lot of stiffness and pain in my hands and feet. The oncologist said it’s down to chemo damage and possibly early menopause (also chemo induced) and might get better or might go on for years! I also have a hard lump of what I’m hoping is scar tissue under my lumpectomy scar – I’m seeing the breast surgeon about this on Wednesday.
But … I am starting to feel better (at one stage I thought I’d never type those words again). Last week I went back into the office for a few hours and, although seeing people and talking to them was exhausting, it felt like I was returning to normal life. I was stressed about some work-related stuff (although shouldn’t have been) but this has now been sorted. And my hair is coming back (it’s come back curly which was always my secret wish!) Indeed so much has come back that I’ve been able to dye it. I used Naturtint from Holland and Barrett as it’s meant to be gentler on the hair and I’m very pleased with the result.
You will note that this is a more positive post than any I’ve written since finding out I had breast cancer. I hope that this can give some comfort and reassurance to anyone who has been reading this blog. Undoubtedly I’ve have some very dark days but things now seem brighter. Of course nothing is guaranteed. Who knows what will happen? We can only live one day at a time. But from now on I’m choosing to live each of my days in a happier frame of mind. I can’t control anything in life so worrying about such things is a waste of time and energy.
You see – I have thought a lot about the meaning of life since being ill. I have been particularly influenced by reading Anthony De Mello. I see that I have always sought things outside myself to make me happy and how, once I’ve achieved them, I’ve then sought not to lose them. This has caused constant worry and stress. Fear has always been such a driving force in my life – fear of not achieving something, fear of losing something, fear of causing offence, fear of confrontation, fear, fear, fear. But I now understand that nothing external to me (possessions, house, career, friends, family etc.), can ever bring true happiness and peace as it always come hand in hand with fear of loss which in turn causes stress and anxiety. Anything external = Fear. True happiness and peace can only come from realising that no matter what we all have within us all we need to be happy. We are enough.
It’s hard to think this way. I find my mind wandering off to worry about this and that. I love my husband and daughter and fret about them constantly. I worry about my job, the house etc. But from now on I’m going to try to intercept these worries, to gently bring myself back to the present moment and to remind myself that letting my mind spiral is not the way to happiness and peace. To attempt to control everything in life is to play a never-ending exhausting game of whack-a-mole. Much better to return to the present and breathe.
I finally realise that I have all I need. I always did. Everything that is happening is happening perfectly. I don’t need to control things. I need to let go.
This is such a strange moment in my life. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something. It might even be peace.