Thursday, September 13, 2012

Potpourri


There are many 'things' that go through my mind in a day that I couldn't write an entire blog post about, well to be honest, I couldn't write more than a couple sentences about but that I wanted to share. So this is a mixed bag post, with a variety of different thoughts and perspectives. I have also been told some interesting things by people who just don't think since I have had cancer. I have documented some of them in previous posts but I've included some more. I have also included some tips that I have found really helpful so far.

The other day, I was walking to work in the rain without an umbrella and thought 'Am I going to have to ring out my prosthesis when I get there?' (mine is cotton and is taking the place of the implant that I will be getting in a few months). I'm being quite serious too, I honestly wondered if I was going to have to ring out my boob.

What was said: “I used to feel sorry for you that you had cancer, now I feel sorry for your that you’re a Leafs fan”
My response: “Cancer has nothing on the pain that the Leafs cause.”
My thought: I don’t need you to feel sorry for me for anything, especially having cancer. Your pity isn’t welcomed here!

Tip: I have been struggling with these hot flashes that so nicely accompany Tamoxifen and so for my birthday, I asked for a gel filled pillow that stays cool. Keith got it for me and it really seems to be improving my sleep. They aren't cheap (mine was $55 at Costco) but they are supposed to last a long time and can you really put a price on sleep?

What was said: “Ok, well keep me abreast” My response: <Angry Look>
My thought: After finding out that he was genuine in his comment and hadn’t intended on saying anything about breasts he just meant ‘keep me informed’, he hadn’t
even noticed that he used the word ‘aBREAST’.

I can't believe what I'm about to write is true, but sometimes I wish that I was back in chemo. I felt safe there and I knew that cancer couldn't survive the treatment. I almost feel like if they found another cancerous lump, I would feel relief, relief that they caught it and relief that I would be monitored again. I find it nerve racking to leave my body to its own devices anymore.

I have found that humour unites people and it makes everyone feel comfortable. It's not for everyone but for me it has allowed for many discussions that wouldn't have otherwise happened. I find that people my age are so disconnected from cancer and assume it's something we get when we're older and I try to use my humour to make them feel comfortable with the idea of talking about it which in the end brings awareness to it.

What was said: “…Oh yeah, he was asking about you and I told him that you were on holidays until April.”
My response: “Oh that’s nice.”
My thought: “HOLIDAYS???????”

I have found that Twitter is SHOCKINGLY supportive. For anyone who is going through (breast) cancer, whether you're a patient or survivor, you need to get onto Twitter. I am still learning but it is amazing. I have read so many articles and connected with so many people that I would otherwise not have found.

What was said: “I’d give anything for your hair.”
My response: “Oh thanks, I can’t say that I love this style. I feel like I should have Daddy Warbucks right beside me.”
My thought: “How about giving your right breast, that’s all it took for me to get this style.”

I have been very blessed my entire life and especially since I have been diagnosed with cancer. I have had many opportunities that I would have otherwise never had but sometimes I miss my boring, NAIVE life that I used to live (with two breasts that were my own). Sometimes, just looking at pictures of myself pre-cancer makes me tear up.

What was said: After finding out that I was off for a year, 3 different people assumed that I was on mat-leave.
My response: “Well, I wasn’t on mat-leave, I had cancer”
My thought: It was just that much harder because I may never experience mat-leave.

Tip: Sometimes, wearing lingerie helps make you feel good and dare I say 'sexy'. Although, I never feel good enough to bare my chest, a nice bra or teddy sure beats a t-shirt.

When I was in treatment, and cancer survivorsreached out to me, I was so jealous of where they were because it was 'over' for them. I had absolutely no concept of the struggles that come along with survivorship. I just didn't understand the difference between surviving cancer and finishing it (I thought they were one in the same). Oh how I sing a different tune now. I guess that's why we aren't called 'Cancer Completers' or 'Cancer Finishers' - I kid.

