Heal, Recover & Rejuvenate

I honestly cannot believe it has already been two months since my last surgery, I have some updates on my progress for you all and some inside details on whats been happening..

Everything went really well and my breasts are finally settling and starting to look softer and a lot more natural. It is so exciting and I feel so blessed every time I see my reflection. I forgot how much better your clothes sit and look when you have two equally (well, close to) sized breasts!

Final implants
Final implants

Mid March I noticed I had what looked like a tiny piece of white twine string sticking out of my left breast at the armpit end of my scar. Usually when any stitches are rejected from my body the nurses gently pull them with tweezers and they come straight out. I did this reallllllly slowly and it wouldn’t budge and was quite sore. Soon after it started to leak with blood and plasma.. I had to text my surgeon and he called me with what I had to do… “sterilise some sharp scissors, pull firmly on the stitch and snip it off as close as you can to your breast. I also want you to come see me tomorrow any time between 1 & 5pm”. My body had rejected yet another type of stitches that were used! I went in the following day concerned as where the stitch had been snipped off, there was a big gaping hole, it seemed to be getting deeper and wider and I thought I could see my implant! The surgeon had a look and told me that it wasn’t the implant I could see, it was my muscle. My stomach turned instantly like a washing machine. He said it wasn’t anything to worry about but I had to keep it very clean and re-dress it with this special sponge-like material and some hyperfix every morning after I showered for 2-3 weeks. After about a week I could notice it was slowly healing and filling in. Diabetics always heal a lot slower than the average person so it was critical I kept my blood sugar levels absolutely PERFECT to avoid infection. I felt good about it and treated my body with lots of love and care and after the third week, it was completely healed with yet another scar.

The picture doesn't really capture the depth of the hole the stitch left in my breast, but this gives you an idea...
The picture doesn’t really capture the depth of the hole the stitch left in my breast, but this gives you an idea of what was going on..

Hopefully June/July will be my last operation which will be the icing on the cake AKA the nipples to my breasts and some fat injections to my radiotherapy side (my left). The skin is very thin between the implant and outer skin. The fat will be infected between this area plus along the top to help ‘plump’ it up.

This all happened within good timing because we had booked a trip to Bali over early April. It was such an unreal holiday! So many adventures, good food, great company and a lot of relaxation. I felt like I was able to really enjoy everything so much with no pain or having to wear bandages or bra fillers in one side… and best of all – I could wear my bikinis and pretty summer dresses and feel like a real pretty lady again!

As thrilled as we were to be taking a vacation, Brooklyn wasn't too happy! :(
As thrilled as we were to be taking a vacation, Brooklyn wasn’t too happy we were leaving her behind 😦
Blessings on blessings
Blessings on blessings
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple – Alex, Adam, James, Casey & Daniel
Our scooter team of friends riding through the rice paddy fields
Our scooter team of friends riding through the rice paddy fields – I was trying to take photos on the back of our bike
Our beautiful villa!
Our beautiful villa!
Water levitating with Casey
Water levitating with Casey
We took a lot of time to relax & soak up some vitamin D!
We took a lot of time to relax & soak up some vitamin D!
So happy
So happy (& tanned!)

On April 4, I was due to see my Oncologist for my 6 month check up. This can always be a little sad because I have to go back to the cancer center and see all the staff that looked after me during surgeries and chemotherapy. I also have to see all the other ill patients and it just brings back a lot of old memories. When I was in the waiting room I saw a lot of sick people and I had a lump in the back of my throat, I just wanted to cry because I knew how tricky life was for me at that time. When my oncologist came out to call my name, she walked straight past me in the waiting room to the outdoor area – I always used to sit in the corridor for my (more regular) appointments to allow all the indoor seating for the elderly people who weren’t as mobile as me. I also liked to sit near the entrance for fresh air.. Any how, she must of assumed I was in my usual spot, then she came back inside and called my name – I looked up from my magazine I was reading and she was so shocked by how different I looked from last October. “LOOK AT YOUR HAIR!” She said. I smiled and we went into her room. This day was my three year cancer-free appointment, how amazing is that? She examined me and said everything seemed to be going very well. I remember when I first met her she told me I would have to see her every 6 months for 5 years then back off as the years went on… I wasn’t 100% clear so I asked her how long I would still have to be visiting her. She answered with “My patients who have clearly looked after themselves and have had no illness or bad signs since removing their tumors.. I tend to knock off after being four years cancer free.” She smirked at me and I cheekily asked “am I one of these patients”? She laughed and said “Yes Rachel, I am very pleased with your progress and I don’t think I will be needing to see you as long as we originally intended”. My face literally beamed with joy! This means only 3 more Oncology appointments 😮

