Thursday, 14 February 2013

Roads to Recovery

Cancer has challenged my life completely. Twice in two years if you count my husband's cancer. It is the same for any traumatic or stressful life event we go through the processes and start healing,  again.

Our tree-change was initiated because of my husband's cancer. I was diagnosed less than 5 months after we moved here. It has been difficult being away from family and friends but we stayed for many reasons I won't go into now.

Recovery, after the door has closed on active ['aggressive' chemo] treatment is the next step on the journey. A new door has opened and I'm on the road to recovery ; 8 months after I was diagnosed. I have miles to go ...

Treatment now is focused on preventing the cancer from returning. I am still having an IV treatment called Herceptin every 3 wks till October . I've also just started on anti-hormone therapy - Tamoxifen which I'll take every day for 5 yrs.

The drugs I am taking chemically force me into early menopause. I may change to a different medication once they decide I'm fully menopausal.

The whole cancer journey has taken an emotional and physical toll on our my everyday life. It's like a roller-coaster...don't ask about the mood swings.

I've been experiencing a few side effects with joint and muscle pain. I still get fatigued and suffer with insomnia. I take medication to help me sleep most nights. Hot flushes are very unpleasant and they wake me up (hubby too when I toss back sheets and forth and thrash around).

My left underarm was affected by the removal of all my lymph node on that side. It feels like it was chopped off and not reattached properly. It wasn't. It is tight and an uncomfortable feeling but not really painful , though I get sharp jabs occasionally across all my scars and surgical site.

I don't like any pressure on my chest or underarm so I rarely wear my silicon boobs prostheses or bra.I only wear them out sometimes and remove them as soon as I get home. The bra puts pressure on my port (for IV medications - I'm not sure how much longer after Oct I'll have that.). The prostheses make me very itchy for some reason.

Yet, I know I will never go through reconstruction because I cannot face my fear of more surgery. I am happy as it is. I'm capable of feeling feminine without cleavage.

Honestly, I don't feel a right to complain at all, about anything . I know there are other young mothers and women, especially in a Facebook group I joined recently, preparing for a different journey ~ funeral planning, living with intense pain and trying to 'make' as many memories as they can with their children.

Heart breaking stuff. Enough said.

The roads steps I'm taking - one step at a time and in no particular order ...

Taking Time to heal ...  I know things will still be difficult for a while and I'm being patient. I'm trying to find better ways to deal with my stress, fear and depression.

Re-establishing a regular routine ... I don't really have a job to return too though I am still keeping the books for our own business; which has been on hiatus.

Now that the kids have returned to school I will try to structure my day better - less time on the internet. Though I do spent a lot of time reading information not playing games. {what is Candy crush?}

I take time to rest when necessary and I include some pleasurable activities too. Housework unfortunately still is an avoidance activity. I'd rather have fun.

I walk everyday because research indicates exercise is vital to help prevent cancer returning plus weight gain. I'm just starting to run again too - in preparation for Mother's Day classic.

Though I've posted these tips before I pulled them 'out' again to remind myself . I like post-it /sticky memory is shocking.

I can't live in fear of my future ...

My cheeky boys help me with #7 and so does my hubby.

I manage a few of these every day.

I stopped drinking alcohol [wine] 5 months ago though I used to find it helped me relax and unwind. Mentally, I can't 'drink' because I've read the risk of re- occurrence is higher.

“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.” ~ Maya Angelou
I'm not sure where we will end up on this road but we are having fun on the way...Did you see our Color Run post below.

Now it's my turn to ask you a question-

What is one thing you would like to look back on in 20- 30 years time and be able to say you had done? 

Could it be something like sky-diving, a bridge climb, visit world heritage site or learning a new language or .........?

I had to update this post to share this inspirational and heart breaking story - an interview at Planning with Kids about Connie living with 'terminal' breast cancer  at  Love Your Sister 

Actor - Samuel Johnson’s sister Connie is dying of breast cancer so he’s setting out on an epic challenge. He’s riding 15,000kms around Australia on a unicycle to raise $1 million for cancer research.
 Please support them on Facebook too - Love Your Sister