Home and Drainless

YAY! They didn’t keep me in the hospital.

Turns out there was some kind of malfunction of the drain so they removed it. Definitely not sorry to see that gone but it has been replaced with a plastic bag type thing that sticks to the hole in my skin and collects the blood and puss stuff in the bag. Kind of like a colostomy bag.

When we got home from the hospital I was absolutely exhausted and slept the entire afternoon away and woke feeling sore but happy to be waking in my own bed.

So I happily sit here medicated with minimal pain, drainless, Kath and Kim on the TV, dogs quietly sleeping…. Life is good.

I did have a chat to the gorgeous breast care nurse at St Andrews about my pain medication issues and thankfully, there was finally someone on my side and who understood exactly what the hell was going on with me.

Oh and guess what private health insurance entitles you too? A first class, front of the non existent line in the emergency ward. There was not one person waiting in the emergency section of the hospital and was seem almost immediately by the nurse and then doctor. I was given a warmed gown and blanket to put on while I waited the whole eight minutes for the doctor.

So, today I shall not complain about what I do not get from private health insurance but stay tuned for that rant… its coming J

Update on pain, it is still there and still extreme but pain killers are taking the edge off and stop my blubbering.

To anyone who thinks doctors are not entirely truthful as to how long it takes to recover from surgery, I say, listen to them.

My surgeon told me I would need six weeks recovery from this surgery which I thought was preposterous and told my boss as much. I said that I would be happy to take two weeks to recover from surgery and then work from home for the remaining four weeks. Baaaahahahahah what a silly little twit I was.

I will be making the phone call to my boss tomorrow to explain that the surgeon may have had a point in advising I would need 6 weeks to recover from surgery. I just know from previous surgeries that the recovery time was ‘kind of ‘ correct but I could have easily worked from home, just not travelled to work and dealt with walking, pushing and pulling of doors etc.

This time, totally different story.

Pain is still high. Emotions are crazy. Sleeping more than I am being awake etc.

My advice to anyone planning on having this surgery, believe your surgeon when they tell you the recovery time. You will need this time not only to manage the pain but to rest your body. It is also incredible as to how often you use your stomach muscles. Spitting out toothpaste is absolutely excruciating.

I am slightly frightened of sleeping tonight with this stick on bag. I am a bit of a toss and turner during my sleep and dread the thought of accidentally rolling onto my left side and popping my puss and blood filled plastic bag. Gross huh?

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.

cropped-sweet-heart_68.jpg


 

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

 

The Britney Effect

Remember this?

britney-shaving-2
Britney Spears Shaving Head during Breakdown

 

Well, didn’t I laugh and judge and gossip about it. Although, I did admit, and still do, that she rocks the shaved head but I am honest in saying I was one of the many who judged this poor girl. I had no idea that something can happen in your life, in your brain, to create such a self destructive act, a cry for help.

Until now.

Everyone, including myself, thought that my life was just plodding along fine and dandy. What could be wrong now that I was now a ‘cancer survivor’, I wasn’t having any further cancer treatment. I had hair again, hair I could even style. Surgery was on the cards for a new boob, weight was being lost….. wedding plans were happening.

Now……… well,  here I am after MY Britney Breakdown.

 

britneyeffect
Photograph courtesy of Dora Stergiou – November  2016

It turns out that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real thing following cancer treatment. PTSD symptoms are different for each person and apparently, they usually develop within three months of a traumatic event but can also occur several months, even years later. For me, it was six months following the end of the cancer treatment. One would expect, after that amount of time, me to be happy ‘its over’ and on the road to ‘getting back to normal’ now that I don’t have to have any further cancer treatment. These expectations are not the case. Here is how it all unfolded…..

