I expected to be ok!

Posted by belmckenna on 27 Feb 2014, 08:55AM

I didn't care what type of cancer I had, or the technical details, I left that to the people who had spent all those years at Uni to know all of that.  

I had the initial reaction of panic, fear, and devastation.  We get so self involved in the unknown, and the fear, it is simply an overwhelming event that no one can ever be prepared for.  

Soon after I began chemo I got the slap in the face realisation that at a breast cancer conference of 200 women, a lot had more than one experience.  I recall thinking, give me a break, this is my first, I am having enough trouble coping with the first time.  

I got very fussy headed during chemo, and hated the side effects, avoided the public because I didnt want to catch anything extra, and prepared all my own food, not trusting of others hygiene.

At times I got frustrated and at times I cried and felt sorry for myself.  Most of the time I just couldnt believe I had been removed from my life at a stage I felt well, and was totally unprepared for any of it.  

For a while I got caught up with wanting to know what percentage of a chance did I have to survive, and realise after a while that no one had a crystal ball! 

I was exhausted at the end of it and was very grateful to have had that year off, with lots of afternoon sleeps right up until the 11th month.

I went back to a 20 hour a week, basic job. A friend of mine on the other hand went back to a demanding 50 hr a week management position and is struggling.  Rest, and pace yourself.  

Going back to work has had its own struggles, it's not all open arms and understanding by everyone, but in time, we adjust.

I have decided not to focus on "What if it comes back", and to live the rest of my life as I did before - career focused, busy, and lots of things to do!  

They say our mental attitude is as important as our diet. As a message to those who havent had a lucky time, or are struggling on an off day, or didn't get good news, I am mindful that cheeriness can annoy some at times, and I respect that too.  I understand that this post isn't every ones story, I do know however, it is only mine.  

Love Bel, after all, it is human nature to fight til the end...............I expect that to be 100 and smiling!


Hi Bel,

mgndam1603's picture

Lovely to hear from you again and pleased that you are pushing through.

I must admit to be struggling back at work, some days are good and others I really have to push myself to get through the day. To me I wanted to reclaim my life, my biggest issue when I was off work was the iscolation, I have worked my whole life and have been very career focused and here I was stuck at home with no-one! I came back to work after 7 months leave to a new role that involves loads of travel....................

Anyway I am trying so hard to make changes, Michael and I have bought a little holiday place to go every 2nd weekend, I am not working huge days anymore I leave at a reasonable hour and if I am tired I reast when I get home, the house work can wait.

I am ensuring I get time with my friends too, not pushing catch-ups back till another day and spending more time with my beautiful and supportive sisters (which is a challenge as they live interstate). Ultimately I agree with you, we can do everyhting right and still things happen. I try so hard not to look backwards, I never want to get cancer again but am aware of my chances.

So beautiful Bel, you take care of yourselft.

Sending Hugs



Hi Bel

Deanne's picture

I agree that mental attitude is as important as lifestyle factors. My hubby and I had a great talk last night about how differently I/we think and act since bc. I am not sure exactly what it is but I do not dwell on negatives anymore. I think I still have empathy (probably more than before) but I don't judge/assume anymore. If someone does something that effects me negatively I deal with it so differently. I don't try to change their behavior or actions, I just worry about mine. I used to want to fix everything and everyone, now I realize that we are only responsible for our own actions/decisions.

I even joke about karma and use this to make situations less stressful. For instance hubby and I were driving on the highway and there was an annoying car, towing a jet ski, going slow in the right hand lane and not getting left when they could have. Hubby was getting hot under the collar but I had him relaxed and laughing with my idea that they were gathering negative karma from their actions. I suggested that when they got where they were going maybe the jet ski would not start and they would wonder why!

I just feel so calm and love it! Mind you with my poor memory since chemo maybe I just forget a lot of the things that might have played on my mind before! Glad you are feeling so positive too, Bel.
Deanne xx



  • Name:  Mrs Belinda McKenna
  • Gender:  Female
  • Marital status:  Married
  • About:  20 years of hairdressing, then 5 years as a Pharmacy Assistant. Married for 7 years. Now Cancer Free. Moving to Sydney Jan 2015

My diagnosis

  • Breast cancer experience: 
    I have been diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Diagnosis type: 
    Early Breast Cancer
  • Diagnosis date:  15/10/2012


  • Hobbies: 
    Craft activities, Fitness and sports, Reading
  • Breast cancer-related interests: 
    Workplace and career, Medical research

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