The Wonderful Year of 2016

2016

This blog was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook by a fellow called Matt Strange. I have attached it to the bottom of this page for you to read through if you are interested. The language is a little ‘in your face’ but if you can deal with that, his message is so strong and true (In My Opinion).

Apparently 2016 was a terrible year. It was full of death and illness and war and destruction and so on. Well, I am not buying that. I think 2016 was a great year and I plan to focus on the great things that happened instead of dwelling on the bad. Why is it that we have to look at the bad things and focus on them so much? Why can’t we look at the amazing things that happened and focus on them too? Make the good things the conversation we start with instead of the bad?  I am not saying that the bad things that happened should be brushed under the carpet but, why should these things ‘ruin’ a whole year? Yes, we need to learn new ways of doing things, change ideas and prevent situations and hopefully one day, LEARN to do things better in this amazing world of ours but, there are good things to look at too.

We aren’t on this planet for long and I feel that each and every day, good and bad, should be treasured and not brushed away or wished it over. So many people, and yes, I have been guilty of this too, wish for Monday to be Friday, October to be January, the year to just be over…… Why? Why can’t we all embrace the moment we are in? Why are we all wishing our lives away waiting for what is coming next? Why are we wanting Summer when it is Winter? Why can’t we enjoy Monday like we do Friday? Why can’t mid week before pay day baked beans on toast be just as delicious as pay day steak and vegetables? Is the middle of the year really worth wishing away as we try to hurry Christmas holidays along?

Well, I am grateful for 2016 and for everything that it has given me.

Here is my ‘short’ gratitude list……..

  • I had cancer. Why would I be grateful for this? Because I don’t have it now and because I have been shown that health and happiness, friends and family, good times and bad are all so important. I can now show empathy and understanding to people who are not doing so well health wise whereas before, I thought I understood but I had no idea at all. I can also now provide support, information and compassion to those fighting cancer or those who have someone they know dealing with it.
  • My mental health took a tumble. Yep, I am indeed grateful for this because it has made me realise that I can fall apart when times aren’t so good. It doesn’t mean that times will always be bad because I have been shown from counselling, friends and family, work colleagues, my doctor and medication that there is help and a way up and out of despair. My breakdown showed me that sometimes I do need to slow down, listen to my thoughts but not take them all too seriously, enjoy the simple things in life.
  • I have a job but more than that, I have a job that I love. In this day and age, work can be hard to come by for many people and I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that pays well, is interesting, has a good management group and one that I enjoy coming to each and every day. Having had so much time off this year (and last) to fight the cancer demon and to heal the broken ankle, it increased my love for my job. I have always enjoyed my job but not being able to do it for many months on end, not having a sense of purpose each day, missing the fortnightly income, it made coming back to work so much more important for me.
  • Friends and Family and Dogs and Chickens. This all speaks for itself but I will point out, I love that I have been able to see people a little differently this year. It has become clearer to me to see people who genuinely want to be a part of my life and those that don’t. The ease of removing some people from my circle, from my friendship, has been a very simple task and one that has been quite fulfilling and at the end of the day, easy. How lovely it is to have honest, loving, caring and friendly people in my life and not battle with the unease of having to stay ‘friends’ with a person/people who really have no interest or kindness in their heart for you at all.
  • Our Volunteer and Accident & Emergency Services. Australia has had many floods, fires, storms and accidents over the year of 2016 and each time, we have a bundle of amazing, generous people who head out to fix things up. These people miss important events in their own lives to make our lives that little bit easier. Weather they’re cleaning up storm damage, assisting someone involved in a car accident, fighting the dreadful fires, they’re not doing it for themselves. They’re doing it for all of us. When you see a police car driving down the road, instead of frowning at the possibility of getting a speeding ticket or a fine for an unregistered vehicle, remember, they’re often the first people on the scene in a fatal car accident. These police men and women have one of the toughest jobs I can imagine. Not knowing what each day will bring. They are not only there to give you a ticket but they’re also there to save your life. They will be there for us. The traffic jam you are stuck in making you late for a dinner date could well be because of a paramedic trying to save someone’s life who has been hit by a car. When you have no power to your home, there is a group of people working on that right at that very moment and on top of that, have you thought about how many people live without electricity each and every day of their lives? You have to detour on your way to work because the road is closed….. There are a group of people, out in that storm chopping up and removing a fallen tree from the road. These people, each and every one of them are amazing.
  • Our Beautiful Home. Having lived in so very many different houses, units and locations in my life, having a place to call our own has been sensational. I know how incredibly lucky we are to still have this home in our lives after the reduced income and financial setbacks faced over the last 18 months. More than that, our home is a place that has been filled with friends and family celebrating various moments and to hear the laughter filling the space is something I treasure and hope to have for many years to come.
  • Kindness. I have seen so many acts of kindness this year and often, it takes my breath away to see what people will do for others knowing they won’t be rewarded by being featured in an article in the newspaper, a headline on the news, a cheque or medal…… they are doing kind and thoughtful things simply because they can. I am lucky enough to work in the city of Adelaide and whilst I see many people screw their noses up at the homeless asking for money or cigarettes, I also see people giving them a sandwich, a $10.00 note, a kind word or even a smile. I have seen companies provide the less fortunate items in need, people raising money for families/people/animals in need. Not everyone has a lot to give but it is so nice to see people giving something, even if it is just a simple smile. Having been on the receiving end of such kindness over the years, I know how helpful and appreciated these acts are.
  • My Mum. Of course, all of my family and friends are important to me but something that really stood out this year is that I have my mum in my life. Each day we email each other to say good morning and discuss the traffic into work, what was on television the night before, our plans for the weekend and where we should go for dinner on our fortnightly dinner dates. Not everyone has this amazing opportunity that I have.
  • Sam. You all know why.
  • To live in Australia. A land of extreme temperatures, kind people, amazing landscapes and wildlife. A country of opportunity, freedom, fun and beauty. Yes, we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding and acceptance in some areas but as a whole, what a wonderful country to be living in.