MEDICATIONS

  • Aropax (Anti-Depressant and Anti-Anxiety Medication) 60mg
  • Tamoxifen (a synthetic drug used to treat breast cancer)  20mg
  • Avymys (works to decrease inflammation caused by allergy) 55 micrograms
  • Fish Oil (Helps to maintain strong bones)  1000mg
  • Duromine (Appetite Suppressant) 30 mg
  • Panadene Forte (Pain Killers)
    • Paracetamol 500 mg
    • Codeine phosphate 30 mg
  • Telfast (relieve the symptoms of hayfever) 180mg
  • Vitamin D Liquid (Strengthen Bones) 1000IU
  • Caltrate Calcium (Strengthen Bones)

 

Expectations (Beyond the normal day to day ones)

  • Lose a lot of weight in preparation for surgery – Breast Surgeon
  • Increase heart rate for a mininum of 30 days to prevent cancer returning – Oncologist
  • Stop smoking to prevent cancer coming back or developing a new one – Everyone (I did this one!)
  • Reduce or stop drinking alcohol to prevent cancer coming back – A lot of people
  • Reduce or stop sugar to prevent cancer coming back and to assist in losing weight – Some People
  • Continue to be strong – Me
  • Move on from cancer – Many people and myself
  • Stop talking about cancer – A few people
  • Have life return to pre cancer normal – A lot of people/myself

 

Upcoming Events Needing Thought and Action

  • Christmas gift buying
  • Surgery
  • Wedding

 

It seems I wasn’t coping with post cancer as well as I thought I was. I saw myself as a cancer patient, not a cancer survivor. I think I still do as a matter of fact but anyway, I was on a path of self destruction. Drinking too much, taking all of the above medication, I took up smoking (as previously discussed) and I wonder, did I do all of this to block out the self chatter in my head or to gain the attention some people feel I was seeking? I don’t know that answer but hopefully in time, I will find out.

The Day of my Britney Effect

I had a cold. No big deal right but it seems that it actually was a big deal. On top of all of the medications listed above, I was now about to add in 10 mls of cough medicine which would turn out to be the straw that broke the camels back (I am the camel).

My memory is vivid when I recall taking the small amount of medicine and within about 10 minutes or so, I became obsessed, almost manic in my thoughts. All I could think about was getting home from work, enjoying some sparkling wine (I had booked the following day off from work for some R&R) and not having to go to bed early. I knew I was meeting up with a lovely friend Nicole who was going to give my lovely locks a trim and then catching up with my 30+ year friend Tracey for a long overdue lunch.

I was only successful in one of my thoughts becoming an action and that was buying a bottle of my favourite Jacobs Creek Trilogy sparkling wine on the way home from work. I must say, that bottle disappeared real bloody quick and before I knew it, I was off to the bottleshop for another bottle.

This is where things get a little hazy. I vaguely remember saying goodnight to Sam when he went to bed. I vaguely remember playing some of my favourite games on facebook but then my memory is blank.

Before I know it, I am waking the next day and my hair is gone. I feel sick to my stomach and wonder what on earth happened. Where is my hair!? Somewhere deep in my brain I know it was myself that had cut it but why? How much did I cut.

Yep, all of it. Looking in the mirror when I got up was like a punch to the stomach. I could barely breathe, my hair had been cut in a drunken, manic manner. Some cuts were to the scalp and cuts were not so short and left tufts sticking out.

Me at the Lobethal Hair Studio 28/10/2016 - Thank you Lisa Grapentin for 'fixing it up' best you could. Sorry for the constant stream of tears....
Me at the Lobethal Hair Studio 28/10/2016 – Thank you Lisa Grapentin for ‘fixing it up’ best you could. Sorry for the constant stream of tears…. thank you for your amazing words of wisdom

 

Enter tears.

These tears continued for two days! TWO DAYS! I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t eat, decisions were impossible…..I couldn’t cope. And it really wasn’t even about the hair to be honest. I was so lost, confused.

I hit rock bottom.

I was suddenly aware that life wasn’t what I thought it would be after cancer. In fact, it was so much harder coping with life after cancer than it was during cancer. Do you think that is weird?

During cancer my life was taken care of by everyone but me.

