Breast Cancer…

Hi again. Long time no see – sorry!

I have signed up for “My Peak Challenge 2018” https://mypeakchallenge.com – which is quite out of character for me, but it was time to once again step out of my comfort zone and do something new, to once again fill my life with positivity and health.

In order to understand why I signed up for My Peak Challenge 2018, you’re going to need a quick summarisation of my life the last 8-ish years:

  • My mother was diagnosed with ALS in 2010.
  • In ’13 I made the decision to split from my partner, whom I had been with for 23 yrs, since school – I moved our daughter and myself into a flat which turned out to be mould infested with cigarette smoke and a lot of noise seeping in from the neighbours.
  • In ’14 I was referred to a psychologist because of stress, not just from work, but also from our accommodations, from taking care of my mother (and father), from trying to do my best in every single area of my life (ring any bells, sisters?!?).
  • In the spring of 16’ with the help of my parents I bought a small cooperative terraced house and dealing with the bank had me waking up shaking from stress in the mornings.
  • My 9 yrs old daughter contracted mono in June ’16.
  • On the 9th of Sep. ‘16 – my birthday, I woke up and was almost unable to move and when I did I felt like I was 100 years old, moving in slow motion under water at the bottom of a swimming pool… on the fifth day (‘cause I had work and life, etc…) I finally went to the doctor, they couldn’t find anything but an infection “somewhere”…And slowly I got a tiny bit better.
  • Just enough to travel on my own to Stockholm in October ’16, a week of “me-time” and more importantly to kickstart my writing again.
  • A week after returning home from Stockholm my mother was hospitalised and a week later she died having fought ALS for over seven years.

My father had a hard time coping with her death, so I did all the arrangements concerning the funeral, filled out papers etc, arranged for a wake and sleeping arrangements for my German relatives. I took two days off from work… the day after she died and the day after the funeral…

And it was straight back to work after the Christmas Holidays; I had a Galla to arrange on the 12th of January for all the 6th up to 9th graders at the school where I work… All on my own, because no one had time to help me out, except for: “Well, we usually do like this.” or “Don’t do that, that’s not how we do it!”…

Monday the 16th of January I called in sick, there wasn’t a muscle or a joint that did not hurt and I was so, so, so tired. On the third day I called my doctor and he immediately put me on sick leave.

I had nothing left to give, not even to myself. I was beyond exhausted.

On the 5th of March I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

But as the weather got warmer and the sun crept higher in the sky I felt better, my muscles stopped hurting, the pain was reduced to a “mere” aching and I felt so good that my daughter and I went on a roadtrip Denmark to Tuscany…  It was amazing, it made me feel like “me” again and I wrote a lot every morning and night, when she slept. We drove down through Germany where we met up with my ex-in laws and together we drove further south through Switzerland  and into Italy. My ex-in laws had rented a house in Tuscany where we met up with my ex, his new girl friend, his older brother + family … and now some of you might be thinking: “The EX?!?!”  Yes, we are still very good friends! Anyway, M (daughter) and I stayed for 4 days before we left and drove, on our own, back through Italy, Austria and Germany… to Denmark. Best vacation so far! 🙂

After the summer holidays little by little I began to work again, but having not learned my lesson I was still unable to say “no” when my Headteacher “asked” me to step up the pace and add more classes.

During August I got this feeling that something was “off” in my body. I suddenly began to sleep for 7-8 hours (with Fibromyalgia 4-5 hours is usually my norm ‘cause of the aches from not moving) and I lost 2-3 kilos. This may not sound like a lot, but I weigh in at about 61kg +/- 1kg depending on the season and I’m 172 cm high. So when I suddenly weighed 58kg, I just knew something was wrong…

And for some reason that I cannot explain, I decided to check my breasts and discovered a lump in my left breast… F***, f***, f*** !! That was the 15th of September.

I can’t remember anything from that weekend except that when I picked up M at the ex that Sunday I had, in my, mind already said goodbye to both breasts and written a will.