Well, that was my year in a brief summary on my soap box. Obviously, there were so many other incredible things to be grateful for but I would be here for days and months and by the time I finished, it may be the end of 2017 and I for one am not going to miss a single moment of each wonderful day I am still alive on this earth.

Here is the inspiration for my blog. I have left it as is without removing the language which some of you may find offensive and I am also not going to fix up those spelling errors. (I shall avert my eyes to them J

I wish everyone an amazing end to an amazing year. No, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing but for me, I have loved my 2016. I do hope you can find some good in your 2016 and I hope everyone has a wonderful, enchanting, fun, loved up 2017.

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Matt Strange

Right, Fuck it, I’m done with ‘OMG 2016 was terrible’, here’s some fucking awesome things that happened, you’re welcome, Merry fucking Christmas

There’s an Ebola Vaccine now
Child Mortality – Down across the globe
+9% survival rate in pacreatic cancer sufferers
Gene responsible for ALS found
Volunteers in India planted 50 Million trees in 24 hours
Suicide rates down globally
The Ozone layer is repairing itself
The Rabbinical assembly issued a resolution affirming the rights of trans and non conforming individuals
MIND CONTROLLED ROBOT ARMS
Leo got dat oscar
Wild tigers numbers up FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 100 YEARS
Giant Pandas – No longer endangered
A solar powered plane did a fucking world trip
Global Malaria down by 60%
Measels ERADICATED from the Americas
93% of the world’s children learned to read and write – the highest percentage IN HUMAN HISTORY
China plans to be completely renewable by 2020 and has a global plan for by 2050
Huge global push in renewable energy
Norway committed 0 deforestation, 0
Every major grocer and fast food chain in the U.S pledged to use cage free eggs only by 2025
Manatees – No longer endangered
Wild Wolves – Back in Europe
Wild Salmon spawning in the Connecticut river for the first time since the American revolution
Columbian white tailed deer – no longer endangered
Green Sea Turtles – NO LONGER FUCKING ENDANGERED
Sea World no longer breeding captive killer whales
Humpback Whales – NO LONGER ENDANGERED
Global aid – up by 7%
Americas most generous year EVER in charity and aid
China’s most generous year EVER in charity and aid at $15 goddamn Billion

Yes, some famous fucking people you liked died, and you know what – more of them are gonna go too

but take some time to look at the fucking good and beauty in this world, good shit is happening, learn it, support it, be part of it.

Merry fucking Christmas

 

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The Britney Effect

Remember this?

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Britney Spears Shaving Head during Breakdown

 

Well, didn’t I laugh and judge and gossip about it. Although, I did admit, and still do, that she rocks the shaved head but I am honest in saying I was one of the many who judged this poor girl. I had no idea that something can happen in your life, in your brain, to create such a self destructive act, a cry for help.

Until now.

Everyone, including myself, thought that my life was just plodding along fine and dandy. What could be wrong now that I was now a ‘cancer survivor’, I wasn’t having any further cancer treatment. I had hair again, hair I could even style. Surgery was on the cards for a new boob, weight was being lost….. wedding plans were happening.

Now……… well,  here I am after MY Britney Breakdown.

 

britneyeffect
Photograph courtesy of Dora Stergiou – November  2016

It turns out that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real thing following cancer treatment. PTSD symptoms are different for each person and apparently, they usually develop within three months of a traumatic event but can also occur several months, even years later. For me, it was six months following the end of the cancer treatment. One would expect, after that amount of time, me to be happy ‘its over’ and on the road to ‘getting back to normal’ now that I don’t have to have any further cancer treatment. These expectations are not the case. Here is how it all unfolded…..

MEDICATIONS

  • Aropax (Anti-Depressant and Anti-Anxiety Medication) 60mg
  • Tamoxifen (a synthetic drug used to treat breast cancer)  20mg
  • Avymys (works to decrease inflammation caused by allergy) 55 micrograms
  • Fish Oil (Helps to maintain strong bones)  1000mg
  • Duromine (Appetite Suppressant) 30 mg
  • Panadene Forte (Pain Killers)
    • Paracetamol 500 mg
    • Codeine phosphate 30 mg
  • Telfast (relieve the symptoms of hayfever) 180mg
  • Vitamin D Liquid (Strengthen Bones) 1000IU
  • Caltrate Calcium (Strengthen Bones)

 

Expectations (Beyond the normal day to day ones)

