After the drama of Saturday evening, things have been subdued.
On the plus side, Mr P. is still speaking to me but it has highlighted that we both need some kind of external emotional outlet that meets our different expectations.
For his part, I know he needs to feel that things will at some point improve. It’s emotionally draining for him to shoulder the burden of supporting me while also being crushed time after time with bad news. He has his own personal challenges and disappointments to face, quite aside from my issues.
Consequently he gets frustrated with me mithering on about my lack of hair and the ongoing side-effects and treatments because, to him, a lot of this is transitory.
But for me, it isn’t. Even when treatment is finished, I know that this experience will be far from over. I will have to live with the physical and emotional effects for the rest of my life. Not to mention the spectre of cancer coming back.
So, yes, I do moan about my cosmetic appearance and want my hair and eyelashes to come back, because I am impatient and I at least want to feel myself on the outside – even if I can’t on the inside.
But I also understand that by me constantly fixating on these superficial things, Mr P. thinks I’m being pessimistic and negative. It’s wearing for him, not to mention relentlessly depressing.
Of course, these things are just window dressing and what I really want to be able to say freely is “I’m scared. I might die. I’m only 39 and yet, I’m bald, barren (probably) and soon to be boobless ... so please don’t tell me my glass is always half-empty. I don’t even feel like I’ve got a glass. And when I do, someone comes along and knocks it out of my hand.”
In many ways, it’s like I'm back to square one - I just feel so frustrated by the situation. My lymph nodes seem clear, so had I had a mastectomy in February then I might not have needed chemo. Or at the very least we would have had time to explore the fertility options beforehand. I feel cheated and let down.
So in essence, what I’m feeling is grief – for what I’ve already lost, and what I am still yet to lose.
And that being the case, I’ve decided to seek some counselling. After phoning Macmillan Cancer Support yesterday, they gave me the details of the Mulberry Centre in Isleworth which I have visited today. Like Maggie’s Centre in Hammersmith they have a range of support services for those living with cancer (and their carers) and I have registered to get on the waiting list for someone to talk to. Hopefully I will able to see someone before the end of August.
In the meantime, I will also try to make use of some of their other group activities and talk to other people in the same position. I think it will do me good - and hopefully, in turn, Mr P. too.