Unease of mind that comes following cancer diagnosis and even good news.
I've been having a good day today. Felt a bit shit when I woke up but that's every morning at the moment...nausea, headache and really tired. I've been told that's probably the meds I'm on and those side effects should fade in time. It's basically like feeling hungover every morning which sucks as I've not been on the batter! It's actually the last thing on my mind right now.
So yeah, had a good day with the family and then headed to Belfast to stay with my good buddies Becky and Dee in prep for early Radiotherapy session in the morning. Just chilled and then bed with Netflix as is the Sunday night routine for most! It was then that I started to feel a bit rubbish...nauseated and a bit anxious I think. I'm not sure why, maybe the meds, maybe not.
What I wanted to write about is how any physical ailment scares me. Since I was diagnosed, if I feel unwell, I worry why that's happening and is it cancer. The side effects from the Tamoxifen vary and can affect people differently but I think I can narrow them down to when I started on them a couple of weeks ago now. So there are the ones I've mentioned and then other things I've noticed are hip, shoulder and thigh pain which gets pretty blinkin' annoying and results in me groaning and walking stiffly like someone much older than myself when getting up from my chair! My back has been pretty sore too but I've had a few problems with that since before being diagnosed and hoping that's just from Nursing. X-ray was clear phew.
My point is that is that it's so difficult to avoid becoming frightened that it's cancer in another part of my body...it scares the shit out of me and truth is, I'm feeling like that tonight. I'm finding it difficult to get to sleep (can be another side effect but I think it's just been stress with me from all of this) and it's making me anxious. I know I'll be able to sort this out in my head and get some shuteye eventually, but lying on your own in a dark room when feeling this way is pretty rubbish.
Now I don't want to paint a picture of me curled up in the dark in pieces because that's not how it is. I have been like that at times but not tonight; I'm just a bit sore, tired and well, worried. What I have to do is reiterate to myself that from all the tests, scans, surgeries, results, conversations with Docs and Nurses and treatment, the likelihood is that the cancer has not spread to any other part of my body and christ, I hope that's true with every single part of me.
I'm not writing this to bring you down or to generate sympathy in the slightest, it's for me to vent and to give an honest account of how I'm feeling which is the only way to do this. I'm also hoping that anyone who's going or has gone through the same thing, will relate and hopefully find comfort in the fact that they're in no way alone. I've been told by my team and people who've had cancer that these feelings are normal and even if I hadn't, I know it would make sense!
I was chatting to some friends and my big sis last night about this as they were asking if the Radiotherapy caused me any pain. I haven't experienced any as of yet (4 sessions in!) but think that if I do, it'll be like sunburn, itchy and dry. I was telling them that my breast hurts now and again but that I'm pretty sure that's it healing from the surgeries. I also told them that a hard lump formed and sometimes it's in different places...in the same area but changes now and again. They were asking if that worried me and I said that it had at first but that I'd checked with my Consultant who advised that it was normal so phew to that! As a Nurse, I would know if something looked like it needed attention but when it's me as the patient, panic bloody central, especially where cancer is concerned.
In saying all of that, I think I've managed ok not to let my head run away with itself too much. It's really hard sometimes and like tonight when I feel a bit bleugh, I can't help but feel uneasy and upset, but I think you have to let these feelings come, calm yourself, get to sleep at some point and see how things are in the morning because at least then, I can give my Breast Care Nurse a call for a chat to go over my concerns and get some reassurance. Sometimes that's all you need.
Also it can be difficult to talk to those close to you about this as the last thing you want is to worry them and also for them to see you upset. Now obviously that's unavoidable and my family and a few buddies have seen me when I haven't been feeling too bouncy but to be honest, I wouldn't want to be feeling that way with anyone else and they've been just amazing :-)
So yeah, it's ok to feel like this and it's perfectly normal. Cancer is scary and I honestly don't know if it'll ever sink in no matter how many times I say, type or read the word. But in saying that, it is a part of my life now and I have to deal with that. People are saying that I'm dealing with it really well and honestly, I'm not even sure that's true at all. What I'm doing is - it's a cliché but so true - taking each day as it comes and living my life. I don't really know how else to do it; some days are good and some days I'm sure I'm not great company but that's just how it is and I try to ensure that the latter doesn't happen much.
So there it is, thoughts of today. I feel better having chatted about it and hopefully that'll help me get over to sleep better, tomorrow is another day and I'll be grateful for it! Positive vibes out to y'all xxx