Sep 19, 2016

Breast cancer treatment - The emotional rollercoaster and being menopausal

One of the reasons I like to document things on here is because I like to run away from my emotions. After getting hurt pretty badly in my early twenties, I learnt that switching off emotions and putting giant walls up means you're less likely to get hurt again. Which is great, and definitely works, except it comes with it's own set of problems, like getting anxiety attacks from all those bottled up feelings you like to ignore, not being able to move on from stuff by pretending it's not there, you can't genuinely be happy unless you feel that pain, process it and move on to a happier place.

I like to distract myself, if I feel bad, I don't think about it. I lock it away and put that in a 'deal with that later' compartment of my brain and promptly move on to do something that makes me happy.

As most of you who read this blog know, before I got breast cancer I was a couple of weeks away from a nervous breakdown. I had totally pushed myself to the limit, I was stressed, working hard, being a Mum, worrying about money, trying to become a famous artist (don't laugh) and then I started feeling ill, I started panicking all the time about THE stupidest stuff, (my dear friend Lisa likes to jokingly remind me that I used to genuinely worry about choking on a sandwich and that I like to grill the nurses over whether I should be taking nurofen or aspirin, even though they're pumping toxic chemo into my veins...) convinced my world was falling apart around me but if I just kept smiling everything would be fiiiine.

So, moral of the story is feel the pain, feel the sadness, feel the anger, don't pretend it's fine when it's not. I'm not suggesting for one minute to cry about every shitty little thing chemo delivers, or lie in bed every day thinking 'WHY MEEEE' But when you do have those moments when something really upsets you, that's okay. Call up your best friend or reach out to your partner.

It's a tough time, for instance, I'm sitting here writing this, feeling all Carrie Bradshaw-esque typing my inner-most thoughts into my laptop (please tell me other people pretend they're Carrie Bradshaw when they're writing a blog post??) and my lovely fantasy of being a grown up writer is being interrupted with a hot flush. A chemical-menopausal hot flush. I feel like I'm on fire, fanning myself and turning red. Eughhhhh.

For instance - Chemo brain - seriously I've had to re read this post so many times, I don't even know what I'm on about. I don't remember where I put important things like passports or plans I've made, I can't remember the word I'm looking for in a sentence sometimes and I walk into a room to get something and forget why the hell I'm standing in that room. I forget to put my fake boob in and walk around with one obvious boob all the time.

I just want to all the time. I just want to curl up in a comfy white fluffy duvet with Peter Alexander pyjamas on and nap for hours. Except I have so much to do, so much I want to do and yet I have no energy, so I resent wanting to take a I'm a Mum and having a nap is just not an option!!

I feel pain. My legs are in a constant state of aches and fatigue and my feet (and my fingers) are numb most of the time thanks to the carboplatin. I feel I have run a marathon before I've even woken up. My mastectomy site is sore and tender and I can't lift my arm without tightness and my inner arm is still completely numb.

I feel angry, that this process is taking so long, that I have to go through all of this, that I look like an egg head, that my life right now is a series of drugs and symptoms.

I feel emotional, on the days that I come off the steroids, when you're weaned off them and left to fight the chemo solo. I feel emotional when I think of the worse case scenarios. When I meet people in the cancer ward and the next week I find out they died.

I feel scared when I think of the severity of cancer and what it does to people.

But it's okay to feel all of that, it's the reality of all of that. I'm reminding myself that it's normal, I talk to my friends, I talk to other girls who are going through this and we laugh about the stupid shit we do when we've got chemo brain, we laugh about the diarrhea situations we are so often faced, we reach out to each other and we just get through it. Because we're bloody tough and in the words of Constance Hall we are fucking Queens.


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