It’s kind of a milestone; my physiotherapy appointment yesterday was my 100th medical cancer related appointment since my first mammogram on the 06th April last year.
It’s *a lot*: that’s basically an appointment every 3 – 4 days.
I started counting when I started feeling overwhelmed by all the appointments and it became a way for me to reassure myself that the reason I seemed to constantly have appointments is because, well, I did / do constantly have appointments.
Going through the diagnostic process, preparing for surgery, living the whole cancer experience – it does take up a lot of your time, energy, and thought processes.
The experience varies depending upon how sick you are, what demands your employment and / or home life place upon you, what pre-existing conditions you might have – so many variables.
One of the most unhelpful things I have heard was this idea that I couldn’t let cancer take over my life.
My focus has been 100% on living through the experience and acknowledging it, owning it, warts and all.
So whilst cancer wasn’t ‘taking over my life’, it absolutely commanded and demanded my attention.
I also decided, early on, that I wasn’t going to hide my lived experience – and I will be coming back to that a lot in upcoming blog posts as I work my way through my anniversaries.
I personally found that it has taken all my focus and things like the milestone yesterday of 100 appointments is a really quantifiable measure of how much time is required to manage the experience of being unwell.
My goal is that I invest the time and energy now and in five years, it will be a distant memory!
This time last year, I still hadn’t heard back regarding the outcome of the mammogram, but I was so sick – I was exposed to a cold and it literally put me in bed for about 7 days. In hindsight, of course, my health was so essily compromised because of the growing tumours.
100 Medical appointments in 371 days.
Huge shout out to what I call my Wellness Team; my GP, my psychologist, my physiotherapist, my cancer surgeon, my plastic surgeon, my oncologist and their team, my colorectal specialist, the BreastScreen folx, my incredible support network, my best friend / housemate who has essentially been my carer, well as all the doctors, nurses, specialist medical professionals who have helped me throughout those 100 appointments.
Helen Gilmour says
Emotionally honest and the type of posts so many need to read. Illness does demand our attention, you cant just shrug it off with mindless positivity platitudes, treatment does require us to turn up at appointments we would rather never have to attend but every one is part of the treatment plan. There is an element of passivity and chaos we all feel when we have to hand our well being to others. We do have to put in work and that requires attention, not ignoring or diminishing what role we have to play in recovery. Is that the illness taking over?, no, its us being as proactive as we can and moving forward. Well done, 100 points of moving forward realistically is a milestone that needs acknowledgment.
I love this idea of 100 points of moving forward, thank you!
That sense of not being in control, and of being passive in the experience and disembowelled because of that is huge! Engagement and curiosity were such important tools for me.