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For Everyone Touched By Cancer

A Dance With The Big C: Surviving Cancer

Written by Gail Gilbride on 
24th August, 2020
Updated: 29th January, 2024
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

I am an optimist. Always have been.

By nature I’m shy but after a glass of bubbly I can turn into the life and soul. Crowds energize me and there’s nothing I love more than a social gathering. A few weeks before my birthday every year, friends phone me up to check whether or not there’ll be a party.

Funnily enough, I didn’t organise anything last year. I had every intention of doing so. It was after all my 64th and The Beatles“…when I’m sixty-four,” played in my head for weeks. Something made me drag my heels.  My usual mojo was just not there. A quiet dinner out with family seemed like a better idea. And then it happened…the unexpected gift arrived.

Perhaps I really did have a guardian angel

I had felt the lump in my breast. But I shrugged it off.

Probably nothing to worry about. And yet I found myself scheduling an appointment, just in case. After a thorough examination, the gentle doctor asked me to step into her office. Her initial diagnosis came through a dense fog and she held eye contact so that I would absorb what she was saying. Words swam across my brain: Mammogram, scan, biopsy, the way forward. She’d made a mistake. It couldn’t possibly be me. I was the healthiest person on the planet. “Do you have any questions?”  My mind was blank. I shook my head and picked up my bag.

Eat good food to help with cancer treatment side effects

A flurry of examinations followed in the ensuing days and just before my birthday the news came. Definitely cancer. I was about to dance with the big C. I pleaded with God, promised to change my life and strengthen my spiritual bond. Perhaps I really did have a Guardian Angel somewhere? I apologised for ignoring him and swore never to do it again…but my pleas were in vain. The path stretched ahead.

My daughter whisked me off on a shopping spree.

Pink walking shoes, cuddly PJs and Robert Galbraith’s, The Cuckoo’s Calling, were my gifts of choice. I wasn’t sure how long this journey was to be but by my birthday, I’d made peace with it.

I cannot say it’s been easy thus far. I landed up in hospital within the first two weeks of treatment and then again to have a port inserted. Two rounds of chemo therapy, the last one on New Year’s Day, were followed by a lumpectomy and the removal of a few lymph glands. I was recovering really well and preparing myself for radiation, when a seroma the size of a watermelon manifested itself in my breast. Three lots of draining sessions and a fainting spell, had me doubting myself for a few days.

Could I really survive all this? Was I being delusional to think that earth still needed my dubious talents? Should I just give up?

The answer came swiftly. I am surviving cancer. I can do this.

Every time I think otherwise, my body comes to the party. It does know how to heal itself…with a little help of course. I have a new respect for this vehicle of mine and have promised to honour it a lot more. Clean foods and freshly squeezed juices, daily exercise, research and relaxation, along with homeopathy, hypnosis and blogging about my journey - go side by side with chemo, surgery and radiation to come.

Life does not come with guarantees

I have a whole lot of living to do.

I have every intention of surviving cancer. This is a one step at a time journey and over-thinking it is counter-productive.

Life doesn’t come with guarantees, but in the depths of my soul I feel that my body will heal, in divine timing.

Further reading

Sharing Our Cancer Stories Is A Source Of Strength We Should Be Tapping Into

Patience and Persistence Saved My Life: An Unwelcome but Welcome Journey

I Love My Prosthetic Boob - She Is Called "Boobilisous"

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