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Archive for August, 2010

Today in Daffodil day (supporting the cancer society) , it’s grey, drizzling and quite cold. I just stopped by the supermarket to get some things for dinner tonight and standing outside the main entrance was an elderly woman, huddled in the warmth of her jacket, while holding out the donations bucket. I dug deep into my jacket pocket and found some coins, as I reached out to put them in her bucket she smiled and said “oh dear, thank you so much, I hope you never have to go through cancer”… I stopped dead in my tracks, almost like she had just hit me in the face. The poor lady! she noticed the look of (who knows!) on my face and thought that somehow she had upset me. Quite motherly she took me over to her little table and asked me if everything was ok, I mean I hadn’t even said one word to this lady. I thanked her, for telling me that she hopes I never have to go through cancer, for giving me the kick that I needed to get out of the slum I feel I’m in, she looked puzzled and asked if I would give her more of an explanation…….So I told her this:

I’m 31years young, the mother of three wonderful children, the wife of  THE most amazing man I’ve ever met, the daughter of a woman whom has been battling cancer for over 5years now, the niece of an amazing beautiful woman whom lost her fight with cancer…I’m BRCA1 +…..I don’t have cancer, but have completed the preventative surgeries to ensure that my odds are the lowest they can be…

Tears started to well up in this woman’s eyes, and she gently said to me “you are a very brave young lady, with such courage do you realize how many people could not go through with what you’ve done?, your an inspiration dear”…. and with that she went back out into the cold and drizzle with her donation bucket.

Do I feel brave? No.. In fact I feel scared…Do I feel courageous? absolutely not… Do I feel like an inspiration? NO… today I don’t but tomorrow maybe I will. Tomorrow when I wake up maybe the day will be blue and the drizzle will be rays of sunshine and the cold will be the sun’s warmth, but with everything I feel at least I know I’m alive.

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making a difference

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of home I had, or the car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a BRCA sister….

and my BRCA sisters are an important part of my life. I feel so truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life, so many wonderful women who share this stupid bloody mutation, women whom I can honestly call friends and family.

F L O W E R S = Friendships Like Ours Will Eternally Remain Special

Recently one of my best friends/sisters had a major health scare, and all of a sudden I found myself totally freaked out at the thought that I might lose her. Up until that point I thought that she was bullet proof and that nothing would ever happen to her, then all of a sudden I was shot down to earth with reality that she is just like everyone else… But really she isn’t like anyone else, she dedicates so much of her life, in fact almost all of it to help the BRCA community… She gives everyone a shoulder to cry on anytime of the day, she is the most unselfish person I know.. When I was at a point where I was ready to give up she was my cheerleader, reminding me the reason I was doing the surgery, and that risks were something we had to take to save our lives….

I don’t know if she knows the impact she has had on my life, I’ve told her at least a hundred times, and the impact she has had on others lives too, and how when she was in hospital we all waited with our breath held for the news that she was ok, the sleepless nights I had thinking about how helpless I felt that I couldn’t be with her, how the distance between us frustrates me..

That special friend is Teri Smeija, a special angel in my life

Teri, I want to give you my shoulder, I want to help lift you up when you are down, I want to tell you that everything will be ok, I want to tell you that you are strong, an inspiration, and that I will be here for you forever…. thank you for being my friend xoxo to the moon xoxox

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In the last year or so I have made some wonderful friends, and special life long bonds.  Having this mutation hasn’t been easy and when you find people just like you who know how it feels to carry something so heavy on your shoulders it feels magical. Teri was one of a group of a special angels who lifted me up and helped me carry on when I was in a very dark tunnel and thought I wouldn’t ever see the light. She works tirelessly for the BRCA community, despite being in cronic pain and having a toddler and husband to care for. She responds to EVERY single question, and recently spent HOURS AND HOURS getting people to support CHASE for FORCE, even though it meant she had to put other things on hold to do so, she is a shining light in a lot of people lives and now I’m asking for your help…

Teri was admitted to hospital yesterday (she had stage1 do over on the 21st July)… with a blood clot on her leg, luckily that clot dissolved but a CT Scan revealed that she has clots on her lungs… I am so far away from her and feel totally helpless, today I feel super emotional and the thought of her in hospital with this complication makes me cry and feel weak. I need you all to please keep Teri in your thoughts and prayers, and her husband Travis and baby Brady.

