Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm hoping everyone had a really good Christmas. We had a relatively quiet one with the family.
Christmas eve was spent with my family with a divine dinner fit for a king and as per tradiation visiting the Christmas lights in Bothasig. Christmas day was spent with the better halfs mom for Christmas lunch. What a feast...

I got some news last week that my radiation is actually scheduled for longer. I thought that this would be my last week when in fact my doctor wants me to have a 'booster' round for my scar tissue areas where the mastectomy was performed. I was so disapointed by the news - I was hoping the New Year was going to start off with a clean slate and a 'new me' but sadly I will only be completed round the 13th of January. I trust my doctor with these choices - it's just been a long haul. My skin is starting to hurt. It itches, peels, burns and resembles something like a surfer has when they chafe their skin with their wetsuit. I still won't be able to use creams and fragrences for a while after and I need to stay clear of the sun. Believe it or not I can't even use sunscreen because of the ingredients in it. It causes reactions and makes your skin react in quite a bad way.

The news recently is still all very surreal. It's really hard to take in mentally and realise that 'I'm alright now'. It's a strange comparrison but it's as if I'm this puzzle thats been built since I have been diagnosed and there is a piece or 2 missing to make me complete. It's unbelievably hard
to process and leaves my emotions all over the place. You would never have thought so...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Over the Moon!

Today I am the happiest girl in he world - I am so amazingly overwhelmed right now that
I should probably let everything settle in before I update my blog but I thought while
everything is so fresh I should probably get a start on it all...

My day started off a bit emotional - I seem to get these waves of emotion at times for the silliest things. I was sitting in the woolies parking lot after getting a snack to eat for breakfast and I saw a pigeon get knocked over. I didn't realise it at first because the culprit car did not realise at all until I saw the pigeons mate viciously circling it's mate in a worrisome way wondering why their fellow flyer was not getting up. I was all of a sudden a weeping mess. I feel so much for anything that looses their mate in life. I could not think of anything worse. Life is seriously just too precious - even for a pigeon!

Anyways - So after radiation I set off for my doctors appointment which was a follow up up for my radiation sessions. I was really quite nervous about this. I didn't mention it before because I didn't want anyone worrying more than what I was but my last CT scan results showed some spots on the lumbar colum. I was really worried it started spreading to my bones. So - I sat down with my doctor and she started going through the report with me. I had the report previosuly when I was in ICU but you never understand doctor jargon talk. She said that my liver area was clear and the spots on my lumbar column was not cancer (as I had feared) it was instead my dense bones causing little holes from all the treatment and the chemo closing the holes up. These are the holes that were seen. I sat there in question with all the info going through my head - is what she saying for real here? I have no cancer then? are you sure? I was clear of all traces of cancer!

I will finish my radiation around about 28 dec and in the New Year my doctor wants me to go have a PET scan to see if anything creeps back or to see if we missed anything along the lines. Should it stay negative (which I really hope for!) then we can just go with monitoring or alternatively have a course of 'maintaining' medication thats similar to Herceptin. Should something come up then I can go on the trial that has just opened up and that my dear friend Helen is on. We don't want that so positive thoughts all the way here people!

(a few days later...)

Recent news still hasn't really sunken in - it's all so surreal. I have been living this life of having treatment to treatment and now it's almost like - 'now what?' kind of thing? There are so many mixed emotions that I'm not sure how to feel. Happy - yes, very! but it's almost like
playing a game of russian roulette. You see - with my original diagnosis it was quite bad and I was always told that this would be a very hard thing to fight off and reoccurence is quite
a common situation in these cases. Remain positive sure - call me miss positivity but I fear this feeling of a 'bullet going off' at some point. After speaking with a few people who have been through the same kind of story they told me that no matter what stage you are at - you will always have that feeling. It does get better though. Just gotta keep fighting the fight and believe in the big man above.

Last Thursday on telling my boss the news I asked her if I could hand out an award to a very special person who plays a big role in community service within RE/MAX PA. Gary ran for me with several others at the Darling Marathon this year. I felt like I wanted to break the news at the year end function that evening and ofcourse to take that oppertunity and thank Gary as well as all the other collegues and friends who support me so much. It all seemed very suiting.

The response of everyone was phenomenal - clapping and some even with tears in their eyes. I was a babling mess as usual when I talk and half my planned speech was forgotten but none the less Thanks to all for their support was mentioned. So many hugs and kind words were said to me after it was truley amazing. For people to call me an inspiration and someone to admire is extremely humbling. I'd never in a million years think of myself as that. I always tell people that if they were in the same situation they would do the same but they don't seem to believe me... I posted a saying on Facebook the other day saying 'You never know How strong you are until being strong is the only choice you Have'. Never have I heard something so true in my life. The day I was told how bad my diagnosis was - a million things went through my head - The no.1 thing was 'I can't do this' and 'I can't put my loved ones through this'. I really didn't think we would be able to get through it all but we did. My family who was always there especially my mom who took me to all my appointments and was
there for me whenever I needed someone. Always changing her shifts to accommodate me
and be there no matter what. My better half who has been through so much with me. Sat through the tears and always helped me out with difficult situations and mild stones and cheered me up when he was already bearing so much on his shoulders already. Without you - I would not have been able to do this. I love you all so much.

