Oh man oh man, this is SO how I feel now… a poorly functioning entity surrounded by disaster.

Oh man oh man, this is SO how I feel now… a poorly functioning entity surrounded by disaster.

Wow, it’s been a month and a half since I last posted, and it feels like a year ago or just a few days. December was a month of crappy anniversaries (my diagnosis, terrible holiday, start of my chemo, Graydon’s leukaemia diagnosis and three weeks inpatient, including Christmas) plus the first Christmas without my dad. My boyfriend was wiped out with flu, so we didn’t see each other for more than a week. I was exhausted, so at the last minute we didn’t go to Stratford on Christmas day like we always do—I slept most of the afternoon and evening, getting up on autopilot and frying chicken breasts for Christmas dinner—what a disgrace. We did go to Stratford Boxing Day and had lasagne made by my sister-in-law Sandra—delicious. We visited with my mum, Sandra, Ed and my nieces (in town for a couple of days), sisters Heidi and Juli, and my real BFF, Pam. She lost her dad a few months before I did, and then her mum died just before Christmas, so it was a sombre time in their lovely house. There were many, many occasions where drinking would have been the best answer ever, except the connection of alcohol consumption and breast cancer is so huge, I barely drink at all now. Maybe this is part of the problem—no lubricant for my rusty heart, brain and soul.

So it is now a full year since I started treatment. My testing, diagnosis and chasing the elusive-and-never-found tumour were in November and December 2013. Started chemo December 30. Had bilateral partial mastectomy May 22. 25 rounds of radiation in July and August. Severe burns and fatigue September and October. Lymphedema in right arm, hand, fingers, breast and trunk November, which will continue forever, and fatigue and brain fog (cancer-treatment-related cognitive dysfunction) that continue to make me not myself at all.

Is it my new normal? I HOPE TO GOD NOT!!!

I haven’t posted for six weeks because I was very down. I am now going to try to crawl on up out of my hole by doing things suggested by my cancer navigator over at St. Mike’s (Miriam Sweet-Goldstein, a very sweet—really, a totally appropriate adjective—and concerned woman who has walked the walk herself and now helps others to do the same; she takes the time to listen, and has great suggestions), and by Lorena and Stephanie in the Cancer Survivorship Clinical Program at Princess Margaret. I have not “bounced back” from my cancer side trip, and need to. Facing my mortality, the fear of recurrence, my lifelong lymphedema condition and now the changes that plague my energy level and brain have just been too much for me. For years and years, people who know me well and the misadventures of my family members have said to me “I don’t know how you do it every day!” Well, after this last year, I’m just not able to do it anymore, and I have to change that.

I’m taking on the commitment to post more often as a way to think and type and spend work-type time on the computer. So the posts will be smaller and more frequent.

Thank you for hanging in here with me—if you’re still reading, that is.

Say hello just to let me know? I’m hoping for four responses…


5 Responses

  1. It’s good to “hear” your voice again. So, the connection between alcohol (wine) and cancer “is huge.” Gawd…another thing to cut out (or back). I think it’s the estrogen aspect of it? I’ve drunk one glass of wine maybe three times a week since I finished treatment, both because I like it from time to time and the highly beneficial resverotrol it contains. What have you learned about it? (I’ve made so many changes; and continuing. In fact, I’m doing a three week hormone-balancing detox diet right now. No alcohol.)

  2. Hi Jackie, I’ve been wondering how you’ve been and thought things might be going slowly, I was talking with friends yesterday about post cancer effects, my one friend’s mom has also fought and won the cancer battle but has so many after effects that just aren’t discussed, She said the people think , “Oh great you beat cancer” but don’t t realize how life is after the assault of months of drugs on the body, or the left over emotional and mental effects.
    I’m encouraged to see that you’re going to work positively towards to future, if there’s ANYTHING that I can do to help, please let me know, I’m only a phone call away,
    Love you, cousin, I want to see you happy.

    • Just knowing you keep up with the blog and care is plenty! And your friend’s mum is right. I thought I would finish radiation, take a month more off and pop back to work and my old life. Not so. Thank you for understanding and talking about the late effects!


  3. I wish I could say something stunningly uplifting but I got nothing. You know I’m here for you… escape and come hide here for a few days!

  4. “I don’t know how you do it everyday”… I am so impressed that you get that you don’t have to “do it everyday”. Like Jules said … I’m here when you need me, any time.

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