I struggle with this thought constantly. Yes, I am alive, but it came at a major cost. Surviving is more than fundraisers, pink tutus and tiaras. I see so many pamphlets filled with beaming faces and shiny bald heads. No wonder a lot of people think breast cancer is no “big deal” and “totally treatable.” The whole October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also dubbed at times as PINKtober, really makes me furious!!!!
Only approximately 10% of women get the type of breast cancer I had – invasive lobular. How many women know what the most common type of breast cancer is? How many women know about metastatic cancer?
My quality of life is about 30%. Is that truly surviving? Is that even thriving? My horrible fatigue and often debilitating pain is constant. I get spurts of energy here and there. My whole routine in life will never be the same. I’ve had to learn to walk without feeling my feet thanks to chemo induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). I still have trouble buttoning my clothes, putting on earrings, bracelets and necklaces. There’s no cure for this side effect or even a clear understanding as to why some women are susceptible to this or why the pain and numbness goes away for some and not for others.
I’m so ANGRY because none of my doctors or even my social worker at the cancer center prepared me for survivorship. None of them informed me that my quality of life might not be 100%. They do NOT get it!!! I’m in medically induced menopause, so zero sex drive. Will I ever get enough energy to date again?
That is why I call myself a warrior because the battle is ongoing. There is no rest for me.
So, while I embrace this Thanksgiving, I’m not exactly in a “thankful” mood. Life was already tough pre-cancer. Now, it often feels unbearable.
Until next time,