  • Lose a lot of weight in preparation for surgery – Breast Surgeon
  • Increase heart rate for a mininum of 30 days to prevent cancer returning – Oncologist
  • Stop smoking to prevent cancer coming back or developing a new one – Everyone (I did this one!)
  • Reduce or stop drinking alcohol to prevent cancer coming back – A lot of people
  • Reduce or stop sugar to prevent cancer coming back and to assist in losing weight – Some People
  • Continue to be strong – Me
  • Move on from cancer – Many people and myself
  • Stop talking about cancer – A few people
  • Have life return to pre cancer normal – A lot of people/myself

 

Upcoming Events Needing Thought and Action

  • Christmas gift buying
  • Surgery
  • Wedding

 

It seems I wasn’t coping with post cancer as well as I thought I was. I saw myself as a cancer patient, not a cancer survivor. I think I still do as a matter of fact but anyway, I was on a path of self destruction. Drinking too much, taking all of the above medication, I took up smoking (as previously discussed) and I wonder, did I do all of this to block out the self chatter in my head or to gain the attention some people feel I was seeking? I don’t know that answer but hopefully in time, I will find out.

The Day of my Britney Effect

I had a cold. No big deal right but it seems that it actually was a big deal. On top of all of the medications listed above, I was now about to add in 10 mls of cough medicine which would turn out to be the straw that broke the camels back (I am the camel).

My memory is vivid when I recall taking the small amount of medicine and within about 10 minutes or so, I became obsessed, almost manic in my thoughts. All I could think about was getting home from work, enjoying some sparkling wine (I had booked the following day off from work for some R&R) and not having to go to bed early. I knew I was meeting up with a lovely friend Nicole who was going to give my lovely locks a trim and then catching up with my 30+ year friend Tracey for a long overdue lunch.

I was only successful in one of my thoughts becoming an action and that was buying a bottle of my favourite Jacobs Creek Trilogy sparkling wine on the way home from work. I must say, that bottle disappeared real bloody quick and before I knew it, I was off to the bottleshop for another bottle.

This is where things get a little hazy. I vaguely remember saying goodnight to Sam when he went to bed. I vaguely remember playing some of my favourite games on facebook but then my memory is blank.

Before I know it, I am waking the next day and my hair is gone. I feel sick to my stomach and wonder what on earth happened. Where is my hair!? Somewhere deep in my brain I know it was myself that had cut it but why? How much did I cut.

Yep, all of it. Looking in the mirror when I got up was like a punch to the stomach. I could barely breathe, my hair had been cut in a drunken, manic manner. Some cuts were to the scalp and cuts were not so short and left tufts sticking out.

Me at the Lobethal Hair Studio 28/10/2016 - Thank you Lisa Grapentin for 'fixing it up' best you could. Sorry for the constant stream of tears....
Me at the Lobethal Hair Studio 28/10/2016 – Thank you Lisa Grapentin for ‘fixing it up’ best you could. Sorry for the constant stream of tears…. thank you for your amazing words of wisdom

 

Enter tears.

These tears continued for two days! TWO DAYS! I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t eat, decisions were impossible…..I couldn’t cope. And it really wasn’t even about the hair to be honest. I was so lost, confused.

I hit rock bottom.

I was suddenly aware that life wasn’t what I thought it would be after cancer. In fact, it was so much harder coping with life after cancer than it was during cancer. Do you think that is weird?

During cancer my life was taken care of by everyone but me.

  • GP – Tells me I have cancer and proceeds to book me in to see a surgeon immediately
  • Surgeon – Tells me he is the captain of the ship and it is his job to save my life. Then provides me with an Oncologist for the next step
  • Sam – Takes on all responsibilities of getting me too and from all appointments, provides my medications, fluids, foods, hugs and kisses. Cleans house, ensures I shower, sleep, wake, rest, laugh, changes linen on regular basis….
  • Mum – delivers flowers to my house weekly upon her visits
  • Nurses – Provide all of the compassion, caring and patience needed during hospital stays, chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, scans, blood tests,
  • Oncologist – Prepares a schedule of chemotherapy treatments, blood tests, herceptin treatments and provides me with a Radiologist
  • Radiologist – Schedules all of my radiation treatments, sees me on a weekly basis to check my radiation wounds, provide input on creams and treatments for healing
  • Radiographers – Tell me where and how to lay on the bed in preparation for treatment, count down via speakers for holding my breath when the radiation occurs, help me off the bed and have lovely chats with me about my dogs and life
  • Friends and Family – These amazing people do all of the visiting me, calling and texting and emailing me to check up to see I am doing ok, to fill me in on their lives, to make me smile and fill my house with flowers and cards and gifts
  • Private Health Insurance – Pays many of the bills received from having this disease
  • Income Insurance – Pays me 75% of my wage each month
  • The Bank – reduces the mortgage payments to assist in our treatment costs

 

After cancer – Where is everyone?

