Is amazing how we adapt. I guess it’s one of the most prominent features of mankind; you except new realities in a heartbeat. This is how we have colonized almost all parts of the earth, spanning from the hottest of deserts to the snow covered freezing arctic. I’m in neither environment, but nontheless this transformation I’ve been going through has been enormous. When first diagnosed with DCIS, or prestages of cancer, I was utter shocked and terrified of the thought of surgery to remove my breast. After the surgery I had little time to adjust until next blow, getting to know I had cancer and now needed chemotherapy. I’m not sure if this was a greater shock or not, it’s hard to put it on a scale, but the missing breast faded in attention when I started on chemo. Retrospectively, the mastectomy was a minor detail and the least of my problems. But even chemo can become an everyday thing. The first shot made me deadly nervous, but already the second time I felt accustomed to it; I biked to get to and from the treatment. For me my bike is a representation of freedom, it feels like victory to be able to use it when I need to go the hospital, it makes me feel less ill.
And actually I haven’t felt ill at any point, looking in the mirror I see a different me, but not an ill version. I cling to the notion that it’s not the cancer making it hard, it’s the chemo. Most importantly; I’m not ill! I try to see this as kind of a game, I get to try completely new appearances and do stuff I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Right now my eyebrows are coming off and that alters my looks altogether, but I don’t see it as a bad thing, just different. The best advice I have followed has been that resting wouldn’t benefit me and really wouldn’t make any difference anyway; tiredness feeds tiredness if you want. So when I didn’t feel like going for a walk I did anyway, I have kept on pushing myself and I think it has kept me up and about. I’m not saying I’ve been particularly active in an exercise kind of way, but I’ve tried to live my old life as much as possible. My mind’s still tired, but much of the time I feel like nothing has changed at all. You accept your limitations and move on. Sure thing I can’t wait until I don’t need to get a new shot of poison each week, there’s only 6 times to go, but I can still live very nicely during chemo. I think I’m very lucky that my appetite hasn’t been affected at all; I know I’ve been very lucky altogether during chemo, I had relatively few side-effects. Not that it’s a walk in the park, but you adjust. A little pain and suffering here and there becomes normal, you get used to ignoring all sorts of ailments. I stick to the statistics, having stage 1, grade 1 cancer means that you’re 100% not dying of this in the next 5 years. Being ER and HER positive just gives even better odds. Even though statistics don’t mean anything on an individual level, 100% survival is a good number; only 15 years ago it was only 85%.
I know that next stage is waiting. When chemo is over you’re supposed to go back to your old life. You’re well and you not going through anymore treatments. It’s a bit scary, I know I’m a different person now than before. But I’ll manage that too, I’m sure. There’s no other choice. And anyhow I think I’m better equipped at handling future crisis that might appear; this certainly puts things in perspective. So, onwards and upwards towards new normals we go once more. Can’t wait to see what life has in store for me next.