Yesterday morning I went to a Cancer Council (Australia) session called Living Well After Cancer. It was nice to meet other women and men, survivors and carers, who had come through the experience. A big hello to Sharon who has her own blog dailyrant. And a big thanks to Marie from Breastcancer Twitterchat who made me aware of this program (during a #hcsmanz Twitter chat).
As usual though, amongst those attending who had experienced breast cancer, there were mostly older women over 50, a couple of younger women in their 20’s and me on my own as a women in her 40’s.
I find this a lot in the breastcancer “real world” as well as in the online community. Women, like me, in their 40’s, are stuck in the middle. Even the research studies tend to be looking at either “post-menopausal women over 50” (not me) or “young women under 40” (not me either). Very disheartening when the research community also seems hard-pressed to figure out where I fit!
In these situations I usually relate and align myself more with the younger group of women as we seem to have similar challenges with trying to get through, and carry on from this experience.
This was true again yesterday. While the older group of women related that it was good to be able to wake up in the morning and choose to have a doona day (doona = quilt); in contrast, the younger group of women were relating the struggle with having to get up and go to work when you’d rather have a doona day.
I still don’t absolutely “fit” with the younger women though…
I’m not coping with these scars and drugs that affect my (cover your eyes now if you are sensitive) body image and sexual being while still single. I have a wonderful and amazingly supportive husband. I didn’t have to think about banking eggs before I started chemotherapy last year and I don’t have to live with knowing I may never have a loving permanent relationship or children
NOTE: I’m happy to lend my kids out to anyone who thinks they want some.
It was an emotional morning for me. Seeing our common challenges written on a whiteboard brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. And, while it was good to find others with whom I’ve had a shared experience, it was also sad to find us all struggling with the same issues and to find yet again that I just didn’t seem to quite “fit”.
PS: It’s Sunday today. I’m having a doona morning!