So I wrote about my first chemo, it was raw and honest and ‘my’ experience.
It’s what I went through, it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t ugly ALL the time.
I can’t sugarcoat it, sure there’s some things I leave out because they’re totally gross but when I write about my cancer journey it’s just that…what I went through.
A friend brought it to my attention that my words might scare the shit out of some readers. She also let me know that her chemo was no where near as awful as mine, I get that. Thanks to my friend for making me think about this, hence why I’m writing this post. It got me thinking about how words are perceived and I want to clear a few things up.
Here’s what I want you all to know.
Cancer is individual, treatment is individual. Sure our paths are similar and even if we are on the same protocol we will all be different.
Our doses will be fine tuned to our individual cancers, weight, age etc.
Our bodies will assimilate and process the drugs differently.
Our minds will also cope differently.
Our support systems will be different. Some will have lots of support, some will have little. Some will push support away and others will crave more support.
Our financial situations will be different. Some will keep working others will lose their income. Different treatments have costs attached, partners will also be impacted with work pressure.
What happened in our lives before cancer will be different, it may affect how we cope.
The impact cancer has on us and our loved ones will be different. Our stage of life and whether we have children or partners has an impact.
Some will go within, they won’t want to know the side effects…they will just want to get through it.
Others will want to know. They will research and arm themselves with information…to prepare themselves.
Some will go to work through chemo while others will find it hard to get dressed…or get out of bed. Then there’s those that will fall somewhere in-between.
What I want you all to know is please don’t be scared of my story, ‘sit what happened to me and might not be the same for you. The other thing is that I write raw, I say it as it is and I
can’t won’t change that.
Life through chemo was pretty freakin hard but not all days were shit and even on my most shit days I could still smile. As I progressed through treatment my coping mechanisms got better, sure my body got weaker but my mind got stronger.
When you’re reading about my journey it is just that…a journey. At times I got lost and I stumbled…I was weak. Then there were the days that I faced it all head on, I was strong and powerful and wise. It’s a roller coaster ride!
Putting cancer behind me
I’m still in the cancer stage. There’s no putting this experience behind me, I’ve just gone to six monthly appointments but I’m in the chemo ward every single month for implants to suppress hormones. I’m also still seeing my plastic surgeon and have upcoming surgeries this year. But hey I’m here and look at me…loving life!
I get why people put it behind them and get on with life, but to be honest I don’t know if I ever will. Sure I don’t have cancer now but…
I write about it, I volunteer, fundraise, do public speaking.
Every time I see my chest…my scars, feel my implants grating on scar tissue…well, cancer is there.
When my brain gets fuddled or my eyesight goes funny…cancer is there.
When my body aches…cancer is there.
I’m cool with that, I also lead a fun, loving, varied and rewarding life.Life is good!
My life isn’t ALL about cancer but it’s a part of who I am.
Going through the roller coaster of treatment made me who I am today. I’m more aware, free spirited, empathetic, loving, measured and value life more because cancer was in me.
Don’t be scared of chemo. I’m so glad I did it as it has improved my life expectancy. Don’t be scared of my experience, please know I don’t mean to scare you either I just write about my own personal experience. Get good advice and when going through treatment keep diaries of how treatment affects you. This will help you and your medical team to combat side effects.
Your roller coaster ride will be different to mine. Go well.
Til next time,
I am not a medical doctor and when I write about my experiences it is about my personal journey. Please seek medical advice if needed.