This photo was taken on the 6th of November 2014 at our dear friend Martin’s 50th birthday party. Five week’s later, I received the diagnosis that started this epic battle.
If you had told me then what was going to unfold, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. Me, breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer never!! Who are you kidding??
But my how things have changed and the last 10 days have probably been some of my toughest days so far.
The diagnosis that the cancer has spread to my brain has left me stunned. The thought of brain radiation has freaked me out and, the fact that the doctors don’t know how my brain will react to the radiation, how severe the side-effects will be and whether there will be any permanent cognitive damage has left me completely terrified.
Those of you who know me well, know how independent and self-sufficient I am and how much I hate having to ask for help. It is probably one of my biggest weaknesses but now I am left with little choice.
I’ve been told that I am no longer allowed to drive, should consider giving up work permanently and can’t travel until both my brain and lung mets are stable as neither would withstand the pressure of an aircraft cabin at the moment.
The swelling on my brain combined with the position of the tumors has caused some spatial and cognitive deficiencies. To name but a few, I struggle to read (something I have always loved), lose track of what I’m saying and forget what I am doing, my balance is off and stairs are a challenge. All of these symptoms may resolve themselves once the radiation is completed but they may also get worse. Very confronting and scary.
Life is changing for all of us and this has been a week of huge introspection and tough decisions. There are no guarantees but we can only keep on going and face the beast head-on.
I found this quote on Pinterest earlier this week which pretty much sums up how I am feeling at the moment …
I miss me, the old me, the happy me, the bright me, the smiling me, the laughing me, the gone me …
Tomorrow I will have my first dose of whole brain radiation together with a targeted boost of radiation to the area where the tumors are located. I’ll have a total of 15 treatments (5 days a week for 3 weeks) and all being well, will finish treatment on the 11th of March.
Chemo will also continue as usual during this period so I expect it will be pretty brutal but I hope to be able to keep you all updated.
Don’t think I’m swimming at the moment but promise that I am definitely treading water until the tide turns a little …