The New Me After Cancer

I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, spread to 3 lymphnodes and was considered stage 3 because of size and the fact it had spread, in October of 2017 at the age of 36. There are so many different factors of cancer. Until one actually goes through it or has someone close who does you actually don’t know how many types with different variables that have to determined before treatment can be decided. In breast cancer you are either estrogen positive or negative (er+ or er-). I was positive. Which basically means that my cancer feeds off of estrogen.

Being that I was so young and not going to be going through menopause for several more years it is recommended that I be put into medical menopause for the next 7 years, possibly 10. There are different medications to do so. I began a monthly injection and a daily pill, Tamoxifen, almost a month ago. This part of my treatment plan was the part that sent me for a second diagnosis. All I could think is how dreadful is this. Not only was I still trying to cope and wrap my mind around the fact that I had stage 3 invasive cancer (meaning it had spread) & needed to have surgery to remove the tumors but also the fact I was looking at at least one year to be committed to treatments, 7 to 8 mos of chemotherapy and 7 weeks of radiation because of the fact it had spread. All of that seemed almost bearable. Of course I was full of fear. I couldn’t imagine the fact I was going to lose my hair, my breasts, and so much time was going to be have to be committed to beat this. But the fact that the success rate had risen so much over the years and beating it was obtainable I knew I really had no other choices or time to put it off. So I pushed the medical menopause thoughts to the back of my mind after stressing over it and obtaining that second opinion.

Now that that time is here I still question the fact of going through menopause for that long and facing all of its side effects topped with my long term side effects I am already facing from treatment is worth it. From the information given to me by my doctor my chance of reoccurrence is 38% less by being put in medical menopause and being that the chances of reoccurrence are so high the first 10 years after diagnosis not doing this would not be in my best interest.

Beating cancer itself is such a long road but my road out of here seems like it is never ending when I think about how long this will all be a part of my life. I keep thinking how happy I will be to get my life back but who am I kidding? I am never getting that old life back. It is time to learn to live with the new I have been given. Which I am beyond blessed that I get the chance to do.

This whole journey has been stressful and along with that has been moments of depression and lots of anxiety and the feeling that I am alone. Which is ridiculous and I know I am far from that. But there are moments when I am just trying to keep positive even though my 36 year old body feels like an 80 year old body and nothing about me feels the same that it all becomes too much and talking to those around me who have no idea what I am going through is not always the easiest. If I really told every person who asked how I really feel I would feel like such a cry baby. But it’s my reality. I have always had sympathy for anyone who had to go through cancer and thought they were some of the strongest among us but now that it is me going through it I understand how lost and alone you can feel at times even if you are surrounded with loved ones and people who care.

My emotions have been a crazy mess since I was diagnosed but this last month they have increasingly got overwhelming. I am assuming the changing of my hormones from the medical menopause is a lot of it. But I also have an 18 year old daughter who thought she should test my sanity over the summer before going to college so that maybe it as well or a combination of the two.

All I know is that my emotions at times never stop. Thoughts never stop when I am extra sad or when happy. They all seem intensified to the point my head could explode.

My daughter had been dating this guy who was at complete loser which made me blow it off because for one I thought she was just going through some kind of weird stage. None of this seemed like her. Plus I have been so drained from driving over an hour to and from daily radiation that I really didn’t have the energy to actually stop it. So I left it on her hands and gave her hints here and there. When moving day for college came I was sure that would be the end but no way he somehow convinced her to drive back home to see him not once but twice the next day. Need I mention this is over a two and a half hour drive. He was cheating on her and brain washing her and had her just lost! After getting that call at 3am from one of her friends about the fact she was on her way home and possibly going to run off road and kill herself over this boy and his bull I lost it. She wouldn’t answer my calls and the boy kept lying to my husband about being in contact with my daughter. Long story short through this whole early morning of not being able to reach her and being told all the terrible things he had done to her my emotions were at an all new level.

The things going through my mind that I wanted to do were news worthy and if I got caught would result in jail time. And in that moment none of that mattered I just wanted to destroy this boy. I did do some crazy things to catch her in her lie but I probably would have done that no matter what. I only fear that in moments like this in the future will my emotions get the best of me or will they get better with time?

I can only sit and imagine how crazy I look from the outside in. How ridiculous some people must think I am. At moments it makes me feel stupid and very alone like no one understands what is going on in my head and trying to explain it often makes me feel crazier! Depression has been a part of me basically from childhood. Coming and going but for the most part I have always known how and when it’s time to pull myself out of that slump. When the littlest things have become hardest and you cant complete the littlest of tasks and hide away from it all and cant get out of bed, that has been the issue since I was diagnosed but now with such crazy emotions I can only wonder how long I can control it before I snap!

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