A week in paradise

Adam, Scott & I flew back home to Perth from Bali on friday afternoon. Our flight was a little bit delayed which lead us to arrive back home for 7:45pm. Little did we know that around 7:30pm a huge storm had brewed up in Perth and we were in the heat of it as our plane was lowering for landing. WOW. It was the scariest turbulence I have ever experienced. It was like being on a rollercoaster with scary noises as if the plane wasn’t going to make it. In the meantime, Adam was sitting towards the back of the plane and I was at the window seat next to Scott in the emergency exit. I was trying not to think about the plane crashing whilst I was the closest to an exit but I was seriously struggling! I pulled my hoodie over my head and put my hands over my eyes to try not think about it. I’m pretty sure Scott was laughing at how silly I was being!

Apart from that, Bali was amazing. I had my doubt before we went but it was a great chance to just relax and enjoy good company. Our villa was unreal.. We had a private pool, which was joint to an open kitchen and our own bathrooms which were outdoors, so you felt like you were showering in the jungle. With frogs!

Our private pool/garden
Complimentary breakfast

 

Being silly.
Hard out chillin' by the pool
And again... Uluwatu.
Scott & Adam
Cocktails!
Alice In Wonderland themed bar!!!!

It was so great to see Adam after him being away from home for two weeks. He came to pick us up with a driver, from the airport. As soon as I saw him in the distance I looked at Scott and he said ‘you go get him..’ so I left my luggage with him and ran across the road to greet Adam with a huge hug. I was smiling so hard I think the cracks in the sides of my lips (I will explain this in a second) doubled in size.

Not long after Adam left for Thailand, I woke up one morning and the sides of my mouth were split and sore. No, not coldsores.. I don’t get those, but since I was a child I always had really sensitive lips in the cold weather. Badly chapped and red. Thanks winter! I STILL have them and am literally lathering them in Carmex & Blistex many times a day to try re-hydrate them. I keep putting off going to the doctor because I am sick of going. Although, I do think I have a broken toe from play fighting under water with Adam in Bali. Bigger things are happening this week, so I am going to have to put it off till next week.

Broken toe?...

I saw my hand specialist yesterday afternoon at the hospital – actually with three other doctors who also decided to come in for the appointment (thanks guys) I kind of grinned and said ‘oh kewl, its like a little party in here’ no one laughed though. I was there to get the results for my painful hands. I have mild damage from being a diabetic to my nerves where they are have a slower reaction than normal which has been the biggest issue with what is going on. The other issues like chemotherapy drugs, hypothyroidism and probably the fact that I used to be a body masseur for a few years and from drawing/graphic design work. He said he can operate on my hands by releasing the A1 pulleys in both thumbs (some kind of sheath or something attached to the bone/tendon that allows the thumb to move back and forth – mine is fixated and extremely painful). I have agreed to have both left and right sides released this thursday. Its a day surgery so I shouldn’t have to stay overnight. The actual op only takes 15 minutes and my specialist has said he has a second surgeon that will stitch up the first hand as soon as that one is done, then the other as soon as that is done. The idea is to get me in and out of surgery as soon as possible because it limit the complications with both diabetes and the fact that they have to open up my left side. Why? Because of the risk of lymphedema, remember? A life time contra-indication for my left arm. Anything that is going to interact with my lymph nodes can cause issues. All thanks to having breast cancer. My specialist also took a moment to chat to me about how ‘remarkable’ I was. Not just because what I had been through but for where I ‘am’ right now in my headspace and how it will impact the rest of my life. He said its not until you go through something like I have myself till your on another level than the rest of the world and no one will EVER understand that, not even family. It was pretty crazy, I felt really good about myself after leaving that room.

Today whilst I was showering I had a few thoughts running through my head about the procedure of going to hospital for surgery and all the steps you go through before you get knocked out with general anesthetic. It brought me all the way back to the little bed in the tiny room I was in before my mastectomy. I was laying down with my hair in a disposable shower cap and a huge op gown. Adam, mum and dad were all in this tiny room with me keeping my mind off things whilst chatting to me before the lady came in to wheel me into surgery to have my breast removed. I didn’t write about this at the time I went through it but it was a pretty intense moment lying there knowing I was going to wake up to having only one breast.

Life is so challenging.

A week in paradise

Hot hot heat.

I leave for Bali pretty soon and I am super excited! Expect lots and lots of photos….

Not only am I going to be in the hot humidity over there, but even here at home in Perth. Yep, its winter here but I am finding myself in singlets/t-shirts and jeans and feeling hot. This is definitely my WARMEST winter ever. I normally am so sensitive to the cold weather and shivering cold when the forecast is sitting around 19c. Thanks menopause! Adam and I plan to go to Melbourne in August so I am eager to see how I hold up in the cold there. Maybe I will be hot and sweaty there too? Its so weird.

I had a few issues with booking my travel insurance. It was so frustrating and almost felt a bit discriminating. I was looking around online and getting a few quotes from different companies, which is what I always do anyway. Every site I tried, asked if I had pre-existing medical conditions. Of course this was yes. Not just because of cancer but obviously the 1 billion other issues I have.. Anyway after following all the prompts and questions it kept coming up with the number one pre-existing medical condition as ‘Any cancer you have been diagnosed with in the last 12 months, surgery or secondary cancers’ Yes, I had all three. (secondary cancer meaning it spread to another part of the body) I could not continue with any of the travel insurance companies and had to call them up. Apparently, even though I was safe to travel and my main chemo/radiotherapy is completed (my oncologist has said I am fine to go) they needed confirmation letters from my doctors. Not so great when the trip had been booked so spontaneously and time was so precious! I worked it all out in the end and needed doctors letters anyway to be able to travel with needles as I always have to get ANYWAY even just interstate. Thank god my diabetes and hypothyroidism were not an issue. ARGH! Everything is just too complicated.

