Invasive. That’s what my cancer is apparently. It means that rather than staying in the tissue where it began it can break out of that tissue and grow into other types of tissue. It also means that it can go roaming around my system looking for new places to grow (those weirdy sentinels again). I only mention it because, whilst I’ve been worrying about where else it might be going and I’ve been pumped with radioactive dye and scanned in various machines in order to see if it has indeed gone roaming about, I hadn’t noticed that I have a severe case of secondary breast cancer of the mind.
Once you have a cancer diagnosis, I suspect whatever kind of cancer diagnosis, then regardless of where, how aggressive, the size of the tumour or tumours or what stage it is at, it will instantly and almost completely consume your thinking. Cancer is just so bloody rude. It barges in, takes up residence in your thoughts and then just sits in the armchair with its feet up sticking its twopenneth into everything.
For the most part having cancer is about stopping the bloody thing butting in all the time. It sits in there adding “but you have cancer” or “what if you die?” or “how will you manage that if you’re ill from chemotherapy?” into every plan, every conversation.
For me, at least for now, it is a huge effort to stop thinking about it for any significant length of time. I hate the way it does that. The way it colours everything with itself. I am trying to own it. I am trying to be so open and upfront about it that the power it gains from being whispered about and feared is diminished. I don’t regret this. I have had some wonderful conversations and folk have told me how valuable they have found the chance to talk about something so infrequently discussed openly. The downside of course if that I am forever talking about bloody cancer.
Not talking about cancer doesn’t really help though. It’s still constantly at the front of my mind. Cancer invades almost every waking thought and most of my sleeping thoughts too. Have you ever had that awful experience when you wake in the middle of the night with some kind of night terror and then realise, with a huge sigh of relief, that it was all a terrible dream? I wake in the middle of the night and then realise, with horror, that it is all true.
No amount of chemotherapy or surgery can tackle secondary breast cancer of the mind. That is going to need quite a different regimen.