6. Knowledge is power

The next ten days passed in a blur of school meetings, professional development, examination analysis, back to school business, new students, new timetable and I was so grateful.  If I was busy and it was business as usual as that meant breast cancer wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.  I’d spoken to our HR director who was kindness personified and raised an eyebrow when I said I didn’t want this to impact on my classes and job.  When not at school or doing marking or planning my homework was to devour everything I could about breast cancer.  I steered clear of blogs and forums and instead went for academic research papers.  I felt knowledge was power and the more knowledge I had the more control I had.  I put together a folder with a Breast Cancer note book and wrote a list of questions to prepare for the next appointment which came around within two weeks.

Sleep became very evasive during this period, I would work hard, go to an exercise class and try to exhaust myself but the moment it came to trying to sleep it was impossible.  Sleep tea, embargo on using electronic devices after 9pm, warm bath… nothing seemed to work.  Once the lights went off my mind went into overdrive.. what sort of cancer, what sort of treatment, what if, what if, what if? It is the not knowing which keeps you awake with a big pinch of fear.  I was also incredibly angry… I’d done my best to look after my body, how could it have let me down.

About this time Victoria Derbyshire’s book was published and kept popping up on my Facebook feed… “Dear Cancer, love Victoria”.  This made me even more angry but why?  I’d never met the poor woman, I just knew she was a journalist and had cancer, why did she call it “Dear Cancer” it was an unwelcome visitor in my house.  I named my notebook “F*ck off cancer, I don’t have time for this crap”.

Tip:  Be selective about which websites you use.  You are allowed to feel angry even if it is directed in a completely unprovoked way.


Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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