Too excited to even write about it right now but stand by, I am sure I’ll inundate my blog with photos and words soon xxx
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.
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
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.
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
- I would like to be done with Breast Cancer
- My wedding is in November 2017 and I would like 2 boobs for it
- 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
- The more fat I have, the more likely I will be to get cancer, especially breast cancer, again
- He can not operate on a fat person due to the risks involved
- 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.
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”
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 🙂
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.
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.
Soon to be ‘two boobed bailey’
How lovely is it to come home. Weather it be a night after a long day at work, a lovely holiday or like me, a guest stay at St Andrews Hospital, nothing beats coming home. I dont even care that I still have one tube left draining the wound who I call ‘drippy’ (YUK, it even makes me cringe writing it and I have it in there).
There are a few differences from the hospital to home and the first differences are the mirrors. The hospital mirror was small and short so visuals were not quite honest. Not that I spent much time in front of the hospital mirror naked mind you. Home though, I have one of those MASSIVE mirrors in my ensuite that leave nothing to the imagination from my waist upward. It is all there and let me tell you who I saw. Rightie! Well, I could only just see Rightie because gravity is taking over. It is a like a super force trying to pull poor Rightie away and Rightie isn’t fighting the big fight. You see, I have been a wee bit tender in the area that Leftie used to live so Berlei + Miss Fluff have been draw ridden and unused and Gravity has moved in. Gravity was on the mission to take rightie but I just cant understand why Rightie isn’t fighting back.
What worries me is that what would have happened if I had elected to stay in hospital while drippy was still there? My surgeon says drippy wont come out until Monday and had I not come home and seen Righties prediciment, it might have been too late. I might have gotten up Monday morning and tripped over Rightie!
I had been so concerned about Lefties scars and drippys insertions that my Berlei Bra and Miss Fluff took a back seat to allow that area to heal and I didn’t think it was important to be wearing them until necessary. No one told me of the impact on Rightie from not wearing the boulder/fluff holder. I should have put her in a sling, like the one a person with a broken arm would wear or something.
In any case, I’ll be mindful each morning not to step on her when I get out of bed.