I Have a Sore Tummy

warningwarning

Do not scroll down if you do not want to see my stomach. (Sorry if my stomach shows up in any of your browsers because I am not totally aware of how to keep certain photos hidden)  It isn’t too bad to look at but I have been looking at it for four weeks now so am pretty used to is. It is a cut from hip to hip but don’t worry, it is all stitched up AND, you can see my new belly button.

The reason this area was cut to pieces was so they could use a flap of skin and a whole heap of my tummy fat to build a new boob for me.

You’ll also be able to see my amazing photoshopping aaahahah but honestly, this is why I am unable to drive, bend, sneeze comfortably, have husband and wife time, walk semi decent distances and also why I tend to say, geez my stomach hurts a bit today!

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

V

Just a little more…

V

V

V

V

ok, I couldn’t work out how to post the photo without it showing on your facebook feed with my stomach there for you to see weather you want to see it or not. Also, I can’t work out how to delete this blog post LOL. I’ll work it out later. sorry folks…

 

Advertisements

Getting The Girls Out

There is nothing like a man excited for you to get your clothes off. Well, today I had my post operative appointment with my surgeon and he was so keen to see me topless that he even did a little dance at the door of his office before we went in. This is one man who is very proud of the work he does.

And let me tell you, he did a marvelous job on this old girl that’s for sure.

I find myself often holding onto the new boob. Just resting my hand there. Oh she is one fine piece of work. And to think, this new boob is made by me. My fat, my blood vessels and my muscle. All of these things taken from one area and placed into another.

This is where the pain bit kicks in. Because the muscle was taken from the right side of my body near my ribs, there is where the pain sits. It hurts a lot. The pain is what I imagine would be should someone have kicked the beejeebus out of me on a Saturday night.

Anyhoo, I am pretty impressed my body is happy enough to take on a new job in another area. We are amazing human beings I tell you.

One of the most marvellous things that my surgeon told me today was I can now shower again! You have no idea how exciting this is until you are unable to shower for a period of time.

No, I have not gone almost three weeks without washing but it hasn’t been a walk in the park I can tell you that much. As I have been cut from hip to hip, had fat and muscle moved from here to there, a flap of skin replaced from my stomach to my breast, there are many things I can not do for the moment. These include bending, stretching, twisting, laughing too much, sneezing etc. So, come to ‘wash time’, it has been tedious and I have had to enlist the services of my husband.

Now, if you know my husband, you’ll know that he isn’t always the most serious of people so, you can only imagine what my ensuite has been like with the two of us naked and trying to wash my hair and parts of my body that I can’t reach. I have been in fits of giggles and there have been squeals and swear words and a lot of water splashing !

Not only will Sam and I be happy for me to be showering myself but I am sure my neighbours will be happy too hehe.

That is all for today as I am exhausted from my big outing to the surgeons office and a little wander around my favourite supermarket in South Australia being Foodland on Glen Osmond Road.

Xx Your Two Boobed Friend – Mrs Wilkinson xx

icy boobs

Draining the Drain

When you have certain types of surgery, you have drains inserted into the surgical site to drain away the yucky fluid that builds up in said site in the hope to avoid infection.

I had three drains after my tram flap surgery and was lucky enough to have two removed before I went home because they’d stopped draining. One was left in which is on my left side in my lower abdomen.

Well, this drain has been working its little drainface off until yesterday.

Sam has to change the drain bottle when it gets to 300ml and has done this quite a few times since I have been home but after yesterdays drain bottle change, we noticed there wasn’t anything draining. I looked at the drain site where it goes into my body and I can see the stitch that is meant to be inside my body holding the drain in place. Thankfully the drain tube does go a fair way into the body so I knew, ok Sam assured me, that it wasn’t going to come out but, it seems there is a problem.

I have sprung a leak.

ysBydO2Fsb-9

There is yucky fluid all over my side. I woke up in a swamp of fluid. A ghetto of goop. Just disgusting sticky puss looking stuff.

What this means is that I not only have to go to the emergency ward at St Andrews but, I have to wash my hair in the sink and the body parts that don’t have bandages on them. Make myself look and smell human again. I have to find clothes that don’t restrict the surgical sites and pack a bag in case they keep me in.