What was said: 'Well, at least you get a free boob job out of it.'
My response: 'Yeah...'
My thought: Are you f*cking kidding me? A mastectomy with an implant shoved underneath where my breast used to be isn't exactly a breast augmentation.

Sometimes I wonder if my plastic surgeon looked at me and thought 'She's overweight and already had a mastectomy - I'm sure she'll be happy with whatever I give her' because this lump on my chest is the farthest thing from a breast that I've ever seen.

What was said: After telling someone that an oncology surgeon told me that I did not have cancer - 'You didn't think to get a second opinion?'
My response: 'No.'
My thought: Are you kidding me? I was 26, with no family history and no one was concerned. No, I trusted my doctor. I'm sorry, is that your way of saying that you think it's my fault for getting cancer? When someone tells you that you don't have a disease (a disease that you have less than 1% chance of getting and that you carry non of the symptoms), do YOU usually go and get a second opinion?

Tip: Although I don't always follow my own advice, I have found that the more active I am, the less tired I am. This cancer/treatment recovery/Tamoxifen fatigue is really kicking my ass but every time I start moving, I always feel better, sleep better, and am less tired in the end.

What was said: 'You can always adopt.'
My response: 'Did you have a choice in bearing your own children?'
My thought: Who says that? People say this in a way like they think they are providing me with an option that I had never considered. I think it's about the way they approach it. If someone said 'Have you and Keith discussed adoption?', that wouldn't offend me but because they make it sound so simple and cut and dry, it drives me crazy.

Writing is incredibly therapeutic and healing. I am NOT a writer and mostly feel like I am talking out of my ass sometimes but I can't believe how many things I have worked through by just writing. I encourage you to do the same. I feel like I am validating others' feelings and when others write comments, they totally validate me and that's what so much of this emotional cancer thing is about, feeling less isolated and validated.

What was said: After watching me put something in the microwave - 'Do you have to watch what you eat now that you've had cancer?'
My response: 'Well, everyone should watch what they eat.'
My thought: RAHHHHHHH! I just get so annoyed when I feel like people are criticizing me. This person SMOKES for God sakes, worry about your own shit!

Tip: When I finished treatment, I found like I wanted to give back, for a variety of reasons. I feel like so many people provided me with support that I wanted to pay it forward, and there are so many women who go through this alone and feel so isolated, that I wanted to help now that I was on the other side. I have found that volunteering with different organizations has proven to be so rewarding and has filled a bit of that void. If you are feeling that void, I suggest you look into volunteering.

I have found that you need to be gentle with yourself and when your body is telling you something, you need to listen. Sleep when you need to sleep (within reason - haha), move when you need to move and most importantly be patient with yourself - you just kicked or are currently kicking cancer's ass, that's no easy feat!

6 comments:

  1. Gosh what a post. People can be so.. lame. I don't even know what else to say!

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    1. Thanks Ciel! It just felt like a mishmash kinda day.

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  2. I love the "what I said" and "what I thought" lines. I can relate and I'm sure many others can, too!

    I have found writing to be so helpful, volunteering helps me turn this shitty disease into something that enables me to hold a candle to to light the path for others and twitter.... TWITTER is an absolute game changer. The support is real, it's immediate and it's "always on" .....

    xoxox

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    1. Thanks for the support AnneMarie.

      xoxo

      Katie

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  3. Awesome read!!! I love how you just simply put it out there... Omg, ring your boob out, love it, I'm doing the cotton and um once when removing, it flew into the toilet! Urgh, so pissed at the time. Thanks for the smile which honestly no one in their right mind should smile about.

    Nathalie cancer_why_me

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    1. Haha, the toilet! I can safely say my boob has never fallen in the toilet.

      Sometimes it's a necessity to laugh your way through this garbage. It's ot always easy, but sometimes it's a must.

      Thanks for writing, I appreciate you sharing...

      Katie

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