Well, it seems the unexpected and most feared by every cancer survivor has happened. I have been diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer.
There’s no easy way to deliver the news and each time I let my nearest and dearest know it feels like I’m ripping the band aid off over and over.
However, amidst the doom and gloom there are actually a few miracles going on behind the scenes and all is not as catastrophic as it seems.
If you’ve been following my story over the last five and a half years you will remember I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2015. Following that was a long and difficult couple of years of surgery, chemo, radio and several more surgeries. Over the last three or so years since then I have had many ‘new normal’ side effects to manage.
As hard as that time has been, it has also been the most beautiful in many ways through my personal transformation to healing from trauma, studying a Diploma of Psychology and a Life Coaching certificate, starting my own business as a therapist for women, building a Facebook Group to over 1,000 members, volunteering on two committees, public speaking, and working on writing two books.
It has been epic!
With all the side effects I have been managing like menopause symptoms, insomnia, food intolerances, forgetfulness, fatigue and joint pain, just to name a few, I have a high tolerance to pain and tend to just ‘carry on’.
In March this year, all of that changed.
Out of nowhere I experienced excruciating pain in my left hip for a few weeks that I knew wasn’t normal. It was so painful to walk that it often reduced me to tears.
In the back of my mind, fear was building knowing I needed to investigate, but I was also hopeful that it might have just been further degeneration of a lower back issue I was born with.
I went off to see my GP who I have been seeing for over 20 years and he suggested we check things out immediately. The initial x-ray showed a large black circle that wasn’t there on my last lot of images, so I was referred for further scans.
On a routine Friday morning as I drove to work, my GP called me from his personal mobile before he was due to start work in the clinic.
“This looks suspicious, and we need to get it looked at,” he said. “Oh shit!” I said. “Yes, oh shit!” he replied.
I pulled my car over to the side of the road as my hands and face went numb and my vision blurred. I pulled myself together enough, as tears fell and my voice wavered, to call work and explain that I wouldn’t be arriving. I then called Phil to tell him what the doctor had said, and gathered myself to drive home.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind of appointments, scans, blood tests, tears and conversations. It was hard to tell the kids again and both Phil and I were on the roller coaster together of despair, overwhelm, relief, grief and positivity, sometimes all within one hour.
The despair took me straight to ‘When will I die?’
Through all the processing of the initial emotions we found out the miracle in that there is only one spot in my left hip, which is amazing news. Everywhere else is completely clear. I have undergone radiotherapy, and am now on medication newly available in Australia that has shown great results in helping reduce, hold stable or prevent any further progression of disease. I have a wonderful medical team who listen and take into consideration my decisions as I work out what is best for me.
My strength has reminded me that I can do this without focusing on fear, and instead I choose ease and grace.
I set the intention from the beginning that my life will continue on as normal, and this is just something that becomes part of my life as I manage it.
It all really is ok, and I feel great!
I have taken this opportunity to look within and discover what the learnings are for me this time around. And it didn’t take long to figure it out. I have been working on myself for long enough to be honest with myself around how grief and trauma have played out in my life.
It is simply now time to take responsibility for my self care, healing and growth.
I am not a victim, this is not a war, this is not a fight, nor do I call myself a ‘warrior’. You will also not hear me say “fuck cancer” or ask, “Why me?” I just don’t feel that way. It just is what it is.
It’s time to step up, get real and get on with it.
Thank you to all those who have supported me and my family so far. And an even bigger thank you to my hubby and kids. We are rocking this cancer experience together.
For those of you in Instagram, you can also catch the video post shared today to explain.
I will keep you posted!