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    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.
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    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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    No Princess Alone button

the voices in my head

We all have little voices inside our heads – some talk a little louder than others.  Im not talking about schizophrenia or delusions or multiple personality disorder I’m talking about the thoughts we wrestle with – the conversations we have within the confines of our own heads between the two (or more opinions) we may have for any situation we are facing.

For the purposes of this blog post I will call these voices (opposing trains of thought) acronyms of PAJ (Polly-Anna Jaydub)  SRJ (for sane rational Jaydub) and WSWI (worried s***less What-ifs) – although some of you who know me in real life may go “who is this SRJ of whom she speaks?” -LOL.

PAJ:  Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

SRJ:  There is definitely something showing on my lung but it may not be cancer.  And if it is thats ok, it just means more treatment.  People live a long time with cancer as a chronic illness these days.

WSWI: but what if it is cancer and what if the treatment doesnt work and what about the fact you have just developed a cough and what happens to going back to uni – you’ll be too sick if you are having chemo again…..

PAJ and SRJ :  SHUT UP!!!

PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

SRJ: If it is something we will deal with it.  If it is something we will deal with whatever treatment I need.  Hopefully if its chemo it will continue to be at the end of the week and I will be able to go to Uni at the beginning of the week for my classes at least this coming semester – I did when I was on vinorelbine…

PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

SRJ:  You’re right it may be nothing but we also have to acknowledge that it may be something.

PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

SRJ: I dont mind your positivity but your singing is getting on my nerves.

PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

WSWI:  SHUT UP PAJ – you dont know anything!!  you are just refusing to acknowledge that we could die from this. and what about the fact OH and us were going to go away the end of February on holiday before uni starts and now we can’t do anything.

SRJ:  I’ve already booked a few days away for our wedding anniversary at the beginning of March – I start Uni the beginnning of that week too.  Even if I have to have more tests or anything the 3rd -6th of March and the 18th February (niece S’s wedding) are just going to have to be worked around by the hospital.  They may decide they just want to monitor the lung and rescan to see if it develops into anything they need to worry about.

WSWI: but what about the trip to Dreamworld you’ve promised YD – that’s supposed to be happening in July….

PAJ and SRJ:  SHUT UP!!!

PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

SRJ: It is hopefully nothing but I am also being very careful about how I phrase things to YD – due to her autistic tendencies she is very fixated on both her birthday in April and this trip.  The trip will still happen – OH and I were talking this morning about starting to arrange it and possibly sitting down with a travel agents and asking the questions about if I couldn’t go for any reason how easy it would be to change the name on the ticket.

WSWI:  you know you still haven’t got round to updating your will…you did it before YD was born and now you have to make sure her inheritance is held in trust for her as she won’t be able to manage her own finances the way OD and MD can


PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

SRJ:  It’s on the list of things that OH and I have to get round to – we may look at doing it while he has a few weeks off February/March.

PAJ: Its nothing, its nothing, its nothing!!! laladeeedeedah!

So there you have it folks –  a look inside my mind.  As I was writing this I had the image of doing it as a puppet show – I’ve tried to make it light-hearted but at the same time this is very real to me.  I am at the point where if there is something on my lung I cross the barrier of having regional recurrences to being truly metastatic.  Where the aim turns from cure to control.  Whymommy and Annie have written really good posts on this and I urge you to go and read their words too for a deeper understanding of what I might face.  There are also people like Joanna who were metastatic (a spot on her lungs) at diagnosis and who is living with no physical evidence of disease since initial treatment but who will remain in treatment to make sure she stays there.  I do find her to be living a little too much in denial for my tastes but I acknowledge that each of us has our own way of dealing with the situation and what works for her, works for her.  I prefer to be positive but realistic and I think to fool you blog readers into thinking I am some strong, brave, amazing person who never has doubts is being untrue to you but even more importantly untrue to myself.  The reason I write this blog is both to let people know what is going on but it has also been my therapy – it is the way I process things and get things sorted out more in my head so that WSWI doesnt get too loud.

Most of the time SRJ wins out over any other voice and it is the voice I ultimately think is my true self.

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  1. Wonderful post – it’s like you’re inside my head. Who knew the same extra people made the rounds among us? Thank you for the link.
    You’re right…light hearted is hard and honesty is the best. I’m never quite sure if my joking is for me or everyone else around me. Sometimes it works and sometimes my mind is so dark I just can’t get happy annie to make an appearance. I guess it’s part of the struggle right? I’m glad to have connected with you! We may have different cancers but the mental part is very very similiar.

    • I hope your SRA (sane rational Annie) wins most of the time 🙂 and she makes you the Happy Annie you want to be

  2. I must be really bad at communicating. I would never, ever mean to imply that cancer is just nothing. There is not a day in my life any more that I think that it is nothing. I just hope to say control is at least possible and that there is a third place to be–cure vs. control vs. death. When you can’t ever have cure, I just hope that someone doesn’t feel hopeless. If I have not communicated how terrible and devastating it is to have disease progression, then that it my lack of being able to communicate. I just don’t want someone to equate the lack of a cure with death. That’s all. It was just meant to provide support, nothing else. When someone has little kids, having a future is all that much more important. And I truly hope that WhyMommy has that future. I want it very much and there are so many others out there who hope that she achieves that control over the disease.

    • I too believe there is a long future for whymommy and others in achieving control. – including yourself. I guess I just had a problem with Susan reading your comment on her blog and automatically going ” I was being selfish and you’re right” . I know not writing about the negative stuff and not admitting to the negative stuff works for you but you place so much emphasis on the positive you make anyone who does admit to the negative feel like they shouldn’t. I read your blog and also your replies to the IBCsupport mailing list and you always do this negating the negative spiel. It works for you and I get that, but not all of us deal with things the same way and shouldn’t be made to feel as if we are failing if we are not being positive all the time.


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