Feeling free

Imagine yourself taking a big deep breathe in and letting out a big sigh of relief. Why? Because as I started to write this post, that is exactly what I did and continued to type with a big smile.

My life is finally starting to take shape and form some kind of direction. This year has been busy for us with selling our home and moving into another one which we intend to re-build on early 2014. Our Thailand wedding is coming up in the next couple of months which is super exciting but again keeping me insanely busy. It has been such a joy to plan and organise. I also have been studying web design for a few weeks whilst taking on some work from home, keeping up my weekly voluntary work at the children’s hospital and writing guest posts for Therese Kerr and the lovely Alison at Relauncher. My body is feeling amazing after months of back rehabilitation and physiotherapy, my strength is back and I am training six days a week, sometimes twice a day! Along with all of this, I have just got a new part-time job. I love everything in my life right now and I could not be any happier.

After doing so much inspirational voluntary work along side the Breast Cancer Foundations, I have found myself pulling back on a lot of it. I have recently turned down several opportunities due to what feels like I have moved on. My mind is set on prioritising myself as #1 by doing what is going to now enhance and cherish my life to make me my happiest. It has not been an easy thing to do after so long, but it just seems to be an automated feeling inside me which makes me feel very proud and my positivity is beaming stronger each and everyday.

In saying all this, life has not been a walk in the park. It has been very difficult this year to reach this point of success and fulfilment. I think the big questions that survivors of any life threatening disease ask themselves is “So what do I do now? How to I pick up where I left off? Do I want to continue where I was headed.. or Do I make some big changes and start off fresh?” I think we all take this in different ways. For me, I had to think long and hard about what it is I want to be doing. I thought I was happy where I was before my illness but I didn’t feel as though I knew where I was heading or what my purpose was in life. I now feel confirmed that what I enjoy doing is what I need to be doing. I never liked the thought of myself working a full-time job doing the same thing everyday, I did it on and off for a while, but it always came back to wanting to do a few different things with my time and feeding my brain with creativity whilst also nurturing my caring side with something health or body related. Funnily enough, both two things I have qualifications in but being too completely different careers, I never really thought I would be piecing them to be worked in conjunction with each other.

Now, I have managed my life into being able to make both of these things work together and I feel like I have opened myself to a whole new me – which of course was always inside me. Being able to take time to look at yourself and reflect on what you want from your life is something we all need to take the time to do. You don’t have to feel lost or unhappy with your life, you just need to understand who you are and where you want to be to make you the best you. No one can do this for you but yourself.

It has not just been a hard year of me finding my true self, but for Adam too. To be able to come out from the anxiety of not having to worry about me everyday, or being able to go on a holiday and feeling free rather than thinking ‘Is Rach okay? Am I a bad person to be leaving her at home whilst I am away or out at work for the night?’ Absolutely not. But coming out from being the carer from a life threatening illness.. This is how your mind can make you feel about every single thing you do. Though it was me that has gone through all of the surgeries, illness and pain.. I cannot express enough honour to Adam for what he has been through himself to support me and watch me go through it all with so much love and support. Today, he is the strongest, most inspirational and successful person I have met in my life.

I feel so blessed to be able to be getting married at the end of this year to this extraordinary man. It could not be happening at a better time after a hard year of emotions and the questioning of life and where we are. It has all worked out and we are feeling on top of the world.

chi-thai

Feeling free

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

Kerrrrrrrfect

As some of you already know, since late January I have been in contact with Therese Kerr. I was absolutely delighted when she asked me to be a contributor to her website and write a post once a week. My posts have been going live every Thursday morning for four weeks and include some of my rituals I use daily to keep my head clean and positive. You can visit the website here at www.theresekerr.com and view my bio page here. Therese’s website has several other brilliant contributors who all dedicate their experiences and knowledge on anything and everything to inspire others to live healthy and happy lives including some amazing recipes.

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 3.25.08 PM

Therese is not only the proud mother of Miranda and Matthew Kerr, but she is also the General Manager of KORA Organics and co-author of ‘Lunchbox Solutions’ along side Chef Kate and Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani. Lunchbox Solutions is her first multi-touch e-book for iPads and electronic devices (also available in pdf format). The aim of the book is provide healthy lunch alternatives for all ages. There is also a lot of dedication to getting children into healthy eating and how to prepare their lunch for school. You too can do this yourself to prepare your healthy lunches for work! This book, containing video’s, electronic glossary, links, etc is a state of the art, multi-touch e-book utilising the latest technology to deliver a recipe book like no other. Therese will also be releasing four more fantastic books in 2013.

I have been slowly adding some of the recipes from Lunchbox Solutions to my eating plans and really finding great alternatives to my already healthy lifestyle. You can never have too many ideas!

My Green Smoothie: Avocado ~ Kale, Spinach ~ Natural Probiotic Yoghurt ~ Shredded Coconut ~ Maca ~ Chia Seeds ~ Psyllium ~ LSA ~ Coconut Oil ~ Cacao ~ Raw Green Super Powder ~ Almond Milk/Water & Ice.
My Green Smoothie: Avocado ~ Kale ~ Spinach ~ Natural Probiotic Yoghurt ~ Shredded Coconut ~ Maca ~ Chia Seeds ~ Psyllium ~ LSA ~ Coconut Oil ~ Cacao ~ Raw Green Super Powder ~ Almond Milk/Water & Ice.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy either for your iPad or PDF for your computer or laptop, please click on either the Lunchbox Solutions tab on my website or on the banner to the right of this page that I have added for your convenience and follow the prompts, or simply click here. Below is a video demonstration which gives you some further information before your purchase.

The wonderful ladies themselves - Therese Kerr, Chef Kate & Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
The wonderful ladies themselves – Therese Kerr, Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani & Chef Kate

The Kerr family live and breathe everything organic. From eating to spiritually living and what you put on your body, all the things I like to include in my life. They are a great inspiration to us all. I myself, have always been very inspired by Miranda from the time I was 14 where I saw her enter the Dolly magazine modelling competition in 1997.. So as you can imagine this is such a wonderful opportunity for me! 🙂

I hope you all enjoy Lunchbox Solutions and my upcoming posts here at rachiii.wordpress.com and at theresekerr.com! If you have any topic suggestions or things you would like me to write about, feel free to comment on my blog with your ideas 🙂

Rachi

xxx

Kerrrrrrrfect