This may sound like the cheesiest paragraph ever but never can such a sickness open your eyes more. Even without such predicaments in my life - lately in the last month life has seemed ever so precious. Even without such diseases and illness in life - Life is just so short. I have heard so many stories around friends and aquaintances lately that involve loved ones dying and the surprising thing is - nothing was wrong with them whatsoever. They were all young and fit as can be with nothing wrong! Anyones life can be taken away in a heart beat whether you have cancer or not. Seriously - stop fretting the small things in life and just enjoy the beauty in every day that you have been blessed with with your loved ones.

Ok - enough already with the cheesey supreme paragraph above.

If I don't blog before xmas - have a blessed one and thanks for keeping up with the posts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's been a hectic few weeks lately - Certainly hoping 2012 to be the start of a new chapter and just good things to happen for myself and loved ones.

I know some people wouldn't want to hear this part - especially the men but hey it's part of the treatment. When you have chemo the treatment can often bring you to menopause. Some people have it temporarily and some people have it for life. Now - when I started treatment they did warn me about it and they kept expecting this to happen. Hot flushes? Nope. Sore Body? Yes - Period - Yup. Still there! This is what I went through every doc appointment. On my last treatment can you believe it I stopped my monthly.I thought I was going to get away with it a. At first I thought it may have been stress for the op but then I still didn't get it for another 2 months. Crap. Can you imagine how happy I was to find that I got it again. What was once upon a time a complete inconvenient curse - was now such a happy thing for me. I was literally bouncing about at home. It's a long shot but I really would like to have kids one day and I don't want things to complicate it all. Gotta have some Hope to hold onto.

In the last 2 weeks I have found myself to be extremely fatigued. No matter how much you sleep you just can't get rid of the feeling. I just want to gain my fitness levels back. We wanting to start some mountain biking on some wine farms etc. Nigel loves hiking and I'm just not cut out for it so we have a bit of a compromise :p What better way that to see the pretty sites CT has to offer than on a bike. The fatigue will be around for a while I suppose - think I am going to try out gradually getting into everything. 

My radiation took a bit of a back seat to get started up. My doctor kept declining the treatment plan so she had me come in - have them draw all over me so she could see what radiation beams would be going where and she made a few changes that suited my case and situation. On coming out I saw my doctor catching up with my mother so we got chatting. I got onto the fact that I was a bit concerned about the blood clots. My medical aid scans had been depleted for the year so we were not able to have one done to see if the clots were still on my lungs. She said that she would have me go into hospital for the night so they would have to do it. I thought she was joking so I kinda said - maybe next week? She asked me to come up to her office so she could speak to a Physician friend for advice. Once I got to her office I sat down and I was completely out of breath - she looked at me questionably and said - that's not shouldn't be that tired...She took my pulse and said straight to me - if your pulse is over 90 you're eating hospital food tonight my dear *wait wait wait* 91 - ha! off you go! She was concerned that the blood clots were still there and I needed blood thinning medication asap! I thought it all seemed very much like a joke - I felt too normal to be 'sick'. I went home - got my bag packed and schlepped off to the hospital. When I got there the doctor himself came to escort me (in a wheelchair might I add) to the - wait for it.... ICU! I kinda looked at him and said - I'm fine - this is not necessary where he told me blood clots was a critical condition and he couldn't have me walk anywhere because if I collapsed it's pretty much overs. Fair enough...I sat down on the bed and chatted to him about my history and I was injected with Clexane blood thinners and had various monitors linked up to me. I felt so unnecessary being there - everyone around me had heart operations, car accidents etc I needed to go to the loo and they wanted to bring me a freaking bed pan - are you for real? really? I can walk - it's just 5 steps that way. Ok - but you have to be wheeled there. Hmpf. I was literally treated like a porcelain doll. After my mom and Nigel left I caught up on some TV - aaaaah. All the Twilight movies were showing. Perfect :) The nursing sisters kept coming up to me offering me sleeping tablets because I was still up at 10pm unlike their other sick patients. I'm not sick - I am trying to watch my movie finished please. A very busy night - you wake up literally every hour so the nurses can check your blood pressure and all your other vital signs. I woke up to my newly scheduled nurse for the day (every bed is assigned a nurse to take care of them). They brought somebody in specially to take care of me because they were understaffed. My new care giver was a young lady by the name of  Neveshe - a small petite Indian girl. We got chatting and got to know each other throughout the day in bed and wheeling me off for my scans. She was 28 years old as well and she had been diagnosed when she was 23 years of age with breast cancer as well. She was a survivor too. Best nurse I had ever had - had so much information for us and chatted to my sister about getting tested genetically. What a breath of fresh air. We swopped numbers and chat occasionally on bbm chat. It's funny how your paths cross sometimes. Sometimes God just brings people together. We got my CT results and everything seemed to be fine - no clots seen whatsoever. I was discharged and my doctor set an appointment for me for a Cardiologist just to make sure that my heart was fine. (Turns out that was fine too by the way!)

