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.