  • I was hugged and waved goodbye by the beautiful and amazing nurses at oncology on my last day of Herceptin
  • Hair grows back and I no longer look ill therefore, am expected to get on with life as normal
  • Normal doesn’t come along as easy as I thought
  • Banks and other billing companies are no longer so accommodating if bills are late due to ongoing financial burdens because, cancer treatment has finished
  • There are no more cards and flowers
  • No more nurses to make you smile and compare stories of the weekends with
  • There is nothing very interesting to talk about anymore
  • Fatigue and vagueness are still in my life
  • Surgeon is no longer so cuddly and caring but is now demanding and stern
  • I’m not skinny from cancer treatment like those in movies and TV shows
  • I am not needed by the cancer community anymore
  • People aren’t contacting me about their friends or family who have been diagnosed with this illness for me to help them, to talk to them, provide advice and friendship…..

Step 1 – Phone the Cancer Council day Friday 28/10/2016, 1 day after beginning of break down, and receive emergency counselling over the phone and book a face to face session. Confirm there is no risk of self harm and be unable to manage any part of a conversation without crying. Find out about PTSD, Survivor Guilt, Fear of Further Cancer, Loss of Identity…….. there are so many issues, mental heath problems, that can occur after cancer treatment has finished. It isn’t always easy to become a cancer survivor and ‘just get on with things’.

Step 2 – Phone Lisa at the Lobethal Hair Studio to fix the mess and destruction on my head. Find it impossible to stop crying the whole time I’m there. Listen to words of wisdom and good advice. Having someone who knows me so well that knows, it isn’t really about the hair……….. it is more than that.

Step 3 – Attend GP for further emergency assistance. GP proceeds to take away ALL medications and alcohol except 20mg of Tamoxifen (1 tablet for assistance in preventing further cancer) each night and 10mg of Lexipro (Anti Anxiety Medication) each  morning. If I develop a headache at anytime, I am to take nothing stronger than panadol. GP books fortnightly catch ups but advises me to attend the surgery anytime between appointments if I fall apart or it gets too much again. The reason for the alcohol being stopped is because now I have no more hair, what happens if I ‘blackout’ again? I have no more hair to chop off and next time could be a lot more dangerous eg: getting in to a car, walking the streets (there are a few lakes and dams around Meadows) etc….

So, it has now been two weeks since this ‘all went down’. Some days I cruise through and other days, I am fighting to swim against my current of tears…… Nothing sets me off into the spiral of sadness and it is hard to find something to drag me out of it, try as I might.

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I am thankful for some incredibly amazing people who have made it their priority to ensure I know they’re there for me. I want to thank

  • my amazing managers for letting me blubber my way through some attempt at explaining what was wrong with me,
  • for my Bulldog Veronica for fielding all queries about me, shuffling people away from me, standing up for me, protecting me,
  • Vanessa who sends the loveliest words which are so genuine and kind, caring and thoughtful,
  • TK for becoming my ‘stalker’ by sending texts filled with ridiculous world laws, funny photos of her little man Zander, memes of feelings, all while struggling with her own illness and sadness’
  • Tamara, my amazing friend and cousin who has been there before, during and after all of the cancer bizzo sending me her ‘minimum of three things to be grateful/thankful for’ each day and for accepting mine.
  • My Mum for bringing flowers and smiles yet again for this new event in her eldest daughters life.
  • My incredible in laws to be for their hugs and understanding in a certain matter (they know what I am talking about) and for their constant undying love for me
  • John and Clare Mannion for listening and offering lovely words
  • My work colleagues for putting up with me shuffling around from floor to floor to hide from the world for a while
  • The Cancer Council of South Australia on Greenhill Road
  • My friends and family who have, and are, allowing me to cancel all dinner, party and catch up confirmations to deal with this issue
  • That incredible, amazing, loving, supportive, cuddly, funny, compassionate man of mine Sam. Yes, he was angry initially not knowing what on earth was going on with me and thinking  I’d gone on a bender looking for attention. That thought didn’t last long, he realised pretty quickly there was more to it. Sam was there for me taking me to the GP for emergency help and also joined me for counselling at the Cancer Council.

 

I will leave you with some bullshit comments that some people felt the need to say (weather to me or someone else)

  • What on earth did you do to your beautiful hair? It was looking really good! It really was so lovely and curly (my note: it was not curly ok!?) and so pretty. Why would you get rid of that?
    • My side note on this comment – This comment was made to my face by someone who is an associate, not a friend, not a family member but they felt they had the right and need to tell me that my hair looked terrible. I wonder, how would they feel if someone went to them and told them their recent hair cut looked terrible and why didn’t they just leave their hair as it was?
  • She is obviously just wanting more attention
    • My side note on this comment – Um, really? Thanks! I think most people would understand it goes a little deeper than this
  • Why on earth would she have ‘issues’? Isn’t her cancer finished? What is her problem now?
    • My side note on this comment – Firstly, cancer doesn’t FINISH. Secondly, unless you have had such a horrible, emotional, physical event such as this, do not assume you know what it is like ‘once the cancer has finished’ as you put it

The comments I LOVED and heard from a few people were

  • I’m not sure why you cut your hair but I LOVE IT! It really suits you
    • This comment was awesome because I didn’t have to explain why I cut my hair, I wasn’t made to feel ugly, stupid, crazy or weird.
  • I don’t meant to overstep any boundaries but I want to ask because I’m worried…. you don’t have cancer again/you haven’t started chemo again have you?
    • These questions were honest, real, true and there was no other meaning to them other than what was said.

