This is a post I have been dreading to write. It’s been sitting on my shoulder whispering to me for months now, but I just haven’t known how to compose it. I didn’t feel ready. I’m not sure I feel any different now, either.
But, here it goes…straight from my heart to the page.
In August last year my cancer returned. What felt like an innocuous little lump under my skin on the side of my chest – something cyst-like and most likely benign – ended up heralding the news I had so feared for the last four years.
After weeks of scans, and biopsies and waiting and worrying, that little lump, along with a lesion on one of my ribs, was found to be Metastatic Breast Cancer. The incurable kind.
To say it’s been a blow would be the understatement of the century. I am gutted. My family is gutted. Our world has once again been flipped on its head in the cruelest way, and every day is a struggle to walk onward, head high, smile wide.
I haven’t felt the urge to write about it until now, but just as my original blog posts served as a kind of cathartic way of expressing my feelings and hopefully educating others about what a warts-and-all cancer diagnosis looks and feels like, I think it would be remiss of me to not continue the story.
I surprises me everyday how little people know about cancer, and the difference between an early stage diagnosis and the metastatic kind. When I first heard I had Breast Cancer four years ago, it was the scariest thing I had ever faced. The treatment was brutal and the road to recovery, long and arduous. I walked it as bravely as I could, fumbling through months of treatment supported by the loving arms and encouraging words of everyone around me.
This time, I am bereft.
I cling to a hope that is not there, and I play out the future I have left over and over in my head. The weeks, the months, the years. Will it be years? Nobody knows. No one can give me the answers I crave.
What I do know is, since my Stage IV diagnosis, I have had 12 weeks of more chemotherapy, targeted infusions of Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks since September, and monthly injections of hormone blockers and bone strengtheners, and still my cancer continues to progress.
It is now in my right shoulder, my sacrum, two ribs, my left femur, pelvis, and, as of last week, in two chest lymph nodes.
I want to scream WHY ME. I want to walk into my doctor’s rooms and be told there’s been some sort of mistake. I want to look into my beautiful children’s eyes and see long into their future. I want to grow old with my husband and friends. I just want life.
I just want life.
Mortality is a heavy load to bear. And while I know it’s something we will all face one day, I just never thought I’d be facing mine so soon.
For those of you who have once again wrapped Jay and I up in your love, I can’t tell you how grateful I am. We are riding the waves of grief and worry and trying so hard to push aside our sadness and anxiety and make the most of what a beautiful life we do have. I try so hard to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty, and we will be throwing ourselves into as much as we can for as long as we can.
But it will take a village, and I am so grateful for the beautiful one we belong to.
9 thoughts on “From my heart to the page”
Your heartfelt and agonizing honesty is a gift.
Thankyou for sharing all your hopes and fears with us.
I know you don’t feel brave but to me you are the bravest.
I wish I had the means to make it all go away, but I don’t.
So instead, I will ride along side you, even if from a distance. I know we don’t speak very often but you are always in my thoughts XX
I’m so glad you felt able to write that, however hard it must have been. And if nothing else, I hope you know how loved you are.
Keep on filling your days, weeks, months and years with joyful experiences, belly laughter, hugs and beautiful moments.
I can’t wait to share some of those with you xxx
I am devastated to hear this.
I have been absent from painting for a while due to spinal surgery a while back.
I miss everyone but I am well aware that it is a community we belong to and it does take a village to share, cope and help.
In 2011 our 28 year old son was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma in his groin.
It was as large as a grapefruit and touching most organs.
We began a year of treatment to try and shrink to operate.
Weeks of radio.
Massive doses of chemo
Emergency treatment etc.
Nothing helped to reduce size.
His oncologist suggested a trial drug to try and reduce.
It effectively made him a diabetic and suffered a lot through the trial.
But it did shrink.
He practised yoga.
I changed his diet to totally alkaline and mostly veggies.
After a while the tumour stopped shrinking and he decided to take oil as well.
This had an effect.
Again it started to shrink.
He prob stayed on trial for @2 years then stopped.
He still takes the oil ( few drops on tongue) and 8 years on is doing okay, working and living up north.
His diagnosis was terrible in beginning.
We just hope he keeps going.
I don’t know what else to say Kate.
My heart breaks for you.
I guess the reason I’m telling you this is there are miracles.
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Oh dear Kate. I’m sitting here reading your post with tears. Not what I was expecting to read at all. I’m so deeply sorry. Gosh, you are so amazing and brave how you can share your story. This fucken sux. No one should be going through this. The chemo must be so draining. The anxiety crippling. I wish l could take it all away. I hope some days you can find the calm amongst all this. You are so loved. Always here to help with minding the kids or cooking. Just say the word. And it goes without saying, if you just want some company I’m here too. I can drop into the hoe for a visit. Much love from my family to yours darling girl. Bri. Xxx
Fuck! I think that is the only response I have lovely. My body is screaming for you, it remembers all that a diagnosis brings. You have arms and love around you but if you want someone to scream to you know I’ll wag school for the day just for you. Much love Sus
Darling this is such a beautiful post. I was crying this morning while reading it. You are a pillar of strength and I’m sending you all my love from across the ocean. If you ever want to talk know that I’m here.
Love, Nat xxx
Sent from my iPhone
Dear Kate, we have been following your situation in silence, hope and shared sadness. Your courage is admirable and expression in your blog, palpable. If you can think of anything we can directly do for you, Jay and your beautiful children, please advise. Our actions so far have been to help Leah find more time to be with you. With heartfelt love and best wishes Mike and JanSent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
Sending love to you all and tons especially to you.
Life is so unfair.
We shared our cancer journey for years ago and this terrifies me and fills me with anger and sadness but I will continue to follow as long as you continue to share. You are an amazing woman and this is complete bullshit that this has happened. Sending you love, sympathy, admiration, and support. -Jenna