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  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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Cancer, Uni, and Mental Health

I’ve been sick with the flu since my last big update.  I have also had assignments to do.  You will remember I had got an extension to have an assignment, that had been due on the date that I was finding out whether I was in remission (4th May), to be put in a few days later.  It was amazing although I had complete writers block before the 4th, once I started writing the next day my essay just flowed.  As I said to the tutor that is going to be marking it, I still dont know whether it was what he was looking for but I liked what I had done and found it so much easier to put   my thoughts together coherently.  I put that assignment in on the Friday (the 7th) after taking the first three days of the week off with the flu.  On that Friday we have our culture and diversity class. The papers I am doing this semester are “the Social Work environment”, “Sociology”, “Psychology for Human Services” and “Culture and Diversity”. I was very annoyed at my lecturer in Culture and Diversity because I had found out on the 4th I was in remission and I was on a high. 

But his task for us for the Friday (7th) was to bring something to signify our biggest fear. 

 Gee, what do you think that might be…

I didn’t even have to think about what to bring to signify it as I wear it every day  – my charm bracelets.  I explained my greatest fear by showing them the bracelets and explaining each bead on it is an end-of-treatment or significant episode in my cancer journey and my other bracelet is the other significant things that have happened in the same timeframe – the cancer bracelet has  10 beads the other bracelet has 5.   My greatest fear is that the cancer charm bracelet will continue to be added to at a faster rate than the other one -that remission will only last a few months again and then I’ll be back in treatment and this going on ad infinitum –  or worse case scenario that the treatments wont work and I wont get to do the significant things that add to the other bracelet including finishing my degree.  I debated whether or not to tell my greatest fear as it was significantly different to everyone elses.  Some people had quite significant phobias about things – pigs, rats, spiders but mine was the only one that bought up the subject of dying. 

Which brings me to the mental health part of this post.  This last Monday we had a guest speaker in our “social work environment” paper who is a mental health social worker.  I actually admitted to the class I had had an episode of clinical depression after YD was born and I realised she had ongoing problems.  I explained that ever since then I have known what to look for in early warning signs and I have never gone back into the “pit” as it were.  One of the things that I have realised helps me to not go there is acknowledging things openly.  Saying Im a little down or upset instead of internalising them and dwelling on them.  Acknowledging them and letting them go.  This blog has been a prime example of this.  I am sometimes surprised that given my inclination towards depression that I actually havent fallen all the way back down with ‘Gertrude’ pushing me.  but I think its that because I acknowledge and recognise those early warning signs that I haven’t – and doing what I need to do to get back up whether it be getting a little counselling from the Cancer Society, rewarding myself with a charm bead when I’ve got through a treatment,  or speaking out on my greatest fear.  I didn’t want to tell the class what my greatest fear was, but because the assignment for the tutorial had been to think about it, I was going to dwell on it if I didnt actually acknowledge it and let it go.  This doesnt mean I dont get depressed or down but what it means is I dont slide into clinical depression which is staying down.

This is the second blog post I’ve written today – the first was a stalker update and the 3rd one will be on my lovely celebration and indulgence weekend I had last weekend to celebrate remission mark II – I decided to seperate them all into three distinct posts and I think I will do more little posts on individual subjects from now on instead of trying to write ones that combine everything that is going on at one given time.

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