Hormone therapy to treat cancer: “Since I agreed to die, life has returned to me”

Do you know this feeling where you are torn between very strong contradictory emotions, ups and downs sometimes felt like a roller coaster, representing the instability of a life path. For Rose, singer and author, these are renowned in her image: The Pink Mountains”. An important symbol since it is both the title of his single and his work. In his two works, the artist approaches the hardships of his life and above all, his breast cancer, from an angle still little treated: that of hormone therapy. A method chosen instead of chemotherapy to eliminate his hormone-dependent cancer – a less serious type than triple negative for example. However, in addition to this treatment, Rose had to undergo many procedures such as mastectomy – an operation to remove the breast in order to remove the tumor – the removal of lymph nodes from the armpit, or radiotherapy. A fight that changed his life.

How did you experience the announcement of the disease?

Pink : I find it easy to accept difficult things: the harder it is, the more I accept. I’m a real warrior when it comes to fighting but I’m weak when it comes to simple issues like administration. I have a real administrative phobia and when I learned that I had cancer, I was almost more worried about this part than the disease itself. I said to myself: “We’re going to have to do a lot of paperwork”, that was horrible for me. We had to manage social security, contact the attending physician… It took me a long time and paradoxically, I thought less about cancer.

I had no trouble living through this announcement either because I wasn’t afraid of death. I was told that my life was not in danger, so I didn’t think about that. But above all, before cancer, I always felt like I had a disease because of my alcohol addiction. I felt misunderstood for a long time on many subjects, including this, and psychologically, cancer was almost reassuring, because I was finally understood. I was finally seen as sick.

Why did you have recourse to hormone therapy?

I had first been offered chemotherapy but after reflection, I refused. So, hormone therapy was mandatory to stop the growth of hormones that the cancer could feed on. I started the treatment which consisted of taking a tablet a day and receiving an injection every 28 days to put the ovaries to rest.

If the beginning of your fight seemed bearable, was hormone therapy more difficult to live with?

Yes very. Already after a month of treatment, I was flat. I had side effects like fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes, joint problems. But, still that, it was bearable, it was especially a violent depression which started. I no longer recognized my life or my profession. Nothing interested me anymore, I no longer believed in anything. I had like a black veil over everything because today I found lots of issues, projects, desires when at that time, I didn’t even want to sing and write anymore. for my musical projects.

How did you feel when you were told “there was only hormone therapy left”?

It was precisely the hardest part for me. I had just come out of two months of radiotherapy where going back and forth to the hospital became emotionally complicated, in addition to skin burns. The months were long enough and I saw no way out. I had even slowly started to drink again but I was afraid of falling back into my addictions.

In September, I felt like I was already dead and I preferred to die. I swallowed pills that I had on hand. For me, my intention was not really to make a suicide attempt, it was rather linked to a misunderstanding vis-à-vis the others, in particular the doctors who told me “everything is fine”. Especially since it is difficult to tell those who saved our lives that we want to die. This is where I had to be hospitalized in Saint-Anne, which was beneficial for me because I needed the right health professionals – therapists and addictologists – to surround me. During this period, I was prescribed antidepressants, which I wish I had had earlier. The treatment is violent but effective. You have to be patient to feel the beneficial effects. From there, the light was able to come back because even if it was difficult, I was followed and understood.

Were the operations and treatments so easily bearable for you?

There were small nuances at the level of the operation for example. What was more difficult was the waiting time between the announcement and the day of the operation because I knew that the cancer was in me without being able to remove it. On the other hand, the operation was a real relief because I had the feeling that all my ailments were taken away from me. Even though I had a breast removed, it didn’t bother me, it was more or less rebuilt as before and then I got used to this new breast. Despite the pain, I was fine, I was relieved that he was beside myself.

Did you experience breast removal as a loss of your femininity?

Not at all. On the contrary, I consider it as a mark of passage of life, it is a “plus”. This breast reminds me of that experience, positively.

Likewise for the loss of libido, which is also a side effect of the treatments, I saw it rather on the positive side. You could say that at 44, it’s complicated to manage. However, it is not that difficult because on the one hand, in general, it returns after a year of treatment. On the other hand, if it doesn’t come back the way we want, we find solutions. You just have to be more imaginative and find something that will energize your sex life.

You also have to put things into perspective, some people have more problems than me, like vaginal dryness at this level, which I haven’t had.

What are the therapeutic tools that help you get better?

I still continue to take the medication and to arm myself with courage, I try some alternative medicine, natural methods such as yoga and breathing exercises. In addition, I practice the law of attraction and, above all, I write. Writing for me allows me to do something about my illness, to make it positive, like a kind of resilience. I am convinced that hardships are beneficial and I am happy to live from them because I am only growing.

I also started Freudian therapy and consulted an addiction specialist. The exchanges allowed me to give meaning to everything I was going through, to find myself, to understand how I work.

Since the therapy, a serenity took hold of me, and I had never known that because I was very angry. I fought all my life to try to shine because I had the feeling of being misunderstood and that my parents did not love me for what I was in my singularity. I don’t know if my cancer was actually related to that part of me but I think it did represent my anger and the things I wouldn’t accept. My body finally punished me for belittling it with my addictions and self-criticism.

Did the writing of a diary, book and also music particularly facilitate these ordeals for you?

Yes absolutely, writing my diary, then my book or even my music saved me. It is extremely introspective and intimate work. Marc Aurèle already advocated it as a therapeutic practice and today we all write.

The purpose of life being to evolve, my way of doing it is to reread my notes often to realize my evolution. I noticed while re-reading my diary, that I spoke to myself very badly and it jumped out at me. I was like, “I can’t be okay thinking that about myself. It’s an emotional release, we write to get to know each other better. Illness comes from repression and denial, so when you write, what pollutes inside goes outside yourself. It relieves.

Thanks to the gratitude journal, where we write down the things we are grateful for on a daily basis, I became aware of all that was going on in my life.

How did you manage to get better psychologically?

Since I agreed to “die”, life has come back to me thanks to many projects that have emerged, in particular my “counter-addictions” podcast. I read a lot of books on philosophy and psychology for that, and I was saved by this passion. From now on, I launch myself more: I redo an album, I write a series, I prepare a show. I am no longer afraid of the forbidden.

However, there is only one danger, according to my psychiatrist, elation. When I feel that “it’s going too well”, this can manifest itself; which is not normal and can cause me to relapse into my addictions. So that’s what I call the “pink mountains”. They are like a kind of bipolarity, representing the impermanence of my life.

Finally, what do these Pink Mountains really represent for you?

The pink mountains are, on the one hand, linked to cancer since after the operation, there is this idea that “it is behind us”, “that we are cured”. However, I am still in a period of my life where the risk of recurrence exists. I’m still under psychologically difficult treatment – which others don’t always understand. We often ask ourselves: “How can we be doing so well but so badly? On the other hand, overall, I’m someone who experiences “very high” highs and “very low” lows. Today, I understood that I had to accept that I was like that and that I knew myself. I understood that it was no longer necessary to look at the summit, but rather to look at where you set foot. I transcribed my pink mountains into a book as well as into a song because art allows me to feed on my difficult experiences, to use my trials as artistic material. Eventually, the lows fuel my highs.

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this short article for this incredible content

Hormone therapy to treat cancer: “Since I agreed to die, life has returned to me”

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