  • GP – Tells me I have cancer and proceeds to book me in to see a surgeon immediately
  • Surgeon – Tells me he is the captain of the ship and it is his job to save my life. Then provides me with an Oncologist for the next step
  • Sam – Takes on all responsibilities of getting me too and from all appointments, provides my medications, fluids, foods, hugs and kisses. Cleans house, ensures I shower, sleep, wake, rest, laugh, changes linen on regular basis….
  • Mum – delivers flowers to my house weekly upon her visits
  • Nurses – Provide all of the compassion, caring and patience needed during hospital stays, chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, scans, blood tests,
  • Oncologist – Prepares a schedule of chemotherapy treatments, blood tests, herceptin treatments and provides me with a Radiologist
  • Radiologist – Schedules all of my radiation treatments, sees me on a weekly basis to check my radiation wounds, provide input on creams and treatments for healing
  • Radiographers – Tell me where and how to lay on the bed in preparation for treatment, count down via speakers for holding my breath when the radiation occurs, help me off the bed and have lovely chats with me about my dogs and life
  • Friends and Family – These amazing people do all of the visiting me, calling and texting and emailing me to check up to see I am doing ok, to fill me in on their lives, to make me smile and fill my house with flowers and cards and gifts
  • Private Health Insurance – Pays many of the bills received from having this disease
  • Income Insurance – Pays me 75% of my wage each month
  • The Bank – reduces the mortgage payments to assist in our treatment costs

 

After cancer – Where is everyone?

  • I was hugged and waved goodbye by the beautiful and amazing nurses at oncology on my last day of Herceptin
  • Hair grows back and I no longer look ill therefore, am expected to get on with life as normal
  • Normal doesn’t come along as easy as I thought
  • Banks and other billing companies are no longer so accommodating if bills are late due to ongoing financial burdens because, cancer treatment has finished
  • There are no more cards and flowers
  • No more nurses to make you smile and compare stories of the weekends with
  • There is nothing very interesting to talk about anymore
  • Fatigue and vagueness are still in my life
  • Surgeon is no longer so cuddly and caring but is now demanding and stern
  • I’m not skinny from cancer treatment like those in movies and TV shows
  • I am not needed by the cancer community anymore
  • People aren’t contacting me about their friends or family who have been diagnosed with this illness for me to help them, to talk to them, provide advice and friendship…..

Step 1 – Phone the Cancer Council day Friday 28/10/2016, 1 day after beginning of break down, and receive emergency counselling over the phone and book a face to face session. Confirm there is no risk of self harm and be unable to manage any part of a conversation without crying. Find out about PTSD, Survivor Guilt, Fear of Further Cancer, Loss of Identity…….. there are so many issues, mental heath problems, that can occur after cancer treatment has finished. It isn’t always easy to become a cancer survivor and ‘just get on with things’.

Step 2 – Phone Lisa at the Lobethal Hair Studio to fix the mess and destruction on my head. Find it impossible to stop crying the whole time I’m there. Listen to words of wisdom and good advice. Having someone who knows me so well that knows, it isn’t really about the hair……….. it is more than that.

Step 3 – Attend GP for further emergency assistance. GP proceeds to take away ALL medications and alcohol except 20mg of Tamoxifen (1 tablet for assistance in preventing further cancer) each night and 10mg of Lexipro (Anti Anxiety Medication) each  morning. If I develop a headache at anytime, I am to take nothing stronger than panadol. GP books fortnightly catch ups but advises me to attend the surgery anytime between appointments if I fall apart or it gets too much again. The reason for the alcohol being stopped is because now I have no more hair, what happens if I ‘blackout’ again? I have no more hair to chop off and next time could be a lot more dangerous eg: getting in to a car, walking the streets (there are a few lakes and dams around Meadows) etc….

So, it has now been two weeks since this ‘all went down’. Some days I cruise through and other days, I am fighting to swim against my current of tears…… Nothing sets me off into the spiral of sadness and it is hard to find something to drag me out of it, try as I might.

