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
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
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
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.
Heart is Full.
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.
a link to the first article in what I intend to be a series. Click here.
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.
If you can, please subscribe and follow me there, so that
you can read all of my articles. There are many other independent writers like
me, writing about mindfulness and all other sorts of amazing topics. Please support
them if you’re inclined and can afford it.