I am writing this article as I think I have just had a bit of a wakeup call.
What do I mean?
Nobody officially told me that my body would change after my Cancer treatment or that I would never really be the same again – eek and I thought I was doing so well.
So, lets rewind four months when I decided to stop all supplements. I had got sucked into different types of supplements and what benefits they offered and then I just decided NO, I would just take my tamoxifen.
However, not sure it was such a good idea, as I then started to suffer from severe reflux and then managed to be constipated for over 16 days. Anyway, after numerous visits to the doctors we are finally getting over this and now awaiting an endoscopy. Let’s hope they get to the bottom of it because if nothing else, I now listen to my body and something is certainly going on.
Two weeks ago, on the last day of the Henley Literary Festival, I went and heard Deborah James and Lauren Mahon talking about their BBC Radio Five Live show, You Me and the Big C. They were also discussing the book written by Deborah, F*** You Cancer. It was following this talk that I realised you never leave the Cancer Club, you just leave the hospital and the treatment and nurses, but the journey is not over and it’s the road to recovery now.
I thought maybe wrongly that after my treatment, life would get back on track and it would be the same as it was four years ago. But sadly, it’s not, cancer changes you both mentally and physically and I may have only now just realised this. Not only has my body changed thanks to menopause but I don’t have the vroom, vroom, like I did.
In this journey, one good thing is that I have found the love of my life and I am certainly not ready to leave that behind. I’m not going anywhere but several friends have told me that should the Big C come back, that it will have been my own doing – scary.
Over the past few weeks Hubert has been asking me to ‘slow down’ and what do I do, I do the opposite. Well a leopard never changes its spots but, I did hit a wall and having had two good night’s sleep realise, I don’t have to stop just go in fourth gear rather than fifth.
Someone the other day asked me why do I keep my hair short and not grow it like it was. Umm like it was, well that is not the same Sarah. I am about the new Sarah, in fact I felt absolutely liberated when I was bald, so keeping my hair short is a reminder that I am who I am – I don’t expect people to understand.
So why this blog and what do I mean when I say a wakeup call.
When I had treatment, I didn’t change my life style, or my diet and I came out the other side. So, why now two years later am I questioning myself. I have cut down in fact almost no alcohol at all, well red wine for sure and I don’t drink like I did and a couple of glasses of wine a week is max.
Exercise, I walk about 3 to 4 miles at least 4 times a week. I tried boot camp in the summer, but I am not sure my body was ready for that so, I reverted to spinning in a capsule but in the last few weeks have put it on hold but heading back on Saturday.
Why well I am listening to my body and right now its saying ‘slow down’ not something I do and whereas I am good at preaching it, implementing isn’t that easy.
For those of you who know me, I am a doer and don’t really know the word ‘no’.
For those friends reading this and going through menopause you will know that it sucks and then for those of you who have had breast cancer you will know our medication brings on the menopause. In fact, for the next 8 years I am pumped with as many hormones as 9 months pregnant women.
So, now I understand why I am all over the place it’s the hormones! Well that is what I am putting down the tears and mood swings too.
People say why don’t you ‘relax’ but its not that easy. When I go away, I can read a book a day but at home there is always a distraction.
I need to listen to my body and let it take me through the next step of the journey and when the body says sleep, sleep and not feel guilty.
I worked during my treatment for a charity for injured soldiers and that got me through the treatment as I had a distraction and a goal, and it was thanks to my colleague, Henny Cochrane that I came out the other side. Now I volunteer at the Royal Marsden Chelsea, where I give back to the place that saved my life and whereas again people think it is strange that I want to surround myself with Cancer, I am in it and hope my journey can inspire others. I am also an Ambassador for Maggie’s and presently working on the BADA event for next March, where we are aiming to raise money for the new Maggie’s Centre at Royal Marsden Sutton. And then, I am working alongside Henny again and doing some consultancy work for Remembered and There but Not There, a campaign for Armistice.
Sometimes writing down how I feel helps and then I feel I don’t need to publish but maybe in this instance I will publish.
The courage and admiration I have for Deborah and Lauren and many others who have shared their stories, I didn’t let cancer define me, but it changed me, and I think for the better.
Stand Up To Cancer is this Friday, so please support however you can as sadly the statistics are now that 1 in 5 of us will be affected by this disease.