Bikini Body

Once upon a time I had two boobs.

I was then diagnosed with breast cancer.

One of my two boobs was lopped off and thrown away in the bin somewhere.

Then I had one boob.

Mr Kollias took the fat and skin from my big fat stomach and made a smaller tummy and built me a new boob where there was no boob.

Now I have two boobs.

I dont care that it is winter, am strapped into a stomach compression belt and that I still have bandages on my new booby, I am wearing my bikini.

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I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it.

Bring on summer. I’m wearing this baby everywhere!

sunshine

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Getting The Girls Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xx Your Two Boobed Friend – Mrs Wilkinson xx

icy boobs

My Dirty Little Secret

Hi There.

Sorry for not dropping in earlier but I didn’t know how to discuss what happened to me on the night of my arterial ligation surgery which prevented my Tram Flap Breast Reconstruction occurring on the 22nd of July.

Here is how it played out.

I was laying in the little room you are put into before you are taken into the surgery room. My anaesthetist Dr Christopher Higham from Stace Aesthetics popped over to say hi and to run through his spiel. He is really lovely and we chattered for a while and everything was going just peachy until he went to walk away and asked me a question over his shoulder on his way out.

The question was actually more like a statement:

Oh Amanda, you don’t smoke do you?

I just looked at him. I didn’t answer straight away and he then turned to face me head on and we were eyeballing each other when I squeaked out a ‘yes’.

scandal

Didn’t the world just stop everything in that instant! It honestly felt like the nurses stopped their pottering, the noise of the phones and chatter was suddenly gone and Dr Chris Higham was suddenly almost nose to nose with me and said these few words.

You stop smoking NOW Amanda. Now.

Turns out that for the reconstructive surgery I was due to have two weeks after this arterial ligation, has a 12% success rate on smokers and my surgeon Mr Jim Kollias will not operate on a smoker.

Once Dr Higham had finished telling me off, Mr Kollias then popped in and gave me his opinion on all this too and by now, I was quite emotional as you can well imagine.

Thankfully the ligation surgery proceeded and I was back with my husband in no time. I did have to stay in hospital one night, which was fine enough.

Pain wise it was up there and it took a little longer for the pain to reduce than I had expected but it was bearable pain.

Mr Kollias came to see me before I was discharged and stated he will not do my reconstruction until I had been a non smoker for at least six weeks. I was shattered. I felt so ashamed of myself. I hadn’t been happy to have taken up smoking AFTER my cancer treatment when I had been a non smoker for so many years and now I was ashamed and sad and really quite embarrassed.

I am pleased to announce that I have not had a cigarette since that conversation with my doctors.

Mr Kollias rescheduled my surgery for the 3rd of August, 2017.

The reasons for not operating on a smoker for this type of surgery is due to the little blood vessels that get moved from your stomach to the chest area will usually die in a smoker because there isn’t enough oxygen getting through. Dr Higham said to see a ‘dead’ reconstructive breast was awful but also, the time and energy spent reconstructing was an absolute waste. This also includes the use of nicotine replacement therapy, that isn’t allowed either. Due to the microsurgery that is preformed in the Tram Flap Reconstruction, your body needs all of the oxygen it can get and nicotine takes that away from you.

So, it was an instant quit. No cutting down, no weaning, no nicotine replacement therapy. No smokes.

It occurred to me that I had two choices. I could smoke OR I could have a reconstruction. I couldn’t not have both.

Thankfully I had been reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking a few weeks leading up to surgery so I was one step ahead. I quit using this book more than five years ago when I smoked around 50 cigarettes a day!

allen carr

I did join a quit smoking facebook page as well for the extra support as was feeling quite emotional having taken up smoking more so that quitting (at the time) and decided to use the facebook page as a bit of a sounding board. There is always that one person isn’t there that has to be mean or negative.

One of the ladies responded to my facebook statement about my surgeon refusing to operate on my until I had been a non smoker for six weeks and promised I would never smoke again about how she had plastic surgery implants and there was no a problem being a smoker and proceeded to tell me my surgeon was ‘full of shit’. Wow. Ok, way to go lady, thanks! I replied politely and mentioned breast implants are a totally different kettle of fish compared to tram flap surgery but thanked her for her comment all the same.

Anyhoo, there you have it. My dirty little secret is now out.