No, I don’t think they’ll keep me in for the drain issue but perhaps for the pain issue.

Geez I was a mess last night. Like seriously, a blubbering girly snotty redfaced mess.

oh and do you know what I absolutely hate about being a blubbering girly sook? My voice. When I try to speak it is the dumbest sound you have ever heard. All high pitched and gaspy and damn well embarrassing. Not to mention my face as well while we are discussing it. Big red bulbous nose, red cheeks etc. Not a pretty little tear stained face with gentle sobs like the movies.

crygirl1

Sam picked up the script from the chemist that my surgeon had organised for me but, I was too frightened to take them in case I ran out again but the pain was excruciating by this time. My last lot of pain killers had been taken in the morning and it was now after 5pm and I could barely breath let alone do anything else.

So, I did it. I took two tablets and then cried and cried and cried. I cried because of the pain, I cried because of how difficult it was to obtain the pain killers, more tears because of the pain, tears because Sam has to put up with me, tears because chickens are being sold for $3 per kilo at Aldi and I think they are selling those beautiful birds for too cheap (it might be here that the pain killers had started to kick in).

As you can see, it is quite the roller coaster of emotions at the moment but I recall from my mastectomy days when the pain was almost as intolerable, my surgeon considered popping me back into hospital. I do not partially love the idea but I hate the pain that I have too. I also recall that I didn’t become a pain killer addict and I got through it as I will this time too.

So, for the moment, I will sit and enjoy my cup of coffee and try not to think of how cheap chicken is in the supermarket and how they deserve more as do the chicken farmers, but only the free range chicken farmers because we all hate the cage chicken farmers  and take a few pain killers.

4e08867ff7967040a3ec39d79e9f4df9--chicken-shop-chicken-cake

Talk soon xx

The Pain of obtaining Pain Relief

How does someone become a prescription drug addict? I can’t even get a prescription without a lecture that goes on for so long and I feel like I am asking for a kilo of methamphetamine instead of some painkillers.

Pain relief

It is so very frustrating to be told constantly when in hospital to mention to a nurse when in pain and don’t try to be strong or to push through the pain. But, when you do that, you get a ‘look’ from a nurse, a few questions as to if the pain really is as bad as I think, lectures on addiction, constipation etc.

Now that I am home recovering from surgery, I get the ‘look’ and lecture from the local doctor who has told me she will not be looking to fill my request for this particular pain relief (oxycodone aka endone) should I require any more and will look at an alternative.

Lets get something straight. I have had a huge flap of skin taken from my stomach and placed onto my chest. A big blob of fat, muscle and blood vessels were then placed with this flap to create a new breast. The skin on my stomach was then streeeeeeetched to cover the big space now created by the missing flap and all sewn together.

Yes, I do think I am in enough pain to justify some hard-core pain killers thanks.

I know it has been a week and a half since my surgery but for goodness sake, I didn’t have my tonsils removed. I had some pretty major surgery that I think justifies the need to take these painkillers.

I know there are many people who have become addicts of these painkillers and I know they are very addictive (if you can actually get a script) but I really feel that there are times when the medical profession has to step out of their ‘all fit in one box’ mindset and realize there are some people in genuine pain. There are some people that really need these pain killers.

Why do I have to be made to feel like a criminal or drug addict when requesting a script for some pain relief? I have a drain sticking out of me, can’t walk straight for very long, can’t sit or stand for long periods of time. I think it is pretty obvious that pain relief is required.

Anyhoo, that is my rant for that situation.

I am expecting some backlash from this blog because yes, there is a terrible epidemic of prescription drug addicts and they purchase these on the black market or doctor shop etc but, my point is, not everyone is doing that. Some people are in genuine pain. I think anyone who has suffered serious pain will totally understand where I am coming from.

Thankfully I have a gorgeous cleavage to look down upon to make me happy for a moment and to remind me that this was my decision to have the surgery. I do tell myself to ‘suck it up’ about twenty times a day but in between these times, I’d like some pain relief thanks.

No, it isn’t time to see my new boob, maybe next blog 😉

i have boobies

The Britney Effect

Remember this?

britney-shaving-2
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.

