Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well it's now a week since I had my last treatment and I'm slowly starting to feel human again. The steroids are working their way out of my system and I don't feel as jittery and spaced out as I was, and the metallic taste is gradually lessening. I've managed to drink white wine and will have to see if red wine still tastes awful! I still have emergency dashes too the loo (an effect of having pelvic radiotherapy) but it's more or less manageable, though I'm still being careful what I eat.

At the Marsden you come across so many people that are sick and the irony is that for the most part everyone felt fine before they were diagnosed - there are not many other diseases that the treatment makes you feel WORSE than you did when you started! But it's good to be coming through it now. In a month I have a check up.

Some nice things happened this week too. Col is here, which is great. We've booked a holiday. And I went to a thing called Look Good Feel Good, which is for cancer patients and is basically a girlie afternoon playing with makeup. It was lots of fun and it was nice to meet other women with other cancers who are all battling this disease with, for the most part, great attitude and grace. I saw my treatment as a job (admittedly a not very nice one!) that had to be done as did many of the ladies I spoke to yesterday and I really think that helped me get through it. And those Aussie battler genes!

The other thing that happened was that I got a message from one of the forums I post on from a girl who has just been diagnosed with cervical cancer. I won't say any more to protect her privacy, except that she had read this blog from start to finish and had found it very helpful. That completely validated my reasons for writing here. Apart from keeping in touch with my friends and family, I hoped it would help someone. And it has, and that is something that I can take from all of this. It was upsetting when I was accused of being attention seeking when I decided to be up front with it all. That was never my intention (believe me, this is attention that I'd never normally choose to have!), and to have someone say that I've helped them made my day!

I'm also reading Pollyanna again, it makes me smile. For those of you who have never read it. it's about a little girl and a game that her father teaches her which is the "glad game". It's about finding something to be glad about whatever the situation.

I'm not so good at the glad game I'll admit, but I do find that being positive helps. Of the people I've met at the Marsden, those that get on with it and battle through the bad times with humour and grace seem to do better than those who are angry and bitter and complain. That's not to say that there aren't bad days or days that you want to whinge a bit, or days that it's hard to get out of bed, or are in pain, or generally a little pissed off; but life's too short to be angry or rude or nasty all the time. And I certainly believe that "you reap what you sow" to quote Lou Reed (and our wedding dance!).

I feel sorry for those people that can't see that the reason people at the hospital know me by name is that I make an effort to smile and say hello and have a chat with people. Last week I met a woman who said that breast cancer has ruined her life. That was so sad to me, as cancer has changed things in many ways, but I'm still me and it certainly hasn't ruined my life. I'm not glad that I have cancer, but it really has made me appreciate what I have, especially in terms of love and friendship.