Hello Mrs Wilkinson

We did it! We got married and it was wonderful. It was simple. It was perfect.

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I gave up on the ‘magic tree’ in Kuitpo because it wasn’t available for my new, short notice wedding date and also, EVERYONE is marrying there now!

We opted for a small and simple back garden ceremony and reception which we both felt more our ‘style’ than anything else. Yes, money is a big issue but also, we wanted to be able to mingle and celebrate with our guests as well. So, a 50 person guest list consisting mainly of family with a few friends, catered by a lovely local company called D&D Catering Co, nibbles prepared by my now Mother In Law, help yourself drinks stations and lots of lovely smiles and well wishes.

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Did it all go off without a hitch? Hell No! It started with Sam accidentally calling me his ‘Awful Wedded Wife’ instead of ‘Lawful Wedded Wife’ and, I put the wedding ring onto his wrong hand! We didn’t even realise until after all of the formal photos were taken hehehe.

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Photo below was taken at the exact “Awful Wedded Wife” moment! Oh how the celebrant and my soon to be EX-Husband are thinking this to be soooo funny! Maybe we should have practiced the words before the wedding like our celebrant Sharyn Colliver suggested 🙂

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There was a small kitchen fire that the guests took care off, a few broken glasses, a moon boot required for an old Achilles tendon injury to one of our guests, music station hijacked by the younger crowd….. but, it all made for a wonderful day.

I was very fortunate in having my amazing neighbours John and Clare offer their beautiful home for us ladies to get ready in, and for Clares Bloomers doing the bouquets, and they’d left me a gorgeous note on their blackboard. I left them a lovely array of clothes, make-up, perfume, etc to be collected the next day.

My long time friend Nicole gave up her entire Saturday to provide me, my mum, my daughter and my sister our lovely faces and hair 🙂

Another lovely lady who gave up her time and said YES to singing our songs on the day was the very talented Steph. Steph and I had worked together many years ago and although I had never heard her sing before, one drunken evening I sent her a message asking if she would be willing to sing at our wedding. Thank goodness she said yes because she was amazing. She sang “At Last’ by Etta James as my mum walked me ‘down the garden’ and then sang “Better Place” by Rachel Platten and “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (The Delta Goodrem Version) as we signed our paperwork.

Food! The food was amazing not only by the amazing caterers but also my MIL and the amazing cake maker Tash from The Sweet Tooth Factory.

 

Yes, it was an emotional day but of course, a happy emotional day. Whilst there were many family and friends missing from our day, I was so humbled to have received voice messages, face time all the way from Bali, text messages and cards.

I hear all the time from brides who say they want to do it all again, that it was the most amazing day etc. Yes, it was an amazing day but NO, I do not want to do it again hehe. I love a wedding, adore food, love a few drinks with friends and family but, one wedding is enough for me thanks.

Thank you to everyone for their amazing well wishes and happy thoughts. It was really nice to focus on a happy, positive event given the last couple of years.

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Amanda PS edit

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So, that’s it. I am now a very happy wife to Mr Sam Wilkinson.

Next stop, reconstruction surgery in June 2017 and then, our four week honeymoon in November!

 

xx Mrs Amanda Wilkinson

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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.

 

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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

 

 

 

 

He was right :(

Remember how I told you that my surgeon wants me to lose weight, 7.5 kilos by the 10th of January, 2017? Remember how he told me to ‘just stop drinking alcohol’?

Remember me thinking, AS IF that is going to work.

Well bloody hell.

6 days of no alcohol and I lose 1.2 kilos!! WHAT?

That’s it?

Ok, people MAY have told me previously that this was the way to lose weight but I really enjoy a drink here and there. I am a great dancer and singer when I have had a couple of drinks. I love those little bubbles tickling my nose……

So, to celebrate my weight loss, I attended my niece Tarins 18th, niece Kallys 7th and nephew Jordans 10th joint Birthday Party on Saturday night and drank my weight in bubbles!

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Right, I’ll get back on that ‘no alcohol’ diet of mine and see what this week brings.

Oh, just one more thing before I go…. I did this at the party 🙂 Annette is my sister and I think she was a little tickled pink with this bottle of wine.

