Will Cancer ever be done with me?

Are you still sick?

I DON’T KNOW…

Is IT finished?

I DON’T KNOW…

Are you done with Cancer?

I DON’T KNOW…

I hope so. I pray so. I wish for health and longevity but I have no control over the inner workings of my body. The only control I have is how I live in this body with this reality…

This thought jumped at me when I heard of Olivia Newton-John’s recurrence. I was really sad to hear that her cancer had returned. This is not a new story for any of us living with cancer. The nature of this illness is such that no one knows if it will recur or why cancer recurs. The hardest part is dealing with the uncertainty of WHEN it will return…

Living under the dark cloud of cancer recurrence is horrifying. It can really paralyze you with fear. I know this all too well. I struggle with this… I cry about it… I laugh about it… I curse and swear at it…. But it is there… The difference between a healthy person and a cancer thriver is knowing with certainty that this THING can kill you… and it probably will…

Someone once asked how can I prevent Breast Cancer from happening to me? I scoffed at a reply that stated – DON’T GET BORN! Breast cancer cannot be prevented (unless you have both breasts removed before cancer occurs). You can try to reduce the risk but there is no way to prevent it. It can be detected early, treated early and may be ‘curable’ for a good number of years…

Breast cancer used to be a disease reserved for the old, declining in health and years, unfortunately this no longer holds any truth. Women and men are being diagnosed with breast cancer in the prime of their lives… and NO ONE KNOWS WHY! Science has STILL NOT FOUND A CURE because there is NO CURE to date! Doctors are still baffled with the mechanism of how cancer moves from a primary tumour to other parts of the body!

Huh?!? It’s true… And fucken Unbelievable…

And yes I believe a healthier diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk of breast cancer, but I don’t believe that it can cure you… It can make you feel better and help you cope with the stressors of daily life but not with the enormity of a cancer diagnosis. Truth is…

NO…BODY…KNOWS…

But for now… there is relief, reprieve, remission and hope.

And that’s all

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I am Not your Inspiration

Someone once rudely accused me of being ‘Inspiring’. Proceeded to tell me off and said she would pray for me.  I was like…WAIT… WHAT??? I kinda got stuck on ‘Inspiring’!

*Hysterical Voice – WHAT does that even MEAN???

As far as I am concerned – “Inspiration –  is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”

When I think about inspiration, what inspires me most is ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. We appreciate when someone has the ability and willingness to be selfless, creative, innovative, or just dares to be different.

My idea of inspiring would be Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Mandela etc… All of them were ordinary people who decided that the world needed their help – they were true leaders who believed that they could change the world and who, despite nearly impossible odds and tremendous opposition, weren’t afraid to try.

Maybe my understanding is flawed. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not being rude (well maybe) but I have such issues with this concept. So I sat and thought about it. What doesn’t feel right about this word? I have breast cancer and I write about it. I have never claimed to want to change the world (even though I would love to) or save people (I so wish I could) from their illness/mental issues/debt/divorce/lives. I am not saintly and I choose to show my flaws unflinchingly. I am unapologetic and honest about who I am.

Then I realised that the problem is actually Society. You see we constantly compare our lives to ‘Others’ for validation. And this is problematic in my case because this ‘Other-ness’ of mine is called Cancer and is NOT inspiring…

Let’s be blunt – for example, “Oh my, she has breast cancer and can smile and be happy, I should never, EVER feel bad about my life”… you know what… STOP THAT! This thinking perpetuates the idea that people with cancer are special for living with it or through it and it is preposterous because ultimately those decisions are not made by any of us mere mortals.

In all honesty I don’t think I was made to ‘Inspire You’ by my writing/blogging. I write because it is a huge part of my job and that my dear, doesn’t make me ‘Special’… I will NOT apologise to Anyone about my Rude Behaviour (what she actually means is my inappropriate Language use… oooh shem) and I do not need to explain Anything to Anyone! I am only answerable on the Day of Judgement to my Maker – and in the end your opinion means Nothing!

If I have inspired you, kindly ask yourself what have you done with this inspiration? What have you done to change the world we live in? Dig deep… And once you have answered that question hold onto it tightly because inspiration comes from the Almighty alone!

Do you GET IT? Probably not… Why do I even bother?

***DROPS MIC

Tamoxifen Drama

So…

WHAT IS Tamoxifen?

I have been taking this drug for almost 5 years… Side note: I had to retrieve my hospital folder to look for the date I started taking Tamoxifen on my medical schedule lol because I don’t remember the finer details bwahahahahaha! I’ll put this here in case I forget – I officially started this medication on 6 November 2012.

I was told that Tamoxifen is a “Hormone Therapy”… that will prevent my cancer cells from spreading and hopefully keep me in remission for a few years. Tamoxifen is NOT preventative for any new Cancer that may occur but is given to treat my CURRENT Cancer. I have written about the side effects many times and it is exhausting to keep repeating myself – so in short IT IS ATROCIOUS! And my doctors have sentenced me to TamoxiHell forever…

So I stumbled across a support group for Tamoxifen patients on Facebook and I was overjoyed that so many women were taking this medication and that I was not alone. Many of them find that the side effects are life changing and the impact has negatively impacted their quality of life. Fewer women tolerate the drug and adjust their lifestyles accordingly.

