Double the Outkast
Dealing with cancer now at 27 is obviously not hugely common. When I first got diagnosed I felt so alone , I felt like the most unlucky human being at such a young age to get breast cancer. Throughout my journey with cancer I've actually come across a few girls similar age to me sadly in the same situation. I was shocked and obviously grateful to have found people I can really relate to. BUT....
Not only am I unlucky in that I'm dealing with cancer in my 20s. I am also a cancer nurse, I worked surrounded by cancer for 5 years before I was diagnosed myself. This meant my worries and uncertainties are SO different to those of others who don't have a medical background. Feeling alone and the outkast yet again. I sometimes find it hard to relate to others worries such as with chemo and side effects or the dosing etc. I was the nurse giving the chemo before I recieved it. I know the process, I know the side effects and I know when things are worse than the 'expected' crap.
This separates me from everyone else. I instead have noticed recently having anxiety about being treated differently by the hospital due to my background. Like recently I called my GP to see if I could increase my antidepressant tablet (ironically I was on these before cancer) as apparently these can reduce the hormone therapy side effects.
It's quite funny really as any GP I have spoken to since becoming ill will give me a speil down the phone before I've even said anything of 'oh you have a lot on your plate, oh your so young' and then go into swear words or how sh** it is for me 😂. The blazee GP was like yeah why not let's whack it up to maximum dose. My nurse hat is saying.. is that not quite a big jump? Then my cancer hat is saying yeah f*** it , what's wrong with abit more.
THEN I got horrendous side effects from a tablet that was meant to reduce existing side effects 😂. It's actually laughable and beyond a joke! I then questioned whether the GP didn't tell me about doing a gradual increase as I'm a nurse and I 'should know' but nope that was all in my head. Took it as prescribed and after a day of a debilitating migraine, fainting and nausea another GP says to me 'oh no you are too young for a dose that big, stop that and drink lots of water to flush it out' 😂. FAB.
The life of cancer really is a rollercoaster that you can't get off!! My latest thing is my hair. It's been growing for a good 8 months now and is around 3 inches. My Lucinda Ellery hair is getting to the point now where I either don't wear it as it wont stick or I pay a small fortune to have it integrated so it's sewn into my new natural hair. Cancer is EXPENSIVE. I just think I could spend that money (not that I actually have it.. come on now🤣) on something way better than bloody hair just to feel like me. Watch this space. I may start trialing out the short look here and there 👀.
Losing my hair never got any easier. I am coping but it is still crap. Even seeing a picture of my old hair fills me with sadness. Considering I was the girl on diagnosis day being handed leaflets on cancer and I had to put it face down as I couldn't bare to even see the picture of a women with a shaved head. Think I'm doing alright!
Emotions are still running high.. anger, sadness, fear and anxiety. Some days I just think what's the point in letting my hair grow it's probably just gonna come back and have it all fall out again. The trauma is unexplainable and unless that's been you people cannot physically understand.
I also feel guilt. Guilt for my family and friends who were dragged down the pit with me. I know it's not my fault it happened but watching my boyfriend and my mum etc have their struggles as they also had the trauma. Cancer is selfish and sucks everyone and everything into it that it can and then spits you out battered and bruised.
My surgery was really over a year ago and I still have pain at my surgical site, still easily pull muscles where my nodes were removed if I'm not careful. STILL have a blue boob from the dye they used. I still bruise like a peach since chemo. It's CRAZY. It's only this far down the line you realise how much of a battering your body actually took. How drained you are mentally from that crap as your brain finally slowly processes that you nearly died. That if I didn't have the treatment I did I may not be here now. Being 27 and wanting to write a will just shows how much of a different perspective on life you get.
Anyway that's a snippet of what life looks like for me now! However Sam and I have had some well needed quality time in London this weekend 🥰. My job is going well and loving caring for patients on cancer clinical trials. Having an insight into what the future of cancer treatment looks like is such an honour and I'm so proud I get to be a part of it!
Positive: The ups and downs of cancer are normal and even a year down the line it's hard not to think that you've faced all that crap so 'this' shouldn't bother me. Taking things a step at a time is still okay and only you know what's right. May have beat cancer but I'm still human! Never compare yourself to others as they've never walked a step in your shoes 👣