Teri: In one’s lifetime they will be lucky to find someone as selfless and wonderful as you, you are a pillar of strength for so many people and are so special in my life. Today I give you everything I have to help you recover quickly, and tomorrow I know that when you smile all my pain that I am feeling for you will have been well worth every minute of it, I love you to the moon and beyond xoxoxox

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lost in the fog

In the last couple weeks, I’ve felt quite lost, almost empty. I struggled in the first week after my exchange with my feelings on my new squishies, and struggled to “bond” with them, then 8 days later developed the haematoma and had to have surgery all over again. I started to feel like everything that was happening to me was my fault,  as I had decided to do the surgery, I had no one else to blame but myself, and just had to suck it up.

Then after talking with my plastic surgeon, we both thought it would be an idea to perhaps dedicate a song from my new squishies to myself, yes, I know that sounds a bit loco, but I needed in some way to acknowledge my squishies and accept that they are now part of my body…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlMEGBsw6j8

I had my post op appointment yesterday, and told my plastic surgeon that I hated my new boobs (I actually wasn’t going to say anything because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings!) she looked at me with a very knowing look and said, this is a process and is almost like a relationship, you have to trust me, we have to work together and I wont know how your feeling unless you tell me! And here I was thinking that I would just have to accept the way they are and live with it, but she said I will do whatever I can to make them as much of you as you want them to be, whew! but because of my haematoma things will have to progress slowly, it was so badly infected and is still a possibility that it can happen again as the swabs they took showed it had a small colony of fungi (ew yep I made sure that’s what she said!) and I have had the flu for almost 2weeks now, so I need to rebuild all my immunity to be able to go through more surgery…. which again brings me back to guilt… I am going to disrupt everyone’s routine again, I feel so god damn selfish.

This morning I ran into an old family friend, his mom use to look after me when I was a baby, he was saying he read the magazine article I did a couple of months ago and how great he thought it was that I was doing the surgeries. Then as he turned to leave he said to me, Your the toughest chick I know, if anyone can get through the bullshit in life and come out smiling it’s you…

So I am going to do my best to try and find that chick that he knows, she’s in here somewhere! and I thought this was a great status update from an old friend that I thought was very fitting too

“In our lifetimes we are but three people. The person we were, the person we are and the person we are destined to become and just like the unkown journey along an open highway to our destination, we are not to know what will happen along the way. The only certainty is that we will only be one of those people at any one point in our lives.”

so while I feel lost in the fog today, I’m sure that at some point it will lift and I will be able to feel the warmth of the sun and be able to enjoy a beautiful day.

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stupid ta ta’s

My first week post op, I found harder than I thought it was going to be, yes I’m a busy full time mum, but something just wasn’t right…At first I put it down to the fact that I was tired and my kiddies weren’t very well, I didn’t immediately fall in love with my new implants like I thought that perhaps I should and I just felt off! I felt like I had the flu and just felt in general blah (but then how else are you meant to feel one week after such surgery?)

