Friday, January 26, 2007

Jenni Murray

Good to hear Jenni Murray being interviewed down the phone on Woman's Hour today. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas. She's had a mastectomy and has had her first chemo. Like me she seems to have a HER2 neg cancer, which is good as it means it's less aggressive, but it also means they can't treat it with new drug Herceptrin, but that has drawbacks anyway, in relation to heart toxicity etc. She's also has an estrogen positive cancer, which is another good thing as that means there will be a number of drug options to help inhibit that aspect of the cancer. Mine is "ER+" too, and I take Arimidex each day as an adjuvant therapy.

She seems to be blaming HRT for the onset of her cancer, and she may be right, breast cancer cases in the US fell by 7% following the news that HRT increases your risk of breast cancer.( I never took it myself, I was too young, being pre menopausal.)

She has been quite sick with the first chemo, and they need to tweak the anti-sickness meds etc, that often happens as they don't always get the doses right on the first one.

She seems in a hurry to get back to work. I have mixed feelings about that, it wasn't an option for me as I had to do such a lot of chemo, 12 cycles in all, interspersed with radio therapy. I know of some women in the States who worked right through treatment, largely from fear of losing their employment and therefore their medical insurance, but I think if you're in a fight for your life you need to give your body as much rest and TLC as possible so it can get on with fighting the cancer.

I also felt that my illness was telling me to have another look at my life. I had had some form of employment since I was 14, and had worked full time since I was 17, save for 9 month maternity leave, and since my prognosis wasn't good it seemed a good time to stop and try some things that I'd always wanted to do, while I was capab;e of doing them.

I still work, but it's on a voluntary basis and I can do a lot of it from home. I'm also very glad to have been around these last few years to see my son finish school. Indeed, after his accident, these last few weeks would have been a nightmare if I'd still been working, as I was often out the door at 6 in the morning to catch a train to Glasgow or wherever.

I think it's wonderful if you love your job, but if you don't then it's the ideal time to take stock of your life, as cancer teaches you that delayed gratification is not all it's cracked up to be!

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Blogger anna said...

enlightening! Some time we need a tragedy to help us see what is important in life.
I am always inspired by your posts Anna.

7:17 pm  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I am taking all this on board! I love my job, but sometimes wish I was in a more high-powered one and earning more money so we could get our heads farther above water, financially speaking ... but this post makes me think again.

10:27 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks Anna. I wasn't aiming to inspire, I think I always feel a little guilty when I hear about someone being so ready to reassume their past life after cancer. I felt completely severed from my previous life, as though I was in a parallel universe, and I still largely feel like that, so it wasn't just the initial shock etc.

CB I think you just have to do what's right for you. I found high-powered exhausting, I was a senior policy officer in Central Govt, and I worked long hours and had to humour several masters, committees, Govt Ministers etc. I just got tired of the circus, and I sometimes think the illness was just a manifestation of that feeling. I liked what I was trying to do, improve services for rough sleepers, but hated the process and the wasted energy.

10:49 am  
Blogger PI said...

I agree about the going back to work thing. It is often a wake up call to re adjust your life - as you say. Interesting about the HRT connection. I have taken it for years fully aware of the risks. As far as quality of life is concerned it has been worth it thus far. My three close friends who have had BC didn't take HRT. One doesn't take anything for granted and everybody has to make their own decision.

5:27 pm  
Blogger blkbutterfly said...

ah, work. my friends are always amazed when i tell them i'm leaving the office at 8 pm or when i tell them i'm about to do some work, on a weekend. like you, i like the cause that i work for, but the hours are taxing... one day i thought about how many more years i have left in the work force and i shuddered. i think it was good for me to read this post and remember that as life progresses, there will (and should) be more pressing things than a career.

1:40 am  

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