October is breast cancer awareness month. On the first of October I awoke to social media feeds full of inspirational stuff about breast cancer awareness.
And it pissed me off.
Not because October has been breast cancer awareness month since 1985 and still one in eight women will get breast cancer.
Not because every minute, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer. More than 1,400 women every day.
But because this October I’m struggling with my own breast cancer awareness.
Online it looks like pink products, fund raising events and survivors telling their stories. There are motivational quotes and praise for the latest research.
In real life it looks different.
My breast cancer awareness is looking in the mirror to see the quarter sized bump on my chest where the port is placed under my skin and being unable to look at myself without seeing a cancer reminder.
Awareness is spending hours researching cancer treatments and getting overwhelmed.
Awareness is touching my now short hair every few hours to see how much is falling out and wondering when I will have to shave my head.
Awareness is sitting for hours hooked up to machines that are pumping me full of medicine that may or may not cure me.
Awareness is trying to work but finding it difficult to concentrate and even harder to trust my brain.
Awareness is a worry of side effects that are worse than the disease.
Awareness is calling up a friend and having them tell me that they were thinking of me but didn’t want to call and bother me….all while I am scared of being forgotten.
Awareness is not wanting to make future plans because I don’t know if I will be too sick.
Awareness is knowing I will be spending the holidays in treatment.
Awareness is a pile of supplements taken every day with the hope that they are doing something more than burning through my money.
Awareness is waking up scared in the middle of the night feeling like a hot rock is sitting in my abdomen and making me not trust my gut.
Awareness is catching the fear in my husband’s eyes when he doesn’t know I see it.
Awareness is crying without being able to explain why.
Awareness is fatigue that makes doing everyday tasks harder and makes me feel useless.
Awareness is knowing there are others that are far worse off than me and belittling myself for complaining.
Awareness is knowing that I am still at the beginning of this journey and have no idea of the outcome.