To be continued ………………………..

brit

 

 

 

 

Still Here :)

 

I have had so many lovely emails and conversations with people wanting me to ‘come back to blogging’. Wow, I can’t tell you how much of a lift that gives me. Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed, laughed, cried, worried and read my blog through my Unscheduled Journey with Stage 3 Breast Cancer.

Let me tell you about………………

The Ankle Incident 3rd of May, 2016

So, it seems that after chemotherapy and radiation, your bones can become quite brittle.

My oncologist and surgeon had both told me repeatedly I needed to lose weight as a cancer prevention because carrying extra weight can cause the cancer to return. Therefore, I came up with a plan.

My energy levels were still very low so there was no way a cardio or aerobic exercise was on the agenda but I thought, if I drive to the city from home (45 kilometres) and park on Fullarton Road in South Australia, I could then walk the 2 kilometres to work. As there is no bus that goes to where my car was parked, it meant that I couldn’t ‘cheat’ and get a lift after work but had to walk back.  That meant I was walking over 4 kilometres a day!

My weight was starting to come off and even though the mornings were very cold, I felt great for all of the fresh air and walking until I rolled my ankle.

There was a section of my walk that was dirt and there was a teeny tiny pothole that I lost my footing in and over I went. As I went down, I heard to very loud noises which turned out to be two broken bones. But, get this….. there I am, dressed in my work clothes, lanyard around my neck with my security pass, backpack on the ground, sitting in the dirt crying and holding my ankle and NOT ONE PERSON HELPED ME.

There were people everywhere too. People were cycling on the track behind me, others walking their dogs, people parking their cars five meters in front of me and walking to work. How on earth have we become such a selfish or scared society that we won’t approach someone who is obviously in distress?

I called the ambulance myself and waited half an hour (the emergency department is five streets away) and then spent three days in hospital following surgery where there were plates and screws put in to my tibia and fibular. I was in a Cast for three weeks with a walking frame, then a ‘moon boot’ for five weeks with a walking frame and am having my second surgery on the 7th of September 2016.

THE BREAK AND SCAR

 

So, my weight loss adventures obviously came to a halt. I was off work for 8 weeks and am only now just starting to walk properly again so am hoping my surgery next week doesn’t set me back any more. The surgeon did say that I will be fine after a few days rest following this surgery so am not too worried.

THE X-RAYS OF THE PLATES AND PINS

xrays

A further 8 weeks off work was certainly not what I had in mind seeing as though I had returned to work only three months previously. 10 months off work with Cancer was enough I had thought but the universe had other ideas hehe.

THE CAST AND MOON BOOT

As I was unable to put any weight on my left leg for 6 weeks, Sam (Dr Hands) made a makeshift kitchen in the living room and even had a car fridge with treats, drinks and lunch options.

THE ‘KITCHEN’, DAISIES FROM MUM AND FLOWERS FROM WORK

So, this is the update on the ankle business.

Are you a suspicious person? I haven’t been known to worry about black cats, walking under ladders etc but for some reason, after I broke my ankle, I kept worrying that there was once more really bad thing left to happen to me.

I couldn’t get rid of the feeling even though people would tell me that there were 2 breaks in my bones so that adds up to three things with the breast cancer. I was also told that as I had breast cancer surgery and nodes removed, that could count as two and the third was my ankle.

Well, I had my third one which I’ll tell you about later but here is the short version.

My tax bill for 2015/2016 is a whopping $9,800.00!

That, right there, is my third thing.

Anyhoo, thank you to all who had messaged me with well wishes and worries of the cancer returning but be assured, all is well for the time being.

My current focus is a reconstruction (which I am sure to tell you all about when it is done) and, my wedding to Dr Sam the Hands himself.

Lots of Love from me

me

Xx Talk soon

My Pity Party

Live kinda sucks at the moment. I know, it sucks for everyone. I also know, I am one of the lucky ones but, that does not discount my current mood with life.

My passion has gone. There is little to no energy for the day. I have started smoking cigarettes again, drinking too much alcohol, no money in the bank, very little weight loss after walking more than 5kms a day, no excitement about anything, fed up with oncology visits (only four left), seriously dull fiction book, nothing capturing my interest on TV, Foxtel or Netflix, reduction on my food intake but still not much of a weight loss, painful teeth, blocked tear ducts that the optometrist ‘sort of’ fixed but need more painful work, unfinished back garden,  Brady upsetting the neighbours with his barking, sore and bruised nose from falling on it last weekend……….. yep, I could go on and on. Oh, and the big issue, AM STILL FAT!

So, I decided a while ago that I was going to be completely healthy and refresh my body. Why on earth would I decide then to take up smoking again? Who knows. I know the dangers of smoking and cancer and chemo and death. The thing is, I dont give a shit about anything at the moment. I wish I could but I can’t.

I have no passion. There is nothing right now that excites me. I am trying to focus on my upcoming November wedding in 2017 but all I can focus on is the fact we have no money, I am fat and our back yard is totally unsuitable for my budget reception.

NO, I am not looking for sympathy but maybe blogging and letting it out might release some of this built up crap that goes on within me.

I am so sick of being so tired. Today, I couldn’t go to work simply due to a headache and tiredness. Who on earth needs to call in sick for these issues? Me! I slept until midday and even then, I could have slept even longer if I didn’t have an oncology/herceptin appointment. I love my work/job but I just couldn’t do it today. If I didn’t have that oncology appointment, I’d probably still be in bed.

Every day my bestie/cousin and I  email each other with how we are, whats going on and we list a minimum of three things we are thankful for for the day. I would be lost and even worse than what I am without that.

I think I need to find not only a passion but, I really need my energy and motivation back. I know I’ll find it eventually but wow, these negatives in my life are totally blocking all that I need and want right now. This is a time that I should be joyous, happy that I still have my life, nearing the end of my cancer treatment, a beautiful home, sensational Sam, amazing daughter and mum and sister…….. But right now, it all kinda sucks.pity

Thinking of the year that was….

I started 2015 with a smile on my face. I was so happy and fortunate and loved.

Thankfully, I am ending this year with a smile on my face because I am happy, fortunate and loved.

Ok, there was a bump on the way.

We got over the bump.

20151231_173047  20151231_173051

I have been made aware of so many things this year. The first thing being that Sam is there for me, through sickness and in health. He was there for me each and every day to ensure I was loved, fed, clean, medicated and positive. Sam made me laugh, took in all of the medical information, made learning about breast cancer his project and even sang silly songs to me. He drove me to each and every chemotherapy appointment, surgeon appointment, many of the radiation appointments and the endless trips to the chemist.

I have made new friends, been reunited with old friends, lost a couple of friends, felt the love of so many wonderful people. I have seen amazing and selfless sides of many people as well.

Naturally, I can’t name each and every person who has touched my heart this year but please know, you probably are one of them.

I started the year with two boobs, a head of long hair, a little lighter but I am ending this year with more knowledge, empathy, understanding and patience than I had at the beginning. I now know the amazing lengths people go to too help someone facing a very frightening illness. I have been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing group of people surrounding me.

I didn’t get cancer this year. I was diagnosed this year. According to my surgeon, the cancer had been in my body for a couple of years. I will not see 2015 as ‘the year I got cancer’ but it will be the year that Sam and I fought the disease in my body as far as I am concerned, we won.

The biggest standout of the year is pretty obvious to me. It was being told I had breast cancer. Everything that followed those words happened so fast and there was always something going on weather it was surgery, drains, those bloody dreadful and shitty hemorrhoids, nausea, fatigue, chemotherapy, baldness, radiation therapy, burns, blisters, but it was my ultra sound and mammogram appointment that I’ll never forget.

Do you make New Year Resolutions? I am a bit wishy washy when it comes to them but this year I have a long list of health related changes for my new year. Be warned, I am giving up alcohol. Blogs may actually start to make sense hehe.

There will be less processed foods, goodbye to sugar, hello to daily activity (I have the neighbours exersize bike in my lounge room ready and waiting), and I am going to smile a lot! I will continue with my positive attitude, growing salads and vegetables, drinking a lot of water and helping anyone who needs it.

This New Years Eve will be spent with our lovely neighbours at what I am hoping, will be the 1st of many street/neighbourhood parties.

My thoughts this year will be with health of my amazing family and friends, feeling proud of the amazing daughter I have, loving that amazing man of mine, drinking my last drink for a while and enjoying the fact I am here to celebrate another New Year.

Thank you to everyone for being with me this year either in person or in writing and your thoughts.

I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Much love………

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Merry Christmas – I’m Not Done Yet

7th of April I was told I had cancer.

8th of April my breast cancer was confirmed and the fact it had spread.

At this time, I’ll be honest, I did not imagine I would experience such a positive and wonderful Christmas.

Yesterday, I experienced a wonderful Christmas.

I am incredibly fortunate that I  have such a wonderful network of people backing my health and the front runner of this wonderful network is Sam.

He made me promise not to buy gifts for each other this year as we simply couldn’t afford it and naturally, he didn’t stick to his word. I received such wonderful gifts and these were, a Game of Thrones colouring book, a gorgeous breast cancer pandora charm and a women’s health diary.

There is no way on this planet, in this life, that I want to live it without my Samuel Wilkinson.

After my gorgeous Dr Hands surprised me with my wonderful gifts, we then packed up and got ready for a full day of driving and visiting.

First up we traveled to the gorgeous and amazing property of Sam’s cousins’ house at Gummeracha –  Nikki McGrane and Braden Hutt, and wow, what a gorgeous home and setting for Christmas. Thank you so much for having us and I can’t wait to visit again soon.

Here I am with ‘Santa’ Darren!

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There were many laughs and bubbles (Thank you Auntie Susie not only for the bubbles but also for watching you go down the slip and slide heheheheeh) and then we were off to my Auntie Lyn and Uncle Phils house at Gawler.

As you can see, if you know South Australia, we had a bit of driving to do but it was very worth it. Thankfully, Dr Hands did all the driving which left me to drink all of the bubbles out of the Adelaide Hills 🙂

The Poo bit of it all is me. I have finished Radiation. Yay.

I have finished Chemotherapy. Yay.

But my cancer journey hasn’t ended and I do try to be all happy and positive with everyone but it isn’t all happy and wonderful.

Cancer doesn’t really end.

I still have 10 sessions of Herceptin. Ok, so there are no side effects from this and I only have it every three weeks….

Medication needs to be taken for the next ten years.