I wasn’t actually going to write anything about this because of being so ashamed but then I though, what if someone else genuinely doesn’t know about the dangers of smoking leading up to, and after the tram flap surgery? My surgeon didn’t even know I was a smoker (obviously) because he had asked if I was a smoker when he first met me two years ago. Why would he ask a non smoking cancer patient if they had taken up smoking? There would be no reason for him to do this. Yes, I did write I was a smoker on the admission forms for the hospital so I am not really sure who actually reads these but that is not the point. The point is, be 100% honest with your surgeon because you could be wasting their time, your time, money, etc.

You may have noticed the date of this publication and realized that I have now had my surgery. You are right! I did have the surgery but I’ll tell you about that another time real soon.

Hello Titty

 

The New Boob – Part 1

Please be advised I have permission from my husband to post the photo at the end of the post of my ‘war zone’ post breast removal – pre boob reconstruction site.  🙂

 

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Here is a photo of my gorgeous daughter who never fails to make me smile whether I am in her presence or simply just thinking about her….. so, lets start my New Boob blog part 1

Right, this is the start of a multi part series on my new boob.

My aim is to cover a few things.

  1. Why do I want to reconstruct my breast?
  2. Why don’t I want to reconstruct my breast?
  3. What does the ‘bomb site’ look like right now?
  4. How is it going to be reconstructed?
  5. The high price of private health insurance in Australia. Are you totally covered?
  6. The physical, mental and financial pain
  7. Working for an understanding company
  8. The support from co-workers
  9. Some other ramblings in my head

It has been over two years since I lost my left breast to stage three breast cancer. Now, it is time for a new and improved model to move on in.

There will be no technical terms going on in this post, or even future posts because seriously, who can remember all this mumbo jumbo the surgeons and doctors and anaesthetists use so I shall be me and use normal words and terms.

Thankfully, I was strong enough to lose the weight required by Mr Kollias who so delicately demanded I lose (You are too fat, I can’t work with this (as he grabs my stomach and wobbles it up and down and round and round) he says to me on a few occasions). Thankfully I have no feelings and his words have no emotional effect on me. This is one thing I really do like about my surgeon. The actual thing about him finding it difficult to work on me wasn’t so much about me being fat but that I was ‘solid fat’ and not ‘floppy fat’. It is easier and tidier to work with floppy fat as opposed to solid fat.

I initially really struggled with making the decision to have my breast reconstruction because, get this, I didn’t want to lose my new body. The flat left side where my cancerous breast used to live suddenly became a really important part of me. The scar and little plump fake cleavage is something that I have actually grown to love. I don’t love having to wear a prosthetic everyday in my bra as it can get quite warm and cumbersome and now that my body has changed, the prosthetic breast (called Dolly) and the right saggy baggy boobie just don’t match. No one else can tell and I know this but I can tell and it looks bloody stupid but, it is me. The new and improved me. So, why do I need to change it?

Anyhoo, I really wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself through more surgery, pain, financial strain (I am going to get to this bit a little later) and the time off work.

My new husband, the man who has seen me through all of this breast cancer bizzo, had a serious talk with me (that is a very rare thing in my household) about having this surgery. He said, and he is right, that it would be a very beneficial thing for me to do for my mental state. He sees how uncomfortable I am if he walks in on me in the shower, when I get up in the morning (yep, am a nudie rudie sleeper), and when I am braless.

Usually, I don’t give a hoot what people think about me, of my dress sense (or lack there off), the car I drive, what my hair looks like and even some of the things that come out of my mouth. It has surprised me that I am still, after two years, uncomfortable being naked in front of the man who has been with me through thick and thin, good times and bad, in sickness and in health – o hang on, this isn’t my wedding blog hehe. But you see where I am going with this don’t you?

I really had a long think about what he had to say (again, a rare thing in this household hehe) and he is right (I know! Strange hey?). I do need to do this for me and my mental health. I know I am not going to be looking like I was before and that is definitely not what I am after. My goal here is not to replace what was taken from me.

What I am after is a feeling of balance (hehe) and comfort. The new breast is going to be built from the fat from my stomach. There will be no implants or expanders because I feel I have more than enough recourses in my body to create what I need here.

Before anyone gets on their moral high horse and decides to have a go at me about the implant/expander thing… I have absolutely no issues with either of them at all. In fact, pre-cancer life, I had considered having implants to give my girls the much needed lift they required, so shut up and get back in your box! There is nothing to get all huffy about.

