Lop Sided

Right, I am now lopsided and doing A OK. But first, let me tell you a little thing about my mum.

When I was younger, now matter my illness, mum would always get me a damp face washer. I could have a migraine, period pain or vomiting and the medical solution from my mum was always the same, a damp face washer. I am almost certain that had I been unlucky enough to break a bone, I would have been given a damp face washer.

Imagine my surprise when I had a slight complication in recovery last night after my boobectimy to be given a bloody damp face washer! I couldn’t believe it. I’d just had a breast removed, tubes going everywhere, attached to a lot of blipping and clunking machines, nurses running around trying to get hold of my surgeon for advice regarding my complication and someone throws a damp face washer on my forehead!

Anyway, I was released from the recovery department two hours later and surprisingly, felt pretty good considering what my body had just been through. It must have been that damp face washer.

Today I learnt a few things. The first thing is that medical people think it is just fine to look down my top and poke around after barely telling me their name. I learnt that if a nurse tells you she is going to help you shower, she actually means she is going to help you shower! My hospital bed will not fold up on me no matter how hard Sam tries to make it happen. Endone is a woooooonderful pain killer.

Tonight I sit in what feels like a hotel room, enjoying some lovely gluten free lollies supplied by Tam, watching TV with my man surrounded by gorgeous flowers from some amazing people in my life and feeling all endonely happy.

 

Today.

I didn’t think I had anything left to say prior to my boobectimy tonight but you will hardly believe what I am about to tell you….

I’m. Not. Hungry!

Are you kidding me? I am never not hungry. I don’t even feel like a cup of coffee and time is running out!

I am almost certain you can hear the panic in my tone and you would be right to hear it. There are only ten minutes left before shut off time. Before no more food can pass my lips. I have forced down some toast and if anyone here knows what gluten free toast is like, you have to force it down at the best of times so imagine trying to do it when you aren’t hungry?! Why today of all days am I not hungry?

Yeah yeah, probably nerves and stuff but I am a great eater. You just need to look at the size of me to know how much I love food so for me to not be hungry and running out of time, I am in a state of panic and confusion.

As there is little time left, I shall leave and head to the kitchen. I will make this coffee, I will find one more tidbit to eat and then I’ll do all I can to not think about food until who knows when….

Well, that’s it for me, see you on the ‘lop side’.

Happy Boobectimy Eve

What does someone do the night before their boob is removed from their body? Well, for me, I enjoy lovely visitors, phone calls, tests and facebook/blog messages. I am enjoying a glass of bubbles which will be followed by another but not too many. I need to wake up really early, like, before midday to ensure I eat before my fasting time of 12:30. I will then not eat until goodness knows when. Yes, I am concerned about the fasting period more than the boobectimy because I will be hungry. And, I can’t have any fluids from 4:30pm. Yes! That’s right! No bubbles, I mean water, after 4:30pm. What if the operation before me goes over time? I will be hungry AND thirsty and will be able to nothing about it except complain and no one else will care too much because THEY will be able to eat and drink what ever they want because it isn’t them having an operation, it’s me!!

Ok, let us reflect on lefties life before we bid her farewell tomorrow night, at 7pm… never to be seen again.

Hmmmm, well, that’s about all the reflecting I can do because leftie hasn’t really been known for much in her life. She just popped out one day when I was pregnant. She was quite the shy boob, not wanting to pop out too early and gave me many sleepless nights as a teenager just wishing for her and rightie to come on out, show their mounds beneath my top.  So, by the time she arrived, I was distracted with pregnancy and then a new born and no, leftie did nothing to nourish the newborn so she can’t even have that title. She was just ‘there’.

How do I feel about everything that is happening tomorrow? Well, in all honesty, I am ready to have it done, be rid of the cancer and soon, get back to my other life, the one I was happily having before I found out I had cancer. I imagine I’ll be a wee bit frightened as they wheel me down the corridor for surgery and I might even do a ‘movie moment’ of holding out my hand to my mum and Sam as I disappear behind the swinging doors…… bright fluro lights blinding me as they inject the anesthetic.

Ooooh sorry about that, I kind of got carried away with myself there but truly, I am ok right now.  I will also be ok tomorrow. I’ll be a little scared at 7ish tomorrow night and then, I’ll wake up lop sided and hungry.