I have a 1 in 20 chance of getting cancer again somewhere in my body.

I stupidly said I would give up alcohol in January with no end date (I must have been drunk when I made this deal)

But, my point is, whilst the shitty sides are over, it isn’t over.

Another but, I love that I got to see another Christmas.

I Love that I got cuddles from my gorgeous niece Kally and nephew Jordan.

I got to see most of my family at Auntie Lyns house. With lots of laughs and food and drinks.

Many giggles were had at Sam’s family doo this arvo and my goodness, Santa Darren and Auntie Susie on the slip and slide almost had me doing a lady leak in my pants!

I love that I had another Christmas and I have the positive results to see many more to come.

Thankyou to all who have followed my journey so far. There is more to come so stay tuned.

I have loved today as I do with all Christmas celebrations. I can’t wait to celebrate many more.

He is a picture of Sam and I with our lovely neighbour John. (John is in the Middle)

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I do wish that everyone reading this had an equally amazing and happy Christmas as Sam and I had.

I will talk to you all soon, when I get over tomorrows hangover xx

My Amazing Saturday

My amazing Saturday is thanks to so many people. I am imagining myself, right now, on a pedestal (this will not surprise anyone who knows me) giving the speak on a particular day of the week that was amazing.

Lets start with Saturday morning.

Well, I lay in bed until 11am due to a kick arse hangover thanks to Brady. He didn’t know when to tell me when to stop. So I drank and drank and drank and he said nothing. He just loved me like he always does.

Here is Brady for those of you that don’t know him.

IMG_0003I am posting this photo because he is not aloud on the sofa. He only does this when I am drinking and I find it so cute and adorable and instead of telling him to get off the sofa, I take photos of him instead 🙂

So anyhoo, I finally got out of bed with said hangover, had a shower, listened to Sam talk AT me about being hungover and then I had a guest visitor by the name of Uncle Mark.

No, he is not my Uncle but is my daughters Uncle on her fathers side. Did you get that? Anyway, he has always been ‘Uncle Mark’ to me since Accalia (said daughter) was born which is 22 years now. He came to visit me 🙂 He drove all the way from the other side of town, battled the city road works (he is not a patient driver) and headed up to the country and not only did he visit but he had a gift for me too.

Oh, this is Uncle Mark and my gorgeous daughter on her 18th Birthday.

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Anyhoo, like I was saying, he also bought me a present. It was wrapped in gorgeous green wrapping paper and was kind of the shape of a box. I totally thought he had bought me a puppy but this was not to be. The only thing better than a puppy is ……….BUBBLES!

And not just one bottle of Jacobs Creek Trilogy Sparkling Wine but 6 of the amazing bottles!! SIX BOTTLES!! My eye balls nearly popped out of my head! Thank you Uncle Mark not only for coming all this way to visit Sam and I but also for the bubbles, funny stories, laughs and chats. It was great to see you and can’t wait to see you and your team on Friday 🙂 *special mention to Veronica **Aka Bez, Berry, Bezalicious** for confirming to Uncle Mark what it is that I drink gallons off xx

The Wedding!

Seriously, this was a beautiful and amazing wedding. They all are I know I know but this one was different for me.

This wedding I was going there as a bald, burnt and cancer recovering woman with pretty finger nails and amazing Fiancee. 1st stop was to book a love shack, I mean, hotel room, because this wedding was well over an hour away from where we live. Thankfully, cousin Linda and her hubby Reuben were on hand to collect us from the side of the road and take us to the wedding. Check out the Bride and Groom. Tell me she doesn’t look like Princess Mary!!?? OMG, totally gorgeous couple and totally cute baby Isabella-Rose!

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I asked bride Tania to give me a royal wave and she did. The groom is my cousin Andrew Martin and obviously, their gorgeous baby is my 2nd cousin. I could just gobble her up. Look at her walking down the aisle.

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I had received so many hugs and kisses from my amazing and supportive family that I had to remind myself that this day was NOT about me but about the gorgeous and newly married couple.

My poor suffering but loving Sam was there by my side. He not only was by my side but could tell when it was a bit too much and I needed air or a rest. He really is amazing. Sam isn’t the most social person, and would much prefer to be at home but suffers through my begging and pleading that I do every so often to join me in these events.

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Here we are, two amazing people who have had a pretty trying year and two people who are going to be looking at their health and well being in the new year. hehe

You know how at weddings, there is the bridal dance, and then the father daughter dance and then everyone dances…. well, I am used to sitting these out but blow me down but did my man hold his hand out and offer the dance to me. I almost cried. I can’t do that though because it might mess up my eye make up LOL. That is a joke because I have no eye lashes or eyemake up. Anyhoo, cousin Linda took this photo which I absolutely love!

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Ok, I might look like an Alien and I have never ever seen Sam smile in a photo (Thanks Linda for getting him at the right moment) (He was giving my cousin Linda the finger!) but I love it. He asked me to dance!

Speaking of my cousin Linda…. Well, it turns out that she stayed right until the end of the night just for me. I was having a hoot of a time, even though I got a little tired occasionally (from my amazing Beyonce dancing) and her husband (who is a truck driver and had only had 1/2 hour sleep before the wedding) was sleeping in the car, she let me have a good time. Both Linda and Sam were happy for me to enjoy my night and they didn’t end it soon as I am sure they had both wanted too.

