The All Clear

On the 12th December 2019 I finished my treatment and went into remission. Three years later on Thursday 28th July 2022 I recieved the best news I was all clear. No more tests and no more being in that grey area of remission. But I couldn’t celebrate it. It didn’t feel right. Even when it got to my three year anniversary on the 12th December 2022 I still couldn’t bring myself to post this. So I’m posting the notes I wrote and the dates I wrote them once I found out I was all clear. It’s been a mini battle in itself. Hopefully the notes will explain why…

08/08/2022
She did it!! Your girl did it. She officially kicked cancers ass and told it to fuck off!
(No apologies for the language)
So I recently recieved the best news I am fully clear and out of remission. I can get on with my life.
I had a routine blood test and a week later had a telephone consultation with my doctor. She gave me the best news I could have ever wished for and lifted a massive weight off of my shoulders. The grey cloud has cleared away and I am so so grateful for it.
It has been very emotional. I was mega overwhelmed. I still get a bit emotional just thinking about it now. The first few days I was getting to grips with just being normal again. It took a while for the realisation to set in. No more hospital appointments. No more trying to explain my health. My battle with cancer is a thing of the past and I can just build on my future.

I am still very aware people are battling cancer, have lost their battle to cancer or know loved ones who are battling/have battled cancer. I am still going to fight on behalf of every single one of them. I’m going to continue to raise awareness for the amazing charities that help people affected by cancer every single day.

09/08/2022
Had a bit of a break down today. It was after an early turn. I’d been talking about some pretty deep things with my colleague, including the cancer. For a while, more so recently I’ve thought I might not be as okay as I thought I was mentally.
I didn’t go through counciling properly. Tried three councillors and I didn’t find any of them helpful.
I got in after work, had dinner and watched an episode of Waterloo Road. I’m rewatching the entire thing because why not. But I was on the episode where Sam dies after battling a cancerous brain tumour. I obviously teared up despite it being fiction but it really got to me.

I know I’ve had the best news recently about getting the all clear, I wouldn’t want it any other way. A few people who I’ve told have congratulated me and asked when I’m celebrating the news. Not if but when, and how. But I can’t help feeling guilty, feeling like I can’t celebrate this achievement. So many people I know haven’t survived from cancer. It makes me so sad and I feel like I shouldn’t be celebrating when all these people didn’t get the chance to celebrate. I’m also slightly scared to celebrate just incase it ever comes back. It would hit me like a tonne of bricks if I relapsed or gained a new diagnosis. I also know people battling cancer now and people who’s loved ones are battling cancer. How can I celebrate when they are going through one of if not the worst time of their lives.

I know I shouldn’t be thinking like this which brings me to another problem where I beat myself up for thinking like this. I am so grateful for the position I’m in, honestly I am. If my 21 year old self could see me now whilst they were battling the cancer they would tell me to go fucking celebrate because that’s all I wanted was for all the horrible treatment to end and to be healthy by the end of it.

I need to stop being so hard on myself. So many people have told me before. I listen but never take it on board. But I feel like it’s what keeps me on track. If I’m not hard on myself I won’t push myself to be the best version of me.

It just feels like a vicious cycle. Have a breakdown, feel stupid and beat myself up for having a breakdown, feeling better, moving on and then doing it all over again.

I wanna break this cycle but I just don’t know how.

375,000 diagnosed with cancer every year. Roughly 147,500 die from cancer every year. But this may be after a few years of battling the cancer. Some people, like myself are clear of the cancer within a year and some people go on to live with the cancer for many years to come.

01/12/2022
Helloooo

So I finally got the help I’ve definitely need for a while. It’s very overdue.
I’m not 100% but I’m starting to make sense of things. I feel like I’m progressing with myself even if it feels like the tiniest steps.

I think I am ready to post about getting the all clear. I’m hesitant whilst writing this and still questioning whether I should or shouldn’t. But I feel ready regardless what I think I should or shouldn’t do if that makes sense?
I feel like I am just going in circles with it all and it would be better to take that leap of faith and just post about it. Let people see that you can beat cancer and that you can get through all the trauma that comes with it.

I probably shouldn’t do this but I am also hoping it will give me some closure on the subject and help me deal with any issues or worries I have a bit better. Knowing that I am in the clear and I don’t have to worry about it so much. Knowing I can get on with my life as I’m classed as any other healthy person.

