In the last few weeks, the “realist” part of my personality has come to visit and slowly but surely I am working my way through the possibilities that being a realist presents to you. It has become way more real to me as I watch such wonderful young women lose their battle with their squatters and the families they leave behind. Until very recently, I had always been at arms length to this disease. I never really knew anyone that had been taken by it. Always a friend of a friend who I did not know. Even back in 2004 when I was first diagnosed. I very quickly decided that as long as it was in my breast I would not die and just got on with getting through all the treatment. This time it is different. I cannot ever be set free from the treatments, tests and checks even if I obtain NED (No Evidence of Disease).
I have spent almost 12 months in an unwavering state of thinking my disease can be beaten – locating NED and keeping him at my place – as a hostage if need be.
This is still my primary goal as I am sure it is with each and every person who is battling a Stage IV disease.
After my first chemo stint finished I have spent my time trying to get back on top of my health as I believe I will really need it. I could have gone away for a long holiday or trip but it really did not cross my mind too much. I just wanted to work on getting fitter and thinner and feel just a little bit more normal – even if for just a little while. I am constantly being told to go away, enjoy yourself, but for one reason or another it never really happened and I am actually good with it. I have spent time with my family and my friends. If I was as ill as when I was first given chemo then I would not have too much in the tank to fight through any future treatment and so I am good with that. Besides, I have achieved so much since the end of January. Small to many but huge in my book.
It also came to me that maybe I was just in a little bit of denial about my condition. Sort of like ‘If I don’t act like I have an “incurable” disease maybe it would just go away’. Even as I write it I know just how lame that looks. But I find that being positive and finding a good thing about each day a better way to be than let the darkness take over. That would be a very easy thing to allow and I understand totally how it happens. But for me, it is not an option. I have way too much to do and achieve before I drop off the perch. I believe that that fact that I have identified this fact means I can become stronger and face more things head on as they appear. In reality you can only do that. You must face it all as it is presented to you.
I have always been a firm believer in the fact that when it is your time then that is it.. But we do not stand in line and take a number, because that would be too easy. Even with this disease there are just so many variables and my time is still very unclear at this stage and I think it is better that way. I will always fight and fight and I will never give in because you never ever know what is just around the corner. If my time presents itself then that will be the way it is meant to be and I hope I have the strength to face my time with grace and dignity.
My days of just existing are long gone now. I know that if I had not done some of that existing then I would not be able to do what I am doing now and for that I am grateful. Would I have changed anything in my past ? Possibly but my choices are exactly that and I made them and the past is set in stone so I am good with them too.
What I do have the power over is my mind and I intend to continue to work through all the twists and turns and keep it in a good place as often as possible as that helps me so very much.
I am still 2 weeks away from my next visit with the oncologist. What does it hold? Nobody knows. That is actually the problem. I know that it will say whatever it says and that no amount of thought, worry, concentration, NED dances (hehehehe) or anything else for that matter will change the outcome. Going well – Going badly – NED.. We shall see. It is a strange place to be. Every visit seems to be the same. It is like playing chess and I can only hope that I am a good player. I am ok with any possible outcome and I am not ok with any possible outcome. That makes for a slightly crowded mind but I am sure it also makes me totally normal.
In my mind, I am doing everything I can to banish my squatters. I can only do everything in my power to place my heart, soul and mind in the best possible place and hope that my body can achieve the objective. I will continue to believe that it will be enough. To some who read this it may seem strange but there is a continuing optimism within me, a faith if you must that I can do this. But there is always the “other” voice. The one that keeps on telling me I cannot and will not win. Am I being naive ? or perhaps I am in denial ? I actually think I am at the point of a foot in both camps !! It can be called many things by many people, all depending on where you are looking from. But I try to look at it like this;
- Statistics are just that – black and white and we live in a technicolour world. I am an individual and further down the track may or may not slot neatly into the statistics. Time will be the only judge of my journey.
- I may indeed be up against it but it will not and does not stop me (slows me down quite a bit but hey, still moving). Every single day I try to achieve something that is good and wonderful, no matter how small that thing is
- Every single person on Earth is heading to the same place (unless I missed the memo) and unlike many I have been given a squatter that is trying it’s hardest to help me on my way.
- I look at life very differently now but it is sort of ironic. I should have been doing this long ago but was caught up in the crazy and sometimes rudderless ratrace. The very thing that I thought I was working towards is not and has never been promised to me. I always just expected that if I worked hard and was good to those around me that I would naturally live until I was 80 or so (being the average for women these days now)
- I am teaching my son about balance and how it is great to work hard but you need to take the time to enjoy yourself. Don’t just put it off until later. Some fun along the way is actually the key.
- Each day is a gift and I understand that life should not be judged by how long you are here but what you do whilst you are here. I will fight to make each and every one of them the best that I can.
Optimist v Realist – It is like one is cancelling out the other. How is it that I can be positive but indeed sound defeatist. This is the question that I have been dealing with for the past few weeks. It is only a defeatist attitude if you let it.. I have a different take on it.
Plan A – Kick Cancers butt from here to the bin and don’t let it back in.
Plan B – Spending all the time just kicking butt can be tiring and time consuming and waiting until you kick its butt may take forever and so HAVE SOME THINGS YOU WANT TO GET DONE and DO THEM NOW!!!
I hate the title “Bucket List” but I understand and embrace the reason behind one. Mine will be called “Don’t Wait – Do It Now!!!”. Being a reformed control freak the idea of a list to work on and tick off is a good thing. Especially as chemo / concrete brain continues to visit and steal my thoughts.
So stay tuned my list is beginning and it will have riveting things like Get the watering system finished. Finish planting the garden and mulch it all. Get the fishies some new plants so they have way better places to hide. All pretty small but totally huge for me. But there are a few big ticket items of which I have no idea how I will achieve them but it will be fun trying. Things like diving with White Sharks. Holiday in the Whitsundays where I can dive and if not dive at least snorkle. Also visiting my Overseas Friends.
So this is a good thing. I write my blog for a couple of reasons. I need to get it out and this helps me so very much. Secondly, as I work through things if I can touch just one person and start them down a road where they enjoy their lives just a bit more or convince someone to have a check up and find a cancer early then I am winning no matter what.
Today I am hoping this is the start of the next phase and no matter what I am presented within two weeks I will face it head on and just keep on going !!!