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See you next time, when I am even skinnier (and still sober).

xx

The Bright Side of Fat

 

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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’

 

 

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

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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

Another Lump….

One thing many cancer survivors mention is the fear of it coming back. That ache or pain or lump or bump could be ‘it’ again.

Well, I have a lump. This time, it is in my other breast. Well, I shouldn’t really say other because I only have one left now so it is in my breast. I assumed that I was being a hypochondriac prior to seeing my doctor last Saturday and that he would brush it off, tell me I was being silly and send me on my way.

That didn’t happen.

He is concerned. Shit shit shit.

Tomorrow afternoon I am off to have a mammogram and ultra sound.

The way I figure it, NOTHING could have survived the recent chemotherapy blast that lasted six months. Surely!!??

It is a decent size lump too. Not a little one but a biggin. I don’t really want to be the 1 in 20 to get it again (these are the amazing odds my doctor gave me of getting cancer again, 1 in 20!). I have barely even recovered from my last bought of cancer.

The only thing that keeps me calm is the fact that I have been there and done that and can do it again if I have too but naturally, I really don’t want too.

I am still tired from the last cancer. I am still having herceptin and heart scans and tamoxifen and massage from the last cancer. Why can’t cancer be a one time only illness?

And another thing…. My hair is looking amazing! I can’t be losing it again so soon!

On a brighter note, I am absolutely loving being back at work. I love walking the floor and riding the elevators. I love that I say hello to people and have a sense of purpose each and every day.

One of the greatest things I took from my cancer ordeal was that life is too short to give a shit about things that are not important. If someone doesn’t like me, who cares? If I go to lunch a little late, it really doesn’t matter. The bus is late? Early? Too hot? Too Cold? It doesn’t bother me. I am happier today than I have ever been and I plan on staying this happy. No body can bring me doooooooown.

The best news of all from the last week is …. we have a wedding date!! It isn’t forever but we have the date. Do you see a problem with getting married on Remembrance Day? I would be really interested to know of peoples thoughts but I am loving the idea of being married 11/11/17. How lovely does that date look? I have looked at catering companies for my relaxed home reception, I have sent a message to Carol (the lady who owns the tree property) to ask if I can be married there on the date 11/11/17. I have even looked at pretty dresses for my gorgeous daughter to wear. Now, all I need to do is lose 20 kilos, grow some more hair, save save save and get married 🙂

Now, I’ll let you in on something.

Just before I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer in April 2015, I fell in love with a song that has such beautiful words but ends so sadly. This song really hit home with me and I even talked about it with Sam. Then, driving home after my cancer diagnosis after the mammogram last year, this song played on the radio and I cried and I cried. I do not want to be a part of this song. Here are the lyrics. If you get a chance, listen to it because as sad as it is, it really is beautiful.

JAMIE LAWSON LYRICS

“Wasn’t Expecting That”

It was only a smile
But my heart it went wild
I wasn’t expecting that
Just a delicate kiss
Anyone could’ve missed
I wasn’t expecting that

Did I misread the sign?
Your hand slipped into mine
I wasn’t expecting that
You spent the night in my bed
You woke up and you said
“Well, I wasn’t expecting that!”

I thought love wasn’t meant to last
I thought you were just passing through
If I ever get the nerve to ask
What did I get right to deserve somebody like you?
I wasn’t expecting that

It was only a word
It was almost misheard
I wasn’t expecting that
But it came without fear
A month turned into a year
I wasn’t expecting that

I thought love wasn’t meant to last
Honey, I thought you were just passing through
If I ever get the nerve to ask
What did I get right to deserve somebody like you?
I wasn’t expecting that

Oh and isn’t it strange
How a life can be changed
In the flicker of the sweetest smile
We were married in spring
You know I wouldn’t change a thing
Without that innocent kiss
What a life I’d have missed

If you’d not took a chance
On a little romance
When I wasn’t expecting that
Time doesn’t take long
Three kids up and gone
I wasn’t expecting that

When the nurses they came
Said, “It’s come back again”
I wasn’t expecting that
Then you closed your eyes
You took my heart by surprise
I wasn’t expecting that

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!

Samanda

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.