Oh, check out this gorgeous photo of my mum and I. Thank you to Sam for taking it 🙂

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Here is my cousin Tamara (Sister of the groom) and I. Keep in mind it is the end of the night and my eyes and skin have turned a bit yellow/orange.

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At the end of the night, Cousin Linda with sleepy husband Reuben drove Sam and I back to our hotel room and Granny hitched a lift. Now, I recon Granny is about 86 years old (possibly a year or two older) and after Sam had HOISTERED her into the four wheel drive, we set off. I happened to mention an incident that occurred when I was about 6 or so.

Keep in mind that our Granny has 13 Grandchildren and I dont know how many great grandchildren. Anyway, So I say, hey Gran, remember when you smacked me for My Sister cracking her head open?

Without a beat Granny says to me, Well I told you NOT to go out the gate but you did and you went to Mr Smalls house next door. Wowza, transported back to being a kid and I almost burst into bloody tears waiting for a smack. Granny was not a bit smacker but I got a smack for this and told to wait outside while my sister, Annette, was fixed up. That woman, Granny, is absolutely bloody amazing.

This is Granny. (thank you Ali for letting me take the photo you took of her, oh, Ali, do you mind if I use this pic?)

Granny

I think it is safe to say that I had an amazing time at the wedding. I had even sent a message to the bride and groom prior to the wedding day asking if it was ok for me to be bald at their wedding. They lovingly said they didn’t care if I was bald or hairy so that made me feel a whole lot better.

Thanks to chemo, I seem to have entered early menopause and this causes a lot of hot flushes and having anything on my head is more of an irritant than anything else. Anyway, I don’t need to look at myself while attending events so it works well. I just have to be ready when I see any photos that yes, that is me looking like the alien.

Thankfully I am comfortable being bald and find it more pleasurable and comfortable than anything else. My amazing friend Kathy Tilling has sent me her wig in case I need it and I have many scarfs for head coverings. I am incredibly fortunate but for the time being, bald is best 🙂

This weekend has been incredible. I think it may take me a week to get over the dancing, drinking, laughter and happy tears but it will have all been worth it to see an amazing couple unite as one.

Thank you again Uncle Mark for your visit and very thoughtful gift.

Thank you to the ‘Royal Couple’ for having us attend such a beautiful and amazing event.

Thank you to mum for taking me out the day before for a bit of pampering.

Thank you to Linda and Roobs for the lifts to and from the event, to Linda for the laughs and chats (Sam said he is really not that quiet, he just couldn’t get a bloody word in between you and I hehe), Roobs for sleeping in the car to make sure I had a good time.

Most of all, thank you to my Sam (Dr Hands) for being there by my side, for taking some photos for me, looking out for me, piling me with bubbles, dancing with me and loving me.

 

 

Radiation Burns!

Photo on 11-12-2015 at 8.09 pmI thought chemo was bad but look at this burn. What you can’t see is the blisters that have popped and are now open wounds. I have a wedding to attend tomorrow and I have this kickarse burn with peeling and blisters. Lovely look hey?

Yes, I am thankful for my life and that surgery, chemo and radiation therapy have saved my life but geez, this really kinda hurts.

Photo on 11-12-2015 at 8.09 pm #2Both photos show the burn but not the blisters. Anyhoo, I’ll take it over anything worse.

Last night, I finished a book I had started the other night. I had almost read the whole book on Tuesday night but decided, for what ever reason, to not finish it until last night. Well, let me tell you, I bawled and bawled my eyeballs out. Ok, not literally **spoiler allert** , like in the book – but I have not cried like that since eight months ago when I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

So, heads up on what not to read while dealing with any type of cancer is this.

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What made me NOT buy this book initially was the name of the author. He cant help that he was born with the shittest name ever. This is the name of my ‘sperm donor’ that I have nothing to do with. This was the reason I put my back to this book for so long but eventually, it wore me down and I bought it.

Who the hell buys a book about a cancer person while dealing with cancer? That would be me hehe. I thought I had dealt with everything and could get through this book without a tear. I dislike teenagers which is what this book is based on, which is another plus to avoid tears.

Well blow me down with a feather but did I burst the dam last night. I cried and cried and cried at the end of this book. Keep in mind that I am not an overly emotional person!

To cry over a book that some dude called, unfortunately, John Green, wrote, had me in tears over teenagers is totally inconceivable. But I did. I cried so much and for over an hour. Totally exhausting but do you think Dr Hands woke once? Nope.

I shant blame him though because I did quite sobs. I totally recommend this book to anyone who needs a great laugh and a super cry. This dude with the shittest name is quite the author. I just pity him that he was given this name. I also forgive him.

Right, following all this, my amazing and gorgeous mum took me out today to cheer me up with a manicure and painted nails followed by coffee and a gluten free cheese and butter muffin. I didn’t think I was up to this but man, this made my week! I had an absolute blast today with my mum – having laughs, pampering, coffees and muffins and genuine love.

This is what life is about isn’t it? Loving and smiling and laughing no matter what is going on.

Love that mum of mine xx

Here is one of my favorite photos of my mum and my sister Annette. xx

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