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I am thankful for some incredibly amazing people who have made it their priority to ensure I know they’re there for me. I want to thank

  • my amazing managers for letting me blubber my way through some attempt at explaining what was wrong with me,
  • for my Bulldog Veronica for fielding all queries about me, shuffling people away from me, standing up for me, protecting me,
  • Vanessa who sends the loveliest words which are so genuine and kind, caring and thoughtful,
  • TK for becoming my ‘stalker’ by sending texts filled with ridiculous world laws, funny photos of her little man Zander, memes of feelings, all while struggling with her own illness and sadness’
  • Tamara, my amazing friend and cousin who has been there before, during and after all of the cancer bizzo sending me her ‘minimum of three things to be grateful/thankful for’ each day and for accepting mine.
  • My Mum for bringing flowers and smiles yet again for this new event in her eldest daughters life.
  • My incredible in laws to be for their hugs and understanding in a certain matter (they know what I am talking about) and for their constant undying love for me
  • John and Clare Mannion for listening and offering lovely words
  • My work colleagues for putting up with me shuffling around from floor to floor to hide from the world for a while
  • The Cancer Council of South Australia on Greenhill Road
  • My friends and family who have, and are, allowing me to cancel all dinner, party and catch up confirmations to deal with this issue
  • That incredible, amazing, loving, supportive, cuddly, funny, compassionate man of mine Sam. Yes, he was angry initially not knowing what on earth was going on with me and thinking  I’d gone on a bender looking for attention. That thought didn’t last long, he realised pretty quickly there was more to it. Sam was there for me taking me to the GP for emergency help and also joined me for counselling at the Cancer Council.

 

I will leave you with some bullshit comments that some people felt the need to say (weather to me or someone else)

  • What on earth did you do to your beautiful hair? It was looking really good! It really was so lovely and curly (my note: it was not curly ok!?) and so pretty. Why would you get rid of that?
    • My side note on this comment – This comment was made to my face by someone who is an associate, not a friend, not a family member but they felt they had the right and need to tell me that my hair looked terrible. I wonder, how would they feel if someone went to them and told them their recent hair cut looked terrible and why didn’t they just leave their hair as it was?
  • She is obviously just wanting more attention
    • My side note on this comment – Um, really? Thanks! I think most people would understand it goes a little deeper than this
  • Why on earth would she have ‘issues’? Isn’t her cancer finished? What is her problem now?
    • My side note on this comment – Firstly, cancer doesn’t FINISH. Secondly, unless you have had such a horrible, emotional, physical event such as this, do not assume you know what it is like ‘once the cancer has finished’ as you put it

The comments I LOVED and heard from a few people were

  • I’m not sure why you cut your hair but I LOVE IT! It really suits you
    • This comment was awesome because I didn’t have to explain why I cut my hair, I wasn’t made to feel ugly, stupid, crazy or weird.
  • I don’t meant to overstep any boundaries but I want to ask because I’m worried…. you don’t have cancer again/you haven’t started chemo again have you?
    • These questions were honest, real, true and there was no other meaning to them other than what was said.

To be continued ………………………..

brit

 

 

 

 

Breast Cancer V’s Anxiety

I have suffered anxiety for a few years now but has been maintained by medication and in all honesty, I haven’t really thought about it. My medication, great positive mindset, positive outlook, wonderful family, daughter, partner has seen me though.

My stage three breast cancer was diagnosed and confirmed 8th of April, 2015 and in all honesty, I don’t feel that it has affected me since I found it hadn’t spread further than my lymph nodes. The worst part of this experience beside finding out I had breast cancer was the agonising wait to see how far this cancer had spread. We (Sam and I) knew it had spread to the lymph nodes but there was a good chance it had spread to my lungs, my brain, kidneys etc. Unless you have been through this part of the cancer wait, you will have no idea how excruciating the wait can be to find out exactly where the cancer is.

It has since occurred to me that my anxiety has increased in the last week. So, today it is the 7th of May and that marks a month since I have known I had breast cancer. Everything had been a whirlwind since diagnosis.

There were surgeon appointments, body scan appointments, surgery booked, boobectimy and lymph node surgery, a week in hospital, recovery etc. There hasn’t been a moment to even think about what has gone on.

