What’s it like?

image.pngSo, we all wonder what it’s like? As women we wonder before we have children, what’s it like to be pregnant? What’s labour like?  We hear all the stories and read all the articles, but I think you will all agree with me that you never truly know until you go through it yourself.

so what’s it like living with cancer? To be honest I never asked myself this as a person, I’ve nursed many people with this disease and have been truly compassionate when caring for them, but probably thought this question may arise maybe when I hit my 70’s or probably not at all.

People say to me, I can’t imagine what your going through. Im going to try in story mode to explain a bit about how it is.

Imagine yourself on a boat. It’s a hot sunny day, your sunning yourself in your bikini, cocktails on tap and your family and friends around you, everyone enjoying themselves and not a care in the world. A doctor comes on board and tells you that you have breast cancer. At first it doesn’t sink in but as the holiday draws to end you know you have to do something about it.

We all give consent to  have things done to us, but no one really talks about not having treatment, do they?

so in a nutshell, we are still on the boat, if you refuse to do anything about this disease (I doubt anyone would) then you continue your holiday on the boat,drinking cocktails and trying to enjoy yourself. You will probably come unstuck one day though.

For most people we have to face the treatment route, (sorry I’ve rabbited on about consent blah blah blah, now back to the story) The doctor tells me there is a plank coming off the boat, you know like on the pirate ships? You see I can swim, in a swimming pool, but the deep blue sea, with them gushing waves? Now this is a different kettle of fish.  I walk up to the plank and look down. I can see deep dark waters, fish and other weird things swimming around. I look behind and all my family and friends are on board, this time not drinking or having fun. I kinda feel alone.

I’ve got to walk this plank and jump in the sea and swim to fight this disease.

I know the water is going to be cold. Freezing cold. I know I might get hurt from the jellyfish or sharks even. I know I can swim but can I swim when the storm hits? Who’s going to be with me? What if I drown? Will the doctors help me?

So I jump in, I have to. I have no choice really. I’ve just got to do it.

The water isn’t too cold, it’s tepid. I feel a bit frightened by the buoyancy of the water against me. I’m looking ahead and I can’t see any land, just the horizon which likes miles away. I’m scared. Shit scared.

I feel a tap on my shoulder, it’s John. He’s found some adult arm bands, he blows them up on my arms for me. Ah that’s better. I feel slightly safer now. He soaking wet now, just like me.

I look to my right and my parents and family are there, they’ve got the fun size rubber rings on the go, incase my legs get tired.

I look to my left and my consultant and all the team are there. I kind of imagined they would be after seeing my family on the right, I knew they would have something better than a rubber ring, probably a dingy. Even better than that they have a lifeboat, there are lights and everything.

I keep on swimming, I feel a bit better knowing I’ve got my team by my side.

I still can’t see land yet, but I know it’s coming. The whole world isn’t made of ocean. There is some green to come.

7 thoughts on “What’s it like?”

  1. Michelle, I stumbled across your blog and just wanted to say keep strong. I was in the same position as you are now this time last year and began chemo January 18th 2014, surgery and radio then followed. I was 34 at the time and my son was 3 weeks old when I was diagnosed stage 3 just like you. I’m out the other side and just wanted to say this time next year you will be too.
    Wishing you all the best, keep fighting because as scared as I know you must be you can do this.
    Xxxxx

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  2. Michelle, I stumbled across your blog and just wanted to say keep strong. I was in the same position as you are now this time last year and began chemo January 18th 2014, surgery and radio then followed. I was 34 at the time and my son was 3 weeks old when I was diagnosed stage 3 just like you. I’m out the other side and just wanted to say this time next year you will be too.
    Wishing you all the best, keep fighting because as scared as I know you must be you can do this.
    Janine
    Xxxxx

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  3. Doris if you don’t swim I’m gonna come and kick your arse ….. lovely way to describe how your feeling keep strong xxxxx

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  4. Your friend at sgh told me about your blog today at work. I finished chemo and radio 23rd December, 2014 for stage 3b, grade 2 oestrogen positive breast cancer. I wish I had the courage to put my experience down in words. I do not think I could have written as beautifully as you. My heart goes out to you with your young family. Mine are older. They were 19, 20 and 22 during diagnosis and treatment, and it was still a hard time for them. Thinking of you as you are waiting for your mastectomy. Will continue to follow your blog (first time I have done this) I think I survived on a parallel universe. It was difficult to separate being a nurse and patient. It was my colleague who woke me up in recovery, friend who pushed me to the ward, and surgeon who I had worked with for years who told me that it was more advanced than originally thought.
    Top tip for chemo. If you can have a portocath and aprepitant is a wonderful anti sickness. Embrace the Demi Moore look and accept all offers of help.
    Good luck x
    Jackie xxxx

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