So here are my top ten breast cancer hates.
1. Fatigue/feeling weak. I’m such a doer. I can’t stand being immobilised. I get frustrated and depressed. It’s not easy to just sit back and do nothing.
2. Chemo brain. The only thing that I really value about myself is my intellect. Chemo brain takes this from me. Can you imagine how sad that makes me feel?
3. Uncertainty. When will I feel better/worse again ? Will the treatment work? When will the next stage start? Will the cancer go for good? Have I made the right decisions over my course of treatment? Just a few of the many uncertainties….
4. Lack of decent sleep. It plays havoc with your body and mind. And it contributes to numbers 1-3 above. There’s little else guaranteed to make the days drag on than a poor night’s sleep.
5. Hospitals without windows. I’ve visited too many. I have my chemo in a windowless cubicle. I have seen my surgeon on occasions in a windowless basement. We need light!!! We are like little plants – light helps us to view and flourish.
6. Comparisons. “My friend had breast cancer 10 years ago and she’s doing fine”. Good for her. I know that’s meant to make me feel better but it doesn’t. Was your friend triple negative like me? How big was her lump? What chemo drugs did she have? How many nodes did she have involved? No idea? Well then, the comparison won’t help. Sorry to be blunt.
7. Secret Facebook campaigns to “raise awareness” of breast cancer. You know the ones. You get a secret message telling you to send it on to 70 close friends then put a heart on your FB page, to raise awareness. “And remember, it’s women only”. There are so so many things wrong with this that I almost don’t know where to start. If it’s secret, how does it raise awareness? How does it raise awareness in any event? And don’t men get breast cancer too? How does it help me or anyone like me if you stick a heart on your FB page then walk away and forget about it? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
8. Overbearing advice. “You MUST do/eat this…..I read an article and I know it will help”. Pah. Really?
9. The “are you dying” voice. Usually accompanied by the head tilted to one side, and hushed tones. Meant to convey sympathy. Answer: we are all dying. It’s the only thing that’s certain for all of us.
10. The people who just don’t bother. Those people you think are friends, but haven’t bothered to pick up the phone or write a card since diagnosis. I appreciate that life is busy. I appreciate that it might be hard to find the words. But at least try. Or else don’t bother expecting anything more from me. Ever.