85: A peculiar week

On Facebook memories pop up.  This week one of mine was a photo of when Nick and I had been paddleboarding for the first time (only time) two years ago.  It was on our return home from our water activities that I had a letter inviting me to attend a follow up to the earlier routine mammogram.  This really was the start of the impatient patient story.

Earlier this week I had a GP Appointment to discuss my fit note and return to work.  If it were up to me I’d be in next week at the start of term.  This would resolve my FOMO fear of missing out as I thrive on the cut and thrust of school life (what if school decides they don’t need me… as I’m away too long)  However, I have to be SENSIBLE as physically I’m just not ready yet.  I am walking further but not lifting anything so sets of books will be a challenge (I must request a small servant for when I return).  My toob is healing well and feels so much better than the cannonball but I don’t have a full range of movement yet on the reconstruction side.  The GP looked at my tummy and has given me some antibiotic cream to apply 4 times a day as it is still gruey (which is  a technical term).  I have also had a physio assessment and will start a clinical pilates rehab next week for an hour for 6 weeks.  I asked the physio if I could go back to spin, the gym or start swimming and the answer to all three was a resounding NO.  So it is walking and physio exercises only… yawn, yawn, yawn.

However, it is a peculiar week as this FB post will explain:

“A funny old day as “Cancerversary” …. this time last year I was on top of the Rock of Gibraltar with a rock in my chest (temporary implant), this time two years ago I was in a headspin as earlier in the day I’d been at the Primrose Breast Care Clinic and what I imagined was going to be a smudge on a mammogram turned out to be breast cancer and would require a mastectomy. Today… well I am meeting up with other ladies as part of the Dare2 team, all BC ladies, to prepare for the next ball. The cannonball is no more (hurrah) and I have a 7 week old Toob (tummy boob), a new tummy button and tummy tuck/abdominoplasty (with a bit of a gruey scar). Thank you all for the support and help – virtual or in person – lots to be grateful for and although Jacob Rees-Mogg might not like it … looking forward to “moving forward”. I won’t be back in school for a few weeks as the DIEP reconstruction was a big old op involving 6 hours in theatre and a week at Costa Del Derriford being highly dependent on Lynher Ward. Physio starts next week, driving in a couple of weeks and when healed back to the Life Centre. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… not sure about that but it does change your perspective. “

There is a lot to be grateful for, mainly for the huge amount of support, love and kindness.  Lots to feel sad about too – hearing about some other BC women who have developed mets or died.  I’d love to say that I was like Victoria Derbyshire now and could write a post entitled “Dear Cancer, love Fiona” but I can’t (yet).  It is two years since the consultant said “it is cancer and will require a mastectomy” – in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago and in others that it has gone very quickly.  Sometimes I feel almost defined by this diagnosis and very one dimensional – what did I have to talk about before?  In other ways I think that by having had this I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful (and not so wonderful) people and experienced some real highs and lows.  I’ve seen the very best of people and the worst of others.  I’ve found out who my true friends and advocates are, who to rely on and who not to invest in any further.  I am coming to terms with it more.  I’m reading a book called “Change your thinking” and using CBT techniques – write down your fears or bad thoughts – leave it and then rationalise them.  There is no doubt that the reconstruction has helped.  I know I will never be the old me.  I am changed physically with a new batch of scars and mentally – trying to be more robust.  I don’t have to please everyone all the time – it is impossible to do and leads to stress and anxiety.  It if ok to make mistakes, if something isn’t perfect that is fine too.  I can try my best, although Doug Lemov says sometimes your best isn’t good enough – but my best for today is.  I don’t have a mantra or special word to change but I am trying to live by this..

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference

But… if certain people in this household don’t stop eating as if an Exocet missile has been launched just as I have dished up their meal – we are not at war… there is no action messing required in the kitchen….  or if this whole Brexit thing never ends….. or if the ironing never get done.. or if that colleague doesn’t remove the hand sanitiser from their belt…..  I might need a a new prayer!

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.

One thought on “85: A peculiar week”

  1. Fiona – what an amazing couple of years it has been (is it really only that long??) I have read every instalment of your blog, & I can imagine that it will have been quite cathartic for you to write it all down: the highs & lows of all the physical and emotional swings will have changed your view of life for ever I think. I was very sorry to read of the difficulties at home: it’s particularly hard to be a Mum when what you actually need is the support of every member of your family. I do hope all those trials will resolve themselves – I’m sure they will, & maybe the fact that you are going to be around at home for a bit longer might prove a blessing in disguise. As you may have seen on F/b, it’s been a busy week of celebrations here: on Monday, my aunt Lois reached her 108th birthday (she must have a veritable drawerful of cards from HM the Queen), – which makes Tim’s 90th birthday pale into insignificance! On Tim’s birthday we had a lovely trip on the lake in an old steamboat, the Osprey, (built in 1902, so even older than Lois), together with a few friends from the church and two people who have helped to care for him, allowing me the occasional break. Our hosts at Windermere Jetty looked after us very well, serving canapés and Prosecco. The sun came out on cue after what had been a very wet day! Tomorrow we will have nearly all our family here for lunch, which a friend is cooking for us. The only one missing will be our eldest granddaughter, Amy who is teaching water sports off the coast of Croatia. I hope your recovery continues without any more complications. You certainly deserve some respite from it all. Thank you for sharing your story with everyone – I’m sure that many people will have gained a lot of help & encouragement from reading it. Much love to you & Nick, Sue xx Sent from my iPad



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