I started Radiation on Monday (finally!!) What was said would be 20 minutes ended up being a hour and 30 mins because of setting me up etc. The norm for a radiation patient is having 4 beams used - My oncologist has me on 8 (lucky me!!) I have put a picture of the Machine below. I find it all very confusing with how the machine works (hopefully I'll become a real boffin on the topic soon enough). 1 moment the room will be dark and there is lazers projected all over the room, the next moment you have a measuring image reflected on your skin, body is getting being repositioned that way, high pitched dentist drill sounds coming from the machines, foreign names and words being used for this and that, drawn lines here - more lines there...much more confusing I find. I just lay there and have the radiation therapists work around me. You lie on a table with your head and arms in a brace of sorts to keep you in position and they move you around on a sheet to ensure that you are literally a mm to the left or right. The therapist come in and out to position the table this way and that way for the beam to hit you here there and everywhere. The table is the most uncomfortable table in the world - everything pokes you and staying in the same position for so long is torturous. I'm so stiff by the time I'm done. Feel sooo old! Today I am on my 5th session and I must say it's getting a bit better flow wise. It's now down to about 30 mins which is nice. Just 2 more weeks left - woop woop!

Myself & the panel of fighters/ survivors (and doctor - far left) 
Last Saterday I was asked to be part of the Women 2 Women panel which was in aid of the Pink Drive organization. I felt very honored to have been asked but man oh man I was nervous as hell. I always dodged my Orals in School - maybe that's why hehehe. When I was asked questions my voice was so shaky. I'd like to be able to talk to groups slowly about my experiences. I would like to get the word out about awareness. It's very important to share. At the event I chatted to some of the other panel members - I met Miss Hope who was actually crowned Miss Western Cape Last year. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer a 2nd time around and this time she took to the Hollistic approach. She drank chineese herbal teas, vitamins and Apricot Pips. She completely cured her cancer which I find is fascinating. I am looking into it slowly and I have started to take the Apricot pips ground up in some of my mornings Yoghurt. They extremely bitter let me warn you - we talking vile stuff here...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Freckles marks the spot

Almost onto the next stage of my journey - Radiation!
I went to get scanned and 'planned' yesterday afternoon. You go for a scan in order to have 
the radiation plan to be mapped out. My oncologist has to then instruct what points in my body
need different strengths of radiation treatment. After being scanned I was told I needed to be tattood so they could line the machine up exact each time. What I expected would not be too bad having known what a tattoo feels like - I was instead jabbed with a needle in 3 different places with ink at the end of it. I didn't feel the 1 side due to it all being numb so when she did my right side I almost jumped off that table. Bladey hell! I now have black freckles along my sides and on the diaphragm area.
I will be doing my treatment at Ronderbosch GVI centre and will try manage it as best as possible into my daily plan. Radiation will last for 20 mins a day for 3 weeks....after that RFA treatment for my liver. Shoo - aaaaaaalmost there...

On a sadder note - yes. Another one. We lost Nigels beloved father to cancer late Sunday night. He had been fighting a very long battle with cancer of the bladder. He passed away peacefully in his home - due to frustrating medical aid not authorising a care giver/ hospice on time (surprise surprise...). Glad at least he was around a familiar and loving surrounding. You will be missed and loved by all Mr. Smith - Rest In Peace and may your legacy always carry on and may you smiling at us from above.

With news of all these happenings lately it really makes me sick and tired of cancer overall. How is such a thing causing such an epidemic of note?! This 6 letter curse can seriously take a hike and F off already. I'm over it!! Not over it in a way I throw in the towel but over it in a sense meaning I am sick of all my loved ones being affected by such an ordeal. In a span of 2 years it's been me, my father had a cancerous tumour cut out 
of his inner ear leaving him deaf in the one ear, my mom with endometrial cancer, our family dog, Nigel's dad. Seriously - enough already - goooooo away!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rest in Peace my Pupples

What was supposed to be a busy and exciting weekend ended up being the hardest thing
I have ever done. Friday Night I went to dinner with my better half and in the middle of it
I got a phone call from my mom saying she had received news of Roxy having ruptured tumours in here spleen, liver and lungs. She had to be put down. I left the restaurant immediately, packed my bags to go to my mom and went to my little angel who had been
In our family for 10 years. She wasn’t a pet. She was one of us and there was nothing more I wanted than to go be with her. She had been there in all our moments of sadness that I just had to be with her in hers/ours.

They gave us a room to be with her in and I sat on the floor where she scooted her behind into my lap (a habit she had formed from my long legged brother). It seemed so surreal. She was so excited from seeing us that the adrenalin had made her seem normal. 20 minutes later however she was panting and sliding all over the place because she couldn’t keep herself up. We hadn’t thought of this coming so soon – why does something like this have to bite you in the ass so suddenly? Roxy was a little legend. Always will be – she looked after us and protected us but most importantly she was the families best companion and friend. She comforted us when we were sad, she checked up on everyone throughout the night, when us kids fought she made sure to create distractions so we would quit our bickering and when we celebrated she would event celebrate with us. When my brother was down last month we tried and attempted to take many family pictures. With every picture she insisted on being in the shots together with us – even when my father would lead her away out the picture she would casually plonk herself back down in front of everyone - it was simply the funniest thing.

On saterday morning we all woke up with extreme sadness in our hearts. We all dreaded what was about to come. We made our way to the vet and spent some time with our little angel. They first put her onto the vets table which simply made her really nervous so we lifted her to the ground where she could sit with us. She made herself comfy in my lap again and had no idea what was about to happen. She was filled with adrenalin again so she seemed to be normal once again. It made it just that much harder. We brought the vet in to discuss if there were any alternative options. There were but only ones that would simply make her suffer more and delay the inevitable by about 3 weeks. In all honesty with everything I have gone through – nothing has ever been so hard in my life as this very moment. They injected her and quickly she went off to where I sincelerely believe is at my loved ones sides up in heaven. The very thought of losing something so special is so incredibly hard and nothing could ever replace her. I well up at the very thought of her final moments but at the same time I am very glad I was there for her and she was at least In my lap feeling very loved with my mom and me at her side.

