Cancer Survivor

  • 7 replies
  • 32 subscribers
  • 1689 views

Hi,

I used to be a member here years ago, but life got busy and I drifted away, so here’s a little about me and my project. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 20, had 9 months of ABVD Chemo and 1 month radiation to upper torso and neck. Have had no cancer recurrence but have suffered from Depression, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Tachycardia, Anxiety, Fertility Issues, serious dental issues, and Osteoarthritis, but survivors guilt has stopped a lot of conversation regarding long term side effects, we are the lucky ones that survived. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, from talking to so many others, I know so many are made to feel we need to ‘move in’, ‘get over it’, I’ve even been told to stop ‘playing the cancer card.’

I want to give voice to this, not from a victim’s standpoint, from a survivors standpoint. I decided a few years back to go back to University and am in my final year of my Fine Art degree and my degree show idea is The Surreal Cancer Circus. I am making a big top show with sculptures and paintings around the surreal situation going through cancer treatment is, from feeling like you’re part freak show, part specimen there to be studied. 

The idea sparked from me making a neon sign that reads, ‘Radioactive Piss.’ I had treatment in the USA, and one diagnostic test to check how my heart was handling chemo involved being injected with radioactive dye (a guy in a hazmat suit injected it, fun!). After the test I was given a pamphlet with clear instructions that I must not use a public toilet for the next 7 days and how I must clean any toilet I do use thoroughly after every use as my urine could remain radioactive for up to 7 days. I thought it was the shittest super power anyone could be given. But, that is one of my many surreal experiences.

The circus theme of bright colours and craftsmanship will deter it from being a pity party, or a bunch of survivors moaning, it’s not about trying to make people feel sorry, it’s about wanting to give us a voice just to be heard and to educate people, that, yes, it is amazing we survived, but we are not cured, that’s why it’s called remission, and we face many long term challenges and it should be okay to talk about these things.

If you’ve read all this, thank you so much. 

THANKS!

xBrittania

  • Hi Brittania. I had a different cancer but have been left with manageable but significant long term side effects. There is a lot of work going on in the quality of life field which is very overdue but nevertheless welcome. These days cancer medicine is so sophisticated many of us expect not just a cure but our lives to be enjoyable afterwards. This is often not the case and we play the cancer card in frustration. "You look well!" must be one of the most annoying hails we ever get!

    Best of luck with your project. I would love to see what becomes of it. PM me any time if you have an update and good luck

    Dani 

    Base of tongue cancer. T2N0M0 6 weeks Radiotherapy finished January 2019

    I wrote a blog about my cancer. just click on the link below 

    https://todaymycoffeetasteslikechristmasincostarica.com 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

    Community Champion badge
  • Hi Brittania.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, with the whole host of treatments from surgery to chemo to radiotherapy. It was as much mentally exhausting as physical. My worst fear had come true.

    There were surreal moments though. A couple stand out.

    My husband and I went into a little cafe when I was going through chemo. The staff were lovely and very friendly. As we were leaving, one of the ladies asked me where I got my hair cut as she really liked it. Little did she know that she was admiring a wig! I didnt tell her of course.

    On another occasion I was at the check out in M&S with a couple of mastectomy bras. The woman who was serving my looked up and called over to her colleague, about 10 feet away asking, 'Do I take the VAT off for this ladies mastectomy bras?'. Embarrassed shuffling of feet from the people behind me in the queue while the two member of staff were oblivious!! I just had to laugh!!

    Your project sounds amazing! Do share some pictures on here when its completed - good luck!

    Karen

    Karen
  • I could add that when I got the all clear I mused how on earth do I thank a complete stranger for saving my life? My consultant chirped up, “Don’t thank me, it might come back”  Good job I have a sense of humour. 

    Dani 

    Base of tongue cancer. T2N0M0 6 weeks Radiotherapy finished January 2019

    I wrote a blog about my cancer. just click on the link below 

    https://todaymycoffeetasteslikechristmasincostarica.com 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

    Community Champion badge
  • Hi there. I've not been here before...I am a bc survivor.

    I have lots of questions...

    Smitty3

  • Hi  I just put up a reply to your own post you put up.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • I'm a breast cancer survivor...Looking for some people who have dealt with radiation burns throughout reconstruction.

  • Hi again  let’s look for someone to pick up on your post.

    To make your question more open for people to see and answer you may want to put up your own discussion thread with your question as the title on this group….. but also join and post the same in our very supportive Breast cancer group as the group members do tend to stick around after treatment and chat about post treatment life.

    Do get back to me if you need further help navigating the community.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge