It’s been a hard road, and I still struggle with some aspects, but life is okay. I am a much calmer person now and feel more confident in general. I went through a lot of fear and was convinced I was going to die.
It was surreal and terrifying and my long-term relationship barely survived. In fact, we are still in counselling and our relationship is not what it was, and I’m apprehensive with intimacy, but we are working on things. One of my concerns was going through the menopause, but I’ve been surprised and have barely noticed it.
Before I was always hot and now I am always cold, which is the opposite of what I expected, but so much better. I have however put on yet more weight and I feel a bit freaked out if I think too much about not having a womb anymore and I barely have any sexual desire. This is probably partly due to being on anti-depressants which I hope to stop taking eventually, but for now they are doing their job. I’ve realised that working through one issue at a time works best for me.
So why, despite all this, do I feel like life is better now? Well it’s the change in my attitude. I was very anxious before, unhappy, short tempered. My periods were ruling my life, I was dizzy, my hair was falling out and my hormones were all over the place. Work was stressful and I didn’t feel like I was living my life. I worried about running out of time to decide whether having children was for me or not. Then bang, everything stopped and I was forced to focus on my health.
Whilst I was off work recovering from my hysterectomy (luckily, I was stage 1a, grade 1 and no further treatment was needed) my job changed and is so much better now than it was before. My parents were in the process of moving away, but they instantly changed their plans and stayed. Obviously, I can no longer have children so I’ve accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. This is a strange one though, because it has affected me more than I thought it would, but I try not to dwell and am about to become an auntie so I’m going to make sure I’m a great auntie.
I no longer worry about the small things and am generally more relaxed about everything, even my intense fear of spiders is not nearly as bad as it was before! People close to me have noticed that things don’t phase me in the same way as they used to. It’s hard to explain what having cancer is like and how it affects you mentally unless you’ve been through it, but every story is different of course.
I have also met loads of amazing people and made new friends. The medical professionals I have met have been amazing and I am forever grateful to the NHS, Macmillan and the amazing WCSUK support group. Whenever I feel worried about something I remind myself that I survived cancer so I can face anything. I’ve had counselling, where I talked a lot about dying because no one wanted to talk about this with me, but it was important to me and my sanity at the time.
Ultimately, I’m proud of myself and I’ve never felt that way before. I’m amazed by how well I continue to deal with everything that’s happened. Don’t get me wrong, I do have bad days, but they aren’t very often. Whatever life throws at me now, I know can get through it and this has brought a sense of calmness to my life. I have also gone back to doing yoga which really helps relax me.
I’ve decided I’m going to travel more and say ‘no’ to things I don’t want to do. Cancer almost ruined my life, but it feels like I’ve been given a second chance and I’m positive about the future.
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