My moms house is just so empty and quiet without the sound of her walking up and down the passage or following us with toys in her mouth. She may have been 10 years of age but she certainly still acted like a puppy filled with energy and love.
Below I have put a picture of when I had my photoshoot done. She managed to get into the room and of course had to be pictured along together with me - licking me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's been a month exactly since my procedure and slowly I am getting used to this whole 'concept'. The pain is much better - just really feel it all when I stretch or try reach for something. That and every now and then my muscles seem a bit sore in the wrist area. I think it may be a bit of nerve damage. Still hurts a bit to pick up items and when I try to sleep it's quite uncomfortable to position my arm in a comfortable position.

I have some wonderful news - I have decided to do my very own book about this whole experience. I approached some publishes and told them mildly about my story and they want to meet with me to discuss the whole process/ what to expect/ where to go from here. They are very interested based on my positive outlook and age.It's going to be quite the process - a long process but worth it. I am basing it on my blog (so all you readers have some first hand experience of my book ;p ) but making it a bit more personal based on my experience throughout my whole journey. I have just been thinking so much about all of this over the last few weeks that I decided just to jump right in and do some research. I want
my book to inspire people and to help those who are going through something similar. I want to spread the positive attitude and show that they too can get through this. It's based on the timeline of me being diagnosed right up until I have my reconstruction next year. I want the whole entire experience so I guess I have some time to 'shapen' my story up and get some help editing it etc. It's all very exciting!!

On a up note my mom has just 1 more chemo to go. I am very proud of her. She has been quite ill after her chemo sessions but it's amazing how different our effects have been. She has had a lousey time but I'm just glad that she's almost at the end of her road and she's been so positive about it all. We've just had so much drama in our family it's been terrible. Our beloved family dog has been rushed to the vet again. Last week she feinted or had a fit/ seizure and today she could not stand straight. The vet seems to think she may have a tumour that could be bleeding out. Are you for f***ing real? Enough already!!

I should be starting with my radiation next week. I was supposed to have started with it last week already but of course medical aid was full of s*hit. I have reached my limit for scans/ x-rays and they giving us trouble because in order to do radiation you need to have a CT done so they can map out the points and strenths of the radiation. I will be doing it at the Ronderbosch GVI so I can incorporate it in my working day - work through my lunch and then go have my treatment on my way home.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's been just over 2 weeks since my operation.

I am slowly getting back to my old routine and very much happy to be getting back to that.
My pain is subsiding and today was the first time attempting to drive. Hooray! It's quite sore but I'll get there and in the swing soon enough. Not having my own 'independence' has certainly been hard.

For the last 2 weeks I have been paying my doctor regular visits so he can check up on my drains as well as do some aspiration (sucking out build up fluid out with a syringe). The skin and area is very much numb still. Feels very much like this area isn't really part of my body. It just looks so foreign and without my 'softy' in looks very deformed. Just can't get used to it. It's so hard to get dressed now because everything hugs your body in a certain way and it's litrally impossible to make your boobs look the same. It's just so frustarting and lopsided. I cannot wait to have reconstruction done! *unknown time period still - sigh...

On a great note my surgeon is extremely happy with my progress. He thinks I have come so far and done so well in the meantime. When disecting my nodes they actually noticed that my nodes were clear of cancer. The chemo had killed it all off. I was thrilled to hear such news. The nodes were just fibrous from all the chemo toxins. Every time my doctor does some aspiration he sends the fluid away and everytime he is happy to report that the results come back clear showing that all the cancer is cut out and gone away. The thought makes me so happy. All we have to worry about now is getting through radiation as well as RFA treatment. Happy days - we can almost see a finish line!

Friday, October 7, 2011

hospital and recovery time

I got out of hospital this Monday. As supportive as all my loved ones and friends were for visiting me I started getting frustrated and sad with the whole situation. The doctor let me go home on the reason that he thought I would be better off at home with myself or my family emptying my own drains rather than the nurses doing it wrong every time. They broke one of them (woops).

The pain has been quite bad and I can't use my arm too much. They had quite a field day moving my muscles around. The op was actually pretty much complicated in the end actually - On doing administrations with one of the head nurses you had to write out to your knowledge what you thought the doctor would be doing so I wrote down 'Bi lateral mastectomy, node disection and taking out my port' On signing the note off the nurse said 'according to theatre you are having just your left side removed'. I was so frustrated on the news. According to my doctor I could only have the effected side removed due to the fact of my alien blood clots that had invaded my lungs. No1 had discussed this with me however. I was livered! On having to get used to the idea of having no breasts at all - I now had to look defromed and only have 1? really now??? I understood the terms in the end but wow - due to doctors being on holiday it wasn't discussed with me that I would have only one disected in the end. Not brilliant news at all in the slightest. I was wheeled off thankfully very calm with the help of premeds. Upon entering theatre and seeing all the equipment they were about to use just sent me off in a downward spiral - thankfully I was put to sleep very soon after.