25001375929098_i-am-woman-hear-me-roar-and-cryand-ramble-and-bitchand-nag-and-over-explain-nettie0918

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

 

 

 

 

The Bright Side of Fat

 

thekidandi

Facebook kinda shits me here and there as to how commercial and whatnot it is but, there are times, when I get that ‘Facebook Memory’ as to what I posted a while ago and, this came up today. I remember so clearly this photo being taken and even though my gorgeous daughter was being silly, I still felt an amazing sense of pride for being her Mum. Nine years ago this photo was taken at my cousin Christine’s 40th Birthday party! OMG, that means my cousin Christine is going to be….. 50 oh so soon. Anyhoo, this photo of ‘the kid and I’ is very special to me. It is before I became a Coeliac and before I knew I had stage 3 breast cancer.

Moving On.

So, this was the week for me to meet with my surgeon to discuss the surgery I want/need early next year. The reason I would like this surgery early next year is because

  1.      I would like to be done with Breast Cancer
  2.      My wedding is in November 2017 and I would like 2 boobs for it
  3.      What does it matter? Just give me another boob please!

So, off to Mr Jim Kollias on Wednesday to discuss my upcoming surgery and to have my 6th monthly Breast Cancer check. Actually, from here on in, I am thinking I wont bother with writing breast cancer with capitals. I recall from school that capital letters were for proper words and those of being ‘important’. Well, you know what Oh Serious Breast Cancer? I have demoted you to lower case from now on!

Right, now we have that straight, let me continue…..

Mr Kollias has many names throughout South Australia and most of them good. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to BAG the SHIT out of him in this post but know this, he is the best in the business ok? Anyhoo… this is how it happened….

Into the lovely little office I went, went through the formalities of me looking great and me saying thank you blah blah and, off to the back room I go to rid myself of my tops and bras and sit on the bed to wait…

Now, keep in mind that Mr James Kollias, being the best in the Breast Cancer field in South Australia, keeps you protected, safe and bubble wrapped the entire time you are dealing with breast cancer. He will do everything humanly possible to rid your body of the cancer and make you feel A OK. You only have to do as you are told and he will make everything happen for you.

Once your breast cancer has been cut out, chemotherapied, radiologied, blitzed with drugs and sleep and some more drugs and more surgery, then comes along the true to life, the honest and IN YOUR FACE Mr Kollias.

There are no more warm snugly cuddly hugs of comfort, no more Mr Nice Guy.

He has always told us how it is when it came to my Stage 3 Breast Cancer but, I always felt safe and snuggly within his words. He was the Captain of our Ship. He would ensure everything happened correctly and his way. My only job on this ship was to follow his orders.

And I did feel all safe and snugly and protected and loved. Until NOW.

Now, I am FAT and ROUND!

On Wednesday the 5th of October 2015 (311 Days Since Mr Kollias and I met) I was meeting him again but this time to discuss my Reconstruction Left Breast Surgery.

I am requiring, wanting and possibly even needing a particular surgery called a TRAM Flap. TRAM stands for transverse rectus abdominis, a muscle in your lower abdomen between your waist and your pubic bone. A flap of this skin, fat, and all or part of the underlying rectus abdominus (“6-pack”) muscle are used to reconstruct the breast in a TRAM flap procedure.

While it’s the most popular flap reconstruction procedure, a TRAM flap isn’t for everyone. It’s not a good choice for:

  • thin women who don’t have enough extra belly tissue
  • women who already have had multiple abdominal surgeries
  • women who plan on getting pregnant
  • women who are concerned about losing strength in their lower abdomen

So, my big belly and myself are thinking, HOOK ME UP BIG BOY, because I am none of the above and more than that, HOOK ME UP TO THOSE SKINNY BITCHES THAT DON’T HAVE ENOUGH EXTRA BELLY TISSUE, I HAVE ENOUGH FOR EVERYBOOOOOODY.

Mr Kollias does not find this helpful OR amusing. Sometimes I wonder how Mr Kollias and I even get along!

Right, back to it….

I am now laying on the medical bed which is not comfortable nor relaxing and Mr Kollias starts the examination. I would have assumed he would have started with Ms Rightie, my lonely breast that stands alone… but no, he starts with my belly. He GRABS a big fist full of the belly area and wibbles and wobbles it up and down as though it isn’t actually attached to me (BUT IT IS)  and says,

“Wow, this is very large. YOU are incredibly ROUND’. This is a lot of FAT”.

