Damaged but never broken

A couple of days ago I saw my oncologist. It’s been a year since I last saw him. He told me I am cancer free. “Am I cured?” I asked. He said no, I am considered cured after being cancer free for ten years. But hey, cancer free.
I’m CANCER FREE!! Now f*cking stay away, you, cancer cells.

I have been reflecting on the price I have paid to be cancer free and it’s a high one. There’s the obvious crazy fake boobs but really that’s the most minor and visible. Having had my ovaries removed as a preventative measure I have had a surgically induced menopause and as my cancer fed on estrogen I am not able to have Hormone Replacement Therapy. But the hot flushes I get are not menopausal, they are a result of the daily Letrozole I take; as is the constant joint pain (worse in the morning, I’m like a ninety year old crawling out of bed), the debilitating tiredness, the hair loss (though unlike during chemo, my hair constantly regrows but is patchy). What the menopause has caused is the sudden ageing (I’ve aged ten years) and the atrophy of my lady bits. (Luckily, lady bits are not confined to the lady bit so we do just fine! TMI? Sorry, but this is an honest post), dry eyes making my contacts painful after just a few hours…
I could go on.

The permanent damage caused by chemo, radiotherapy and Herceptin…numbness in my left foot, reduction in bone density (I take daily drugs to help with this), heart damage (I am still monitored for this), internal scarring (still forming), lethargy…
I could go on!

I was told of a lady who chose not to be treated. She opted for ten years of normality over two years of hell followed by thirty of ill health and there are days when I understand her decision and admire her bravery. Quality of life is everything but we all have different tolerances and while I do have those days when I feel cheated and angry and cry for what I’ve lost, what TB and I have lost, I have many, many more days when I am simply glad to be here, albeit as a lesser version of myself…
but with more boobage!

So whilst I am cancer free, I am never free from the damage and fear caused but there are people worse off than me, there are people with no hope, no home, no love. In reality, I have everything and for that I have to thank the nurses, my chemo guy, my surgeon, my gorgeous, beautiful, wonderful toyboy husband, my son and his amazing wife
and my friends in the real and virtual world.

This posh old bird will now get on with the next forty years

EDIT I forgot to mention having to take exceptional care of my left arm because of the lymphodema risk as I have no axillary nodes on that side. You see? There’s always something else…

As you were  :o)


7 Comments to “Damaged but never broken”

  1. You rock, lady. Your honest, forthright and informative blog will help many more of us to come to terms with life changing events that are unwelcome, unlooked for and devastatingly personal – either in our own lives, or the lives of the people we love. I personally thank you for that, and hope that even in an altered form, you’ll never lose that tenacity of spirit which makes you so very special, and means even in times of your own adversity, you’ve still reached out to others to give generously of yourself. x

  2. That is such brilliant news, I am so happy for you. You have had such a long time having treatment, and have come out at the end Cancer free, albeit you still have to be tested, but you can live your life so much better now. You are an inspiration to all of us, WELL DONE!!!!!

  3. It is indeed just what the doctor ordered, so the question is what are you going to do with yourself? Things will be different than if you had not gone through this, that much is for sure, but there are still plenty of things that you can do.

  4. Absolutely fantastic news. :-)

    But poor, poor you … you have been through so much and rarely have you ever said ‘poor, poor me’ … you’ve just ploughed your way through until you’ve finally appeared out of the other side. Battered, beaten and having suffered hell … but never completely broken and still (almost) in one piece. You have thanked so many people for your treatment, for their support etc etc … Now it’s time to thank yourself. YOU DID IT :-)

    And as for the crazy fake boobies .. they’re your cancer free trophies .. wear them with pride ;-)

  5. Great news that I am sure will make all your supporters’ day as well as yours.

    You have always been positive and courageous and you deserve your good news. May your health continue to improve.
    You and TB deserve all the very best.

  6. I have just re-read all your lovely comments and now I seem to have “something in my eye” ;o) Thank you, everyone xx

    • Delighted to hear your good news. You have always written from the heart and been an inspiration to us all.
      Big hug.

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