In other good news, just over a week ago my surgeon informed me via text message that I can now wear ANY bra I like. I have been wearing big thick, daggy surgical bras for three years now and not even owned a bra in that time. When I had my first mastectomy in 2010 I threw out all my bras as old memories so that when the day came to fit my new boobies – I would have a fresh start. I now have two new sets of bras and they are beautiful!

To me, my scars are only distant memories of strength & survival
To me, my scars are only distant memories of strength & survival

Again, he also informed me I was allowed to start geting back into exercising (to my limit) once I returned from Bali – which is now! Today I got straight back into it and went to a Pilates class. I was so excited to be there and I absolutely killed it. Some how I have managed to maintain my core strength really well. I have a feeling I will be back into it all – including Muay Thai – a lot sooner than I thought!

My positive life gets better each day. I am always striving for new ideas, inspirations and becoming quite the addict to my meditation. Sometimes I find I am meditating up to three times a day! I have grown to love every aspect of my life, the good, the difficult, the sad and the struggle – everything I feel is something amazing and I hope everyone can teach themselves to learn to live this way. I have never felt so great 🙂

Bali_Buddha

Love & Light to you all,

Rachi

xxx

Heal, Recover & Rejuvenate

Dedicated to Bruce Vento: 1940 – 2000

I received an email from a lovely lady, Susan. She contacted me as she found my blog post where shared Cameron’s story about his wife and her journey with Mesothelioma (rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body’s internal organs). Susan’s husband, Bruce Vento was a member of the US House of Representatives—until October 10th, 2000, when everything changed. Bruce died of pleural mesothelioma.

I feel honoured to be able to share Susan’s story for such an empowering, courageous and wonderful man. A man who was recognised for his efforts in cleaning the environment and promoting affordable housing. Susan is also a spokesperson for a great online resource called the Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign that fights to protect cancer victims and their families. This story honestly sent shivers down my spine, we all know I am all about bringing upon awareness and the quality of life, especially coming from such outstandingly inspiring individuals. I hope that even just my small contributions can help bring about more awareness to this terrible, deadly disease that is a cancer that not many people may even know about.

“I often thought he took care of the birds in the air, but he also took care of the people on the streets. He mixed well with people who were poor and never treated them as if they were anything but peers. He had a great knack to show respect for people regardless of their economic condition.”

– Monsignor Jerome Boxleitner (ret.)

MY STORY & OPPOSITION TO THE FACT ACT – SUSAN VENTO

Dear Chairman Bachus and Ranking Member Cohen:

My name is Susan Vento, and I’m writing to express my strong opposition to H.R. 982 called the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT Act). My husband was the late Congressman Bruce F. Vento who served for more than 24 years in the House of Representatives representing Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District. He died from mesothelioma in 2000 within eight months of being diagnosed.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Bruce was exposed through his work as a laborer years before we met or became involved in public life. He told his constituency about his diagnosis in early February 2000 when he announced why he would not run for re-election. On February 14, he had his lung surgically removed and then began an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy and radiation at the Mayo Clinic.

It was not enough. My husband died three days after his 60th birthday in October. With his death, our country lost a dedicated and humble public servant years before his time. I lost so much more.

Bruce dedicated himself as a tireless and effective advocate for the environment, for working people and for the disadvantaged. During his time in Congress, he was well respected by members of all parties. He served as chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and also served on the House Banking Committee.

The FACT Act directly contracts the decades of work my husband invested in helping those who could not help themselves. If this bill passed, it would be a serious step back for the important work he achieved as your colleague. As the FACT Act is currently written, it is one-sided, unfair and unnecessary. It touts “transparency” yet will delay and in some cases deny justice to people suffering from debilitating asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Please sign our petition and say NO to the FACT Act. I thank you for your consideration and hope you will stand with me in support of Bruce’s memory and in opposition of this bill.

Sincerely,

Susan Vento

Thank you very much Susan for contacting me and allowing me to share your story with the world. My heart also goes out to you. Bless.

xxx

Dedicated to Bruce Vento: 1940 – 2000