Two Years after my Cancer Diagnosis – an update! For those of you who didn’t know, I was diagnosed with Grade 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer in November 2015.
I’m so late in posting this because my actual “anniversary” (how weird to call it that) was the end of November.
As you’ll have probably already seen on Facebook or Instagram back then, my appointment went well. The annual mammograms and ultrasounds came back all clear. Hurray!
Two Years All Clear Cancer Update
I felt really confident going into the appointments but of course there is always some stress. I knew deep down though that all was well and I hadn’t found any lumps. Overall, I was feeling pretty good and I would have been so shocked to have received bad news.
So, all clear for another year. Thank goodness.
Am I out of the woods? No. Is anyone? No. I’m still trying with all my might to not focus on what might be and to live every day as it comes. It’s a struggle at times but it definitely gets better with time. I no longer google for the triple negative breast cancer survival rate. I’m over googling anything cancer related.
That said, every birthday, Christmas or anniversary that comes along and I’d be lying if I didn’t wonder if it was my last. That’s not to say I’m wallowing in a miserable pit of depression as I’m really not. It’s just those “everyday thoughts” that a cancer survivor sometimes has. Mortality.
How do I feel?
Well I feel pretty good physically. I’m still feeling a lot of side effects of chemo and radiation and I’m slowly accepting that some of them will be with me forever. Which SUCKS! But I’m alive so, you know, all good. It could definitely be worse.
I’ve joined a gym but I haven’t been half as much as I should. That will change.
I’ve cut down on some of the crap and intend to do so more. Lots of good intentions and thankfully it’s the time of year where the parties have now stopped and everyone’s bouncing (crawling) back on the wagon.
How do I look?
You know the hair loss affected me in a major way. Well, my hair has grown a lot…at the back. The top and sides are basically having a laugh and do not feel inclined to catch up. So I’m mainly rocking a hairsprayed-to-death-helmet-headed half up bun these days so present the appearance of faux-length in my hair. Well, it makes me feel better anyway.
Physically, I feel wrong. My face and body are still so different to the “pre-chemo me”. Hoping the gym helps that a bit and helps to get my confidence back. I haven’t been slim in so many years but I never really cared too much as long as I felt healthy. Now I feel neither – but only I can change it.
I look in the mirror and do not see me yet.
The problem with having cancer and chemo in your late 30s is that even when your hair grows back, your face is never the same. Mine anyway.
You missed that window of growing old gracefully. Whilst your friends didn’t notice the subtle differences that came with maturing hair and skin for them, it’s all you see when you look in the mirror. That undeniable change. You are just not you anymore.
You’re the you you would have been in another ten years time. Except now you don’t have the grace or luck to wait and see. It’s just all very confronting. It is for me. Maybe I’m vain, I don’t know. But chemo does age you.
One thing I am not is ungrateful. I’m grateful for every second I am still here with my family. I am finding ways to manage the side effects that sometimes affect my happiness.
There are proactive things I can do to help myself:
- Go to the gym more
- Eat better
- Boost my immune system
- Get more sunshine
- Be mindful
- (Stop complaining!) Be more positive about myself.
Two years from my cancer diagnosis and it still feels like yesterday. At the same time, it also feels like a life-time ago and I know my life will never be the same again.
If it hadn’t happened, I would not have found out:
- How amazing my family and friends are
- That I had the talent and dedication to start my own successful business
- That, if in any doubt, my husband really is The One
- I look pretty ok as a bald person
- How strong I am.
So it’s ok.
Thank you for indulging me in sharing this post and for all of the lovely well wishes and support you have shown to me and my family in the past two years.
As always, get to know your bodies and know when something isn’t right. If you have any concerns, please see your GP immediately.
If you have stumbled across this post because you have any concerns or have recently been diagnosed with cancer, I send you so much love. I know hearing from other breast cancer survivors really helps me so even though I’m only two years out, please feel free to get in touch with me.
I could listen to cancer survivor stories all day long so please share yours with me :) They fill me with so much hope.
Love from Mim
x x x
Congratulations on 2 years alive and kicking goals.
I still feel many of the same things as you, hate my weight gain the most despite being the most active in all my life.
Five years and friends with survivors of 10,15, 20 and more years. Diagnosed in their 30’s too. All active -well the ones I compete in Dragon boating with.
Yes it’s ok.
I feel all the feels and I wish you a long happy life.
Oh thank you for “getting it” and thank you for sharing the stories of your friends too – that’s amazing!! I wish absolutely the same for you too x x x
And I misspelled your name! Sorry MIM xx
Ah. Min, I feel for you. So young and yet you have been aged by something not every person understands. I am sorry it has affected you in your sense of who you are. I really get that. My cancer in my gums has done that to my smile! I have really missed it and even when I get the teeth that are coming…still more surgery first…I will not be the Denyse I was before. BUT that Denyse had cancer! Now she doesn’t so I am grateful for that. I know you are too but there is nothing wrong with grieving what has been lost forever even though cancer is gone. A very truthful post and one which needs to be read! Denyse xx
Oh Denyse you have made me cry such happy tears, thank you for getting this :) Although goes without saying I wish you didn’t. You’re so inspiring to me and I’ve loved following your journey too. And I LOVE your thinking – yes, let’s not spend time longing for the person we were when they had cancer! x x