THE NEW NORMAL
( JULY 24–AUGUST 23)
You know just where you want to go and what you want to achieve. Your vision is crystal clear. And you also know exactly what you need to do to get what you want. This, however, may not be as helpful as it seems. Your aspiration is valid but as Mars reverses out of your opposite sign, you need to reassess your route – and take life a little less seriously. Don’t worry, you’ll soon be off in a much better direction. For life- changing advice about the powerful solar eclipse, call 1900 957 223. smaller skirmishes that have been fought along the way – even though they enabled bigger successes. It’s sometimes those little moments that are worth more than the so-called big events in our lives. As Mars slips backwards, all you need to do is consolidate one small victory. Call if you are looking to make some positive changes: 1900 957 223.
TAURUS Even though you feel you’re facing a battle, there’s good news on the horizon. There’s no way you’re going to lose it; the most likely outcome is a stalemate. A compromise is being called for in order for things to work out fair. There will be some annoyance as you reach a truce, but if you manage to stay calm and philosophical, your dream will remain intact. There are insights and revelations in store for you now. Call 1900 957 223.
(APR 21–MAY 21)
GEMINI What’s the point in chiselling away at a rock face when there are explosives you can use? Well, it depends on the scope you have for error. You’ll have more of an impact than you imagine this week. Once you’ve blown something out of the water, it won’t sink again without a trace – you’ll create a wave of energy that can shift the dynamics of a key relationship. Or, you can keep slowly chipping away. The choice is yours. If you need inspiration, call 1900 957 223.
(MAY 22–JUN 22)
CANCER We can always find a reason to have an argument. There’s usually something or someone to criticise. When we put so much energy into life’s battles, it throws more of them our way. Even when an issue arises, you don’t have to respond in the usual way. As Mars reverses into your opposite sign, you can achieve more than you think by simply stopping, before you get too drawn in. Wonderful changes are possible. Call 1900 957 223.
(JUN 23–JUL 23)
Ihate the word “journey”. I try to remember that people say it because they don’t know what else to say: “It’s just a journey you had to go through” or “It’s great that you got to the end of your journey.” Cancer is not a journey. The best thing to say to someone who has gone through cancer is, “That’s sh*t. I’m sorry you had to go through it.” It’s acknowledgment without pity or false positivity.
I remember that it was a Tuesday. I’d had the biopsy and a blood test the week before and was waiting on the results. Did I have breast cancer? I went to the GP in the morning but they just had the bloods, not the biopsy results. They called about lunchtime, asking me to come in again that afternoon for the biopsy results, but I was at work and said I’d come in the next morning. They insisted I come in that same day. That’s when I knew. I was only 32 and since the cancer was aggressive, my oncologist gave me what she called the Rolls-royce of treatment. Six sessions of chemo, a double mastectomy and reconstruction, and six weeks of radiation.
The thing is, there’s an expectation that once your hair grows back, that’s it. The end of the Big C – you’re cured, and you can just go back to who you were before. But it’s not like a broken leg you can reset. There are long-term side effects from chemo that last years. It may have saved my life, but chemotherapy has also irrevocably changed it. A drug strong enough to kill cancer will also kill off the things you took for granted.
The new normal is coming to terms with the fact that you are now a different person with physical and mental limitations impossible to ignore. The hardest are the ones that are deeply attached to who you see yourself as. I am a writer. I used to happily spend all day at my desk writing, but not anymore. Concentration only comes in blocks. It’s called chemo brain, a forgetfulness similar to baby brain – but which lasts much longer.
The new normal is learning how to reconcile the fact that your body may be in its 30s but, because of the chemical menopause brought on by drugs, it’s dealing with the same things as a 60-year-old: hot flushes, insomnia, loss of libido, irritability and fatigue.
The new normal is dealing with that sense of panic and anxiety every time you go for a simple scan, thinking the cancer has returned.
The thing I mourn the most about the person I was is my energy levels. I could get up and do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Those days are behind me now.
When I was bald, all I wanted was to get my hair back to what it was – long, dark and straight. But two-and-a-half years out from chemo, I’ve kept it short, blonde and tousled. At first I thought I was just having fun, but now I think it’s an external reminder that I am no longer that chick with long dark hair.
When I look in the mirror I see someone who has been changed by what she has gone through, and I want my outside to reflect my inside. Renata Gortan is an ambassador for Cancer Council Daffodil Day, Friday August 24.