I will see how I go.

06/12/2022

I had 57 doses of chemo and just as many iv drips of anti-sickness. I had multiple transfusions, painkillers, treatments, tests. The amount of blood they took out of me no wonder I needed transfusions! CT, MRI, XRAY you name it I had it. At one point, right at the start, I was having my blood taken three times a day. Then it went down to two. Then one. God knows how many tablets, that’s definitely in the hundreds.

Not gonna lie towards the end I was skipping a few tablets at lunch time. It was only one dose and I would have three doses a day. I know its stupid and people are gonna say well why didn’t you take them, you’re stupid, you’re inconsiderate, you’re not appreciative. Of course I understand why they feel like this. However majority won’t know what it’s like to take so many tablets your practically rattle as you walk. Or the fact that missing that one dose helped me forget about all the trauma I was experiencing every day. The trauma of hospital and watching a whole room of people force a smile and greet the nurses. The room of people who I could see worrying if they were going to survive. The people who would break down and looking so exhausted but still forcing their body to go on. And the odd few people who would stop their treatment because it was just simply too painful. I was part of this group of people every day I walked into that hospital. I say people because it wasn’t just the patients experiencing this. It was the friends and family.

The trauma of having that stupid, annoying PICC line in my arm. 24/7 for 9 months. The thing that would give the nurses access to pump poison into me. The thing that also saved me having needles stabbed into me for 9 months. The thing that allowed me to get my treatment. The thing I had to have replaced not once but twice because of infections.

The trauma of ALL the side effects of chemo and the other treatments. My body doesn’t like blood or blood products transfusions. I have an allergic reaction to blood when it’s pumped into me. I had dry lips, eyelids and dry skin in other sensitive areas. I didn’t lose all my hair (this is a massive perk) however my hair did thin and I was pulling out massive balls of hair in the shower. Once chemo stopped it started growing back and for a while I had a halo of frizzy hair. This eventually turned into a helmet of frizzy hair. Don’t forget the being sick, tired, exhausted, just feeling ill and so achey. Feeling shit majority of the 9 months.

The trauma of laying in bed so scared to fall asleep in case I didn’t wake up the next morning. This was awful. This is such an intrusive thoughts that come with all the other intrusive thoughts. The nurses, my family or my (ex) boyfriend having to deal with my dead body. Being scared because I wouldn’t get to say goodbye or give my dog one last hug.

It’s so easy to say try not to think about, or but it’s all better now, or but you’re better now. It was traumatic. I’ve never dealt with the trauma. I was in survival mode throughout the treatment. And similar throughout covid. Then with other issues that were going on I just get pushing. Just kept getting on with it until I finally broke. I have had many break downs in the past. But I just was so tired of breaking down. I wanted to sort the issue out.

21/12/2022
So why today. What triggered me today. I recieved a very sweet gift from my sister Laura and her husband Dave congratulating me on 3 years. I didn’t feel sad or emotional. I felt happy. It was only just iver a week ago my parents came over and gave me a little gift and a card as well for my anniversary. But I got very emotional.
I feel like if I don’t take this opportunity now to tell the world then I don’t know when I will. I fell like I can handle telling people now. I’ve wrote so many notes about when I should and shouldn’t post about my achievement. But it’s happening. Here it is. I don’t know what else to say. I feel like everything I’ve wanted to say about getting the all clear is in this post.

I am so grateful for all the support I’ve recieved. From my family, my friends, the hospital staff, my work colleagues and even strangers. Its overwhelming the support I’ve recieved from so many different people whether I know them or not. I’m genuinely very privileged to have the support I do, and of course I will always appreciate it.

For those going through cancer (either through treatment, remission or after the all clear) please talk to someone. Please get your emotions and feelings out. You’re stronger than you know, even when it feels like the darkest times. But we aren’t superhuman, we all need to lean on another from time to time.

And for those who know someone going through cancer and are supporting them (this is just from my personal experience) you’re very important to them. Sometimes they will need someone to just listen to them and hear their thoughts, sometimes they will need someone to give them a hug or play a game of cards with. Sometimes they won’t always be able to tell you what they need but they appreciate what you do.

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