Moving forward after breast cancer has been much harder than expected. I had naively decided that because my diagnosis and treatment all happened in 2016 that it was going to be my crappy year and 2017 would be amazing. Unfortunately this isn’t quite how it’s panned out. I’d looked in to doing the Breast Cancer Care ‘Moving Forward’ course about half way through my radiotherapy treatment but the times didn’t suit with my appointments and the charity recommends waiting until treatment is over to do the course. For me, that was looking like summer 2017 – I presumed I would have cancer well behind me by then.
Fast forward to July 2017 and cancer is still something that often creeps in to my thoughts and affects my day to day life. I was so pleased to find out there was a space available for me on the ‘Moving Forward’ course as, even ten months on from stopping active treatment, I still feel like I need to work on how cancer has affected my wellbeing.
Hormone therapy has been an unexpected stumbling block for me during my cancer treatment. A big part of this is due to the length of time treatment lasts and the effect it has on your body. So it was great that this was a subject covered on my first of the four ‘Moving Forward’ course sessions. My oncologist has recommended that I have a monthly hormone implant and daily tablet for the next 5-10 years. This medication stops my body producing oestrogen by putting me in to early menopause. Being only 35 this has been a big shock to my system both physically and mentally. Its very hard to process as I know that it’s a hugely important part of reducing the chance of the horror movie that is cancer popping back for a sequel but at the same time it’s having a great impact on my life.
During the ‘Moving Forward’ course a nurse talked us through the side effects of different hormone treatments and answered any questions that we had. Having an expert on hand to discuss all my little worries and questions was fantastic and she was so understanding and kind. A big thing that came out of the course for me was that no one should ever suffer in silence with side effects. If your medication is impacting how you live day to day you can get advice from your cancer nurse or GP at any time. Even if your diagnosis was years ago the cancer nurses are still there to help you and Breast Cancer Care is there to offer support.
For me the best part of going on these fantastic courses is getting the chance to talk to other people who have been through cancer too. Cancer can be lonely even with a troop of friends and family around you so chatting to fellow survivors gives you so much comfort. I’m already looking forward to meeting everyone again next week.
For more information on Breast Cancer Cares courses pop over to the ‘Moving Forward’ section on the website.