On waking up I was suddenly very confused. I was shivering to such an extent my teeth were chattering and the nursing staff were telling my family and Nigel that they had to say their quick goodbyes so they could get me stabilized. I was in ICU. Great....The surgery was much longer than anticipated. What was supposed to be just 2 hours lasted 6 hours on the table. The doctor had struggled to take my nodes out beause of my muscles. My body had gone into a bit of shock and according to my nurse I was breathing a bit funny so they had to monitor me very closely for that evening. That night the pain was quite bad. Felt like I had been shot through my shoulder and my throat was so dry from the pipes that had been in my mouth and down my throat that all I could do was have ice chips given to me the whole night. By morning I was a bit better and I was given my first meal in a day. I felt a bit like a invalid to an extent because I had to have a nurse feed me because I couldn't move my arms or lift my body. It's terrible feeling so incompetent. Thankfully later that day I was put back into my ward - Thats when my sea of flowers, cards, phone calls, balloons and messages started. Wow - I have so many people who care. It's just too overwhelming...

I spent from Wednesday to Monday in hospital and my family and visitors kept me quite busy with visits the whole time. Was a good thing I suppose because it kept my mind busy instead of thinking of my amputated lady lump. When my guests wern't there I was sleeping, having my blood pressure checked or visiting my dear friend who was 2 doors up from my room who had been in a motor bike accident. Very convenient!
I learn a valuable lesson the first day being out of ICU. If a nurse asks you to say what your pain is on a scale of 1-10 do not answer 7-8. This may be a trick question. If you answer this you get a suppository and there is no changing your answer! If you answer 5 and below you don't get anything. 6 or 7 is a pill. 7-8 a suppository and 9-10 is an injection. Injections were only given to me at night when I was about to go to sleep. That was the best pain killer which lasted me quite a while - they gave me Pethadine. Aaaah how I miss it. 

Now that I am out of hospital I get silly pain pills that don't do much at all. I had to ask the doctor for something extra because my arm is still so sore. I still have my drain which I hope to loose today. Been carrying it around since the op and I am really getting tired of it now. I'm down to about 40ml every 12hrs which is apparently a good thing. Changing into day clothes has been a real hastle in the past few days. Every morning I have been struggling to find something to wear due to the fact that it looks ever so obvious that I am 1 boobed now. So eventually on finding something to wear on Wednesday I begged my mom if we couldn't find a solution somewhere to make me look more 'symetrical'. We found a shop called Storm in  A G cup which cater for bigger laddies and prosthesis fittings. I needed a prosthesis stat! Sadly they could not give me one because I still have drains and major swelling so we opted for the next best thing. A big old lady bra with no wiring and a insert called  a 'softy' to make me look 'normal'. In about 6 weeks I can get a prosthesis until I get my reconstruction done.

A week before my big day I had a photoshoot done. Something very out of character for me considering it was mostly without clothes on but I wanted to commemorate and document what I was about to go through. It seemed for some reason like a very big step for me - letting go almost. The photographer and myself have chosen to document before, during and after reconstruction. Should be quite interesting. Many people asked why I was having it done and my answer was to the extent of the fact that I can't go back on something like
a mastectomy and therefore wanted pics for various reasons. We may decide to use them for an exhibit, use them in a publication I have been pondering on or even just for my own.

 So thats it ladies and gentleman - next chapter closed and well...almost dusted... 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's the Big Day

(I wrote this on my notes on my Blackberry on the day of my op 28th of Sep)

It's 6:30am and I can't go back to sleep. Today is the day of my mastectomy. I really and honestly
didn't think this day would ever get here. Now that it is here though you'd swear I was taking pills
to be calm or something. I worry throughout this that I'm just numb to it all instead of calm and I'll get rained on with all my self pitty when I least expect it. Yes - through this whole ordeal I occasionally have a melt down but shortly after I pull up my socks and look to the 'horizon'. I know how important it is to look at the main goal here - 2 be healthy.

I worry what I am going to look like with no more boobs. What was once seen as 'perfection' growing up in the opinions of old boyfriends and friends and the envied of now being surgically removed. It all seems very surreal. It gets me down that I'm not immediately having reconstruction done but it's something I will have to get over. All very hard. I will have to do with the 'chicken fillet' inserts for a while. Sh*t - scares me how self conscious I am. No matter how much preparing I do I have no idea how well this is all going to go down.

I think I am going to climb back into bed now and snuggle up with my better half seen that it's going to be a while before I can do it again. As soon as I am out of hospital I will be at my moms recuperating for a while. My older brother is coming down for holiday and my mom is off so they can drive me around and take care of me while Nigel is at work.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hard hitting realities

Still awaiting dates from doctors -
I however got a call from my plastic surgeon this morning. I don't know how I'm going to get through this but basically my plastic surgeon dosn't want to go ahead with the reconstruction part of my surgery. My doctors concerns are that the radiation treatment is going to ruin my new 'works of art' and do some strange things to my skin by completely changing the shape as well as making the surgery longer than 4 hrs long putting myself at danger for the cancer spreading. Studies basically show that if a patient is open on the table longer thean 4 hours the cancer is known to metastisze further.
It's come as such a big shock because all this time I have thought - 'it'll all be fine - I'll wake up with new boobs like nothing ever happend'. Not anymore....I'm really scared at the reality of it all. I know it's all for my good but since becoming a woman I was always told I had the best boobs around. I never saw them as perfect (a little 2 big for me) but they were one of the better features I have. Ok - that sounds terrible.
Some how I just have to convince myself that it's not permanent for long and that eventually down the line I will have new breasts. If I were much older I don't think this would be an emotional and mental issue. Just got to get my mind around it all and lean on everyone for support.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bye Bye chemo!