Anyway, back to what I was saying, the fat is coming from my stomach to build my new left boob. This occurs on the 22nd of June.

Before that, I am into surgery for my Mr Kollias to clamp two arteries in my groin in preparation for the big kahuna surgery. This is what I am actually most worried about. Cutting open my groin on either side to clamp arteries and stitching me back up scares the bajeebus out of me. How painful does that sound? Anyone who has had severe period pain will be nodding their head right now. So, that is a five to six day recovery apparently. This will only be day surgery though which is a nice thought.

The next surgery, the big bazooka boob surgery, will be the 22nd of June. This is where the fat from my stomach will some how be schimmied up to my chest and a new boob will appear. I get a tummy tuck “Thrown in as a bonus in the deal” and a wiz bang new belly button.

Oh the haters are hating right now!

Enter – Lucky you have no feelings Mrs Wilkinson – because, as Mr Kollias examined me a few weeks ago, he confirmed my fat stomach was floppy enough to do the surgery with, my two year cancer check was clear, my lymphedema was being managed but, there was a problem with Miss Right Boob.

‘Oh, we can’t leave the right breast like THAT!’ where his words, ‘Oh, I’ll have to do something here’ he says has he flattens the breast, pulls at the skin, shakes his head. I really do wish to remind him sometimes that I am laying here WITH this breast attached to me! Sometimes I wonder if he forgets there is a person attached to the breasts he works on. Thankfully he and I have been friends since day two of cancer (just over two years now) so I can take his chatter.

That means, rightie is getting a make over too. She will be plumped up and made a little younger and prettier again. Another little bonus of this whole cancer crap I guess.

Here is the potentially uncomfortable image that may offend some viewers. This is my ‘love’. My part of the body I have grown to love and cherish, hide and feel ashamed off. This is the ‘war zone’ where the potential killer lay waiting to do its job before it was destroyed by the Army consisting of many people but the man out front was Mr Kollias, he was at the front line, taking out the bad guys and saving my life.

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I shall finish this part 1 segment of ‘my new boob’ with the following

  1. A tummy tuck is NOT A GREAT BONUS (I had cancer you idiot, the only bonus is life!)
  2. Having a minimum of six weeks recovery will NOT be a welcome break from work you fool! (I had almost a year off work trying to beat this bitch called cancer!)
  3. Income insurance will NOT keep our mortgage, bills, hospitalization, medicines, animal food, people food, general living expenses covered
  4. Having perky breasts is also NOT A BONUS. I would take my pre cancer life back any day thank you (dickhead!)
  5. No, having a ‘boob job’ or ‘reconstruction’ does not make it all worth it.
  6. Private Health Insurance will NOT cover the costs of this (further information on this will be covered in Part 2)

 

Interesting Information

The following information is taken from the website www.breastcancer.org

Once you take tissue from a donor site on the body, such as the belly, it can’t be used again for breast reconstruction. So if you’re thinking about prophylactic removal and reconstruction of the other breast, you might want to make that decision before you decide on reconstruction. If you have TRAM flap reconstruction on one breast and then later need reconstruction on your other breast, tissue for the second, later reconstruction will have to come from your buttocks, inner thighs, or back. Or you can have reconstruction with an implant.

Because skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels are moved from the belly to the chest, having a TRAM flap means your belly will be flatter and tighter — as if you had a tummy tuck. Still, a TRAM flap does leave a long horizontal scar — from hipbone to hipbone — about one-third of the way between the top of your pubic hair and your navel. In most cases, the scar is below your bikini line. After the skin and fat are removed from your belly, your surgeon may place an artificial mesh material to cover the area where the muscle was removed and then close the abdomen. If mesh is used, it stays there permanently. Your navel is then brought back out through a separate incision and reshaped.

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 🙂

 

Stick me 22 times with that needle… I’ll be fine :)

I had an appointment with my wonderful surgeon Mr J Kollias today and I thought to myself, why not call into work and grab the things I needed from my locker like my sneakers. I have one pair of sneakers and they have been living at work since the 7th of April. I also needed a couple of documents which my lovely buddies Gilda and Veronica were able to organise between themselves  for me.

What was amazing was the amount of lovely, caring and wonderful people who had a moment to come hug, talk and smile with me. I heard I was looking good, that they loved my blogs, happy to see me etc. What never ceases to amaze me is the people who come out of the woodwork to give you the support and positiveness through times such as this. Times like these really show some peoples true colours and I love it. Some of these true colours are sad and hard to deal with because they aren’t the people you thought they were but with others, the ones that quietly text or send private messages, they are the ones I hold close to pick me up when I am feeling down.

