Remember you are in charge of your life. Distressing events finding it’s way to your life path doesn’t automatically equivalent you being a victim. You have the ability to instruct yourself that just because a specific mechanism apply to many others in a certain situation, it doesn’t have to be true in regards to you. Just because society expects a certain reaction from you in any given case, you still don’t owe that to anyone. I have multiple inspiring friends who have dealt with hardships of all kind, but they refuse to let that define them. In the same way I’m not only cancer, I’m a million other things too. I can see the end of this and it’s soon time to turn my life around again.
I know that for a large portion of chemo patients the biggest reaction comes when treatment is over. I also know that many chemo patients face side effects that are severe and affects their quality of life long after treatment has passed. These are facts that are stressful to deal with. But on the other hand I also know that most breast cancer patients are struggling with their self-image after surgery; I’m not like most people. It’s normal to be really low and tired during chemo; but most of the time I have not been. I need to tell myself I have the possibility to act differently. Nothing is determined beforehand.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never faced such stress as is the case now. Apart from being stressed about the side effects not going away, which is a likely consequence, I’m stressed about the however little risk there is that the cancer is not gone despite all exhausting efforts. I’m stressed about going to take antihormones for the next ten years of my life. I’m stressed because I’m in a lot of pain at the moment, my joints hurt and there’s a million other things going on in my body, not very many of them good. I’m stressed about the fact that my brain doesn’t work like it used to, I keep forgetting things, my mind is clogging up. I’m stressed because I look differently than I used to, people surely won’t let me forget this when I’m out and about. There’s so much stress I can almost feel all the adrenaline pumping it’s way through my system. But I choose to focus on the good things. I’m alive! I have a good prognosis. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s the good old half full/half empty glass. It’s all about where your focus is. I’m not claiming it’s the easy thing to do or even that you have to be positive all of the time. But you still only have one life, so darn if you don’t make the most of it, shitty times or not.
This weekend me and Thomas celebrated our 17th anniversary with some of our closest friends. We even went out to dance and we had a wonderful time, just letting go of being in chemo and acting like everything’s like it used to be. It felt amazing. And I believe that’s the key, letting go of the fear and stress, avoiding being guided by other peoples expectations. All my life people been telling me how to react in different situations. As a girl interested in math and physics my surroundings would tell me how unusual that would be. When I was about to become a parent people would tell me how everything would be different afterwards. “You might say that now, but just wait and see, everything will change”. Same thing as a student. “You think that while studying, but when you get a job you’ll see thing differently.” But you know what? All of these times, I never did change. I never reacted differently than I expected. Because I’m still in charge of me. It can be really hard to get back to” normal” after this, but it doesn’t have to be like that, nothing is written in stone yet. I’ll do my part in preventing it at least.