I kid you not!

I am laying on this bed, with my one amazing but sagging boobie and my big gutses hanging out, feeling oh so vulnerable while he, the amazing Mr K, proceeds to tell me how round and fat I am.

I KNOW I AM FAT FFS!

No, I do not say this out loud.

So, as I lay on that oh so uncomfortable bed, with my gutses hanging out, trying to think of something else, he, Mr Kollias, is grabbing handfulls of flab (yep, that’s my stomach) wibbling and wobbling up and down, still saying the words ROUND and FAT and I CAN’T WORK WITH THIS, I sink deeper and deeper into some daze like meditation.

Ok, I am no fool. I know I am fat. But for f*cks sake. Give me a break! I can’t use the ‘cancer card’ with Mr Kollias because he has been there with me from start til now. He is trying to tell me that

  1. The more fat I have, the more likely I will be to get cancer, especially breast cancer, again
  2. He can not operate on a fat person due to the risks involved
  3. He can not operate on a fat person for a TRANS Flap thingy without putting them ‘at risk’

Right then, after four rounds of him grabbing my gutses, told I am ever so ROUND, and that he can’t operate the way I want without a risk, It is thankfully now time for me to dress and smash his face in.

Ok fine, I didn’t smash his face in but I really wanted too!

Anyhoo, I dressed and went back to his ‘meeting room’ and sat in front of him while he proceeded to tell me that he can not do the surgery I wanted because I was EVER SO ROUND.

ARGH!

Right, he says to me that in order to do the operation the he and I want to have done he wants me to lose 10 kilos by January 10th.

I’m not sure if you remember he wanted me to lose over 20 Kilos previously but I would be dead if I tried to do that so, we are negotiating now like a car buyer v’s a car salesman. Mr Kollias is the Salesman ok?

We go back and forth for a while and agree on a 7.5 Kilo weight loss for him to do the surgery. That means I have to be below 75 kilos by January 10th, 2017.

Oh so easy I hear you say. IT IS NOT EASY I SCREAM BACK AT YOU!

Ok fine, I’ll try to calm down but let me finish with the conversation with the ever so amazing Mr K.

I tell him that I tried to lose weight for him from our previous catch up which resulted in breaking two bones in my ankle.

He says, hmmm, that’s really just an excuse.

I say, well, I am a coealiac and don’t eat any junk food… and he just glares at me.

I then tell him I have lost 2 kilos recently and he says, two kilos is not a weight loss, it is a poo! and then proceeds to blow a raspberry at me!

Then, I tell him I have started taking duromine and he tells me that chemicals are NOT the answer.

Right about now I should be receiving a bloody award for ‘not murdering’ someone.

There are no awards coming my way, no cameras and bunches of flowers or miracle weight loss fairy dust, just Mr K looking at me.

So, I say to the ever so amazing Mr Kollias, “What do you suggest I do?” and his reply, (get ready to inhale a big disgusted gasp”

“stop eating”

OMG, is that even legal? Are you aloud to say that to me?

Well, I think yes. BUT, the problem is, now that I am taking this Duromine (appetite suppressant which I think is broken) my meal sizes have reduced, I’m not snacking anywhere near as much as before blah blah blah….. and then I quietly, under my breath, say….. Do you think I should stop drinking alcohol?

Well, doesn’t that open the bloody flood gates?! Out it all comes from the Breast Cancer God of South Australia telling me if I stop drinking today, I’ll lose 3 Kilos in a week and then I’ll lose another 3 kilos in the next three weeks which is almost at my goal weight for the surgery!

He is looking at me like I am some very backward hick born child!

I haven’t even told him how much I drink (Thank Goodness!)

So, There we have it peeps.

As I sit here, looking at my lovely glass of sparkling wine, I know that it is one of the last as I HAVE TO LOSE THIS WEIGHT. Not just for Mr Kollias but for myself to have the surgery I want.

There is an alternative surgery involving using my back fat with expanders and then silicon blah blah but no, that isn’t what I want.

I want the stomach one, where there will be no artificial products in my body.

After all of the chemo and radiation, I am thinking I would like to repair my body with my body.

