Monday, December 3, 2012

Changing through cancer


[Note this is some what of a girly topic so go away if you might be offended.] Yesterday I got together with some old friends. Meaning people I have know for 25-30 years. They were talking about menopause issues -  hot flashes, weight gain, etc. They are all coping with the symptoms naturally. If only I was in the same boat as them.  I opted not to speak up as my medical history makes me very different. They were complaining about the past year or two.

It made me realize how my medical issues have changed me. I had a hysterectomy due to fibroids in 2005. It left me with one ovary. Chemotherapy made that ovary inactive so I had the luxury of going through chemopause which takes care of any remaining chance to go through menopause naturally. Then you add the wonderful cancer hormonal treatments that add hot flashes, weight gain, and all sorts of other fun things to the mix, chemically as opposed to naturally. And its been more than five years....

One friend pulled out a book on coping with menopause that had been recommended to her.  There was a chapter on the thyroid and what it controls and how it can change as you age. I can skip that chapter as I don't have one and haven't for decades. Most of the other chapters talked about how your body changes and how you can cope with the changes. Mine menopause was forced and dragging on and on.

As I was leaving one friend said 'I hope your back gets better'. That left me feeling that they really do not understand me. One, my back will not get better and I have been repeating this for years, and two, my back is not my primary generator of pain these days. I had brought up the fact that I have both RA and fibro earlier in the day but evidently it did not connect as being limitations that I cope with on a daily basis now.

Driving home I started thinking (which is particularly dangerous in the realm of multitasking to think and drive). These are my friends who I have known for decades. None of them read my blog, two of them are on Facebook and update about every few months, they infrequently email as well. These are my primary means of communication these days. So if they do not participate, we are not connecting very frequently at all.

We get together five times a year for our birthdays. We also get together in different sub groups at different times but I can go for weeks and months without communicating. A good part of it is me. It is more and more difficult for me to be able to get out and do things as much as I used to. This is not due to cancer but due to my back, RA, and fibro.

But how much did my cancers change me, particularly breast cancer due to its recency? I have significantly less tolerance for idiots, late people, and foolish wastes of time. My health is front and center in my life. Without cancer, would I be coping differently? I hope so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Caroline - I hear ya' sista. My best friend since 5th grade literally just SCREAMED at me (one month post-reconstruction) that I seriously and desperately need psychological help. I'm still shaking my head. Yes, I'm more emotionally fragile and yes, I might rather attend a LIVESTRONG pot luck than your Christmas party, but I am making my way as a single mom with three young children fairly well. The unfortunate outcome of her "advice" is an altered friendship. It's too bad, but okay at the same time. Maybe it was time for me to see her for who she really is (or at least admit it).

Thanks for all your posts Caroline. I read them all when I can.

Happy Holidays to you and your family :)