It only occured to me today that really, 2011 is almost over.
Has a year really gone by that fast? This time last year I was re-cooperating from my mastectomy and lymph node removal, whilst also preparing myself for the installation of my IV port and IVF procedure to begin (in two days from now to be precise). How can I forget…. It was also nine days prior my first cycle of chemotherapy. Look at me now.. I am flying with colours and doing bigger and better things.
On my last day of chemo (29th Sept 2011!) I ran into my friend who I had been seeing on my last 3-4 cycles as she had just started chemo for breast cancer. We never really went into detail by asking what she actually had done with surgery/diagnosis. To me, she has always seemed a little bit more conservative than I am. Though, we ended up discussing reconstruction. She was lucky enough to have her recon done the same time she had her bilateral mastectomy. She is still in the process of having her skin stretched with the semi-permanent implants (which of course is how mine will also be done). I politely asked her if I could feel them and she was more than happy to let me have a touch! They were ROCK hard. I have been told this by my surgeon though, once the semi-permanent implants are removed and the silicon is replaced by them, they do loosen up. She continued to tell me about how terrible it is to have the skin stretched and how she hates to look at them in the mirror and how uncomfortable they are. It was not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I am all for pros and cons so I continued to talk to her. She alerted me when she said she was supposed to see the surgeon I am booked in with for January 5th, by telling me she ended up going to someone else as they offered a much less crazy procedure. I was itching with concern thinking ‘oh no, I am so excited and ready for my surgery, though what if I should get a second opinion?!’ She said she had 3 different opinions and I knew, I had to research more into what I was about to go through. I am booked with the best surgeon already which I feel confident about, but I do think that this is something that is going to affect me for the rest of my life – so – only today, I got the guts to call up and book my second opinion. I am feeling really stubborn about this and not wanting to go, not wanting to take MORE time off work for medial issues and not wanting to possibly have to cancel my booked surgery for a later date next year. Its driving me insane, though I know its for the best. Ugh.
My hair is coming along pretty good these days, I swear its growing by the week! I have this lil thing I do, where I try push it back into a pony tail and every week it is definitely a bit longer. Below, I have created a gif file for everyone to see my progress.
Finally I feel like I am settling into work, things are getting easier and more routine like. I am also keeping up well with my exercising which has definitely paid off with all my extremely hard work/effort. I can’t wait for summer seeing as I missed out on the whole warm season last year.
This morning mum texted me with the horrible news about 36 year old Giuliana Rancic. She is the host of E! news if you didn’t know. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing surgery this week and six or so weeks of radiotherapy. I really feel for her as her and her husband have been through the process of IVF twice, whilst in the middle of their third time right now with the possibly of being pregnant. I obviously know how grueling IVF is both mentally and physically and I have only done it once whilst luckily, being successful.
Here is a link to a video if you would like to see it: Giuliana Rancic – Breast Cancer
So more things are coming up, I am booked in to have all four of my wisdom teeth cut out in hospital on November 11th. This will make the date 11.11.11 which is pretty cool! I hope I go okay with this as I want to be back at work as soon as possible so I purposely booked it for a friday so I have the weekend to get better super fast. Unfortunately I will be missing out on my friends wedding but I will be going to her Hen’s day this saturday so I will be making up for it by celebrating this weekend. I am really excited because I am starting to get into wedding mode myself. On saturday morning I got up and looked through heaps of wedding magazines whilst bookmarking things I liked and starting to get ideas for myself! I have to admit I definitely had butterflies in my tummy at the thought of it 🙂
I almost forgot to mention that I did end up doing the second public speech that Deida from Breast Care WA contacted me about. Mum also filmed this speech which I can put up if anyone really wants to see it (message me if you really want to see it and I can upload it). I was so happy as both my mum and dad came with me to this one. Dad was in Asia when I did the speech for The Pink Gig so he couldn’t make it, though I was really happy that he came to The Bossom Buddies. He was so proud of me when I came back to the table with my beautiful bunch of flowers and book that was awarded to me after my speech. I told him that I didn’t just do the speech for myself, but also for his older sister Patricia – whom I will be dedicating a whole blog post to this week. She very sadly passed away not too long ago at all from suddenly being diagnosed with stomach cancer. So I was the start of something in my family and we obviously now have a bit of a history with it. I could tell my dad was really heartfelt and I knew how much me saying that, meant to him.
I have another photo I thought I would share with everyone. The effects from radiotherapy are still present. I still have a tan mark from where I was exposed to. It has lighted up a lot now but I cannot believe its been six months and it still hasn’t completely gone! My mastectomy scar is looking good now and becoming more transparent looking rather than a purplish-red colour. As for my IV port scar… Thats never really healed. I hope that once it is removed it will heal up better. I suppose it would because its a foreign body and should go away once its gone? I will find out next year. I have also noticedwith my IV port that its a lot more prominent than it used to be. Maybe my chest is more toned from the gym or maybe it has just settled into my body within time. It buldges out of my chest which makes it extremely noticable and isn’t attractive at all. I will try get a better photo of this another time – you can only just see it in the image below.
About a month ago, I decided I needed to order a brand new medic alert bracelet. I have worn one every day since I was diagnosed with diabetes 20 years ago. Incase you didn’t know, its a bracelet you wear daily if you have a medical condition so if you were found unconscious or in a car accident etc, paramedics can recognize you have an illness or know if you have certain medications or anything like that. Pretty good idea if you ask me. Anyhow, the one I have always worn just said on the back of it… ‘TYPE 1 DIABETES ON: INSULIN’. After all my cancer bullshit, I now have to try eliminate the chances of getting lymphoedema. As mentioned several times, I cannot have injections/drips/blood pressure taken on my left arm for the rest of my life. I have been hospitalized many times in the past for unexpected things so I thought it was smart to somehow get this also engraved onto my medic alert. When I contacted the company they recommended I purchased a ‘large emblem’. Before, I had a small one as I only needed one line of text engraved – now, I have 4 lines. This emblem is MASSIVE! I will show you the difference in size another time if I can locate my old one. It now says on it… ‘TYPE 1 DIABETES ON: INSULIN ALERT LYMPHOEDEMA (L) ARM – NO IV,BP,INJ. Its actually crazy how cramped up with text it is. Oh the things you have to do to stay safe. These bracelets are pretty ugly but Jess bought me a really nice bracelet and got the emblem solded onto it at the jeweler. What a babe!
I am going to leave you with two more photos, these were both taken on my last day of chemo. One of me and Adam (well, what you can see of him..) and the second one is of a pretty pink bush of flowers I saw when I stepped out of the hospital. They were so pretty I had to get a photo with them! (being pink its also totally appropriate)
Thats all from me today, I will be updating soon with a story on Patricia, my wonderful, inspiring Aunty. RIP xxxxxxxxx