This is essentially what I wrote in CountryMouse's Diary on Tuesday, February 3, 2004. I just thought maybe it should be in a slightly more visible place, to be of some help:
I will tell you why I have a special interest in supporting the fight against breast cancer, why we need to find a cure: I didn't write about it anywhere on the Mouse House site at the time, but from June 2001-January 2002 I was actively fighting breast cancer myself. I wrote a good deal about it during that time in my LiveJournal; but I kept the entries locked for Friends Only because I felt that if I made it public, it would look like I was asking for pity. Maybe other feelings involved too. Just too scary at the time. I am talking about it now because someone else might benefit from just knowing that this is something that can be gotten through.
What I had was a walk in the park compared to what many women go through. But with the love and support of family and friends and a good support group (I am still in the Yahoo! group bosombuds, a wonderful group), plus oh yeah, good docs (heh!), one can survive this. My family was wonderful. They still are. ::grin::
What I haven't done still is totally accept that I had cancer, that I am now a survivor (unless you have to be five years out to use that term, I am not sure) [EDIT July 2, 2004: I'm gettin' there. See my little Breast Cancer Bear below, saying I am a survivor]. How I dealt with the whole thing was by not thinking about it when I didn't have to, which worked for me, but didn't help me to "own" what was happening/what had happened to me, how my life was changed. That's why there was a big gap in my entries in CM's Diary during that time, during the actual surgery phase of things (I had two biopsies, then a re-excision/partial mastectomy). I didn't want to write if I couldn't write something funny and light. I just didn't have the heart. And we had the whole 9/11 thing happen then, which overshadowed personal problems...
Incidentally, that's why I didn't create my 9/11 Memorial Page until the next year--I just wasn't dealing well with everything. On 9/11, my birthday, I was scheduled to see a new surgeon. I was not really in synch with the one I had. I cancelled my appointment that day--things were so scary, we really didn't know what kind or how many targets were being hit. The entire day was beyond belief, as I am sure you all remember. I did reschedule and went on to change to this new surgeon that my Primary Care Physician had recommended. It was a good decision on my part. You need to feel confident in and comfortable with your doctors.
By the time I got to November of 2001, I was ready for radiation. I have a wonderful, sweet radiation oncologist, and all the people at the radiation oncology dept. at the hospital where I go were/are just gems. So though I was tired a lot and slept a LOT during that time, I was back writing in CM's Diary because I felt I was through the really scary part and fighting with optimism. :-)
On Feb. 5, 2004 I went through all my LiveJournal entries regarding my journey through breast cancer and made public the posts that I had marked Friends Only for all this time. My LiveJournal entries [now archived at my CountryMouse's Refuge site] re: the breast cancer start here, mixed in with all kinds of other stuff in my life which may be totally boring. ::grin:: There is not a whole lot of agonizing there, since I did most of my crying offline. Teddy bears are wonderfully supportive. And watching "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" in the early morning, holding Christopher, helped on days when I was in limbo about treatment options.
So I would say this to all you ladies: get your mammograms!
That's how they found mine, which was DCIS, Stage 0, non-invasive, totally treatable. The earlier they can catch it, the better! And if you do have breast cancer, get into a good support group, learn as much as you can, know that there are lots of others out here that understand what you are going through--you are not alone.
Here are a few resources on my Causes page.
The Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization was very helpful when I felt I had no one to talk to! And I would also suggest you go to Yahoo! groups and join the bosombuds group. They are very helpful and supportive! Another thing I did: I phoned a local group here, Cancer Family Care. They have social workers that you can see, to help you and/or your family to deal with all the ramifications of cancer. I *still* see my social worker. She is a gem! Take advantage of all the resources you can, both locally and online. There are so many people just ready to help you!
here to see my diplomas/certificates for completing radiation!
|Gifts from Granny Margo - 2004|
Angel of the Forest,
Here is a set of primitive therapeutic
watercolours I did
during the first months of my diagnosis and treatment
(click the brush & palette)
Ride The Rail to a Different Destination Each Day
You are on The Health Train.
Copyright © 2004-2009 Joanna M. Phillips