Cancerversary 16 years!
Last updated: May 2023
And another year has gone by. A different type of year this time. A cancerversary year. My 16th. 16 years since I was diagnosed. 16 years since I got *that* phone call. 16 years since my life changed in a way I never expected at 22. 16 years of having an invisible disease impacting on most things in my life.
A different cancerversary. I'm off treatment
But strangely it’s not 16 years of treatment. Because amazingly I’m still off it. My consultant is getting twitchy. I was on 2 monthly checks and it’s dropped back down to monthly. My leukaemic rate has been the same for the last 2 checks.
But. She said it is going up even though the leukaemic rate isn’t reflecting that. As she can see other markers that are influenced by the leukaemic cells. But. As long as the leukaemic rate stays within a certain range I get to stay off treatment. So that’s my focus.
And it does seem like there might be another treatment option for me becoming available so I can keep feeding my baby. It’s not widely available yet. But. I have been granted access to not widely available treatments in the past because of being a sensitive responder and the available options annihilating me.
So we shall see.
My medical team wants me back on treatment
I also get the feeling she is keen for me to get back on treatment and now that my baby is one, she doesn’t see why I am prioritising breastfeeding her over my health. But. It’s a mother's choice. Each mother will decide something different and what’s best for them and their baby. And this is what’s best for me and my baby. I also don’t know if I’ll be able to have any more so it’s even more important to me that I do things the way I want to. I have too many regrets about her birth. For not being stronger. More vocal. Saying no. Getting everyone around me on my side to enable things. So I’m not going to end breastfeeding just because she is now one.
Different memories, now, on my cancerversary
And she’s one! Her birth is so close to my cancerversary. In a way I would have loved them to have been the same day. But because it isn’t, it also helps to take the focus away as she is now my focus. Last year my cancerversary was completely taken over by a newborn. And I decided to announce her arrival on my personal Facebook page on my cancerversary. To make it more special. And this year in the lead up, instead of remembering *that phone call* and everything that happened afterwards. I was getting ready for a first birthday. And making sure we had some wonderful memories to help replace the not so great ones over the last year.
Being diagnosed and living with cancer is tough. It tests you. It throws things your way that you never expect. And then you have a baby. And my god. It’s on a different level. And now you have to factor someone else in. Not the baby but your partner. I have navigated cancer and decisions basically on my own. Yes my family and friends have been amazing but ultimately the decisions have all been mine to make. And when you have a baby it’s not just yours. It’s ours. And that can make it difficult when you have different ideas about things.
Living on borrowed time
But back to cancer. Because this is a cancer website. Not a parenting one.
I definitely feel like I’m on borrowed time at the moment in terms of being off treatment. I worried the first three months after she was born as I was told I could have a year. And my leukaemic rate was still really low so I sort of stopped worrying for a few months and just cruised on. And then it started to climb and now she’s at an age where yes, she does get a load of benefits from being breastfed, but, food is now her main source of nutrients. So it’s not quite the same stopping feeding her now. So I feel more pressure on myself about it.
Anyways. No real point in stressing about it as all that does is impact negatively on the body. And we’ll just have to see what my next lot of bloods say in a couple of weeks.
How do you feel about your support system?