I really am getting bad at updating my posts lately. Just so much been happening! Birthdays, events,moms never ends.

I had my last chemo last Monday and is officially my last chemo I can say this time. So once again we close this chapter and move onto the next step. Dates still to be finalised with my team of doctors.

Yesterday I went for my CT scan to see where we were all going. Sadly - there was no more
shrinking but we did come across a sneaky new thing that has arisen. I now have newcomers
to my lungs (not cancer) but blood clots. My doc seems to think it's from my port so they are 
going to take that out when I have my mastectomy done. Nice news huh? came completely 
by surprise. I now have to inject myself every night in the stomach up until my op. Hopefully 
they will work their way out in the next few weeks but just have to keep our eyes out for it in
the meantime. Last night was my first time having to inject myself but Nigel stepped up to the
plate and said he wanted to do it for me. Bless his soul. We psyched ourselves up for ages and
youtubed (don't laugh - there was no nurse available at the chemist) how to inject yourself because we simply had no clue. Eventually we did it and we both lived to tell the story :-p wasn't so bad after all.

As nervous as I am still about having this major op I will be excited to have this over with. After my op  (about 4 weeks after) my doctor wants to send me for RFDA treatement which is basically sticking a probe in my side and 'microwaving' the spot while I'm under. My doctor seems to think I'll be fine for a while. Just have to have regular check ups to see if theres re occurence in my liver. Need to get into a nice fitness and eating regime and include all the necessary supplements. It's weird I'm excited for everything to put it behind me but yet I'm kind of scared because I know I'm going to be a hypocondriac thinking everything will be cancer related. How does 1 get through that?

While I was going through my last treatment last week - 2 days later my mother had her first. She seemed alright at first but 2 days later it knocked her for a 6. Achey bones, nausea, extreme headaches, dizzy spells and very low BP. Felt so bad for her because I didn't get it that bad. I am glad it's all out and this chemo for her is all precautionary but seems so brutal for something that isn't there. 

Our BreastBuddies Mad Hatters Tea was such a wonderful success. I think everyone had some fun. Thank you to all who helped out. We met lots of new wonderful people and made some great contacts to carry on spreading awareness.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

my world has gone crazy

Feeling overwhelmed is a bit of a understatement at the moment - so much happening and going on!
My Last treatment has finally come and gone and I am feeling more human again (other than the immense tiredness as usual) - yay!

I felt a bit lost leaving the chemo room - it's quite a strange feeling. The nurses were saying how I was almost part of the furniture I had been there so long. The 1 thing I liked about getting chemo (and probably the only thing) had to be speaking to new and old patients. On my last session there was a middle aged lady who came in half way through my session who was incredibly emotional and kept crying - this was me just a year ago so I decided to talk to her. I gave her tips, told my story and at the end of it gave her some hope and positivity. She messaged me a few days later hoping to talk again as I had given her a good outlook on the whole situation and whenever she is to go through a tough time she will just think of my friendly smile. There is nothing more rewarding hearing that kind of thing. That 's why I enjoy working with Breast Buddies :)

So just 2 days after my ghastly chemo I was laying with the hideous after effects of chemo and marathon watching Greys Anatomy when I noticed some 'animal' looking hair that is continuously stuck on my face. Didn't think 2 much of it until I came to wash my hair - Oh M Geeeeeeeee I am loosing my hair again. Insert swear word here please. Seriously?? My last treatment and this glorious thing happens? I was considering sporting the 'pixie look' the following week. Meh – there goes that idea.

Ok - now let me just tell you that everything written above this line is now officially old - my life has taken another big giant U turn and things are still now dragging out. 

3 weeks ago (yes I know it's been very long since I last wrote) I visited my new plastic surgeon Dr. Hilde Meyer. She looked me over and scheduled me for the 27th of July for my double mastectomy. It became a bit of a reality slap right there and then. This whole entire process has an eventual end and I was almost there! It was so incredibly scary. Everything had been done in stages - I finished my chemo and now I'm about to have my lady bits lobbed off. I'd been excited to have everything cut out of me (being the cancer) but now this feeling was something entirely different. It was reality.

Next issue coming up would be my CT scan. I arrived there prompt and early meeting my mom and drinking that hideous liquid that 1 has to drink before the scan. It seems my veins have officially gone on strike because it took them about 35 mins to find a vein. Can you say human pin cushion? was really sore! Anyways - skipping to the results part. My breast lesions is now down to 1.9 (started off at about 3.3) and my liver lesions shrunk a fraction as well. I was happy - although a bit disappointed that it wasn't more. On my way to visiting a friend having chemo that day my doctors associate called me saying 'congrats on the scan however sorry - We want to delay your operation and push you just 2 more treatments because your liver mets shrunk a little bit’ (comparing to the last time where it didn't). Altho this is all good news I was a bit upset in some ways. Thought I had kicked the red devil away for quite some time. So now I start chemo again and my op is pushed aside till this hurdle is over (once again).

