This time last year I have just started my cancer treatment after being diagnosed with Stage I Grade 3 breast cancer. I was about to go back for a third operation to remove more cancerous cells to get a cleared margin around the removed tumour.
From there, three months of chemo followed by six weeks of radiation. It was tough going at times, and now I’m quite amazed at how I handled it and got through it with out too much drama. Sometimes it all seems like a dream though I still have to have three monthly check ups and the switch to Tamoxofin has decreased some of the side affects that I had with Femara. The hot flushes are still driving me CRAZY and the hot weather doesn’t help.
As I watched some of my friends and family go through treatment at the same time I felt lucky that I had good veins, didn’t need a portacath and that I didn’t need to have the Herceptin for a further 12 months. My diagnosis has been good.
Last week I attended the funeral of my cousin Robyn Forscutt. She was just three months younger than me and was first diagnosed with breast cancer fourteen years ago. The secondary cancer returned five years ago. She fought the big battle over the last year and it was a relief that she went in a quick and very dignified way. I felt privileged to be able to spend a few hours with her in her last hours. We, her mother Jan and friend Ali Mills, sang her some songs, ‘White Cliffs of Dover’, ‘Arafura Pearl’ and Louis Armstrong’s, ‘Wonderful World.’ We relived stories of years growing up together and had a good laugh about all the crazy things we did. As she took her last breaths I did not feel sad for her because cancer is a tough ride, and she was finally pain free, but I felt a deep sense of loss, knowing that she would not be around anymore. With her guitar and dry sense of humour she was so much fun to be with. That surely is a great legacy to leave.
I had gone up for a meeting with the geneticist to discuss my family breast-cancer because of the four women being diagnosed with breast cancer in the past couple of years.
Due to the close proximity of Robyn and my Aunt Sue who are/were all being treated in the same Cancer Centre, they had access to our records and did some profiling. He said that it was most unlikely that we had the breast cancer gene which was a great relief. I have been worrying about my daughters and granddaughters if I had the gene and also that I may have to consider having both breasts removed.
He said that my daughters should not panic other than to take the normal steps that women need to take as precautions against breast cancer such as regular self examinations and to start Mammograms at the age of forty. They will continue to do some more profiling and will send a written report when finalised.
So, these are all good omens. I don’t want to dwell on what could be. No Looking back! I just want to take every opportunity and fly with it, which is why I am currently working at the Victoria Daly Regional Council, a local government authority that covers an area of 168,277 square kilometres’ and a population of 8,000 people!
The Council provides a range of services that cover the traditional rates, road and rubbish, parks and gardens but also Aged Care, Child Care, Sport and Recreation, work programs, festivals and events. It is huge! – with so much more responsibility than the traditional municipal councils in the NT.
Which leads me to the fact that, I ran for a position on the Katherine Town Council on the 15th March, and was successful in filling one of the two vacancies. This is half way through the 4 year term. Most of the meetings are after hours. Always plenty of reading and plenty of people who have an opinion on what Council should b doing and how badly they do it!
I have previously spent 10 years on and off Council since 1996 and love it. Didn’t get home till 9 pm last night sitting for the first time in a budget planning meeting. As always the CEO’s try to tell you ‘we have no money.’ They are soooo tight! I have some work to do in that area!