Thank you to everyone for their wonderful thoughts and good wishes.  I should be back on Tuesday talking about what it is like to be lop sided 🙂

Saying Goodbye to Leftie

How should I be feeling about losing a breast? No one can answer this for me except me. It is a really weird thing because it isn’t like I actually ‘need’ good ol’ leftie but I don’t particularly want her thrown in the bin either. Sure, she is a wee bit sick and all but she still looks pretty good albeit a few bruises from being poked and prodded. I guess she is sort of like a tonsil hey? We have them but don’t really need them. But I can tell you right now, I didn’t check my tonsils growing up to see how big they were getting! I didn’t compare my tonsils to those of my friends. Boys didn’t want to check out my tonsils either, well, that I know off anyway.

So, ol’ leftie is useless really. I am giving her to my surgeon to throw away in a pile of other unwanted boobies, to take her and the sickness in my body, away. It really shouldn’t matter should it? It isn’t like I am losing something important or necessary for my life. I even feel a bit of a whinger to be honest knowing another person in my life who is in fact without an important part of their body, their arm. Who am I to complain about losing a boob? It isn’t like I need her to drive or hug or to pick up an object. The thing is, I like her. She has been around for quite a while now and I am used to her. But, the choice isn’t mine anymore, it is where the cancer lives and is now time to go. Like a game show really, it is time to leave……..**suspense built in here** …. Leftie (and Cancer), you have been evicted from living in the body of Bailey!

Today I thought about the things I need to pack for my holiday to St Andrews Hospital. I have received a phone call from the lady at concierge known as ‘the nurse’ who has advised me there will be a phone in my room, a television and something else that I can’t remember. Probably a bed hey? I realised, once I started looking for the things I would need for this holiday and it occured to me, she didn’t tell me if I needed a bra. Obviously I don’t need a proper bra  as though only rightie will be residing in said bra but I cant be letting rightie swing about on her own. Goodness knows what kind of damage she might do! I could end up with a black eye or bruised knees simply from rightie not being nestled tight against my body. She can get a bit out of control when left to her own devises.

Well, after all these years with leftie, I don’t think there is much else I can say in this farewell piece to her. Thanks for being there? Thanks for hanging around? Cya Leftie, and take that cancer with you!

Yay – It Is Just Breast Cancer!

Well, there’s the good news. I only have cancer in my breast and lymph nodes. No liver cancer, kidney cancer, even my ear hasn’t got the cancer I thought it had. Oh, I must get that ear checked soon then.

My surgery is booked for Monday 20th of April at 7pm. Yes, at night! Who’d a heard of such a thing as twilight surgery. I’ll be in the hospital for a minimum of 4 days and then the lop sided me will head home to recover from the surgery.

New boobs will have to wait and I’ll just have to be lop sided until my surgeon thinks it is time to even me up. I will trust him to make the right decision there because I keep hearing so many amazing things about this man.

Thank you so much to everyone again for their amazing messages, words, thoughts and everything in between. It really means the world to know I am loved, cared for and thought about.

Right, time to find that bottle of bubbles and get guzzling before it’s time to give them up for a while.

Where Is My Cancer?

So, today is the day. Today I find out how far this cancer has spread. I am feeling ok right now about it all but I know that as soon as Sam and I start driving down the South Eastern Freeway, it’ll start. The sick feeling will probably come first and then the sweating. Oh, maybe the sweating first because I am already feeling a bit warm.

Where ever it is, it is. There is nothing I can do right now except enjoy my cup of coffee and read wonderful messages from my family and friends.

It still doesn’t feel quite real in all honesty. I still look the same. My house and my street and my suburb haven’t changed. I don’t ‘feel’ sick. People don’t look at me any differently when I go to the shops. It is probably one of the hardest illnesses to describe. Is it even an illness? Most people call it a diagnosis.

Anyway, it is cancer and I have it and today, in less than two hours, I will find out every single spot it has nestled into.

Tuesday Scan Day

Ugh, what a boring morning THAT was.

My first instruction was to fast. WTF? Fat chicks dont fast! What are they telling me to fast for? What about a coffee in the morning with one bowl of cereal and a slice of toast? IS that ok? Well, apparently NOT. Just some water. Geez, not sure how I am going to cope with all this cancer business if it is starting off like this!

The first scan was that amazing one where it feels like you are doing a nice warm wee in your pants after they inject the dye into you. Have you had it before? I am not really sure why but that really fascinates me to no end. All this went from 8am until 9:30am and then I got a two hour break (YeeeHaaa). It was time to feed this fat chick!