8 days after my exchange, I had an appointment with my plastic surgeon’s nurse to have my dressings changed (I had on a foam bra made of tape just to keep everything in place) and as she started removing it realized that it had actually burnt my skin and left me quite raw… so gently she kept on peeling… Then once she had taken it all off turned to me and said, um I think there is a problem with your implant, looking down I thought yeah you know you could be right! My left implant looked small and on a lean whilst my right implant sat plump and bruised almost black, and all of a sudden the nurse looked uncomfortable! She decided to call another Plastic surgeon as mine was in theatre.. He walked in and studied my breasts, and said casually, “the left implant has ruptured and is suppose to look like the right, you will need an ultra sound to determine the viability”.. “you will need to be at the hospital by 7.30am and no food after 11pm tonight” and with that he left… The nurse was very sympathetic and apologetic too, I had gone to the appointment alone thinking that it was just a casual check up and now the implants that I hadn’t really warmed to were causing me problems. Esto’s reaction was the hardest, I told him I had to go back to the hospital and he got angry (not with me) but because he couldn’t take time off work and we needed to arrange someone to watch the kids, the Doctor told me I would be home by midday and that it was no big deal, so I had arranged that Esto’s mum watch the kids until the afternoon and then I would home…

I was so unprepared, Esto dropped me off at the hospital entrance and kissed me goodbye asking me to text him when I knew what time I had to be picked up… I wandered around the hospital as I was early and finally decided that maybe the earlier I am the earlier I will get out of here! The nurse came out and asked me to pop on a hospital bracelet and sign a consent for surgery form (all standard procedures even if you don’t have surgery) and told me to wait in the waiting room, I watched a bit of TV, confessions of a go go dancer were on! I started to feel really ill and my head started getting really heavy, I put it down to nerves and the fact that I was starting to get the flu.. My Plastic Surgeon Sarah arrived and we went into her exam room where she examined me, she looked really confused at first and was wondering why everyone was making a big deal of my left breast when to her quite clearly the problem was with the right, she ordered an ultra sound and I went back into the waiting room… about an hour later (watching more TV this time the sisterhood of the travelling pants) I started to feel emotional, my head was pounding my back was aching my foobies were tight and I could almost feel them want to pop when I breathed out! I felt like I was going to cry!

After my exchange surgery I met a women named Kiri, she is the breast reconstruction nurse and supports women who are going through reconstruction. Sarah had called her and told her I was in and waiting on an ultra sound etc so she decided to pay me a visit to see how I was holding up, (poor thing) she walked into the waiting room and smiled at me and I burst into tears! She lead me to a private room and let me cry, I was tired, I felt lonely, I felt guilty, I was ready to give up.  A nurse helped her put in a lure for an IV, I was given some pain pills and it was decided they would let me sleep and I would be woken for the ultra sound..

As the nurse took me down to ultra sound I started vomiting, I had gone down hill fast through out the day, and could barely move, laying on the table for the ultra sound I felt so ill I couldn’t even look at the screen, the lady was so nice, she was explaining everything to me and all I could think is man I just want to go to sleep! My left implant was fine but my right implant had a massive haematoma, or large infusion mainly over the superior breast and some internal septations .. Another radiographer came in and decided that it could be drained and using a needle and he would do it right there and I would be allowed home in 30minutes wooohhhhoooooo!! That was of course until he started draining and in 10minutes had only 2ml of fluid… he sent the fluid for urgent testing… uh oh back upstairs I go!

I was in the lift on my way back upstairs when Esto called, I got out of the lift and said to him “babe I’m going to throw up, I’ll call you back!”, the nurse took one look at me and rushed to get a bowl, and then started some anti nausea medication to hopefully stop the vomiting as I had been fasting so I had nothing to vomit…. I started drifting off to sleep when Sarah came in and said, “it’s bad news I’m afraid, the haematoma is actually infected which is why your so sick, and we need to operate now”….. by this time it was 5.30pm and I called Esto, there was no way he was going to make it to the hospital before my surgery to see me and it was going to be too late for him to come afterwards, his feeling of helplessness made me sad, and again I had guilt, I had elected this surgery, now I was ruining everyone’s plans with a decision I made, I broke down again wondering if I even had the strength to get through this.

I don’t remember recovery, only that I was vomiting, but when I woke in the morning I had a sad feeling, and felt really down, I texted my friend Teri:

I wish you lived closer, I broke down for the first time yesterday, I hate this pain, I hate feeling defeated, I just feel so broken, at least I’m alive tho…

I cried and cried and cried, I felt so lonely, like I no longer knew my own body…..

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