Left breast diagnosis
Another Cancerversary… This time of receiving the diagnosis of cancer in my left breast.
I’m sharing everything so that anyone who is following along at home can get a sense of how intense the process is. So many appointments, tests, and then more appointments.
At the same time, I was attempting to move house.
Here’s an insight into how I was trying to arrange that.
So many people had taken the time and effort to have serious, and, I think, quite courageous on their side, conversations with me about asking for help. These conversations typically also covered my stubbornness, my tendency to run myself into the ground rather than rely on people, and my introverted inclination to retreat into myself when I was stressed out.
I think it is brave and loving to have those conversations with friends, and I made the conscious decision early on to make an effort to stop and consider how I might ask for help, and how people might support me.
So here’s an example of what that looked like for me.
Facebook post from 22nd May
🚗🚘🚙It’s MOVING WEEK! 🛻🚛🚚
Today is auction day, so once today is done, any and all help is welcome; especially if you have a trailer or tray of some kind!
I can’t do much in terms of lifting and carrying so my housemate needs a hand. Neither of us is working this week, so any day suits. I have no medical appointments this week (to the best of my knowledge!), although I do have to get the vet, however, that’s local.
And to the airport way too early because my younger sibling is coming down for a few days and I am so excited about that!
One thing I will ask as my doctor reminded me; my immune system is dealing with a fair load right now, so please, if you or a member of your household is sick, stay away.
I need help sorting, culling, packing, we need to get a small skip in, and we need help taking the big-ticket items.. and unpacking + putting away at the other end.. the new place needs a mow already, and we should probably do a mow again at the old place.
Thankfully new place is 1.3 km up the road from the old place.
Due to my fatigue, I’m pretty much done by 530pm but if you are free and have the inclination, hit me up: maybe you have a secret skill like oven cleaning or organising kitchen cupboards, or something. Maybe you hang a mean picture or you have a knack for positioning windchimes! Perhaps you have a secret stash of newspaper for wrapping breakables. Possibly moving isn’t your thing but you are happy to drop by with coffee, lol! Conceivably tools are your thing, and you can put up my cat mesh screen for us; the cats will be the last to move. I need a rail put up in the bathroom too.. ugh, I need to go to Bunnings.. perhaps you are just going along High Street Road, and would be happy to load up your car with stuff, drop it up the road and continue on your merry way.
Synopsis of health situation
The last 5 – 6 years have been challenging; I have managed to maintain full-time work, whilst being quite sick – all triggered by an abscess that ate away part of my jaw. April 2015 – July 2018, I had 12 deaths amongst family and friends, and lost three cats and my dog. There was a period of bullying at work, and I also did another degree and upgraded my cert IV.
This was the first time I had shared that information so opening and succinctly!
What I didn’t manage was to stay on top of things at the house especially when we shoehorned my housemate back in here quickly in late September 2017. So essentially, if you are coming to help, you are seeing the evidence of my depression writ large in terms of the disorganisation. And.. I’ll be frank, it’s a bit embarrassing. On top of asking for help, which I find hard.
I’m also really hoping to avoid this at the new place, so if you want to unpack, that’s awesome too.
This was another first for me. I have mentioned to individuals that I live with depression, and I share articles about it etc… But that is very different to acknowledging – hey, it’s been really bad, and I have been maintaining a great face at work and socially, but you are going to walk into my house and it’s going to be obvious, and I feel vulnerable and exposed.
I can only explain this as face hunger. It’s my term, I googled it 🙃 I’m very introverted and very private, but that is one of the answers to my housemate’s profound question “what do you need to get through this?”
I desperately wanted to see my Beloveds. This face hunger and desperately wanting to see people is the reason behind my trip interstate that is happening right now.
And… I’ll be honest, I’ve been craving to see my friends, so even if not this week, there will be stuff most likely next week too, and in the weeks to follow.
So it will be lovely to see your faces.
😔 This did not happen – we went into various lock downs, fatigue wiped me out, and then I was very, very sick for 5 months with chemo.
All the pots and plants
With the help of three friends, one of whom has a trailer; pretty much all the pot plants are moved and put into their best positions at the new house.. and 4 boxes of kitchen stuff found their way across in one of the carloads.
It took three loads.
So, it’s really started now!
The move is ON.
End Facebook post from 22nd May.
Leave, moving, and lockdowns.
I started to become very grateful that I had taken extended leave.
We also went into covid restrictions on May 25th (again).
This also totally threw my younger sibling’s visit from interstate into complete disarray. They arrived on Tuesday, and then left again on Thursday, trying to get back to their own family and not get stuck interstate. It was a nightmare in terms of timing. They ended up in Quarantine for two weeks and I still feel bad about it a year later. (Sorry, sibling).
Left breast diagnosis
I got the diagnosis on Tuesday. My cancer surgeon called me and delivered the news. Luckily, I had an appointment with him the next day. My sibling was already in town, so we could debrief in person instead of over the phone.
Weirdly, much like the process of biopsies etc the second time, the diagnosis on my other breast kind of felt a bit… Anticlimactic.
I think once you have had that kind of earth-shattering news once, you just keep going.
The focus becomes very much one step at a time. The next test, the next appointment.
The next appointment was the next day with my cancer surgeon, and I was relieved that was already booked in rather than having to wait.
Ensure that you are vigilant around your self-examination. Train yourself to check your breasts/testicles routinely, and monitor your bowel habits and your urine output. These are our body’s early warning signs, and we don’t have a lot of awareness of them.
Related blog posts
- Friday 21st May 2021: Biopsy, Left Breast
- Tuesday 18th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 6)
- Monday 17th May 2021 Arranging the biopsy
- Saturday 15th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 5)
- Wednesday 12th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 4)
- Friday 07th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 3)
- Cancer surgeon
- Sunday, 02nd May 2021 (Cancer Journal 2)
- Saturday May 01st 2021 ( Cancer Journal 1)
- Facebook post
- How to tell people you have cancer.
- Deciding strategies
- The Camus Question of Choice
- The Follow-up Tests
- The phone call.
- Check your breasts