Onto further news - Last Friday was officially the worst day ever for 2011. Not only was our loyal family boxer dog 'Roxy' in the animal hospital for tearing a muscle in her leg and being in the utmost pain but at about 3pm I received the worlds worst phone call saying 'We're at the hospital - mom has been diagnosed with endometrial cancer'. Of all the people in the world - why does it have to be the most kind hearted people who ever walked across the face of the planet? She was scheduled for an emergency hysterectomy for Monday morning first thing. That whole weekend felt like an emotional blur - physically and emotionally I was done. Many people who were close to me were done. Cancer is an incredibly scary deal and it’s starting to scare the s*it out of my family.

Monday morning my mom was taken into hospital where her gynae explained the procedure to us. They would take her whole uterus out as well as the fat and glands that surrounded it. After hearing the news update that the doctor said he had taken everything out I felt a hell of a lot more better. All we had to do was wait on the pathology reports to hear how far it spread and then hear the outcome of everything ie treatment. We got the results back now but they don’t reveal 2 much other than the fact that she’s incredibly lucky. The cancer spread just to her uterus wall and no further.

It's incredibly weird how everything happened but she is ever so lucky. The story kind of goes like this. After my CT scan my mother went in to her weigh less class where she had heard a story of somebody who had been spotting for over 2 years and they didn't bother to check it out. Turns out they had a very rare form of cancer. My mom had been spotting for 2 months but not continuously – she had a pap smear just 2 months or so before and everything was in the clear. On hearing this story she went back to the doctor asking what was the reason for the spotting if she was in the clear? The doctor examined her only to find 1 big mess inside. Meraculously the doc called the gynae at Panorama for a further check up and to take some tests and she managed to get an immediate booking that had just been cancelled. Normally you wait 3 months for this kind of thing…On getting results back of course she got the big news and was rushed off for a CT scan.

It’s weird that we both sitting with this kind of thing now. Never heard of 2 family members having cancer at the same time. Sure – she’s off a lot better as she stands right now but can you imagine if she has to have chemo too? She’ll only be hearing about whether she will have treatment in about 4 weeks but luckily I have been scheduled in with her oncologist on Monday so I plan on poking and prodding her for answers :-p

Thank you to all the people who have shown their support in this last crappy week – it’s meant a lot to me and my family.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

just 1 more

as much as thinking 'Just 1 more...' is so exciting I just wanna cringe at the thought of having 1 more. I don't know why but the more I have I just think....seriously - theres more? The mere thought makes you go green!
On the note of 1 more that brings a mere reality that it brings the 'big surgery' very close by. The doctor would like me to have my surgery 3 weeks after my last chemo. As excited as I am to have this primary 'b*itch of a cancer' cut out it's a bit of a reality slap thinking how close it all is. I need to meet up with a new plastic surgeon and discuss the various options of having new 'mounds' upon my chest. Here is hoping they do a 'tram flap' which is a bit of a complicated procedure by the looks of it but it's basically fat used from your stomach (yay!! stuipd chemo has caused me to put on quite a bit) as well as a muscle that is brought up from behind your back/ stomach area. I'll attach a picture below. Do yourself a favour and don't google image it - looks terrible and super sore!
We have moved into our new home - we're absoloutely loving the space. It's been so awesome and my body aches seem more 'happy'. I think the many stairs did no justice whatsover on my achey bones. It hurt just waking up in the morning and the 3 flights of stairs as well as a flight in our own flat took it's toll.
It seems like my lawyers seems to be coming to a bit of a decision in the malpractice issue. They struggling to come up with proof that the cancer grew a certain amount within the 5 months after being diagnosed officially (from seing the GP in the first place) so it looks like they making a demand for trauma, medical expenses etc etc. No figures but even thinking about it still makes me upset because at the end of the day no amount of money can make up for what has happend. If I saw this doctor again I think I'd have to have a army hold me back and my mouth sown shut. It makes me so upset that someones stuipid decissions could have such a toll on my life. I would have probably been over this, I probably would have been in stage 1, It wouldn't have spread and I could have had a very strong chance of a healthy life ahead of me with kids and all. Everything is questioned now and we'll never quite know so we just gotta have faith in God that all will be ok and he has a plan. 
None the less as sh*t as it all seems from time to time - I will never give up fighting the fight. Everything happens for a reason.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wow - it's been so long since I last posted!
My last chemo was a bit rough - it took me ages to get over it and then juuuuuust as I was about to human again I got sick :(
A beeeeg thank you to Gary, Aretha, Russel, Jacqui, Adrian , Warren and Johan for doing the Darling Half marathon. Yes I am greatful for the money you all raised but with all that aside it means so much that you guys all just ran for me and supporting Gary. I was so happy I could be there to support you all. I was horribly sick that night but was worth it. The support really is overwhelming and I still can't believe it at times. You really do discover true angels in this position.
Just 2 more chemos...I cringe just thinking about it. It's getting so bad that the colour red even makes me want to hurl -because the colour of the chemo is red (hence red devil).
My beloved friend Helen (who was diagnosed the exact same as me and very similar in age) and I are considering doing the Argus next year. After I am finished this treatment I am going to start looking for a bike and getting fit again. I owe it to myself and I defo want to get rid of all this excess weight that all the steroids and cortisone have caused. I feel like a representative of the Oros Man!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

