I’m going to be honest; this past week has been hard energetically, emotionally, and physically. I met with my breast cancer surgeon which started a series of events that leave me both exhausted and grateful.
A Rough Week.
At home my husband and I both struggled with the emotions related to my diagnosis. We reacted and lashed out at each other. Then we cooled off, talked it over, and worked it out.
We can handle this type of situation. We’ve both had our health challenges and we’ve faced a lot in our more than 23-year marriage. We will get through this too.
The only thing that’s different this time is that the drain on my energy is too much. I was depleted and spent much of the weekend resting. I had to set boundaries. So, I talked to my husband about boundaries.
We’re good now, we just had to work through some things. We had to communicate our feelings, our fears, and boundaries.
Fatigue and pain also contributed to the rough week. None of the pain unbearable. I breath through it and relax into it. I’m okay for now.
I met with my breast cancer surgeon last week. She and her staff are great. I felt heard and held. There is no date set for my surgery yet, but that’s okay. I’m not ready for it yet.
In that same meeting, I met with my nurse navigator. She’s going to keep me on track in the process. If I have questions or need help with a referral or an appointment, she’s the one I contact. Really, she’s maintaining the big picture so that I can remain in the moment. For that, I’m relieved and grateful.
My nurse navigator’s first task was to take all the plans as discussed with my surgeon and put them into action. She contacted all of the doctors that will be working with me. She did all the referrals, so I didn’t have to.
Then I received lots of phone calls from lots of doctors’ offices. There is paperwork and appointments to be scheduled with all of them. So far, I have an oncology nurse navigator, a breast oncology surgeon, a plastic surgeon, an oncology doctor, a genetic counselor, and oncology rehab. And there will be more to come once we figure out what the post-surgery treatment will be.
At this point I should probably explain that the breast cancer surgeon that I chose was part of a national breast cancer institute. The doctors in this group meet every Wednesday to review each case and make decisions as a team. I didn’t know that before, I just got really lucky.
I feel very grateful to have such great care. I feel bad about complaining about all the calls and doctors, but it is exhausting even though it’s great care.
Contacting and talking to so many people has been challenging. If you don’t know me well, I’m an introvert. Talking to this many people and sharing information about myself doesn’t come naturally. So, this phase of my journey is exhausting.
Today, I have my initial visit with oncology therapy. They called this morning and got me in this afternoon. The speed to which these doctors have moved is astounding. I am grateful for the rapid response even if it is challenging.
Tomorrow, I have my initial visit with my plastic surgeon. We will talk about my options for reconstruction. I’ve done a little research to familiarize myself with the options. Ugh. Their office just called. I need to do the paperwork tonight.
Moving forward, I will have many more doctors’ visits. At least two more visits with my surgeons prior to surgery. I have more appointments with other doctors and specialties next week. Hopefully most of the paperwork is done.
Lessons This Week
Set strong boundaries. Boundaries are self-care. We teach people how to treat us by setting, communicating, and honoring our boundaries. This is what I needed more than anything, boundaries on my time and energy.
It won’t always be this way. Things change, situations change. As hard as it may seem in the moment, it won’t always be this way. I remind myself of this when I get tired. This initial gathering of my medical team is a good thing. I am blessed to have access to a team of doctors and to have the support of my nurse navigator. Soon, I will be moving into a new phase of my breast cancer journey and will have new challenges.
Allow people to help. We can’t always do things by ourselves and sometimes there are people in our lives that can help and want to help.
Luckily, my husband has worked as an insurance health plan administrator. I’m leaning on him to handle the insurance. He is also helping more around the house and doing some of the errands.
My nurse navigator handled the referrals. I’m letting people help me in any way they can. It’s a relief to not have all of this on my plate.
My Heart is Full.
One of the scariest things I’ve ever done was to go public with my breast cancer diagnosis (click here). I had no idea how it would be received. My only goal was to be of service. The rest I left up to the universe to handle. I learned quickly that it was the exact right thing to do.
The outpouring of love, support, unicorns and rainbows filled my heart and gave me a much-needed energy boost. I am so grateful to everyone who reached out.
If you’re reading this, I’m so grateful you’re here.
Links to Articles at Elephant Journal.
I started writing articles about this cancer journey on the day I found the lump. They are published at ElephantJournal.com.
Here is a link to the first article in what I intend to be a series. Click here.
The second article was published this morning. Yay! Click here.
I will continue to add links to my articles here in my blog so that they are easy to find.
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