After 11 years, I just looked back at my old blog I created when I was going through treatments. I found this, and thought I'd share. It's so interesting to me what was happening at that time. I've have something like 8 more surgeries since then! It's from January of 2010...
I've been reading through a really good book, called "After Breast Cancer" by Musa Mayer.
I've been trying to come to grips with my body lately. I wasn't skinny before my diagnosis, but I felt pretty healthy. In the last year and a half, I've lost that healthy feeling. I'm always tired, I hurt everywhere, I'm gaining weight like crazy - it's very frustrating. WHY am I gaining weight? And why, every time I try to exercise, do I seem to hurt something? Am I the only one this is happening to? Of course I'm not. I think that every survivor realizes the toll that a cancer diagnosis takes on a body.
As I read through the section in the book called "What We've Lost", I could really identify with what was written there. Yes, I am a strong person, and I made it through a horrible, awful, ordeal. And, yes, I do feel strong and amazing. BUT, the losses I feel in regards to breast cancer are still very real. Like the books says... I suffer physically. My body has been so weakened by the 7 surgeries I've had, not to mention the 5 months of chemotherapy, and the year of other drugs. And, something occurred to me as I read - I have what the book calls "chemopause". I'm 43 years old, and the chemo has thrown me, prematurely, into menopause. There have got to be some crazy side effects from that. Maybe even weight gain?
Some of the things listed in the book, besides chemopause: Sense of having been mutilated by surgery - Check A feeling that my body has betrayed me - check Feeling aged in other ways - check Suffer blows to my self-esteem and sense of attractiveness, libido, sexuality, and sexual appeal - check significant weight gain - check hot-flashes, depression, anxiety, aching - check
Like the woman in the book, I too feel like I'm "damaged goods". I know this is going to take awhile to work through, but it's helpful to know that I'm not the only one going through this. What I'm beginning to realize is that I cannot ignore all of this - it must be acknowledged, or I won't be able to heal properly. I had cancer. I'm different than I was 1 1/2 years ago. I am capable of healing, and becoming even better. Just don't ask me to forget what happened to me. Don't expect me to "get over it", or "get on with my life". It's not as easy as it sounds. Breast cancer is part of me now. I am Breast Cancer. But, I'm also a Survivor.
I'm going to do some research on "chemopause". Knowledge is power!