So, There we have it.

I have been angry, sad, angry again and everything in between since my appointment with Mr James Kollias on Wednesday but, at the end of the day, he is only doing what is best for me.

What really shits me through all of this is, I forgot to tell my amazing and incredible surgeon about the lump I was worried about! Thankfully he had done a thorough examination while I was there of good ol’ rightie and obviously didn’t find anything to be worried about.

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. Thank you for all of the ‘behind the scenes’ messages and in my face messages.

Love to you all. Stick with me. I am doing this ok? I am going to give it my all to lose that darn 7.5 kilos.

A thank you to the Encore Program for taking me in. I am going to fill you all in about this Encore Program from the YWCA soon.  Hopefully, work works with me on this one 🙂

I don’t do shout out’s very often do I?  I am going to today.

My shout outs are…

Veronica Stanbridge : for listening to me sook and cry and worry about the stupid lump that turned out to be nothing. I know how hard this is for you to relive this horrible disease after your amazing sister Maggie passed away from it. Veronica ‘Amazing’ Stanbridge is in the black 🙂

bez

Mandy Azzam: Yep, I might know when you are not coping with things but you give it back knowing when I am not doing so well. I love that you leave me be until our lunch dates when I let it all out.

Tamara Martin: You always know when I’m having a bad day. Not through my actual voice but through the voice of our emails. Thankyou for knowing when I don’t want to talk but really want to talk. You know me too well.

Uniden Digital Camera
My bestie Tam

Everyone in my life means so much to me. Please don’t be displeased to not find your name here but it is Friday night after a huge week at work and, it has been a tough week for me. Everyone who is in my life, with true honesty and love (eg: no backstabbing or bullshit) means so much to me.

xx

Soon to be ‘two boobed bailey’

 

 

Aches & Pains & A Fluffy Face

I am growing a bloody beard! For months I have been a smooth alien looking woman and now, now, I have mutton chops!

Ok, I might be going slightly overboard right now but geez, my face certainly is a lot fluffier than it ever was. I hope I wont be needing to borrow Dr Hands’ razor!

Seriously though, it is from one extreme to another. I am thinking I really might have to wax it or use depilatory cream or something. It is very fine and very blonde but it gets blown around in the wind! I can feel it moving. I think I can almost run my fingers through my new beard!

I’ll let you know how I get on. On a better note, my hair is looking amazing. It is still short but is growing very thick. I am using Nioxin Shampoo and Conditioner and my amazing friend Nicole bought this awesome product called Activance for me.

DSCN2436

I use 20 sprays per day and I am sure that is what is thickening my hair. Maybe some of it has dripped onto my cheeks and caused my mutton chops to grow??

Onto the Aches and Pains. Well, they’re still there.

The theracucumin doesn’t seem to have worked. Neither has the nurofen plus, nurofen, tramadol, panadene forte (although this did assist with some awful headaches I had experienced) or panadol. I am now taking fish oil capsules and have all of my hopes on these massive things. Have you seen the size of a fish oil capsule before? Well, the damn thing almost takes up my whole mouth!

And another thing. It says on the pack that there is no added gluten. What the hell is that supposed to mean. Is there or is there not gluten? All of the brands said the same thing except for one very cheap and nasty home brand looking thing. I ask the chemist lady and she advised that it was in fact gluten free. Well, why doesn’t it just say this?? It is so frustrating being a coeliac that I have to determine what ‘no added gluten’ means.

So, I chose Blackmores brand and I’ll let you know how I go.

Oh, I best tell you about the aches and pains hey? Well, I spoke to Dr Sid about it yesterday and explained it is mainly in my shoulders and neck but I sometimes feel the discomfort in my toes and hips. He said it is very unusual to suffer these pains which confused me because all of my research suggests that it is quite common.

The best way to explain it is that I feel like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I feel like I need a good oiling in my joints to get me moving again.

tinman

OMG I sound like I am 100 years old!!

I’m not. I just turned 44 only five days ago. Happy Birthday Toooooooo Me 🙂

hbamanda

Fingers crossed that the next time I talk to you, I’ll be complaining of my Rapunzel length head hair, bragging about my smooth bald face and enjoying loose and pain free joints.

Peace Out!

