Photo by Little Beanies.
It’s an honour to welcome the inspirational Detrice Matthews to Honest Mum. In this heartfelt and touching post, she shares her experience with breast cancer.
Just One Moment In Time By Detrice Matthews
It has been over a year now since I was diagnosed with breast cancer but it seems like yesterday.
If I rewind to that one moment in time I can remember it clear as crystal.
Oddly the day began like any other.
As a young mum of two, I have always found first thing in the morning to be quite challenging. I struggled like most mums, with the school and nursery run, trying to get everyone out of the door, trying to do my own hair so that I might look presentable for work.
On the day I was diagnosed – on that day, I had managed all of those normal morning thing and then instead of driving to work I headed to the hospital to find out my results.
That was the point at which everything began to slow down, almost like everything was getting stuck in slow motion.
I waited in the reception of the Breast Care Unit, trying to enjoy the moments of peace and actually having time to read a magazine but I was shaking. Even though I knew the answer before I was told, I was still shaking.
The lady I later learned was my breast care nurse came to greet me and asked how I was.
In the room my consultant sat there, on her day off, and looked me straight in the eye and delivered her diagnosis. In a single moment when those words were spoken it felt like a radio was being tuned in an out and I only caught a few of the important words. You have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, breast cancer.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur, but I remember a few things.
On the way home I got stuck in traffic and I was late to pick my little boy up from school (which is not an option for school age children). When I finally arrived at school he was in floods of tears, all on his own. I’d let him down and I just wanted to sit and cry too. There was no time for tears though, I shook myself and headed straight to pick up my little girl from nursery.
In that moment in time, on that day, all the little things became much more important and all the stressful things became, well, insignificant.
From that day I knew that every single kiss good night or cuddle or game might become a memory and memories are so important when children are growing up, they make you into the person you become.
Fast forward to today and I have recovered from the mastectomy operation that I opted for.
I have done the physiotherapy to regain all the movement lost, after the lymph node removal.
I have lived through the rounds of chemotherapy. One. By. One.
I started the chemotherapy with a stubborn determination but as I gradually found out, chemotherapy breaks you down slowly and it is ‘easier said than done’ to keep going throughout.
And so I have cried, and I have smiled over the past year (admittedly there has been a fair amount of tears) and most importantly, I have learned some valuable things.
- Children are the best medicine. My children have kept me going though out. They helped me keep it together in the beginning and they have helped me get out of bed every day through my recovery.
- Family and friends are invaluable providing ongoing support and a shoulder to cry on where needed.
- Never to take things for granted, and I mean the everyday monotonous things such as going for a walk.
- Friendships can be found in the most arduous of times.
- Bravery is often not an option, it is something you become when faced with no alternative.
You see, the thing I found about my diagnosis was that I could handle the facts, in part because I already knew that ‘it’ was there I think.
But the realisation that I may not be there to see my children grow up was the real kicker. And so I began to write, I wrote how it felt to be diagnosed with breast cancer, I wrote to perhaps help others who were going through the same thing, to give them something to hold onto. Most importantly, I wrote to give my children a real understanding of who their mummy really is.
I have learned that the amazing thing about having children is that they keep you going. They don’t stop, they go on and on, their energy and enthusiasm has no end.
When you are down and on your knees, they always oblige with a kiss or cuddle.
Just one moment in time it seems, can change your life forever.
I am trying not to look back too much as it leads to worry about what the future holds. So for now all I can do is be present in the present gratefully and take one day at a time.
‘If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present…gratefully.’ – Maya Angelou
Written by Detrice Matthews
Follow Detrice’s blog: https://detricematthews.