The Wonderful Year of 2016

2016

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

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

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

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

Here is my ‘short’ gratitude list……..

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

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

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

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

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Matt Strange

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

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

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

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

Merry fucking Christmas

 

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Operation Duromine

I’m Fat.

Not just fat. Obese.

According to the BMI chart anyway.

So, enter Duromine.

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What’s Duromine? Well, in simple terms, it is an appetite suppressant. Less food, apparently, will make me less fat.

At $98.00(Aust) a script, which lasts one month, it had better bloody work. Thankfully, my health insurance covers $57.00 of it so that really works out to about $1.36 per capsule, which I take one a day. That isn’t bad really when you think of the cost of snacking and excess eating. I am actually saving money by being on this stuff.

So, I started the ‘wonder drug’ 7 days ago and am taking the lowest dose possible being 15mg. This is because it can interfere or react with Tamoxifen. I take this tablet each morning at about 5:30am with my breakfast of a tuna and baby spinach wrap. I find no urges to eat until lunch time and even then, I have to remind myself that I need to eat. Lunch is something simple like a small fruit salad and yoghurt or a tin of tuna with a small salad. Dinner is something like a small seafood stirfry with brown rice or a piece of steamed fish and veg.

How have I done in the 7 days?

I have lost a grand total of ZERO!

Yep, not even a hundred grams. A big, fat, round zero.

At least my lack weight loss matches my body shape.

Ok, so this week hasn’t been very normal with having surgery on Wednesday (which I should have lost 5 bloody kilos because I fasted from 7:30am until 7pm!) and have had a sneaky glass of bubbles or two but seriously, come on! Nothing? Not one little gram of weight loss?

I shall not give up though. This stuff is going to work. I already feel better being on it because of the reduced food intake.

Are you curious about the side effects? So many people have an opinion on Duromine weather they’ve taken it or not.

These have been my side effects.

  • Dry mouth (water fixes it everytime)
  • Slight headache in the first couple of days
  • Vagueness (said good morning to the same person twice one day)
  • Tiredness in the first few days

Obviously, each person is different with medication and side effects but these have been mine which I was quite pleased about.

Lets Not Judge Amanda Bailey.

I thought a lot about writing this blog about being on Duromine because, as a society, we love to judge people. Put them down for whatever we can. Does it really make us feel better to do this? Does it improve our own lives to judge and gossip about someone else?

My answer is no. What’s your answer?

I decided, obviously, to write this because I feel I have been honest and transparent since I began this blog and for anyone who ever read my previous blog called I WOKE UP FAT, will know that I am probably a bit too open at times.

My fat life started approximately 9 years ago. Initially, I thought it was due to being diagnosed as a coeliac (allergy to gluten) and I still feel this has a big part to being a big girl but also, as my relationship with Sam progressed, so did my weight gain.

The meals I ate were often the same size as Sams meals. This is not healthy! I should not be eating the same amount as a grown man who does manual labour for a job. I am an office worker perched on my bum all day.

I did spend a year at the gym a few years back and had very good success in losing 18 kilos. It meant I was at the gym 5, sometimes 6, days a week, my diet was impeccable and I was motivated.

Once I had gone from being 95 kilos (Yes, 95 whopping kilograms) down to 78 kilos, it all stopped. My weight loss journey seemed to be over. Try as hard as I did, nothing was budging.  Then, as happens with many people, I got frustrated and fed up and GAVE UP.

Fast forward a couple of years and whilst I haven’t gained all of that weight back, I have gained a couple of kilos and am still very fat. I am only five feet tall so, carrying more than say, 60 kilos, is a lot of weight for a little person like me to carry.

My starting weight, 7 days ago, was 81.9 kilos. Wow, I am putting it all out there aren’t I? How many of you would happily put your weight and age out into the big wide web for lots of little judgemental gossipy eyeballs to read?

So anyway, I am on this Operation Duromine to lose weight for the upcoming surgery being my breast reconstruction. It is a short term ‘fix’ and my fingers are crossed it works. I am hoping to have this surgery in January, 2017.

Obviously walking wasn’t going to do it because after breaking those couple of bones in my ankle and leg, it made walking a wee bit tedious.

Oh, about that. The surgery on Wednesday went really well (they removed two of the pins holding my bones together) and aside from that huge long fasting session, it all went without incident. I did meet a wonderful lady in Recovery who is the sister of a work colleague. She was just gorgeous and caring and kind. Thanks for looking after me Mim.

Hopefully, I can start walking again comfortably and carefully to kickstart this weight loss that my surgeon, Dr Kollias, is adamant I must do. He would like me to lose 20 kilos prior to my surgery which not only will make me look and feel better but will also reduce my chances of getting breast cancer again.

This is not a ‘commercial’ for appetite suppressants but more a journal for me (and you if you are interested) to see how I travel with this weight loss stuff.

So from me, my big fat 0 weight loss, I bid you farewell… until next time xx

2007 V’s  2016

Ps: The gorgeous lady in the photo with me is Author Tamara K Martin. Keep an eye on your bookshelves people, her writing will be out for you to buy and read soon 🙂

 

Still Here :)

 

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

Let me tell you about………………

The Ankle Incident 3rd of May, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE BREAK AND SCAR

 

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

THE X-RAYS OF THE PLATES AND PINS

xrays

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

THE CAST AND MOON BOOT

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

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

So, this is the update on the ankle business.

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

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

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

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

That, right there, is my third thing.

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

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

Lots of Love from me

me

Xx Talk soon

My Pity Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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