nerves and then some more

Tomorrow is a beeeeeg day!
I have my first CT scan since being on this treatment - lets just say I am super nervous. I know the results will be positive ones simply because I can feel the primary site getting smaller treatment by treatment - however I don't know whats going on further than that in my liver and under my arm amongst the nodes. All I can do is pray for the best response ever. I am half way through and hopefully the good response will just persist going on (until nothing is there would be great!)
After my scan I see my oncologist so we can review the results and chat further about whats happening.
and after all that excitememt I will be going to malpractice lawyers - with doing some research with several attornerys we have been told that we have quite a good case and we should not leave this alone whatsoever.
My dad managed to find some malpractice lawyers. No payments are made which is great. Should we win they take a cut of the outcome however which I do not mind whatsoever. I have been thinking about this all time and time again and have often thought I should just leave it due to having to concentrate on the good around me but the more I think of this doctor the more I want to put up a fight. No matter what doctor you are - should a patient come to you with a worrying lump you have to investiugate it no matter what. All he had to do was send me for a scan. Should he have done that - I would most probably be well on my way to recovery - maybe even stage 1 cancer. Thats what makes me angry...
Crossing fingers for the next 24hrs
Wednesday is our quiz evening - should anybody be interested please contact me. We really could do with the support!!
Alas - Thursday is chemo day - I feel green just thinking about it -bleaugh!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Onward we plod

Half way mark is done and dusted as from last week Tuesday - it feels like I am climbing a hill and as I am looking up the hill it's making me feel so tired just seing whats left. 
I know I'm getting great results so just have to tough it out. 3 more left!!
Last weeks nausea was ok - my better half was looking after me because he was off. Got served plenty of toast and Ginger Beer -thanks babe!! I am still feeling a bit naar at times but it's manageable I must say.
Quite a few things happening this month - CT scan, Breast Buddies Quiz (thanks to those who have shown support - still have loads of tickets available!!), Cacer Survivor Forum at the Civic Centre, my chemo (bleagh) and a few days later Gary Phillips is running the Darling Marathon for me - Bless your heart Gary. You're such an angel. The support and care and wanting to help just continues throughout. I am hoping and praying that I am well enough (I have chemo 2 days before) to go and see the race and see Gary finish the race and packing up our home.
I am so happy - my loved one and 2 furry 'kiddies' are moving to a new home. Our lease has ended and we have decided to move to something more secure, a semi detatched house with 2 bedrooms and a garden. So excited and so happy I don't have to climb several flights of stairs anymore -yay!!! By the time I get half way I have to rest. Chemo really runs your body down!
On my way to work this morning I was thinking about all the people and friends that I have gained through this experience. Mainly friends who have also been through or currently fighting the battle of cancer as well. There is nothing more empowering than that - especially my dear friend Helen. She is currently going through the trials which I did and she has the exact same diagnosis as me - Left breast cancer and leisons in the liver. Our doctors put us in contact with eacg other because we are both so young and could benefit from each other. It has helped so much keeping in contact with her - just as positive so we tend to motivate each other and get each other through.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thanks and more

The past week has been one amazing week – Wednesday specifically to be exact.
My work held a rather fabulous fundraiser for me at the Barnyard theatre. I feel so in awe
Every time I think back to it…..I get all emotional again…
I really did not expect too many people to be there to be honest – I was simply blown away by the outcome. It is so amazing to have So many people that care – it’s made my journey so much better and positive. I sincerely believe that half the battle is Already won once you have that conquered (positivity that is).

Before the age of 30 a young woman would never expect to go through the hurdles of chemotherapy x2, loosing your hair, having a
Double mastectomy done, reconstruction, radiation and possibly RFDA. I’m going to conquer it all!! Watch this space people!!!

Last week I approached my better half saying I wanted to shave my head – of all people he had been putting me off thinking I was going to Regret it because I wasn’t loosing it like the typical ‘patient’ – Instead my hair was thinning ever so gradually making me look like a crazy baby chic
With hair about 20 different lengths sticking out everywhere. After bathing it would take me about 30 mins to ‘de hair’ myself from the bath. It was Driving me crazy so I asked him if he would help me shave it. I thought I would be an emotional mess but I felt so much better and I think Nigel did 2. It felt empowering to an extent – like you’re getting the best of it all. I hid my head for a day or 2 but it turns out Nigel quite likes it. We look like 2 peas in a pod now – both with shaved heads :p In a way it’s kind of nice to not have the chore of taking a while to wash and dry my hair and I can take away the expense of shampoo, treatments and conditioner :p (you have to look at the silver lining :p ) I now have quite a nice new ‘do’ that everyone likes. I must say I am not used to having hair in my face all the time (hence the wearing a beanie to keep it out of my face and keep my neck from not being so hot)

I had the weirdest thing happen to me last Friday – I all of a sudden got this terrible fever and felt so extremely nauseas with a really sore stomach. I raced home – got myself under 3 mounds of blanket and a hot water bottle. I was still freezing!! I thought I was coming down with flu – thankfully by early hours of the next morning I woke up feeling myself again. Apparently it’s a symptom of chemo. How nice…after a week and a half of having chemo when you think the worst is over. Chemo – the gift that keeps on giving. Go figure huh…

I would have thought I’d have a bit of rest with the public hols but alas – my chemo is scheduled for the 26th of this month. Slap bang in the middle of it all. How nice…I suppose I’ll be ½ way through at least J Always look at the silver lining….

1 of the many tables of supporters

my boss myself and all at RE/MAX head office (as well as founders)

The 'Stars' of The Show

My Man and myself

some of my friends


another table

one of the tables