Being a coeliac means you get to be quite organised when it comes to foods. I think I speak for most coeliacs when I say we would usually have something to eat in our bags. Today I just happened to have 2 fake vegemite gluten free sandwiches, a gluten free protein bar (thanks Tam xx It was amazing) and a little container (oh, I must remember to return that container to my MIL) of mixed nuts and seeds.

I did drag that ol’ country boy of mine into Rundle Mall, down to the David Jones food court for a wonderful coffee, to the chemist for some medications, off through Rundle Place to see the new building and then to work to pick up a parcel. It was nice to see a few people walking by for their morning coffees but I wasn’t yet ready to brave the hoards of wonderful people up on ‘my level’ of the building. And I was a little time poor anyway so off Sam and I went.

On a side note, Sam was mortified that hardly anyone looked up. They were all looking down at their phones or ipads or what ever and only one person said hello to him. Yep, he isn’t from around this way hehe.

We were back to the hospital for the second set of scans after our little outing and ready for the final scans. Is it normal to have a little snooze while these are being done? I hope so because I did have said snooze and it was quite lovely. What wasn’t lovely was jolting awake and staring at a big screen with a cross just inches away from your face! This was the MRI one which takes about thirty minutes to do a full body scan and some seriously close head shots. All up today, four and a half hours worth of scans. Not too bad I guess.

I tried to have a peek at the monitor as I was leaving but all I could see was my very skinny skeleton. I knew I was still skinny on the inside!

This part of the blog is for Simpson watchers only because if you dont watch the Simspons, I am going to sound really odd. As Sam and I were walking through the parklands back to the car, I started doing a Mr Burns in the forest walk LMAO! Remember? When he was glowing green from what ever he takes in the night? That is how I imagined I looked with all that stuff in me!

Now the wait begins. This time tomorrow I’ll have the answers as to how far the cancer has spread. Thankfully I am too pooped to care right now. I believe it is time for a little nap on my sofa.

See ya tomorrow!

I Have Breast Cancer.

There is no easy way to tell people but this will be an easier way to keep all of my gorgeous family and friends, my support network, up to date with what is happening. It is hard to know when to call someone during a time like this and people worry about calling too often or not enough. Well, hopefully this will help keep you all up to date during this shitty time.

To give you the heads up, here’s what happened…

About three and a half weeks ago, Sam was doing the normal boyfriend grope while being slapped away which is normal girlfriend behaviour when he found it. The found the lump and I just expected he was looking for more time with ‘his girls’ and using a lump as his reason to get his hands back on them. Well, turns out he was right. I hadn’t noticed it but it was definitely a lump. I wasn’t overly concerned but Sam was. He asked me to go and see a doctor as a matter of urgency and being the well behaved (ahem!) girlfriend I am, I actually went. This doctor that I saw was from one of those walk in, you get the next doctor available after those waiting get seen, kinda clinics. I overheard the receptionist tell another patient that there were 68 patients with 10 doctors. Thank goodness I had one of my cousins manuscripts in my bag to read.

The wait went pretty quick thanks to a great read and without examining me, the doctor wrote out a script for antibiotics to treat mastitis. I am 43 years old with my one and only child being almost 22. I think it is pretty clear that I am not breastfeeding anymore but he insisted it could happen to older women too. At a last through, the doctor advised he supposed an ultrasound should be done so wrote me out a slip for that too. Over to the X-Ray sign I went and they booked me in for an ultrasound a few days later.

When you are in your early to mid 40’s, most of us would have had a few ultrasounds in our time and know the difference between the norm and one that isn’t so normal. The scan lady had spent quite some time doing her thing before calling in the ‘head dude’ who had quite a few questions to throw at me. Yeah, he was one of those doctors who were probably brilliant at what he did but has absolutely no bedside manner what so ever. I mean, I am laying there with my girls out. But he starts firing questions like, have you knocked your breast lately, has your breast always looked like that, show me with your finger where you think the lump is, how long have you had the lump, family history etc. He then says, book in for a mammogram as a matter of urgency please and walks out. That’s it? Ok, so off I go to the waiting room for another extended wait, more manuscript and candy crush saga and yay me, I get the same doctor as last time. I explained to him what the head guy had said about getting a mammogram as a matter of urgency. The doctor asked why. Um, how would I know why? I explained that the head guy who had told me this worked in the same building, just across the waiting room if he wanted to go and ask. The doctor then asked if I wanted a mammogram or an MRI. Now, I am about as much up with these words as long as they have been used on M.A.S.H. but it doesn’t mean I know the difference. So, he sits looking at me, waiting for my answer like I am on a game show. I answer, lets go with mammogram! He nods and proceeds to fill out a form for me to take with me and had a number of a clinic I needed to ring. He then asked, oh, do you need me to examine you? WTF? Is this guy the doctor or am I?

