Week six started with a gentle hangover as I started the journey back to France from my friends’ wedding. Going to the wedding was great, and just what was needed before the looming surgery. I have discovered that having cancer is a bit like when you have a baby and start going back out into the world of socialising, you literally have nothing to talk about other than the baby. It is the same with cancer, even if you are not talking about it, it is constantly and incessantly on your mind in these early days.
Drink and be merry…
It was nice therefore, to be able to drink some wine, celebrate a wonderful marriage, make some ridiculous shapes on the dancefloor, and just enjoy being alive!
Yet more tears were shed when leaving the wedding to fly back to France. When you have not seen some old friends for a long period of time, and then knowing that you are not likely to see them again before a long, sometimes dark road has been travelled, emotions run high on all sides. But, as we all know, ‘better out than in’, and if it takes some tears to express what twenty years of friendship mean, then so be it.
Why me? Is a question that inevitably arises when you get a cancer diagnosis. Not is a self-pitying ‘why me’ sort of fashion, but in the ‘what has led my body to get cancer’ fashion. High risk factors for breast cancer include being a woman and getting old. Lovely. Both of those apply then. However, when other factors come into play, such as being obese, not exercising, smoking and drinking excessively, (well, my twenties and early thirties did involve keeping many a pub in Manchester in business, but we’ll just gloss over that..)then I am outside of that jurisdiction. The thing is though, so are many women who are diagnosed. There is no rhyme or reason to who gets cancer. At the beginning of 2018 I had a very serious car crash, and, in my own mind, that must have certainly had a bearing. There is only anecdotal evidence at this stage of trauma related cancer, but when your cells and bones get shoved about to such a degree that they never look the same again, then that must have a bearing surely?
In recent years, having high cholesterol is thought to be another risk factor for breast cancer. https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/fon-2018-0160. Mine has always been high. My father died of a heart attack at 43, and I have satisfied myself with the thought that even though my cholesterol is high, the ‘good’ part of cholesterol is also high, so that makes it alright. It doesn’t though, does it? So amongst other things that I am looking at and researching in terms of what I have got within my ‘control’ as far as this cancer goes, getting my cholesterol down is one of those things that I do have control over, and that I would like to think might make a difference for me in years to come. It might not, but it won’t stop me from trying.
The perfect storm…
The reality is though, that there really is no rhyme or reason as to why one seemingly healthy person gets cancer and another one doesn’t. Every single case of cancer is unique to that individual and although at some point in the future, we may have a clear understanding as to what is the ‘perfect storm’ that creates cancer in one person and not another, at the moment we don’t so there is no point in dwelling on it, but certainly trying to control (to a degree) those factors that might make a difference to my longevity is something that I am prepared to do. That doesn’t mean that this approach is right for everyone, but it feels right for me.