I have a great friend called Ian W. We have worked together for more than ten years now and today, we hugged. Our first hug ever…..Neeeyaaaw! It was lovely 🙂

I was given a word of advice from my long time mate Ian W. If the blog is too long, he doesn’t finish it hehe. Well you know what Ian W, join my man Sam because he is the same. Sam looks at how many words there are before he decides if he is going to read it or not. Keep in mind that whilst this blog is for anyone interested in my journey and how I am feeling and what I am going through, it is also my release, my therapy. So, if there are too many words for the Sam’s and Ians of the world, too bad. 🙂

After visiting the wonderful people at work, I felt I didn’t want to leave! I wanted to stay and talk and believe it or not, work! People believe that having so much time off is awesome and don’t get me wrong, it totally rocks but OMG, it has been a very long time since I have had this kinda time on my hands.

So, I left my work peeps and headed to Mr Kollias’ office which has me very concerned and has kinda changed my thoughts on this wonderful man. Here is what I think now. He does not like real boobs. He is a fake boob kinda guy. Ok fine, he cut out my cancer, threw my boob and nipple in the bin, took out my 9 out of 20 lymph nodes and saved my life but he was not done. He had something else he wanted to do.

Remember the other day when I was telling you that I thought I was a medical miracle? That I had started to grow a new boob? Well, surgeon Mr K said it was just fluid and he would drain it for me. Right. There. And. Then!

I didn’t bring Dr Hands with me (Sam) and I was scared. Dr K told me to get my gear off (top half only) and pushed and prodded the new boob I had proudly grown and said it felt like a hot water bottle. Yeah, whatever, he just doesn’t want to admit I could be beating the odds and growing this boobie back! He pulled out a gigantic needle and syringe, telling me he would drain it. If I had a mirror in front of me I am almost certain I would be doing a day time soapie face….

22 needles in and out, filling each and every 22 sucker syringes full and squeezing the disgusting liquid into a kidney dish and I was done according to Mr Kollias. I did request Mr K pop that needle and syringe into my stomach, ass and thighs to rid them of the disgusting liquid but he didn’t have time to do that, he was due in surgery in about an hour.  I kid you not but that dish was almost full! And not at all pleasant to look at but I peeked all the same. What did surprise me was the fact I didn’t feel it at all. He said I wouldn’t feel it because I was still numb from surgery. Not sure how he knew that because I certainly didn’t tell him. He must indeed know his stuff hey?

What did make me jump out of my skin was when he grabbed one of the boobie stitches! Wow, the F word flew out of my mouth in the speed of light and you know what Mr K said? Settle down… WHat? Settle down? Geez, that hurt like no tomorrow and he wants me to settle down!? I’ll give him a settle down!! That part of my missing leftie boobie is very sensitive but he did answer one question that had been driving me nuts. There is a bit of a bubble thing that looks like a cleavage and that is exactly what it is. He said that by leaving that bubble there, he can create a magnificent boob with a natural looking cleavage. He is a thinker that surgeon of mine. So now, I love him again.

Turns out that I can now shower and do whatever even I want (making sure it isn’t overly strenuous and if you know me, that is not at all a concern) as there are no dressings left because my wound, my scar, is looking marvelous, to Mr K, and the stitches will dissolve. I have a follow up appointment with Mr K in four weeks unless I start growing my medical miracle boob again. Then I’ll have to see him earlier to remove the fluid.

Also, the chemo wont start until the fluid has stopped filling up the bomb site. (boobectimy) so fingers crossed, the fluid stops. I want to get this chemo started because the sooner it starts, the sooner it finishes and the sooner I can get back to work and get back my normal life. Yes, I said it, get back to work. Being a lady of luxury is awesome but after a few weeks, it wears thin.

Having said that, after today’s journey, I was absolutely bloody exhausted and I didn’t do much at all. I felt sad that I couldn’t sit down and talk with all of the wonderful people from work who had written gorgeous messages in my get well cards, that I couldn’t answer everyones questions but I am totally and amazingly happy that there will come a time when I will be back at work to do this.

The only bad news of today was that I did test HER2 positive so that means a whole lot of new drugs that will be added to my chemo journey.