Today it occurred to me that the anxiety I have suffered for years is back with a vengeance. Where is Bruce Willis when I need him? Well, I don’t actually need him because I have my own superhero called Sam Wilkinson. My future husband. The man who has saved my life by detecting the breast cancer. The man who hasn’t left my side since diagnosis. The man who was there by my side in hospital every moment available.

What Sam can’t fix is the anxiety that is creeping through my veins. The anxiety that makes me snap at him and the dogs and even my gorgeous little Summer who comes to visit. Thankfully I can tell it is there, it is coming out and I can stop it but it doesn’t stop how I feel. I feel unsettled. I feel agitated and, of course, anxious. I have, like I said, my superhero Sam and my ever patient Summer to forgive my grumpiness and short temper.

I forgot to mention the other day that Summer asked where my ‘skipping rope’ had gone. This is the long tube that sucked the disgusting fluid from my wound through a tube (that is the skipping rope) into the bottle. I explained to Summer that my blood was now lovely and healthy again and she went onto explain that her blood was also nice and healthy and she didn’t need the skipping rope and bottle either.

My new doctor at the local GP clinic had asked me last Saturday about seeing a shrink about dealing with the breast cancer and boobectimy and I was shocked. I looked from Sam to Doctor and advised I didn’t need a shrink for this, I am coping A OK. I was doing great. No shrink needed thanks. I even had a giggle at the thought that the doctor thought I even needed this.

Well, it seems as though I do need this.

I can deal with the boob being cut off and thrown away. I can deal with my friend Summers version of my little boob (the nipple) being cut off and thrown away too. My surgeon is certain he has gotten all of the cancer out of my body. So what on earth am I anxious about?

My doctor today confirmed I am HER2 positive and whilst I don’t know much about it, I do know that anything on top of breast cancer and lymph node cancer, having HER2 positive can’t be good but I brushed it off. I said, oh dear Mr K, thats not cool hey? He replied with, a few years ago, having the HER2 diagnosis wouldn’t have been good but today, you are looking at a long and healthy life.

So, why am I suffering increased anxiety?

I am taking the anxiety medication that I have taken for years. It is the highest dosage I can have so what happens next? I dont want to be snappy because it comes across as ungrateful. I am not ungrateful and do not want to be seen as ungrateful. Is it not enough to deal with stage 3 breast cancer, lymph node cancer, HER2 positive, being overweight, about to lose all my hair and add to that increased anxiety?

Why can’t champagne be the medication to beat all of this? Why can’t I go to the chemo centre and they put a few bottles of Moet or Mumm or Trilogy in front of me, served by a topless and buff man with a cheese, caviar, crab meat, picked squid and a gluten free cracker platter? I am almost certain this would cure my anxiety issues.

In any case.  I think I’ll see my new local GP and ask again about this ‘care plan’ to have a shrink. A care plan is something the government offers that costs tax payers (others would say free but yes, I do know where these so called ‘free’ services come from) and get onto the shrink option and see how I can deal with this increased anxiety.

It kinda also seems trivial to complain about anxiety through this. Like saying, oh wow, I have a headache … sounds absolutely pathetic and not worth discussing seeing as though I have breast cancer and am fighting the fight of my life. Why bring up a headache, a tooth ache, it all seems quite trivial doesn’t it?

What I am happy about today are as follows…

*  lots of hugs and kind words from the wonderful people at my work who really meant what they said

*  my wonderful man who accepts the anxiety as a part of the journey of breast cancer and doesn’t dismiss it

*  organising a huge get together of my mum and mother in law , daughter and her partner to celebrate mothers day

*  having the mountains of fluid syringed from my body to prevent infection

*  comfortably admitting anxiety is coming on strong and ready to take it on and do something about it

*  to have a beautiful and comfortable home to recuperate in through my chemo adventure

Oh Shit! Just went over 1K words for this blog, there is no chance my lovely men Sam and Ian W will read this through…. way too long for them xx

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.