Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again

One aspect of life in the land of New Normal is that every now and then, however good your prognosis, the mind turns to the possibility of a recurrence. It is also a fact that having been diagnosed with one cancer increases the probability of being diagnosed with another. 

In the case of breast cancer that includes a contralateral breast cancer with the possibility of completely different pathology - an entirely new cancer. That is just what has happened to me.  The whole process has been very rapid and I now find myself having started chemotherapy; in one clinical trial with sub studies for a drug not routinely given in the early breast cancer setting, and in another very new genomics study.

I’m not being treated at my local hospital this time. This is a less straightforward cancer so I thought I might do better to travel just a bit further to a hospital known for participating in, and indeed the initiation of, cancer research including breast cancer research. It is also a hospital I know well through my patient advocacy work and they are early adopters when new findings are published. It is a very personal decision for which I have weighed up feeling comfortable at this particular breast unit with the additional travel.

Again this time around I have turned to journaling as one of my coping strategies. Blogging is a form of journaling and I hope to maintain this blog throughout my treatment and beyond, also working in my continuing work to bring the patient voice into cancer research. However, I do have to be honest and say that much of my innermost thoughts will not make it into the public domain in the interests of myself and others. While I fully embrace the digital age and thoroughly enjoy using this medium, I still value my privacy enough to take on board the basic rules I learnt when starting to use email and social media 

  1. Never put in an email/message something you wouldn't be happy to send on a postcard.
  2. Never put on social media something you wouldn't be happy to put on the village notice board.
  3. Never fool yourself into thinking you can keep anything you do put out there private.
  4. There is a lot more to confidentiality than just not using someone’s name.