Exactly 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in the clandestine rooms of a Breast Specialist. Who would’ve thought that neatly tucked away in the belly of a hospital down the road from my house, I would receive the most harrowing news ever. It has been a long road, never easy, sometimes complicated and very frustrating. Mostly I have tried to live every day without any regrets. I try my best to stay positive and just keep swimming with my head above the water just following the tides…
Earlier this month I explained my general anxiety that the month of April brings in terms of having to see my Oncologist etc… It’s always such an unwelcoming reminder of my state of health that still frightens me and leaves me depressed and scared.
But today I am not depressed or morose. I think after this long my wounds have healed and the festering scab has finally settled down to just an irritating scar. I used to chug along and say just one more year to next year, just one more month, just one more day etc.. I used to place so much importance on this stupid inconsequential day! I used to calculate and bargain and make compensation just to make it to the next anniversary of 25th April…
The reasoning behind this thinking is that it’s the way in which my recurrence risk is measured medically. My onco type usually recurs within the first 5 years from diagnosis. So its basically a doom and gloom countdown to 5 years… And if I make it till then I should be okay!? But this is a gamble and life is not promised to anyone. So I feel childish and immature to fool myself into thinking this way… But I suppose the banter keeps my mind occupied and the distraction is welcoming as opposed to just worrying about recurrence all the time.
I think back and try to remember how I have gotten this far and what has sustained me through another year of life and in all honesty I am certain it is my refusal to feel defeated by adversity – that is an attribute the Almighty has blessed me with! Today, 4 years after the dread and horror – I am feeling great. I am more positive than ever, I am a lot wiser and stronger and definitely healthier than I have been in a long, long time. I am able to exercise daily without getting ill. I am not exhausted all the time and the brain fog has lifted slightly. My quality of life has improved dramatically since post chemo etc… and I can see the daylight filtering through from the light at the end of my tunnel!
I am grateful and thriving!
Feeling a bit off today…
Got a call early this morning from a young lady I met only last year when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. She informed me that she got sick two weeks ago and that they have rediagnosed her with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, her cancer has spread to her lungs…
I was dumbfounded… I mean I never run out of things to say really…
But this morning… I had no words…
My lengthy list of curses and colourful expletives were silenced…
I am still trying to process her grief and anguish. I am utterly broken…
Stage 4 metastatic cancer is tricky and your life expectancy is shortened drastically depending on how your body reacts to treatment. I tried my best to stay positive and told her about many other Stage 4 Thrivers on Social Media and elsewhere. But my heart still feels the traitor…
I turn the mirror inwardly because I know what the nature of this disease is… that you are never really cured… it is part of your body and can return without warning and explanation at any given time…
I always get asked how I cope with this reality…
I don’t think about it…
I fill my head with other things… like music, books, children, family, running, praying, reading, working and creating…
So there’s really no time for the nagging insecurities lurking in my subconscious.
But on a rocky day, like today, I think about it a lot more than necessary…
Writing about my breast cancer is a serious job and it is not always easy because in reality it becomes part of your daily truth. Your brain gets rewired during the process and you change (I have said this before… I know) sometimes in the biggest most visible ways and sometimes in the most miniscule ways that nobody notices but you. For example: I no longer smoke… anything… and I am not afraid to say everything and secretly I refuse to wear a bra!
So I have strived to be as honest and truthful in my retelling of my cancer chronicles (Side note: I am tired of saying ’Journey’ because ‘Journey’ implies I am going somewhere and where EXACTLY am I GOING???) instead of creating a false sense of reality. My writing comes from my head and heart and reflects who I am (an insane Nutter mostly) and flows outta my fingertips magically (KAK Man lol)! Writing is a natural outlet for me and if I am unable to write I feel as if I am being choked… emotionally and physically… and I don’t like being choked! I get frustrated as hell and only swear words spews from my mouth – not pretty!
So recently I have decided to up my game and do some research and read other people’s blogs! Biggest fucken Mistake! I have never been more bored, scared and depressed by my reality. Breast cancer blogs are uninteresting and hopeless! Maybe these women all got their brains rewired to being redundant… I don’t know… it’s very sad… I thought writing was supposed to help others and to inspire others – not scare the shit out of them!
So I have decided to keep on swearing and laughing at my situation because FFS I will not let this get me down – and neither should you! Its depressing and sad I know… but come on at least you are alive? Right?
I remember going to see a Psychotherapist during my treatment (notice no ‘Journey’) and she asked me if I am sad all the time… I said that I wasn’t sad at all! She was surprised when I said that I am angry and mad mostly! I needed to explain: I was angry at myself for getting this way and I was mad because I did not know how to deal with it! I felt that I was being deserted and all I wanted to do was run away from everyone and everything. She asked me where I would go… I said that I would go to Hermanus…. LOL for days! (Hows that for thinking creatively bwahahahahaha!!!)
She was really confused… But still maintained I was suffering of PTSD and offered me anti-depressants!
Point is – why so much doom and gloom? Yes, life is flippen hard and super challenging… for EVERYONE not just you! You are not alone in this gigantic universe. You do not exist in isolation… No! You form part of the many amazing things this world has to offer no matter how broken or bruised you are. So please choose to see beyond your circumstances and your problems and your sadness but rather focus on things beyond yourself and your existence! Why choose to be the source of someone’s misery and fear?
Some words of wisdom from the Streets: As jy niks mooi het om te sê nie dan hou jou bek!
Translation: If you have nothing nice to say then rather be quiet!
On a lighter note – the insanity continues! I am stuck in bed today with a tummy bug that my kids keep returning to me because I am the ONLY OFFICIAL BUM CLEANER in my house! They do not call for ‘Daddy’ and get grossed out by the idea of cleaning themselves! Both hands clenching nostrils… EEuuuuwwww!
And I am rather pissed off because I may need to take antibiotics and I will miss my hills training this evening…
PS: Doing my first 21km Race this weekend… In Shaa Allah!
A gust of moving air
Wind surged forth and whipped my cap off my head
I stopped running
Panting and thought
How quickly that happened
As my cap got mutilated under the oncoming traffic
And suddenly thrashed and whipped into a whirlwind of nothingness
Up into the bright turquoise washed sky
It reminded me of the fragility of life
How quickly a life is lived and then lost
Like a Gush of Wind
What Is It About Being a Woman?
A woman that can use her Hands, Heart and Mind
To Make and Prosper
To be Self Sufficient and Enormously Capable
Of Surviving in a Man Made World
Be a Woman
That takes Pride in Her Achievements and Believe Your Worth
Be That Woman that Embraces her Mysteries
And Understand Your Place in this Universe
You are Impeccable, Irreplaceable, Inimitable
You Are More Than an Object of Desire
You are a Celestial Being
An Enchanted Enigma
And You deserve this Gift of Life!