My new life started 11 years ago. I had just left an emotionally abusive marriage and was looking forward to the freedom of a new life with my 2 young children.
And then I found the lump....
It turned out to be 2 lumps and had spread to infect 8 of the lymph nodes in my arm.
But I remained positive. I had missed the bullet!!! They removed my breast and all the lymph nodes in my left arm, I did 7 out of 8 chemo treatments they wanted me to do, and the 6 weeks of daily radiation.
I had been Stage 3 but it had all been cut out and the statistics were good - I had a 75% chance it wouldn’t come back. Fantastic odds!!!!!
After a year of surgery, recovery, chemo, radiation and everything that goes along with that - all whilst still trying to be a mother to my 2 year old daughter and 12 year old son - I was keen to get on with life!!!
I knew I wasn’t going to get cancer again. I was young, I was fit, a healthy weight range, had breast fed, small breasted etc etc etc - all the things that mean I am not a candidate for cancer :-). Yipee!!!!
So when I saw the side effects of Tamoxifin that I was to take for 5 years, I knew I didn’t need to take it!!!
So onwards and upwards with my life. And boy did I take life with a renewed vigour and loved every moment of confidence and new outlook on life that I had. I had faced cancer - come close to being Stage 4 - and won!!!! Anything after that seems like small fry!!!!
it came back
Then came spinal reconstruction, giving up my building company, leaving everything behind including my son who was going into his last year of high school and exams, to return home to my parents. My 6 year old’s and my life possessions reduced into 5 bags as we hoped off the plane into Christchurch.
Everything turned upside down and the door to my “old” life firmly closed shut.... never to be reopened.
here we are.....
7 years later, living with a Stage 4 diagnosis clear in my mind when I wake up in the morning and as I go to sleep at night.
Every year we celebrate my birthday with renewed vigour.
We don’t use words like remission, respite care, relapse, palliative care....
But we do talk about the fact that “it” is going to keep on coming back, but we are going to keep a close eye “it” and keep treating it as “it” pops up.
My daughter and I are still on this long journey together. She has had to become my carer most of the time, and knows what drugs to hand me depending on my pain levels etc. She knows how to cook us meals when I can’t, and has never had the luxury of being taken care of the way she might of been, had she had a fully functioning mother.
And as hard as this is on her, she talks about how this makes her a better person. She is years ahead of herself.
So I want to continue to be out there in the world - when I can - to be a shining example of the fact that I am LIVING!!!! And everywhere I go, every doctor I meet, nurse, anesthetist, foundation, women and men, I share my story.... because they need to know that they shouldn’t give up on us just because we have a Stage 4 diagnosis.
Because if I had been given up on, I wouldn’t be here today, watching my daughter grow, being a support for her and my son.
Thank you for letting me share 🌸