I’m sitting in bed on a normal Sunday night. If it were 3 months ago I’d probably be sitting here with my best friend talking about how hungover we were and that the Sunday ‘booze blues’ had officially sunk in. Unfortunately, for me, all I can think about right now is how the hell has this happened to me.
Hold on, let me just quickly fill you in on what’s going on.
Hi, my name’s Bianca. I’m just your normal girl from the Gold Coast, Australia. I can genuinely say I love every aspect of my life after a year of family dramas, the classic ‘trying to figure out what I am doing with my life’ breakdown, a breakup and everything in between.
Oh, and did I mention I have Breast Cancer?
Yep, you read it right. Breast Cancer. The most common cancer affecting women in Australia. 17,586 women will be diagnosed in 2017 with only 1 of those women being 20 years old or younger.
I found a lump earlier in the year, went to my GP who ordered an ultrasound but assured me that it could possibly be some fatty tissue or a cyst, common in women my age. Shortly after my initial GP visit, I was hospitalised with Endometriosis (totally NOT cancer related), and after complications my stay was extended to a total of 6 days. During such time, the lump and ultrasound became second to my current health issues. * This whole time, I wasn’t even thinking about it because I’m only 20?! * Anyway, fast forward 7 or 8 weeks, and the lump had tripled in size and became very painful, even driving was beginning to be a bit of a struggle.
I immediately went and had the ultrasound to see what was happening with this lump and the surrounding areas on Friday 7th April 2017. My GP had called me in on Monday to say we needed some extra testing done with a core biopsy led through ultrasound. As you can imagine it was the longest couple of days of my life with my anxiety levels through the roof. I was scared of the unknown. I still am.
Wednesday rolled around, where the initial core biopsy was just meant to be of the lump on my right breast. However, careful observation of the sonographer showed that my lymph nodes under my right arm were now inflamed. A cell swab now needed to be done of my lymph nodes then too. And right then and there is when I knew before any test results had come back, that I could possibly have cancer.
And just like that, on Thursday the 13th of April I was diagnosed with Grade 3, Stage 2b breast cancer at the young age of 20. I can’t even begin to describe how it felt to be told those words, or how many tears I have shed from then to now. I guess I’ll write about that later on….
This past week, what was meant to be week 8 of chemo has been my hardest to date, and one I had very different plans for before I got sick. It was the week of my 21st birthday, I was so excited to celebrate and party with my friends and family. However, life had other plans for me this year. I spent my birthday ‘week’ in hospital being the sickest I’ve ever felt and watching the sadness in the eyes of my friends and family as they had the same plan that I did for my birthday this year was absolutely devastating. Although I know I can attribute some of the more emotional days to my ever changing hormones, due to the menopause that has been forced upon my 21-year-old body to * hopefully * savour some eggs for my unplanned future, this shit is HARD. However, this week really just got me thinking about why and how life throws us these curveballs, and why some more so than others?
How is it that I am sick, and somebody else isn’t? I’m sure we all think that way at some point during our lives. Why did they get the job and I didn’t? Why does she seem happier than me? Why is my life like this and not like somebody else’s? But do you see the repetitiveness of all of the above questions… They all have such a negative meaning associated with them, although they may be true. It really is the way you look at things. Some just can’t be explained, but some you can try to understand.
However, what this whole crazy experience I’m going through right now has taught me; is there are some questions we have the answers but it just hurts to much too acknowledge. The other questions we don’t think we can answer, sometimes we actually can if we look deeper. All we have to do is change our attitude towards the situation. Positivity is honestly the key. I know that phrase is thrown around so often that it has kind of lost its meaning, but truly, being positive is what is saving me in these times that I want to curl into a ball, cry and re-emerge when this bad dream is all over. But I can’t. So, I just think of how lucky I am to be in my situation, it really could be worse, and for some, it so heartbreakingly is. So my latest ‘thing’ is to literally take it day by day. Why don’t I try to get at least one thing done today that I wanted to? (Although I may not feel like getting out of bed) if I get one thing under my belt for the day, that’s an achievement. Some days, I get the one thing done and I’m crying whilst doing it and I don’t know the fuck why. Other days, I get the one done and it leads to another thing, before you know it, the tears have dried and my mind is occupied. I then congratulate myself, because I sure know that I didn’t want to/think that I could get little things done, but the positive reinforcement really does help. It changes my thinking completely and although, they’re little ‘wins’, as my brother once told me “it’s still a win”. I’ve learnt that in this life, it’s the little things that count.
The power of the mind is so incredibly strong. I acknowledge that there are going to be days where all I do is cry, but what I won’t acknowledge is allowing things to get on top of me when it starts to get too hard.
I promise to be excruciatingly honest, writing through the tears on my good and bad days. Hopefully, as I celebrate the wins and the * hopefully * very few setbacks it will all be here. Although this is a release for me, I hope that people can relate to my story or situation in one way or another. Alternatively, watch me on my journey as I kick this cancer shit to the kerb.
All my love,