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Apr 15, 2020 11:29AM
I'd like to say how sorry I am that you are going through these hard times.
We have a similar diagnosis - you do not mention chemotherapy - perhaps - like me you do not need to do chemo?
I had a thought I wanted to share with you. It is hard to find language to describe how we go through cancer and treatment. For some it is a burden to bear. For some it is a journey. For some it is a fight or a battle.
These are often expressions that other people use and put into our heads. I know when I was diagnosed some stupid family members told me I had a good attitude and they were sure I would "beat" cancer. I didn't really know how to react and thanked them for the compliment. Today I would tell them to bugger off. :-)
I had a lumpectomy followed by radiation with a month's break and then started Tamoxifen.
I don't think of my experience with cancer so far as a fight. I didn't feel sick from the cancer and I didn't do chemo. The lumpectomy was not terrible. Radiation made me so tired I really couldn't cope with life for about 2 weeks - I was able to take those 2 weeks as unpaid leave and then returned to work. I started out terrified of Radiation but MrsPharoah told me to think of it as healing energy not the enemy and that is what I did.
Tamoxifen messed me up for the first 6 months. Eventually I just got tired of worrying about the side effects and stopped thinking about it all the time and got on with life as best as I could without judging myself all the time.
I learned to breathe through hot flashes and not fight them. (Note the language.)
I stopped lying awake at night worrying about the future so I slept a bit better.
I stopped worrying about my decreased cognitive abilities because I decided that I would do 5 years of Tamoxifen come hell or high water given my family history with cancer.
After that I feel as though I stopped FIGHTING and just let things happen.
I did not accept things I didn't like like a sheep - I changed oncologists twice because the first 2 were not very caring human beings.
When you are at the beginning of the cancer experience it is very hard to imaging that in 5 years time you might very well be just getting on with life as you were before without much having changed.
I am still the same anti-social, boring, introvert I was before I got cancer. I didn't have an earth shattering epiphany about how my life should be - I didn't change jobs for some fantastic position - I didn't write a blog.
I don't think that I fought cancer.
I don't think that I went on a journey.
I don't think God tested me.
I had cancer. That's it.
You have already done 2 thirds of your treatment. You have even started the last third (Tamoxifen). You don't have to do any fighting. You just have to carry on putting one foot in front of the other.
Tamoxifen did mess with my cognitive ability and my emotions. It is hard to describe how I felt - sort of adrift. After my five years were up and I stopped taking it I felt physically better but missed the reassurance of doing something positive to not get cancer again.
The only thing I have learned is that I can't control much and I don't have to have all the answers in advance. I can deal with stuff as it happens and as best as I can at the time. Much less struggling. Much less fighting.
Let us know how you are doing - reach out for support when you need it.
Bounce (because I hit bottom sometimes and go splat but then I bounce back)
8/5/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
8/31/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
12/31/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)