Every now and then a debate arises: So what EXACTLY is Tamoxifen? Is it toxic? What does it do? Is Tamoxifen Chemotherapy???

Many Doctors will argue that it is NOT chemotherapy… Many patients will argue that it IS! In essence chemotherapy is a highly toxic substance used to stop or interfere with the rapidly dividing cells in the body (both healthy and malignant).

Tamoxifen is called a ‘Cytostatic Agent’ which ‘inhibits cell growth’… HeLLLLllooooo? WHaaaaAAT???

Don’t believe me? Ask Dr Google… or better yet have a good long look at the attached pic…

“Cytostatic (chemotherapeutic) refers to a cellular component or medicine that inhibits cell growth…

*Hysterical Voice* Also Tamoxifen can cause Secondary Cancers – cervical, uterine, endometrial and liver… never mind the fact that it Sometimes DOESN’T WORK!

Okay…enough of that…

Here’s how I deal with the AfterParty:

  1. Severe stomach ache – you are probably constipated, try a fruit smoothie. And if you aren’t sorted then try a mild laxative. I avoid laxatives because diarrhoea is scary (green juice works best for me). Do NOT eat cake or samosas as this will lead to more constipation and leave you full of sh*t literally!
  2. Bleeding mouth and gums – use a soft toothbrush or better yet use your sanitised fingers to clean your teeth and gums. Also add some Betadine mouthwash to your oral routine to keep the nasties at bay.
  3. Nose bleeds – stop drop and roll into your bed. These are evil and need your urgent attention. Relax and don’t blow try to go with the flow? If you bleed a whole towel full GO TO HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS IMMEDIATELY!
  4. Bleeding Bum – Gross – I know… Piles… eeeeuuuuwwwww! I just can’t even deal… Cry!
  5. Pain in your Liver/Back/Neck/Shoulder/Head – No it is Not Cancer – STOP THAT!

Hows that for Toxic? I am done with being in denial of the fact that I am still being treated for Breast Cancer. And it SUCKS that Tamoxifen is Chemo… and it makes me feel kuk!

Finish en Klaar!

 

This is Tired

I am tired. It’s been so long that I don’t remember being not tired. My brain is tired and forgets everything from which day of the week it is, to birthdays, to playdates and party times… I rely on Facebook to tell me whose birthdays I have forgotten and on Whatsapp to keep track of everything else… Thank goodness for technology!

I am endlessly exhausted… This is not something I am used to because I WAS NOT ALWAYS TIRED!

And no amount of sleeping has made me feel better. I wake up like this every day. Nothing and I mean NOTHING has improved my condition. I tried changing my diet – Low Carb High Fat just made me constipated and Paleo made me feel feral. I obviously crave sugar and because I try real hard to restrict my intake I satisfy my cravings with copious amounts of dates which gets me to midday without shovelling satisfyingly good chocolate down my throat. I tried coffee to kickstart my morning and make me generally sociable – but Haibo! heart palpitations are scary and freak me the hell out.  I also tried supplements… but I am not allowed to mess around with extra supplementation due to current medication interaction – in other words – it could possibly interfere with my Tamoxifen and THAT may just be catastrophic!

How does Chronic Fatigue feel you ask? My throat is always sore. My head hurts. My muscles ache. My bones are icky. My hips are officially retired and my feet feel like bags of concrete. My back and shoulders are trying to assassinate me.

This is Chronic Fatigue… apparently caused by CHEMO (insert swearing screaming emoji)!!!

I unfortunately do not have any special strategies or tips of how to get over this and apparently   there is no quick fix. The last time I spoke to my Oncologist she said it is a lingering effect of chemo and something I have to learn to live with….

I am not complaining because even though I feel shitty now I will still go for a run later today! To show this fatigue that I will not let it rule my life and turn me savage instead I will eat whatever comes my way because how else am I supposed to fuel my running???

I know I am just making excuses to eat whatever I want and yet I haven’t been more aware of the lifestyle army screaming – watch your weight, eat healthily, increase fruit and vegetables, decrease fat and sugar, drink tons of water and get plenty of sleep and always remember to smile and be friendly and polite! Insert Middle finger emoji! Hahahahahahaha… Right!

I refuse to endanger my volatile mental state by denying myself a samoosa when I feel like it! That is NEVER going to happen, okay? I don’t see how this could possibly affect my Fatigue which is THE issue!

And on a lighter note… A friend sent me this:
(PS: She is a Doctor and is living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer)

THIS is how to Cure Your Cancer:

Take a handful of Kale and add Turmeric to it and put it in Carrot juice and use as an Enema for 15 days then stand in a Yoga pose for another five days then massage Cannabis oil all over and slip an slide for two days followed by organic ground coffee enemas until you successfully shit out all the cancer! There! Just stay in Downward Dog all your life with your head in Coconut and Avocado oil and have someone sprinkle a light dusting of Matcha and Green Tea all over you! Voila!

Bwaahahahahahahaha!!! LAUGHING FOR DAYS!

And Yes, people actually say the DUMBEST CRAZIEST RUBBISH when they hear you have Cancer! I understand that maybe they know EVERYTHING and really want to help us ignorant cancer patients but hey…. if it were SO SIMPLE why are people still dying from Cancer??? nmy opinion I think Maybe they haven’t tried the Cannabis Enemas!