I am slowly, but surely, getting stronger every day. I’m starting to move beyond being a cancer patient. In addition to my various therapies (physiotherapy, psychotherapy, strength training), I’m also getting back to work. I’m re-engaging in some of my contract work activities.
One of the things people in cancerland talk about are the reminders of the disease. Usually, this is related to ones new relationship with their body. After mastectomy, every time you look in the mirror you see something different – for some people it is a constant reminder of the disease. For me, looking in the mirror doesn’t have that effect. It doesn’t have that power over me. I don’t have a problem looking in the mirror.
However, every morning and every evening, I need to take pills. The pill box itself has that power over me. I am reminded every time I have to take a series of pills, that my body is broken. I think I will feel this way until I can stop taking at least some of the pills (pills for depression and neuropathy/nerve pains are the first two I hope to stop). I’ll be taking something to help prevent a cancer recurrence for the next 10 years – tamoxifen or an Aromitase Inhibitor (AI). I’m OK with that. I’m OK with the pills to prevent cancer, it is the pills that signal that my body is broken that bother me. Those are the ones I want to stop taking.
I also got sick of looking at myself with grey hair. Mostly this is because my Twitter profile, LinkedIn profile, and all my other professional profiles have pictures of me before cancer. So the pictures are of me when I had a lot less grey and I dyed my hair. My hair was a little bit longer than it is now, but more importantly, it was darker, so it looked fuller. I got so sick of the grey hair that I went out and bought some dye (natural environmentally friendly stuff). I began with a colour that I would have chosen pre-cancer – but it came out way too red – so I added a dark brown. It now is a nice dark brown with red highlights. It is still too short, but time will fix that!