Skipping forward again to three years ago – OCD was mild,compared with what I’ve known before – a couple of things that I got ‘stuck’ with were the only real problems. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer (and the thought that breast cancer might be preferable to OCD occurred to me – it’s awful to admit to this but I did think that it might be a better thing to worry about,if that makes any sense at all).
As it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes (clever biopsy done during surgery which isolates the first nodes which any cancer cells might reach – involving an injection of a radioactive tracer and a blue dye which results in amusingly turquoise wee) I was spared chemotherapy – I had surgery followed by radiotherapy. The end of radiotherapy was pretty bleak as I was plunged into a weird state. All the emotional stuff seems to come out then and I felt quite wretched – I think it’s a combination of people thinking ” well that’s the end of treatment so you must be ok now “(not to mention the people who managed to ignore my treatment altogether) and the very regular visits to hospital stopping.
I was supported brilliantly by a very wonderful Breast Care Nurse ( in fact the whole team were wonderful- these are clinical nurse specialists trained to give support both physically and emotionally) The prospect of taking Tamoxifen – a drug which blocks oestrogen, was troubling me as I was terrified of upsetting my mental state, so precariously balanced. I also feared weight gain as I cannot bear the thought of any change – that sounds rather a trivial thing,in the scheme of things, but another aspect of my OCD is very exacting standards of perfection which I struggle to maintain. I’m not perfect in any sense of course, I feel I need to be and look a certain way to be an acceptable person – this causes much grief as I never meet those standards.
To get to the point of this -I was encouraged by T ,my lovely BCN to think about a top-up of CBT and following an assessment, bereavement counselling was suggested. This,dear reader, was a real and rather wonderful turning point.