How can you return to what was your life BC – before cancer? Everything has changed. Everything is different. Your outlook on life; your hopes and fears are all mixed up. People around you change as well. Sometimes those you thought you could rely on in times of crisis fall away yet others step up to the mark and take their place.
The road since that fateful day has been a long and often lonely one. There have been many hills to climb and many dark deep valleys to cross.
Since the treatment ended, my health has not got better like I expected it too. In fact, it’s got much worse. Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have also been diagnosed with an epi gastric hernia; an under active thyroid and lymphoedema in both legs. I also have severe cognitive and memory problems and fatigue as a result of the treatment. I don’t sleep very well and also have bowel and bladder issues, which is the reason why the epi gastric hernia isn’t going to be repaired any time soon!
I guess you can understand my frustration when people say to me “you’re looking well” as if they expect you to be at the peak of good health the minute your cancer treatment is over. When I’ve told people that I’m not too good they usually say something like “but you don’t have cancer anymore do you?” I’ve had people tell me that all I need is a good night’s sleep or that I need to change my mindset and think positive!
The past 5 years have been tough, much more than I ever thought they would be. Had I known then what I know now there is a very good chance that I would not have had the chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The side effects of the treatment were never fully explained to me and for that I am extremely angry. However I can’t change what has happened and I have to learn to live with the consequences of the treatment.
There have been some very dark times as well recently. Loosing my Mom to cholagniocarcinoma or bile duct cancer last Dec was extremely hard to deal with and I had considered stepping back from WCSUK. There was too much cancer in my life and it felt like it was taking over. In the end, I didn’t and it was only the many kind and positive words from some of the lovely ladies in the WCSUK private chat group that kept me going.
Through what I do with WCSUK I have met some wonderful people; women of all ages, some of whom have fought, or are fighting a much harder battle than I am. Along the way, I have seen 6 women lose their fight because of this cancer, and each loss has touched me deeply.
WCSUK is going from strength to strength; there are more women coming to us as a result of many people handing out our cards. Our awareness leaflets are being distributed across the UK. We are part of various initiatives and finally womb cancer is getting the recognition and awareness it needs, thanks in no small part to some wonderful ladies who are stepping forward and sharing their stories. Recently womb cancer has featured on national TV and in 2 national newspapers and there is a lot more in the pipeline.
5 years is a long time – an awful lot has happened and now is the time to take a step back and think about the future.
Where does the road go from here? Who knows? I don’t have a map; I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where the rollercoaster takes us next!
xx Kaz xx