Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass - it is about learning to dance in the rain

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Breast Cancer and Nirvana

I decided to keep a blog when I was diagnosed with BC in April.  I thought it would be useful to record my thoughts during the mastectomy and breast reconstruction process and useful for others as I wouldn’t need to explain things over and over.  I am lucky as I have lots of friends and family so there was lots of stories to tell and retell.

Sometime in June/July, I had an idea about a website that would pull together all the BC support services in NZ.  There are such amazing support services out there but I wasn’t convinced that they were easy enough to find or all in one place.  I also thought that it would be cool to have BC experiences on the site so that people could learn about BC.  Also, some friends asked about resources for supporting people with BC so my idea was a website to meet all of these needs. 
Then I read an article about Serena Star Leonard setting up websites.  With her support, I have set up this website And thanks to Tessa for designing a fab logo  The idea behind the name BC Nirvana is that with the right support and attitude, BC can have some positive spin offs.  Obviously, BC can be depressing and is definitely life threatening, but even amongst that, it can spur us on an amazing path of self-discovery and enlightenment.

So..this is the end of my previous blog and the birth of BC Nirvana.  Please check out the new site and leave your comments.  Also, please pass this on to others you know who have or have had BC.  I would love them to write their story or write “what I wish I’d known about BC” from their experience.  It would be so helpful to record these experiences to assist other women; there is so much value in all the different experiences, tips, hints and lessons learned.. Or let me know if there are articles you would like written.

Also, sorry about the gaps on the site.  Over the next months, I will gradually fill out all the website content.
Thanks to all the support I have received from friends and family.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Pre chemo

I have been advised that I’ll be starting chemo in two weeks’ time.  There are a few things I’m doing to prepare:
·        Move house (as I won’t feel like doing that once chemo starts) as I am now on leave without pay.  I’m moving in with my parents until I’m back working.
·        Pre chemo medical appointments – a heart scan (it will be a baseline for to track if chemo damages my heart) plus a number of other GP, Plastics Unit etc appointments.
·        Set up things in my parent’s place so that life will be a bit easier e.g. get another TV set up organised (Rugby World Cup in all . 
·        Finances I am also in negotiations with WINZ and HR to see if either can assist me financially during the three month period.  There is always a lot of cancer-admin (cadmin).
I have been going through a psychological process of accepting that I am about to do chemo.  I don’t know why it was such a big shock but it was.  I think, from BC1, my biggest fear was doing chemo again and I just plain old didn’t want to do it.  Not wanting to do something is not a valid reason however for not doing it e.g. teeth brushing or eating broccoli.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
I have been re-remembering how chemo went last time and lowering expectations of myself once treatment starts.  My goal last time was a walk of half an hour a day (usually by the sea), to take my medications, to eat something and then lots of rest.  So stocking up on DVDs seems the right thing to do.  I will also keep a chemo diary; thank goodness for this laptop.  It’s not a good idea to do much socialising as my immune system will be compromised but the odd social occasion will be good.  It is as if I’m preparing to go in to a type of hibernation. 
12 weeks doesn’t sound as bad as three months.  I will definitely be counting down the treatments and looking forward to life post chemo.  And I certainly hope that these drugs CMF plus Herceptin will be mild!  Thank Goodness I had my holiday earlier this year (the photo is of Irish mosses from the country side). A