I refuse to be stuck in a ‘pigeon hole’. Though some days it is almost impossible not to find myself firmly planted in one.
Living with a cancer that is trying each day to take away just a little bit more of my life means I live with a two sided window. I am more than my cancer, so much more. Yet some days it seems all about my cancer. Balance is an amazing skill to acquire.
I am an Optimistic Realist
As an optimist
- I am grateful for each morning that I wake and greet the day
- I live with hope and always look for something that is wonderful in my day
- I work on remaining confident that even though treatments are unable to cure me that they at least give me some time. Time with a quality of life that makes it worth living
- That my cancer will at very least ‘tread water’ for a while and just enjoy living with me and not wish to totally take over anytime soon
- I look forward to the future and still have plans and dreams
- Knowing that I can still achieve things and work hard to achieve my goals. It just takes longer now!
- I know who my friends really are and I love them so very much
- I understand that public speaking and photography are my purpose at the moment and sharing with others is important to me. (I know, strange combination!!)
- That my first goal of reaching 50 is in my sights
My second goal – reaching 5 years post diagnosis 22% of people who live with Stage IV Breast Cancer for 5 years.
My third goal – enjoy my 30th wedding anniversary in December 2018
and all while enjoying every single day I have available to me.
As a Realist
- I understand just how cloudy and uncertain my future has become but that does not mean I am ‘gone’ yet
- I know all too well that treatments that are meant to assist me can indeed steal away my wellness and often the treatment is harder to deal with than the cancer symptoms.
- I choose (with expert guidance) what will and will not go into my body to keep me moving and that the choices are mine to make without question or judgement from my peers
- It is obvious but sometimes difficult to accept that something that was so simple to achieve, without even thinking about it now needs an entire 3 page plan to pull off
- Accepting that some things on the ‘Just Do It List’ may be out of reach and not being too worried about it. (Just alter the list!!)
I never asked for cancer to arrive at my door and to this day I have never asked ‘why’. The reality is that with all the available statistics, the question that seems more appropriate is ‘why not?’.
I generally live as an optimist and I see this as a solid choice for getting on with life. But, and there is always a but. With every twist and turn that is cancer and treatment the ‘what if syndrome’ is never too far behind.
Sometimes, it is OK not to be OK and even though those who say it see it as the right thing, I can tell you right here and now that “Just Stay Positive” is NOT helpful.
If it was just that simple, like a light switch then surely it would be done. Sometimes there is nothing to be said. Just being there and spending time with a person who is in need of our empathy and understanding is all that is required.
Living each day where you are trying to eliminate or totally ignore any aches, pains or new strange sensations that may or may not be cancer related is tiring to say the least.
When the cancer is progressing or not paying attention to the drug you are currently taking, challenging.
To the long time friends that I have lost along the way, it is OK as it is obvious now that our friendship was not as strong as I thought and it is your loss not mine.
To those who ask “How are You?” but really do not mean it.. Please don’t bother asking. (though I am getting really REALLY good at telling who is genuinely asking).
It seems ironic that living with a ‘Terminal’ disease that takes a while to get me makes some uncomfortable and I cannot change the thoughts and reactions of others. I can only change how I react to them.
I will not apologise for surprising people when I ‘look so well’. That is a bonus as at least I don’t look as it I am about to push up daisies tomorrow. It does not seem to make sense to some that I can have a terminal disease and can still present somewhere looking well. (Some days it takes an awful lot or effort)
So my window is double sided. I like to look out of the window which finds me happy and content and planning what is next. Sometimes, without warning I find myself looking through the window that is dark and stormy, but that is OK as every garden needs the rain to flourish.
I am still here and still living with and not waiting to die from Secondary Breast Cancer
Always remember to be kind to yourself. The choice is always yours