I painted/trimmed my fingernails last night in preparation before my trip and was so happy to notice that all the dead, discoloured, thin gross nail that was left from the chemo effects, has all now grown out. I paused for a second before I started cutting the last dead ends of the nails off thinking, wow.. time really flies. I almost felt sad picking up each piece of rotten nail and throwing it into the bin. Soon it will be like cancer never existed in my body. Its a good thing, but its also hard to come to terms with and move on.

I am super busy organising a few things right now so I am going to finish up with a photo of my hair, taken seconds ago. I now have some kind of style going on. Its actually an accidental style. It seriously dries like this I have just flattened the back a little bit with water. The front is to thick and it feels like carpet when you brush your hand back and forth through it. I am so amazed at how wonderful it is coming back! Plus, I still have not had a hair cut. I am so proud of each and every strand, well done to all my beautiful follicles! (Except my eyebrows which are taking forever to grow and also looking very messy up close).

Hair 20/06/11

SEE YA LATER AUSTRALIA!

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Hot hot heat.

Alive

So its been a while, yet again. Life is getting busy as it used to be, which is good.

Adam has now been in Phuket for seven days and has finally adjusted to being away from home. It was hard the first couple of days for us both because we have been closer than ever over the past ten months so it was a bit of a shock to our systems to be apart. We have been chatting on Skype pretty much every day just to keep in touch which has been pretty fun. I will be leaving Perth with Scott next monday afternoon to head to Bali for four days, as Adam has very kindly paid for me to meet him there! It feels so surreal. I don’t think it will hit me that I am actually going, till I get onto the plane.

Skype

Lots has happened recently. Last week Adam’s Nonno passed away (yeah, whilst Adam is not home) I attended the Rosary on monday night, following with another mass and the funeral tuesday morning. I couldn’t understand much of it because it was all in Italian. I know a bit of the language but not enough to understand fluent talking in it. Last night I was so exhausted, I think I was not just tired from such a long day, but also emotionally drained. I haven’t been to a funeral for a couple of years and its not something you do everyday.. So I guess it just threw me out a bit. I’m sure everyone else felt pretty similar.

Lynz arrived in Perth last wednesday and we have been hanging out ever since she arrived. It was her birthday on monday which is why she came home! We had a really great weekend full of fun events and adventures. She is back home already now and I already miss her.

Sunday's road trip to 'The Maze'

I have been continuing to see my physio at the hospital due to menopause side effects and now using medication that contains Estrogen to try get me back to being a normal female. I cannot stay on this medication for too long as my type of cancer can actually thrive off Estrogen, so its a very short term thing which we are hoping will be enough to kickstart my ovaries. I am practically praying everyday for them to start working again. I have been seeing SO many babies around lately and feeling cluckier than ever.

I have also been having many visits to my specialist who is taking care of my carpel tunnel/trigger thumbs. He has sent me off for several tests at different places to look further into whats going on with my hands. Whether it is completely a random thing or if it has been triggered my diabetes.. causing permanent nerve damage. He has said that the chemotherapy has definitely taken part in the nerve issues, so right now I am pretty angry at the whole situation. One of these appointments I had to attend, they strapped my hands and arms up with electric wires and zapped me with some prong thing. It was so unbelievably painful that I burst into tears on the bed and in the car all the way home. Why do I have so many problems that are normally aimed at women 40+ ????? I do not understand. Maybe when I actually AM 40, I will really be 80. How exciting. Anyway, I see the specialist again in a couple of weeks so I will have results soon and finally find out whats going on and if surgery will be happening sooner rather than later.

I have been spending lots of time with my mum whilst Jess and Adam have been away which is nice. We have been trying to get our two dogs together and more familiar with each other so I can trust Brooklyn at mums whilst I am away next week. She can be a bit over excited around mums dog Bella, being the cheeky pug she is and thinking she is the boss all the time.

I started watching Breaking Bad (TV series) last week. I had asked people’s opinion in what I should move onto after finishing Dexter. Majority of my friends said Breaking Bad. One friend of mine also mentioned ‘Fair warning, though – cancer is a big part of the plot of Breaking Bad. Depends on whether you really want to be hearing more about that.’ I replied by saying it didn’t bother me at all.. until I got up to the end of Season 1 and half way through Season 2… I found myself crying through several episodes. Not in a bad way, I mean I continued to watch it.. but it was just so realistic. A lot of tv shows make some illnesses and diseases look much worse or not as bad as they actually are, which I think is frustrating. Though Breaking Bad really does portray a very good outlook on how emotions effect not just the individual going through the disease but also how it can effect the family, work and friends.

Walter White
Breaking Bad
Jesse & Walt

Once again, its already been three weeks since my last chemo. I head in on thursday this week and will then be down to TEN more sessions. I am getting pretty excited for it all to be over. The sooner its over, the sooner I get my breasts reconstructed. The sooner my breasts are fixed…… the sooner I can recover and live my normal life again.

Next year is going to be my year, I just know it. It has to be, right?!

Alive