When I started this journey the doctor team told me it would take 18 to 24 months to get through it all. In one month I will be 24 months from my diagnosis. I’ve been dreaming of the end of this. When I can get back to my normal self. Well, I have a new normal and it’s not like the old. I’m not trying to be a downer about all of this but I want others (woman about to start their own journey or people who are trying to understand) to know the struggle is real. Some days it takes all there is within me to make it through the day.
For the 10 years before all this I thought I was finally doing what I was meant to do. My family is incredible. A husband who loves the water as a scuba instructor and boat captain after retiring from active military duty. Four amazing children, who have grown into thriving adults with families of their own. I had a business. Clients that I adored. Brides who are still friends. I got up and went all day. I did all the ‘normal’ duties of a wife, friend, mother, daughter. I say all this because I felt blessed to have what I had at that time.
For me, as long as I had a plan, I was okay. It’s a whirlwind. Meeting the team of doctors on different days, getting labs done, reviewing genetic tests. It’s non-stop. There’s chemo treatments, surgery, more labs, then daily radiation treatments. For months. Go, go, go. Just like my life.
Then…it stops. You meet with just your oncologist every 4 months. You start to try and get your life back. For me a daily routine is important, but when just getting out of bed is task from hurting
Take you inhibitor medication. Start therapy to get the range of motion back, hopefully. Your breast area is tender to the touch now from radiation and you have to wear a bra. Your fingers and hands ache. Your feet hurt from the neuropathy. Getting out of bed is a task because you hurt all over. You want to just curl up and be left alone, but that won’t help. You are exhausted all the time. You can’t keep a clear thought.
The key is to start. Star small. Set your alarm. Stretch for 5 mins while you are in the bed. Then get up. Break down your day into small segments. I found 10 mins was the most I could do at first just 3 times a day. I also found that I was more alert in the morning. So anything that took mental power, I did first. Go with your first routine for as long as it take you to get through a task with ease. Then add 5 minutes. As my Granny said, quite after, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
I got so mad at myself when I couldn’t finish something. I felt so guilt, as if I was letting down my husband. Then I heard this saying … “progress. not perfection”. This resonated with me. Now it’s my motto. When I am working on a project and I get to where I can’t go any further. I stop look back at what I’ve done, ever so little, and say Progress. Not perfection.
Well another chapter is closed. I got my port removed today (July 22, 2020). 26 months after it was put in.
I was told it would be at least 24 months before the real healing would begin. I honestly didn’t think it would take that long. Well, let me tell you, it does!!
There’s a new normal after this. You learn things about diet, exercise, sugar consumption, libido lows, body aches, scars and yourself that you can’t help but be different. It’s not all bad. It’s a learning curve that is sometimes frustrating and sometimes enlightening.
All in all, I’m doing well. My annual mammogram was all clear. Making a few med changes to hopefully help with the joint and body aches from the estrogen blocker. Just keep at it. Eventually, it will all come together for our good. Just as God intends.