Monday, 16 November 2015

Going Backwards

It's four weeks since I found The Lump, two weeks since The Lump was cut out and sent off to Imperial College to be part of a student research programme (I kid you not), and another 3 days in limbo before I see the oncologist to discuss "What next?"

In that time I've had the strangest sense of going backwards, of deja vue.

The cancer journey is so spookily similar to the getting-sober-journey that it's hard to believe the timing is co-incidental. It feels like the last eight months have been a warm up to the Big Event.

And the diagnosis hit me at the exact time that I was strong enough to take it. Any earlier than eight months and I'd have been staring at the bottom of several empty bottles of sauvignon blanc before you could say 'malignant tumour.'

Like going sober, dealing with The Big C is a leap into the unknown. It's about learning to live, at least for a while, in a world of uncertainty and fear.

I wrote early on about the roller coaster of emotions when you first quit drinking (see The Sobercoaster), taking you from the pink cloud to The Wall and back again. And the last few weeks have been like that again - just more so.

I lurch from feeling thrilled at just being alive to weeping uncontrollably with the dog in parks (so the children can't see).

(See my post from the early sober days on Weeping)

The tools you use to deal with all this are the same too. You take one day at a time. Baby steps. Try not to look ahead until you know you can deal with it.

Like the early sober days, I find that I have to be kind to myself (see The Importance of Self Care). Sleep in the afternoon for a while if I have to. Have hot baths. Eat cake.

And finding a tribe is crucial. People like you who've trod the path before you and can let you know what's ahead.

I found my sober tribe online because I was too ashamed to look for a real world one.

Funnily enough, confessing to cancer is way easier than confessing to an alcohol addiction, so I'm discovering a few local ladies - Mums like me - who've been through breast cancer and out the other side and can tell me what lies ahead.

I'm also using The Haven. It's a charity funded retreat in Fulham for women with breast cancer. I'm meeting a Macmillan nurse there this morning.

Bizarrely, in my previous life I was responsible for the Macmillan Cancer Support brand strategy, and all their advertising.

It's hard not to imagine the Authors of Destiny sitting on some celestial cloud chortling and patting each other on the back at their clever use of irony.

Am I losing my mind?

Love SM x


  1. You do seem to have quite a lot of coincidences popping up these days! I think it's very true that it's a small world and sometimes things also seem to conspire and just make sense. This did make me giggle a little imagining the powers above having a little joke with your past, present and future. It's also sad but true what you say - imagine cancer being less of a taboo than being af! Am glad you've found a support network for your cancer. Online support is still doing it for me. Strange world we live in. Am starting to feel quite strong about being af - the thought of how i'd feel afterwards freaks me out!

  2. Well you must have done a great job.....(the brand strategy I mean). And you're doing a bloody fantastic job right now! You're not losing your mind, you're being strong and resourceful, lots of love xx

  3. Sorry to hear you still have to wait. I'd added the ten days R&R to 6th November and got 16th. Still, I know they change appointments etc. Will be thinking of you, and glad you have found a support group. Things like that help with so many issues, whether it's an "official" group or your tribe. Years ago I had a miscarriage and was "lucky" enough to have three friends who had gone through that, recently enough to remember but not so recent it was raw.

  4. You have the best mind around!
    Finding a tribe is super important!

  5. No you are not losing your mind. You are one of the most together people I know. You are doing amazingly well. You continue to inspire me. You rock lady! x

  6. No you are most certainly NOT losing your mind. Life is full of so many twists and turns. The most important thing here is to remember that you have saved YOURSELF. If you had been knocking back the wine you would never have found the lump so early. Remember all the positives. I know you will be okay and will be stronger and wiser than you already are. Hope you are ok though, sending love xxxx

  7. Sounds like you are doing great. You have to find your own coping strategies and what works for you. Best wishes. Lucy xx

  8. Hi SM,

    If you are going to have radiotherapy and/or radiotherapy, you might want to look into fasting 36 hours before hand. Theoretically, this should increase the effectiveness of treatment (healthy cells go into a protective mode during fasting while cancer cells continue replicating and are thus more susceptible to the treatment).

    Clinical trials are currently underway, so the evidence available now is from animal studies and some small studies. In any case, here are some links for you to check into. Also, you should talk to your doctor about this if you decide to go ahead with it.,73866,0.htm

    Best of luck to you. A big hug!

    1. Thanks for the advice Brad! Will discuss with my radiographer. Love SM x