Obviously, this guy had really annoyed me but as he didn’t seem overly concerned about me, then neither did I feel any concern. The following day, I phoned the phone number he asked me to call. It was the same clinic he worked at and they advised they do not do mammograms here. Huh? The receptionist provided me with a different contact number of a different clinic, they didn’t do them either. After about 4 or 5 phone calls I had now had enough. I called my own doctor which is what I should have done in the first place. The reason I didn’t bother is because she is 45 minutes drive away and I didn’t think it was anything important.

I saw not my doctor but my doctors colleague. My doctor is so very popular and near impossible to get into without much notice. Dr Eleanor was amazing. She had me booked into for a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy after EXAMINING ME! I saw Dr Eleanor before Easter and I was unable to get into have these things done until the Tuesday after Easter.

This is where it gets real…

I went to St Andrews Hospital to their mammogram and ultrasound clinic. Same story as the first time. The lady did the mammogram (yes, they DO hurt) and went off to talk to the head person and came back saying she needed more scans with a magnifying screen. Then, off to the ultrasound section (more candy crush saga while I waited). Into the ultra sound room and I am starting to notice a theme with these scan rooms, they are all a bit ‘romantically lit’ with dimmed lighting. I wonder why that is?? I’ll see if I remember to find that out one day. A new lady set about scanning me and then two more ladies came in. The original mammogram lady and a smart looking lady. She had curly brown hair with a fair bit of grey in it. She looked like one of those ladies who were very intelligent and didn’t need to bother themselves with make up and hair styles. She asked me a barage of questions like the other head guy at the other clinic, asked for a feel (my girls are feeling very popular right now) and watched the screen where the scanning was being done. She then told me I had cancer. She could see it and it was quite obvious. She asked that I made it a matter or urgency to see my doctor once these tests had been completed. I explained I was seeing my doctor the next day. Four core tissue biopsies of my poor sad left boobie  and a needle biopsy of the lymph node under my left arm and that was it. I have cancer.

Wednesday, 8th of April, it was confirmed. Dr Eleanor told me I have breast cancer. She also confirmed it had spread to my lymph nodes under my arm. She let me cry a little, called Sam in and together we listened to the next course of action. She organised an appointment to see who is soon to be my new best friend, Mr James Kollias. A few hours later, we were seated in his fancy office listening to his game plan. He was personable, relaxing, calm and confident. He was magnificent.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 14th of April, 2015, I will have 5 hours worth of scans.

Wednesday 15th of April, 2015, Mr James Kollias will tell me if he is able to operate to save my life. The scans will tell him how far the cancer is spread and naturally, I am hoping with all the hope I have that it hasn’t gone for too much of a walkabout in my body.  Mr Kollias advised me last week that he hoped to be able to operate at the end of this week. Fingers crossed he can.

We know this much…. I’ll lose Ms Leftie Boobie. I’ll probably give up Ms Rightie too because Mr Kollias tells me that he builds the most amazing boobs. Yep, thats what he calls them. So, why get just one new one when I can have a pair of beauties? I’ll have an operation on the lymph nodes under my arm.

I haven’t blogged for quite a while so hopefully I have done it all correctly and I believe you can subscribe to be notified when there is a post or you can just save the address and pop in once in a while to see where we are up to. I will make all of the excuses now for not answering the wonderful text messages, emails, facebook comments etc. I might be tired, Sam might be busy, Mum might be at work. All of these reasons and more maybe why you dont hear from us promptly. Hopefully I can keep this blog updated regularly so you will know where I am.

Sam and I want everyone to know we are going to fight to beat this. This is just another journey for us to take together and I will make damn sure this man of mine gives me his name at our favourite tree. Sam has said, failing is not an option and he is right. We will beat this together and with everyone behind me. Thank you everyone for your love, support and concern not just for me but for all of those around me. It will be a tough time for all of us but I am hoping one day soon, we’ll all be sharing some wonderful bubbles and happiness celebrating my health and cancer free body (oh, and my fancy new boobies).