Come Monday I went to see my doctor, she immediately called the hospital that handles the breasts (pun intended) and I received an e-mail the following day with an appointment for Thursday the 21st.

They did mammographies and ultra sound scans …and when the doctor kept moving the scanner back and forth for what felt forever I knew that something was wrong.

He told me I had three cysts which was what I had felt, but behind one of them he saw a “shadow. He then took three biospies.

They found a cancerous lump in my breast. It was small 6x8mm and it was the mildest form of breast cancer.

The operation was on the 10th of October. They removed the lump (but not my breast!) and two lymph nodes, luckily there was no spreading of the cancer! I received 20x radiation therapy as a insurance which I just finished on the 3rd of January.

They also gave me anti-oestrogen hormones thinking that I was already menopausal, which as it turned out I am not… seeing as how I had my period 8 days later. The side effects from the hormones were so horrendous, that I’ve stopped taking them.

oh, and as a Christmas bonus I got an enlarged thyroid gland… It’s not big enough to be visible, but I do apparently have a high metabolism and low blood sugar, but this has yet to be exactly diagnosed.

So here we are… I thought I had made it perfectly clear to my body that we do not get ill! Apparently some parts of my have not received that memo…

Two years ago I was fit. I did Tabata for 45 minutes every day. Pushing myself a little bit every time. I loved it… 20 sec reps x 4 (or x6 or x8). At the end I was doing 90-110 push-ups…  And yes, I loved feeling fit.

But then life got too overwhelming and as I fought to stay true to myself and the journey I was on to carve out a life which would, in time, feel satisfactory and make vacations redundant, I was slowly drowning in “life” and especially the fibromyalgia turned me into a physical inactive person.

There’s a fine line between moving enough to avoid the fib-ache but not moving too much which would set my muscles on fire… it’s like when you’ve overdone your work out and you feel the lactic acid build up in your muscles but only 20 times worse than that.

“Luckily” my fib evolves more around exhaustion and aches in my muscles and joints, more than an actual burning pain. And in my case the fib is connected to my stress, the more stressed I am, the more my body aches.

But I refuse to give up and give in! I am a grinder and I acknowledge that “grinding” is what got me into trouble in the first place but it’s how I work, so now I will use it to get “out” of trouble again…

My long term goals:

  • To regain my health.
  • To try and get published – I write. I have a whole book tucked away on my laptop and began on another one (a whole series) in may ’17, but I have yet to actually get out there and see if it’s any good.
  • To use my ability to teach in connection with my fibromyalgia – or just health in general terms. That would be nice. I am a good teacher and I did teach biology (health class) for 8 years. I will be looking into my options for courses or possibly an education á la ‘psychomotor therapist’. I’m thinking “health Coach” combined with some form of exercise. 
  • To live a life that I don’t need a vacation from, to be content, happy and give and lots of love to people around me.

 

My short term goals:

  • To be able to control my response to/in stressful circumstances (when people decide over my time or what I am supposed to do… )
  • I want to learn to be more patient and forgiving with myself, learn to say “no” and not feel guilty about it.
  • Spend time with people I like/love and have time to indulge in things I find interesting.
  • To travel with my daughter, show her but a fraction of all the beauty the world holds.
  • To make people see the beauty in the world, to spread positivity and love.
  • To learn new things and challenge myself to step out of my comfort zones. …For example try to drive a car in a country where they drive on the left-hand side.
  • Contact my union and other relevant institutions, and look into what kind of options I have, if any, to combine returning part time to work whilst following courses that will allow me to educate myself into the world of coaching, diet and exercise. …this feels right. 🙂

 

I urge you, sisters, to check your breasts at least once a month!! And listen to your intuition, there is no shame in saying “no” and not feel guilty about it! If you do not take care of yourself first you won’t have anything left to give to others.

And remember when things seem bleak and your can’t imagine it will ever get better…      “This too shall pass”.

 

Spread a little love out there. ❤

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