Patient perspective: a breast cancer diagnosis

On World Cancer Day, we relate the personal ‘diary’ experience of an American woman diagnosed with breast cancer.

What it feels like to have breast cancer…

On 14 May 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Caught incredibly early, I am very lucky! I had a lumpectomy on 22 May. It did not spread to my lymph nodes. I start chemotherapy on 17 July. It will only be four treatments, three weeks apart. Then radiation, followed by hormone therapy.

The worst part of all of this so far is watching my loved ones’ reactions to what’s going on with me. I’m hoping this forum is a place where I can vent my frustrations without affecting the people who care for me. Sometimes I just need someone to listen and not say or do anything. I’m hoping I have found the place I can do that!

One month later…

Augh!! That’s all I can say right now. That’s not true it’s just how I feel. I shaved my head last Friday before work because I couldn’t stand the hair coming out in chunks. GROSS!! It was so GROSS! And then I felt FREE, totally free from that anxiety. Relieved and happy. I almost love my bald head. Almost!! But that didn’t last long. Now I hate it that everyone knows. I no longer have control of who I tell, if I want to tell. Cancer again has taken something away from me and I HATE IT!!!! I HATE IT!!!!!

And don’t get me started on the pity looks. Please stop looking at me with pity. My life is great. I am loved more than I deserve. My support group is unbelievable. Everyone should have the good that I have in their lives. Why isn’t it enough? Why do the pity looks upset me so? I wish I could get a temporary tattoo on my head so people would think I’m a bad ass instead of a sick person. Is it wrong to feel this way?

Then the guilt sets in. I feel guilty because this is only an inconvenience. I will recover and be able to do the things I love. It’s just a sucky roller coaster ride that I am not enjoying … Did I mention I love roller coaster rides? Trying like hell to make the best of things and feeling like I’m failing miserably…

Three months after diagnosis…

I have made it! Ten days after my last chemo treatment, 30lbs heavier, with neuropathy in my hands and feet I was up on one water ski! No one was going to judge me. I had done it!!! So as I let go of the handle and slowly sank into the brisk fall water I let go emotionally! I let the sobs come and released all that cancer and its treatment held over me. It was one of the most monumental moments of my life. At that moment I knew I was not only a fighter, but a survivor as well.

This is a real patient’s experience from Treatment Diaries’ website. Read more, share if you like or join in the conversation. Making sure you feel less alone when navigating a cancer diagnosis is important. Treatment Diaries connects people to others who can relate and provide support.

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