Cancer lexis

Who am I? Am I a patient, a survivor, a fighter? From the beginning of my Cancer journey when reading resources available to find answers to the million questions I had, I read all these words defining “us”, “me”. Strange enough, I couldn’t relate to these words and still struggle to…

Not that I’m in denial, just that I pay attention to words as they truly matter to me.

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Post Cancer

Since mid April 2018 when doctors explained me my treatment plan, I put all my energy and focus into getting through keeping my life. I didn’t want Cancer to interfere to a greater extend than the treatment would require. I did my very best to keep active socially, professionally, as a mum, as a wife, as a daughter or sister. Of course, it is a bit naive as the treatment takes some space but I welcomed it as part of my new life, not as a burden.

When I completed the chemo cycles, I got ready for radiation and was still dealing with heavy side effects. Honestly, looking back I don’t think I realized the big chunk of the treatment phase was over. Half way through radiation, I started looking a bit more ahead and projecting myself in a longer timeline that today or tomorrow. Strange enough, this period was the most difficult for me.

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I am not Sporty, but felt the urge to keep my body active

When I hear fit, I clearly imagine people in shape, running in the coolest sport outfit available. Basically, not me. I am not sporty, not in “that” shape and I would only consider running in case of fire…. In fact, the only physical activity I like is yoga and I practice it for the peace of mind it brings me.

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Chemo & co

Chemotherapy is one of the main treatments used for Cancer and a scary word for many patients.

Actually, there are many types of chemo drugs used, several objectives (before surgery to reduce a tumor, post to reduce reoccurrence, palliative to soften the progression of Cancer), various protocols and different ways of administrating it. Medical oncologists generally follow international protocols depending on the exact diagnosis of each patient (area to treatment, cancer staging etc.).

What to expect? What about the side effects? Does it hurt?

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Hair

When you say Cancer, hair loss comes quite fast in the conversation.

Brunette since 1974

I was born with hair. Dense brunette hairy baby. The Latino side of me I suppose.

I had a bowl seventies cut, then in the 80s a square with fringe, no fringe, long straight hair and later in my teens the wavy perm version of it (omg). I said yes to hubby with long straight hair in a bun and cut them shorter after each kid but it always on a square haircut base.

On April 15th 2018, on my post lumpectomy appointment the surgeon told me that I had to have chemo. Who knows maybe my hair won’t fall.

The oncologist would later tell me that it would be 8 dense dose chemo sessions (2 cycles of 4 sessions). All the 3 drugs used, being known for their aggressive effect on hair. I would be bald.

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What to say to Cancer patients?

Cancer is taboo. Cancer is still associated to death and the fear of the illness can sometimes lead to uneasy reactions. It is a very scary diagnosis for the patient and so it is for the family, friends, colleagues and people around. The difference is that the patient has to deal with it, the others have the choice.

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The impact of Cancer diagnosis on the family

Cancer is not the worse thing that happened in my life and I will deal with it. Nevertheless, the diagnose caused sorrow and stress around me which did make me feel guilty and emotional. The impact of the diagnosis on my husband, siblings, kids and parents is a real stress of all.

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The Port a Cath

My Chemo ally

One of the steps involved in the chemo treatment is the insertion of a port-a-cath.
Accepting and getting comfortable with this little foreign body was actually a journey for me.

What is a Port-a-cath?

The port-a-catheter is a small device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs such as chemo or pre-chemo drugs, or blood transfusions. It is quite often placed via surgery on the right top part of the chest.

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Kintsugi

Accepting our mended body & soul

Some time back, in one of my google micro-moments, I landed on that inspirational image. It might be destiny, karma, luck, coincidence… never mind it resonated.

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