So it has been some time since my last post. I am still very much associated in raising awareness to this disease but I have also had to become a lot more selfish by shifting my attention to rebuilding my life and moving forward. I am pleased to share that my recent three year check up has seen me deferred from 3/4 monthly check ups to a reduction of twice yearly. This is great news as every year that passes with a clear result reduces the risk of cancer recurrence.
I would say the most challenging aspect of life after cancer is maintaining relationships with friends and family. When most people are of the belief that 'when it's over, it's over', it makes it even more difficult to paste over the huge crater of devastation, which a tumour the size of my little finger nail managed to leave behind. There are plenty of pamphlets and brochures to assist with diagnosis and treatment but no manual to guide you through the aftermath.
I was 34 years old when I was told I needed a hysterectomy to save my life. When an expert of oncology looks you in the eye and tells you categorically that there is no other available solution, it's no wonder your loved ones will do all in their power to discourage you from following a 'pipe dream' to prove the contrary. Thankfully I did and through hours of research and perseverance, I found a hospital to save my fertility. While this cancer was invading my body I was also battling through a nasty divorce since my (now ex) husband had clearly fleeced over the vow of 'in sickness and in health'.
So here I am, 37, fast approaching 38, I am finally in a place where I have learned to love myself and my scars a little bit more. I am single and ready to mingle but with the added pressure of a biological clock. My treatment has also given me a closer association with pregnancy complications. Statistical odds are stacked against me when it comes to conceiving naturally and placed me in a higher risk bracket of early or late miscarriage. Of course I want a child given that I fought so hard to save that chance and I'd like to do it in the conventional way. I have been in long term relationships since I was 16 years old so this new 'dating culture' is like being thrown into the lion enclosure!! I've read dating books and the idea of a game plan to get a guy just exhausts me! Is it so bad to just be yourself?!
What happened to meeting someone in a bar? It almost never happens. So now we have these revolutionary new (to me) dating platforms, you don't even need to leave the house!! Great idea surely?! Well I can quite easily metaphorically compare the swiping to visiting a jumble sale (you search tirelessly to find a bargain, then when you get it home it breaks anyway!!), I can't slate those who have found true love but in my experience... this ain't workin!!!!
So far I have tried laying my cards on the table and introducing the elephant in the room and some guys have run a mile, fewer made it to a second date.. I can understand it's a big deal that I had cancer and I want to have a relationship that can lead to children, but when is the right time to share this information?!
So, I decided to try playing my cards closer to my chest and wait it out.. just have fun and let it come into conversation when the time feels right. But now I am faced with the next big challenge of the dating world.. GHOSTING!! I didn't even know this word existed until recently!! And, I have researched!! It is true to say that this behaviour is more a reflection of the significant other than yourself. I always have enough respect for another human being to say, 'this isn't working' rather than fall off the face of the planet!! I have gone through the motions of 'what did I do wrong' and temporarily losing all feeling of self worth and self esteem before pulling myself back up and forcing myself to realise that this just comes as part and parcel of the online dating culture!! (Take me back to my twenties!!!!!)
So, I have come to the conclusion... life experience is what makes you the person that you are. A potential partner should love this package, which makes you unique. I would like to think that there is someone who deserves me, after all.. I am sure meeting my fair share of frogs so maybe it's time to find my prince!! For fear of sounding desperate, I have to remind you that I am a very resourceful woman. I am becoming more confident and comfortable with myself to understand that in this day and age you can do anything you put your mind to and there comes a time when you have to consider putting your own needs first. If all else fails there's always other options!! Time to do more research!!