Survival is a series of small victories

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My dear ladies in this group and any men if there are any.

I have been reading through all these posts and I recognise myself a few years ago when I was also eager to read about other people’s experiences of this cancer journey. it is indescribable to anyone who hasn't been there. All that unknown territory ahead of us. All the questions, and of course, we only want to hear answers favourable to the outcome we want for ourselves.

Looking back, I understand that it's not about which chemo we were on, and whether we will get a reaction, or lose our hair, get sick or fatigued or suffer neuropathy, or lymphoedema or feel pain. What this journey requires of us is to bear it all, to get through it, and out the other side. Unfortunately, that’s all we can do. With cancer, we are not in charge.

Just as we are all different, our experience of cancer will be different. I researched everything I could about TNBC, treatments and alternative therapies. I spoke to the ‘Somebody Like Me’ service provided by McMillan, attended wellness retreats, and improved my diet and exercise. Initially, I blamed myself (my lifestyle) for getting cancer and I worried about recurrence, until the day I stopped worrying and thought to myself “cancer is so last year.”

After a year of treatment (chemo, surgery, radiotherapy) I continued with prophylactic bisphosphate infusions (3 years) and the usual annual checks and mammograms. I was diagnosed in August 2018, the Oncologist signed me off in February 2022, had my final infusion and my fifth annual mammogram in August 2022 (in the last few weeks). I gave my wig to the local cancer charity in case someone else fancied it, and returned my ‘Eating Well With Cancer’ library book, and then…

BOOM!!

A call back.

That’s all it has taken to put me right back in square one: worried again, and fearful!

I haven’t seen a doctor yet but I’m saying to myself, that’s it, I’ll have to go through it all again. Perhaps, I will have to, but I won’t be the first, and I won’t be the last. BTW I’m 73.

Surviving cancer is a daily job, it is a series of small victories in amongst all the twists and turns of fate. Live in the NOW my friends because that’s all we have. The future is a toss of a coin, a deck of cards, an aggressive disease that may or may not stay away.

Be strong. Love each other and yourselves.