It’s been three years since I was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer. It feels more like an eternity.
I’ve had days where I’m able to live a great and full life, and days that have left me terrified or struggling to make it through. Some medications have allowed me to live mostly unscathed, while others keep me housebound trying to navigate nasty side-effects. It’s amazing how you just get used to a side-effect. Hot flashes, fatigue, digestive issues, and insomnia - they all just become part of a new normal. Thankfully, so far, it’s been mostly good days and my quality of life has been high. I’ve been fortunate compared to others in my situation. But it’s all relative and I’m still allowed to be frustrated.
There has been a lot of loss, both immediate and gradual. Loss of my reproductive organs due to the cancer feeding off estrogen. Loss of independence in relying on my parents as caregivers and providers. Loss of control over my body - cancer does what it wants and the side-effects keep piling up. Loss of potential future plans because living according to three-month scan results means things could go sideways at any time.
But hey! There have also been many times when I’ve felt like I still have all the time in the world. I've had two and a half years of running my own Publicity company. I've received grant funding for professional development and marketing initiatives. I've travelled within Canada and overseas to Europe. I’ve enjoyed my body and made sure to revel in unlimited movement. I've spent copious amounts of time laying around watching glorious television and films.
And seriously, I have a lot of support. There are many health care professionals who work with the cancer community where I live. I have Yoga Instructors, an exercise Trainer, Massage Therapist, Physiotherapist, and Psychologist. Of course, there’s my team at the hospital and through Palliative Care. And I also belong to a number of online (Facebook) and local breast cancer groups, where many women have become good friends. I have my parents, who are my biggest support. My sister who has travelled across Canada to be with me and is constantly there for texts or calls (shout out to my brother-in-law as well). There’s also my extended family, dearest friends, and additional communities.
Here's to three more years, and beyond! I have a lot I want to see, do, and accomplish. I can daydream and cling to optimism. Fingers crossed on those scan results - every goddamn time.