Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our Guest Blogger Writes About Fear (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month)

We don't have a lot to say about fear, other than we feel it a lot, we've written about it in our blog many times over the last 10 months; but we are sure there is nothing like the fear of breast cancer, waiting for results in the event of abnormal tests, and the fear after, that it may come back. We hope that is one fear we never have to know.

We have a message for our friend, guest blogger, Twitter-pal...cancer survivor, Kerry, you are a successful nurse, writer, and human being, and to fear, as you know, darling, is normal. 

We love you, Kerry. You are an amazing friend, and as we have told you (and as James has also told you) we are here for you, to help however, to be supportive however, even if it's just to make you laugh about kicking puppies.

Thank you so much for sharing, with us, and with our readers, with the world. You are a strong and amazing woman.


National Breast Cancer
Awareness Month Website:
Sometime it’s appropriate to share.  Sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes it’s a way to let others know and understand that I am human and not just a professional or a writer.  Sometimes it’s a way for me to sort stuff out in my head and I can bring you guys along for the ride.  This blog is about me and not like my other pieces.  It also comes with an emotional health warning, what I say may upset you.

I am afraid. I am sooo scared. My fear permeates everything I do.  It wraps itself around my heart and makes it difficult for it to beat to any rhythm.  My heart stutters and stops and flutters; unable to cope with the menacing presence of fear.  My fear works its’ way up my nostrils and into my brain.  It is there every second that I am awake and plagues my dreams.  It makes me not sleep so that I am so sleep deprived that I see people and things that aren’t there.  I love food and often over eat when stressed, but my fear turns food to sawdust in my mouth.  My fear is a snake in my stomach, writhing, wriggling, unable to let me put anything in it; making me feel sick; physically forcing food out of me.  It dried up my mouth so I can’t speak, and throttles me gently to stop words asking for help seep out of my mouth.  My fear dries my eyes and stops me crying, makes it impossible for my emotions that are welling up inside me to get out.  I am going to rip apart, my emotions are pushing and shoving to find some room, a space any space but there is none.  Some thing is going to have to give.

I look at myself in the mirror.  I’ve lost weight, I have always been a little bit plump so I look lean and toned.  I smile and interact and behave the same way and I know I look normal from the outside.  No one has guessed.  A few people know safe people who are kind to me; my boss at work in case I do not perform as well as I normally do.  I can’t sleep.  I am awake 20 hours a day, eyes open wide awake, tension in my jaw.  I have at least another 5 weeks of this to endure and I feel like I am going mad.

This is what has been happening in my head for the last 2 months, maybe more.  Earlier on this year I was contacted by some relatives and cutting a REALLY long story short, they had had breast cancer too.  Suddenly I went from being a ‘just one of those awful things’ type of cancer to having a family history.

I was sick, really sick when I was having treatment.  People thought I would die.  I thought I would die, and in dark moments I wished for it.  In my mind if I get cancer again I will go straight back to being that sick.  Of course this will not be the case; I will get there in stages as I did last time and this time treatment might be different….if I get it again.

A couple of months ago I went for gene testing to see if I have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which are linked with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers feel free to read if you want to know more.  What this means is that if you have these genes, your body does not take 60 years of environmental damage building up in it to develop cancer.  It happens much sooner.  It could be the reason why I had breast cancer at 32.

There is a plethora of treatment options, ranging from screening to surgery.  It may mean that everything I have that differentiates me as being a woman may be gone, cut out, removed.  I am only 36.

I have come to terms that I only have one child and I am immensely grateful for that.  I could not cope with the fatigue of having another baby, physically or psychologically.  Now the choice may have been taken away.  My son is unaware that I have had this test and I will not tell him until I know what the result is.  All he knows is that Mummy is not sleeping very well at the moment.  It is up to me to keep him as safe as I can.  I will only tell him when I have facts to show him; not worries in my head.

There are implications for him.  If I test positive it will affect his ability to get life insurance, mortgages and other loans in the future.  If I have the genes I may have passed them onto him but I am not feeling this guilt yet, the fear is all encompassing.  It has implications for other family members too.  If I have the genes then they will be able to gene test them and find the results much faster as they will know where to look.  My geneticist said that it was like looking for a spelling mistake in the bible.  There is also a chance that they might miss it and I still have the gene although I will be told that I do not have it.

I think that’s the reason I can’t tell people, because it may or may not be the case.  I may or may not have the gene.  I may or may not develop cancer again.  On the positive side, if I do not have the gene I remain high risk of the cancer returning, so nothing will have changed.  Life, it would seem, is forcing me to look at my own mortality again.

People want to ‘rescue’ other’s in distress (see my blog entry on suicide for furtherdetails). I know that if words slip past my lips people will tell me that there is no use in fretting, that I don’t know if it will happen yet, no news is good news, stop looking on the gloomy side.  The consent form for the testing stated that this test may cause anxiety; I am not anxious per se just afraid.  I do not want people to dismiss my fear because they find it difficult to cope with.  I can’t handle their emotions as well.

I have a wry smile to myself when people perceive me as a successful nurse, writer, and human being.  I do not show them this fearful wreck shivering in the corner.

I follow #FeelEmFriday on twitter. Where a group of us, men as well, have avi’s (profile pictures) of our breasts (in bras) or the men’s chests to promote self examination to prevent this disease.  Some people on twitter do not like this and say horrible things.  My avi is a black bra with pink trim and spots on it.  Promotion and prevention is the key and I will always support people who do things to help others.  It is fun and silly and makes me, and others, giggle.  A bit of light relief in the dark.

I will cope and I will get through this.  I do not know many more people tougher than me.   When I know what the results are I will be able to fight or be relieved; but at least I will know and I will deal with the results head on.  But just for now, just for you, just here I thought I would take my mask off and show you what’s underneath. Thank your for reading.

Kerry xxx

Read other entries on our blog by our guest blogger Kerry:


  1. A touching and revealing post Kerry, I don't think those of us that have not been diagnosed with any terminal type disease will every fully understand the emotions that must rip you apart daily. All we can do is offer a hug and a smile and hopefully make your days a little more bearable.

    Thank you for sharing this with your friends on line, you are an inspiration, and yeah I see that smirk on your face, but you are one to me.

  2. October is almost ending and i saw couple of tv shows about the breast awarenss campaign, i appreciate your approach as well. i would like to say that if we keep up with the regular checkups then this disease would not take over the control and it would be surely cured in the beggining.
    also "Her2 Gene Mutation" is one of the worst kind in breast cancer that infecets pretty fast. so, make sure you dont' miss you regural checkups.
    ~Turkey Hospitals