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

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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

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 New Head

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

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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!

 

The New Normal

Seven days since I have had an alcoholic drink and seven days since I have had a decent sleep. Are they related??

Today I had a herceptin appointment so I spoke with my oncologist about this and he said it is quite normal, once you have finished with chemotherapy and radiotherapy to be stressed and unable to sleep. Apparently, the reality of it all can hit you when the hard stuff is finished.

What??!!

This just didn’t make sense to me and he said that people like me, who handle ‘breast cancer’ stuff really well, go through the surgery and chemo and radio with little stress or sadness tend to suffer once it has finished. I did remind him that I am not quite finished yet as I still have about 9 more sessions of hercepton and require further surgery later in the year. He reminded me that I am not the person I was last year. I am a different person who has been through quite an ordeal and whilst I ‘apparently’ feel that I have gone through it and come out the other side quite well, he begs to differ.

He discussed counseling or group therapy both of which I shook my head. Geez, all I want is a decent night sleep and he wants me out there talking to strangers. It then occurred to me, YOU GUYS are the ones who often keep me sane and well balanced. Yes, I have the amazing Sam and my wonderful family and friends but often, I don’t even know what I am feeling until I sit down with my keyboard and computer.

My doctor was right about one thing though, I expected to feel amazing and jumping for joy once the chemotherapy had finished. Then it was when the radiation had finished. It didn’t happen either of these times.

There is no magic feeling that comes along and wipes the previous year away.

Each step that is taken, each hurdle achieved does not make it all go away.

The fact still remains, it was a tough journey. I am a different person. My body is different and now, I am expected (mainly by myself) to get my life back to normal.

There is a new kind of normal.

This new me now has to take her body seriously. Look after it and treat it better than I ever have before.

My medication has increased to a new tablet each day for the next ten years.

I must find time to get a new boob at some stage. This can’t happen until after May 2016 and after I have lost a great deal of weight (says my surgeon).

The great news from today is, I can return to work! My oncologist filled in my forms stating my return to work date is 17/2/2016. I hope my manager(s) are as excited as I am.

This gives me five weeks to learn to become more energetic, sleep at decent times, maintain concentration and energy for a whole working day, learn organisation skills again (eg: making lunch, arranging clothes etc) and more than anything, learn to live my life without thinking of cancer.

I am looking forward to my ‘new life’. I am looking forward to the new normal to start.

If you thought you were going to get rid of me now that my new normal starts soon, you thought wrong. I have always got something to say and will still need ‘you’ to help me through.

I still want to be here to help and support or to just listen to others who are having a hard time. I have met some wonderful people through this blog and I don’t want to let them go, so I wont.

Stay tuned. I think this is going to be a fun and exciting year. 🙂

I shall leave you with a before and after photo of my gorgeous Groodle… Brady. Yesterday, he had his summer cut done and boy, is he happy about this 🙂

 

 

Thinking of the year that was….

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

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

Ok, there was a bump on the way.

We got over the bump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love………

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Merry Christmas – I’m Not Done Yet

7th of April I was told I had cancer.

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

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

Yesterday, I experienced a wonderful Christmas.

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am with ‘Santa’ Darren!

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

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

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

I have finished Chemotherapy. Yay.

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

Cancer doesn’t really end.

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

Medication needs to be taken for the next ten years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I Have Cancer?

This is the question I asked my Radiologist, Professor Martin Borg. Here is his answer.

We hope not.

My response is…

So, you can’t tell me that I don’t have cancer.

He, thankfully, was honest and said no.

Unfortunately, he can’t say I am cancer free. He said that after two years, if no cancer has come back, then I am cancer free.

What really sucks is that I have a 1 in 20 chance of getting it back.

Sounds ok compared to 1 in 3 chance if I hadn’t had radiotherapy.

Imagine being in a room with 19 other people and one of you doesn’t get to walk out. That is a pretty scary thing.

My amazing Professor Borg has said to me, don’t think about it. If you do, you will tie yourself in knots. He has advised I maintain a healthy lifestyle and remember all of the work I have done to prevent and rid myself of cancer.

I am thinking I will start this healthy lifestyle in January. Who on earth starts it in December, and Mid December at that??

Bottoms up I say…. until January.

Anyhoo, I had my usual 8 zaps of radiation today but a nurse snaffled me before I could leave. Before I could even get out of my gown and says she needs to see me due to my skin issues.

The issue, being said skin, is bloody disgusting now. It is slimy and yuck every morning, incredibly painful when I shower and then add all of the creams needed which make me almost scream trying to apply it. So she says, lets pad it.

I kid you not, this padding came from a Tena Lady Pad packet in a roll! So, I now walk around as a bald fat budda with a sanitary napkin attached to my neck!

One day soon I am going to get to the good bit of weight loss, amazing hair growth, some eye brows and lashes and energy. That is obviously not today.