I have suffered anxiety for a few years now but has been maintained by medication and in all honesty, I haven’t really thought about it. My medication, great positive mindset, positive outlook, wonderful family, daughter, partner has seen me though.
My stage three breast cancer was diagnosed and confirmed 8th of April, 2015 and in all honesty, I don’t feel that it has affected me since I found it hadn’t spread further than my lymph nodes. The worst part of this experience beside finding out I had breast cancer was the agonising wait to see how far this cancer had spread. We (Sam and I) knew it had spread to the lymph nodes but there was a good chance it had spread to my lungs, my brain, kidneys etc. Unless you have been through this part of the cancer wait, you will have no idea how excruciating the wait can be to find out exactly where the cancer is.
It has since occurred to me that my anxiety has increased in the last week. So, today it is the 7th of May and that marks a month since I have known I had breast cancer. Everything had been a whirlwind since diagnosis.
There were surgeon appointments, body scan appointments, surgery booked, boobectimy and lymph node surgery, a week in hospital, recovery etc. There hasn’t been a moment to even think about what has gone on.
Today it occurred to me that the anxiety I have suffered for years is back with a vengeance. Where is Bruce Willis when I need him? Well, I don’t actually need him because I have my own superhero called Sam Wilkinson. My future husband. The man who has saved my life by detecting the breast cancer. The man who hasn’t left my side since diagnosis. The man who was there by my side in hospital every moment available.
What Sam can’t fix is the anxiety that is creeping through my veins. The anxiety that makes me snap at him and the dogs and even my gorgeous little Summer who comes to visit. Thankfully I can tell it is there, it is coming out and I can stop it but it doesn’t stop how I feel. I feel unsettled. I feel agitated and, of course, anxious. I have, like I said, my superhero Sam and my ever patient Summer to forgive my grumpiness and short temper.
I forgot to mention the other day that Summer asked where my ‘skipping rope’ had gone. This is the long tube that sucked the disgusting fluid from my wound through a tube (that is the skipping rope) into the bottle. I explained to Summer that my blood was now lovely and healthy again and she went onto explain that her blood was also nice and healthy and she didn’t need the skipping rope and bottle either.
My new doctor at the local GP clinic had asked me last Saturday about seeing a shrink about dealing with the breast cancer and boobectimy and I was shocked. I looked from Sam to Doctor and advised I didn’t need a shrink for this, I am coping A OK. I was doing great. No shrink needed thanks. I even had a giggle at the thought that the doctor thought I even needed this.
Well, it seems as though I do need this.
I can deal with the boob being cut off and thrown away. I can deal with my friend Summers version of my little boob (the nipple) being cut off and thrown away too. My surgeon is certain he has gotten all of the cancer out of my body. So what on earth am I anxious about?
My doctor today confirmed I am HER2 positive and whilst I don’t know much about it, I do know that anything on top of breast cancer and lymph node cancer, having HER2 positive can’t be good but I brushed it off. I said, oh dear Mr K, thats not cool hey? He replied with, a few years ago, having the HER2 diagnosis wouldn’t have been good but today, you are looking at a long and healthy life.
So, why am I suffering increased anxiety?
I am taking the anxiety medication that I have taken for years. It is the highest dosage I can have so what happens next? I dont want to be snappy because it comes across as ungrateful. I am not ungrateful and do not want to be seen as ungrateful. Is it not enough to deal with stage 3 breast cancer, lymph node cancer, HER2 positive, being overweight, about to lose all my hair and add to that increased anxiety?
Why can’t champagne be the medication to beat all of this? Why can’t I go to the chemo centre and they put a few bottles of Moet or Mumm or Trilogy in front of me, served by a topless and buff man with a cheese, caviar, crab meat, picked squid and a gluten free cracker platter? I am almost certain this would cure my anxiety issues.
In any case. I think I’ll see my new local GP and ask again about this ‘care plan’ to have a shrink. A care plan is something the government offers that costs tax payers (others would say free but yes, I do know where these so called ‘free’ services come from) and get onto the shrink option and see how I can deal with this increased anxiety.
It kinda also seems trivial to complain about anxiety through this. Like saying, oh wow, I have a headache … sounds absolutely pathetic and not worth discussing seeing as though I have breast cancer and am fighting the fight of my life. Why bring up a headache, a tooth ache, it all seems quite trivial doesn’t it?
What I am happy about today are as follows…
* lots of hugs and kind words from the wonderful people at my work who really meant what they said
* my wonderful man who accepts the anxiety as a part of the journey of breast cancer and doesn’t dismiss it
* organising a huge get together of my mum and mother in law , daughter and her partner to celebrate mothers day
* having the mountains of fluid syringed from my body to prevent infection
* comfortably admitting anxiety is coming on strong and ready to take it on and do something about it
* to have a beautiful and comfortable home to recuperate in through my chemo adventure
Oh Shit! Just went over 1K words for this blog, there is no chance my lovely men Sam and Ian W will read this through…. way too long for them xx
3 thoughts on “Breast Cancer V’s Anxiety”
Anxiety is a big part of life post diagnosis, I’ve found — and I’ve never really suffered from it before! Waiting for results, worry about the future, being sure you feel a new lump, it’s pretty constant. I’m hoping that once my treatment is over, I can control it a bit better, or life could be pretty miserable!
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It sounds like you have a great support network, which is huge! My husband was really helpful when I became over anxious. And it does get better once you start treatment post surgery!
Do you know your chemo drug choices yet? Wouldn’t be surprised if they were the same as mine… !!
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I am unsure of my drug choices yet but am seeing my oncologist on Thursday so I will know more then. I am so lucky to have an amazing support network.