Tottering through transition to treatment

transitionSo sometimes a chat with a good friend who’s not afraid to ask the harder questions is helpful. I am lucky that I have a few people in my life with whom these types of conversations can take place within the safe space that is our friendship.

We’re still waiting for my referral to a Consultant Oncologist to explore the options and implications of the next steps in terms of treatment. Currently some of this is clear and already defined and some is yet to be decided and the actual timing is up in the air. This does not suit a couple of pragmatists. At all. In any way.

We like a plan, something concrete to work through and okay, okay we admit it – A LIST. There’s nothing better than a list. Steve probably likes them more than me. I like a nominal chatted through plan of action but Steve likes it written down. Not only does he like it written down, but like many people (we suspect) it’s the crossing off that is so satisfying and he’s been known to write something on the current list and then cross off immediately. Don’t think sad, think sorted.

So you’ll understand why our current limbo state is frustrating. We’ve had a whirlwind of activity, appointments and information to digest and attend and now we’ve ticked everything off of that list and beginning to feel the need to create and activate the next one. BUT we can’t affect it currently as we wait. I did comment on a previous post that I needed to learn how to be a patient patient and I can legally inform you that this status has not improved.

So back to the harder questions; a telephone conversation with a dear friend – we’ll call her J cos that’s her initial (novel eh?!) started as typical conversations do and then not content with my answers she asked deeper questions and rejected some of my answers. Now some of you might be thinking ‘Who needs that type of friend in your life?’ Well I’ll tell you what, you all do. Friends don’t need to all fit the ‘one size fits all’ box, one’s who agree with everything you say and are compliant in every way, it’s great to have a mix and the challenge of people around you who don’t always think the same way that you do. Of course values are important and it’s hard to be good friends with those who you don’t have a good overlap of values with but make sure that you don’t opt for an identikit set.

J helped me realise that we are in a transitionary phase- moving from one state to another and in our case we’re moving into another phase of this bu*&%ring breast cancer thing (note the non-use of the words battle, journey or fight) as post-surgery we get handed over to another team, new faces, new processes, new approaches and new words to add to our ever increasing vocabulary.

My Surgeon Mr Coombs said during our consultation last Friday that he was now ‘taking a back seat and handing us over to his Oncology colleague’ and I don’t think that I had realised that this was in fact a major transition for us in itself. Even in such a short but significant space of time we’d placed our trust in him and his team and kind of got used to the ‘programme of events’ and now we’re facing something and someone new.

I could kick myself- how did I not clock this in myself, when I often talk with children and their families about the significance of transitions? Too close I suspect.

So I’m grateful to J for her candid and frank questioning and holding the space for me between frustration and clarity. Deep yes, but then so is our friendship.

 “Reality is never as dark as the places your brain visits in anticipation.”

On a lighter note, Ben and co are still sending out #TeamPositive stickers and friends have been positing images of them stuck on their cars on Facebook. I can’t tell you how fantastic that feels. Perhaps once this is more settled/over/clearer we’ll do something to bump up the #TeamPositive funds for research…………………………………Mmmmm ideas please. I did see a ‘bra pong’ game which looks like fun!

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