The Price of Supporting Local Business

I am taking a risk with this blog because I know many people will not be happy with me but I am a little angry right now.

Small business is a big thing. Many of us do try to support small business as much as possible but it is the cost of some small businesses that see us ‘giving up’ and having to use the big companies.

My local bottle shop will tell you that I am a huge supporter of small business hehe. I do also use the local shop and barn for items quite regularly. Petrol is often bought locally but even they are testing my patience at times. Recently, they have had their price of petrol sitting at $1.14 a liter but I travel ‘down the hill’ and it is $1.03 everywhere else.

Anyhoo, here is my point.

As we all know, I will be on Tamoxifen for 10 years. And we all know I visit Dr George often and then I see his wife (who runs the chemist) afterward for my prescriptions and I really like both of these people. I knew the medication was roughly $9.00 dearer to buy from this chemist but, especially through my chemo days, I had no other option.

Well, I bought my Tamoxifen from them recently and it had to be ordered in. I was quoted $25.00 for 60 tablets. So, I thought, oh, that’s ok, $12.50 per month isn’t too bad I guess. When the medication arrived the next day, I was then told it was not $25.00 but was $38.30.

Whoa! That is quite the price difference.

When I purchased my 2nd packet of Tamoxifen (no, I haven’t been on it for two months but was near a chemist in town the other day and just handed all of my scripts in and Tamoxifen was one of those scripts) and blow me down with a feather but the price was soooo much different. It was $16.99!

Here is my proof. Also take note, the more expensive local product is the ‘generic brand’ which is supposed to be cheaper!

So let us work this out.

If I support local business and buy from my local chemist, I will spend

$229.80 each year as opposed to $101.94.

Over the 10 years of taking this medication I would pay

$2,298.00 instead of $1,019.10. It would cost me $1,278.90 to shop locally.

No one in their right mind would do this if they had a choice. The chemist which is not local to me is almost next door to where I work so there is no extra travel costs to get to another chemist for me because I’ll already be there.

I understand that local businesses don’t have the buying power of the big business and I accept the prices will be slightly higher but more than double? No, I can’t accept that. I can not support a local business that is going to cost me over $1,200 more than shopping at a chemist near work.

Right, now I have that off my chest…. I’ll leave you with some happy photos

My New Head

This is a photo of me on December 31 2015, as previously posted on ‘The Year That Was’

20151231_173216

Here is my photo today, 18th of January 2016.

Photo on 18-01-2016 at 9.20 am

CHECK OUT MY HAIR AND EYEBROWS!! They came back woot woot.

Now, just waiting for my eyelashes to come through nice and long and luxurious (dreaming here but a girl can hope).

Bits of Information

  • The chickens all have names – Steffie Forrester, Caroline and Brooke
  • Brady has been depressed because of Steffie Forrester, Caroline and Brooke because I go into the coop without him and he is jealous
  • It has been 18 days since I have consumed alcohol
  • There are only six days until I will be enjoying a glass or two of bubbles with my girlfriends for our Annual Australia Day catch up which is being held on the 24th of January this year
  • I am still waking up around 6am each morning (not by choice, my eyes just open and body is ready to get moving)
  • I had to pluck my eyebrows two days ago because the little hairs are growing back
  • My cow lick came back with my hair! grrrr
  • I purchased Theracucumin as recommended to help ease the bone and joint pain associated with my new medication Tamoxifen and it is working!

 

Tamoxifen

Lets talk about this new drug that I started taking 8 days ago.

Tamoxifen.

This drug is designed to blog the hormone, estrogen, which is what caused the breast cancer in the first place apparently.

I’ll start with the conversation with my amazing (and a little bit spunky) Dr Sid Selva.

He started the discussion with the fact that I’ll be taking it for ten years. Then he bored me with the details of what it does and how it may prevent further cancer blah blah blah. Then, he got to the side effects.

Now, anyone who has persisted in reading my blogs will know that I don’t use the term ‘side effects’ and instead call them feelings. Well, these are side effects.

When he started listing these side effects, I thought to myself…

“If this was a game show, I’d be the bloody champion because I already have all of these side effects without even taking the drug…. go me!!”

So, I started telling Dr Selva what I already had, and that I was way ahead of the Tamoxifen side effects. Here are the ones I have already….

