I feel like that the longer I am living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, with every new treatment and with every progression, I am like a china doll. My physical and mental health are chipping away and cracking. Some parts can be repaired, and others cannot.
At the start of my diagnoses these cracks where tiny and could be painted over, but now I just leave broken pieces of me behind.
In my bed when I cannot sleep from the dark thoughts, when I look at my family and know one day I won’t be there with them, when I wake up next to my love or I laugh at “our jokes”.
When I sit in that chemo chair, like hundreds before me – knowing the pieces will be swept up by housekeeping.
As I write this blog, I noticed I am in a better space than I was, although these feelings are forever creeping in.
So, where do I start? It has been over 8 years since I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. My diagnosis was de novo (which means I was diagnosed Stage 4 from the start) and I have never had the opportunity to be “cancer free” and invisible (well this is how I think I would feel).
At the start of my diagnosis I surrounded myself with positivity and so did my family and friends. You seek out those positive stories, you know the ones, the story you hear of someone who has been on your drug for 10+years. And I admit, I needed this at the time. I am the most optimistic and positive person you will meet (it’s a pain in the backside sometimes) and my sister says “you always see the positive to every situation”. Even my nieces eyeroll me as I spread my positive wise words.
At the start of my diagnosis things looked great – within a year my cancer was NEAD (No evidence of disease) and I felt great – nothing was holding me back.
Fast forward my first progression, it hurt, but it was ok – I had a plan….Surgery. Back to NEAD and feeling great.
Second progression; there were a few choice words but I had a plan, an option full of positive stories. Again I was NEAD!
I always have to have a plan A,B,C etc. And as I did my research, and got involved in support network and began to understand my disease and the cancer world I now lived in, I realised I didn’t have an infinite number of plans and there were lots of other hurdles.
And I also started to live in this world where people died and didn’t get better.
Birthday and cancerversaries became bittersweet as I was dealing with the realities of cancer, the side effects, the constant fear of the unknown, the helplessness, the indignity of losing who you are, who you were, even losing things you take for granted in your early 30’s – like walking up your own stairs or getting out the bath (because the treatment has made you weak).
And so, I feel with every year I am living with MBC, with every new treatment and with every progression, I am like a china doll. Leaving broken pieces of me behind.
By MetUpUK Member, Connie Johncock.