  •  Weight Gain
  •  Irritability
  •  Reduced Sex Drive
  •  Hot flashes
  •  Anxiety
  •  Confusion
  •  Sweating
  •  Absent Periods (Yippeeeeeee)
  • Hair Loss or Thinning Hair
  • Inability to keep or get an erection (I put this in because it was on the fact sheet LOL

So, as you can see, I have quite the list already and I hadn’t even started the drug yet.

Now, for the interesting thing he said…

  •  Dry Vagina

What?

I said to the doctor (because when I think things they often shoot out of my mouth without any filter),

“is my vagina supposed to be like a dogs nose?”

Dr Selva, who I have never seen flustered or lost for words just sat there and looked at me with the biggest eyeballs I had ever seen. Ooops, wrong question perhaps?

I was getting worried internally thinking, OMG, I have had a problem with my vagina since forever because it is never ‘damp’ or ‘wet’ constantly. Maybe that is what those little panty liner things are for that I keep seeing advertised and never understood. Why has no one ever told me I should have a wet vagina?

Thankfully, Dr Selva explained the term ‘dry vagina’ refers to not being able to moisten during intercourse. OMG, how embarrassing! I could feel my entire face and body turning a lovely shade of beetroot!

We moved on pretty quickly after this topic.

Right, next we will look at what happened when I actually purchased my tamoxifen.

There is a lovely young fellow at the local pharmacy who covers for Mary on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was him that I saw to get this medication and he asked if it was my first time using it. I stated it was and that I would be on it for ten years and he says….

“Did the doctor discuss pregnancy and tamoxifen with you?”

Oh man, this happens to me waaaay to often, I really need to lose weight so I said, that isn’t an issue as there will be no more pregnancies for me. I stated I was too old for that. Usually I let the person know that I am just fat and not pregnant but I didn’t want to fluster my already flustered pharmacist so I left it at that.

So, I have now been on this medication for eight days and OMG, the side effects are INCREDIBLE. Well, there are a couple that aren’t but seriously, the main side effects are awesome.

I have always been a sleeper. I could easily sleep 12 to 16 hours if I wanted and often, I did want! Now, I am awake before 6am and I mean, really awake. I am ready to roll.

The energy I have is also incredible. Yesterday, I was up at 5:50am, had some coffees, played some computer games and out of no where, I decided to take Brady to the beach. I live in the Adelaide Hills so it isn’t a five minute drive to the beach but off we went. I forgot to put a bra on, lost a shoe at the beach (it is still there at Aldinga Beach South Australia somewhere. I left it’s partner on the picnic bench so if someone finds one shoe, they can go on a hunt for the other hehe) but, Brady and I had the best time. We walked and walked and he chased the tennis ball in and out of the water.

I am also feeling incredibly happy and social so I popped into the future in laws house on the way home, had a cuppa, chat, play with the dogs and off I went again.

Once home, I had my breakfast, vacuumed the floors, mopped the floors, cleaned the main bathroom and toilet, cleaned kitchen, roasted tomatoes in preparation to make passata (tomato sauce for pasta) and also cooked dinner!

  1.  I don’t wash floors (Sam does it)
  2.  Rarely do I cook dinner (Sam usually does it)
  3.  Once in over a year have I cleaned the main bathroom (Sam does it)
  4.  I have never made a home made tomato sauce
  5.  I am usually exhausted after only one of the above activities

So, all week I have risen from bed on or before 6am naturally except on Wednesday. I did wake before 6am but that was due to a horrible headache. Yes, this is another side effect from the Tamoxifen as well as incredible joint and bone pain. I am taking panadol for this but a lady on the Adelaide Breast Cancer Friendship Group site recommended I take Theracucumin with a pinch of black pepper for the pain. I will be hunting this down today because I do not fancy taking panadol every four hours for the next ten years.

Boy, that was quite a long post! Sorry if I have bored you but this is how much energy I have. Even my fingers are going crazy with energy that I just keep typing LOL.

I shall leave you now with another acklompishment for the week. Managing to get both dogs to sleep on their beds at the same time in the same room. They usually sleep on the sofa (before being found out and shooed off) or the carpet. Finally, they are on their beds.