Wednesday, 30 January 2013

It's all about me...!

Trauma affects people in different ways, some relish it, can't do enough, need/want to be close or involved, others feel awkward, useless & prefer to stay away. Perhaps they're going through their own trauma & don't want to burden, or perhaps they just don't want to be made to feel any worse.  Either way it's funny how the ones you want around are there & make a fuss & it makes you appreciate them & their friendship even more, & the ones that don't, well I have bigger fish to fry, more important things to think & worry about. I need to channel all my energies into coping day to day with the said trauma, whilst physically & mentally trying to heal.

So excuse me if I'm being a bit selfish at the moment but yes for now it is all about ME!

Anyway to everyone who is interested & does care.. I will keep you up to date with what's been going on, & my have I been busy!!

Firstly I went back to the hospital yesterday for a check up & my surgeon is very pleased. Everything's healing nicely, still a bit of fluid inside (hence why swollen & sore + I can feel the implants moving around.. YUK!!) but over time that will drain back into the body naturally, plus with the lymphatic drainage massage treatment I'm having at Chai Cancer Care (amazing place) it is starting to feel a lot easier.  Then once the Stratis mesh joins with my skin, the implant will slot into place & then the whole breast will tighten & lift. I won't have the actual results of what it's all going to look like for about 3 months, as that's when everything should be settled, but if I'm still not happy they can be tweaked!! That's also when they will make & tattoo the nipple, but everything has to be completely healed & in its correct place - heaven forbid after all this I should have a wonky nipple! I still have to keep doing my exercises 3x a day & to come back & see him in 6 weeks!

After hearing all of that I'm feeling slightly better, now knowing that shallow as it might sound, I could have half decent boobs at the end of all this :)

Secondly last week I had some FANTASTIC news!! For those of you that don't know I'm a bit of a drama queen.... "Who me??? Never!!!!!" well in more sense than one, I actually sing, dance & act, have done for years, fully trained from a young age & belong to an AMAZING amateur dramatics company based in Finchley called 'Impact Theatre Company' -

For the past 10 years (give or take a few shows) I have fulfilled my performance potential & loved every minute of it, with this fabulous & talented group of people, with this year being no exception.

To my delight I received an email from the director telling us that our next show which will be in March next year, with auditions & rehearsals to start in September is going to be.......... "Grease"!!!!!!!!!! Now to some of you this might mean nothing, I hear you saying what's the big deal?  But to those of you who know me well will understand this is a VERRRRY big deal, HUGE!!! Years of pent up Pink Ladies syndrome bubbling underneath the surface since the very first time I laid my eyes on John Travolta & Olivia Newton John in that 80's classic.. So to say I am beyond excited is an understatement.  Plus I have something to focus on & to be completely healed & physically fit for.

I have also joined 'Tonights the Night' charity committee, who in conjunction with 'Future Dreams' another charity close to my heart, both who do fantastic work to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, are taking on the fund raising aspect of the show, & together we are going to make lots of money, spread awareness & help strive towards a future without breast cancer!!!

Last but by no means least on Wednesday my gorgeous divine little chap turned 2 & we had a fab party for him at the weekend, with balloons, cake, presents, wonderful friends & the hugely talented Natasha @ Hartbeeps - who kept the littlens' & mummies gloriously entertained! Anyone who's thinking of having a birthday soon (obviously under the age of 5) you must book her!!!

As you can see I must be improving, but I'm going to carry on blogging, so please lovely people keep reading & sharing as this helps so many, but don't forget.....

Friday, 18 January 2013

Pamela Anderson eat your heart out....

Friday 4th Jan 2013 the date my life changed forever.  I wasn't a Cancer patient in the truest sense anymore.  I had just undergone a skin sparing double mastectomy & reconstruction.

After a 4 hour operation + 1hr in recovery I'm back in my room, I can hear talking, mobile phone ringing, I'm not really with it,  I've had an awful lot of anaesthetic, it's going to take a while to get over this.

I don't remember waking up in any pain, just a bit sore where the 2 drains are attached to me draining fluid, no bandages just plasters over the stitches on each breast.  Mum says all has been a success & the surgeon is very pleased.  There were no cells in my lymph nodes which is fantastic news, it means nothing has spread, will have to wait for results of the rest but he seemed confident everything removed was clear but they have to test just to be 100% sure. 

Now to follow 4 days of pain & pills, nurses & nightmares, sleeping & sobbing.. Extensive menus I had to fill out for meals which I couldn't eat, husband & mum bored out of their heads sitting next to me day & night, flowers, balloons, presents, phone calls, a few friends visits, then it was time to leave.

Back at my mums pretty much the same routine without the remote controlled bed & the button for room service.. still mum & husband doing a pretty good job running up & down the stairs, just without a uniform!

Few days in & the pain though not so intense has becomes more of an ache & a sore tender swollen sensation (which is still there 2 weeks later), mainly under my right arm where the lymph nodes were removed.  Thus coupled with 2 big heavy alien mounds planted on my chest, life has proven to be very uncomfortable, & hence why it's taken so long to type this latest blog, that & my mental state of mind (will get to that in a min)..  Plus the more I do the more it hurts, but with a 2 year old around it's hard not to pick up toys, or change a nappy.  Unfortunately pain killers don't really help so I kicked them & just took paracetamol. 

The worst bit was the crying constantly, I couldn't stop, I know the anaesthetic is partly to blame, but this was more than drugs messing with my head, this was deep rooted realisation & shock..  I hadn't prepared myself for all of this, the pain, the feelings I would encounter after the op, the questions I had, the boobs themselves especially the right one with no nipple! The overall general feeling sorry for myself.

Why was I feeling sorry for myself when I had survived this thing? There were so many people worse off than me who never had the chance to be at this point in the journey. It was an endless cycle of being cross and angry with myself, beating myself up for not pulling myself together, sobbing to mum, husband, friends, I needed to get a grip!

It's 2 weeks today, I've been back to see my surgeon twice & he's happy with my healing, the results back from the lab were clear, no further treatment needed.  The crying has subsided apart from the odd sniffle in the bath or getting undressed & I am faced with them.  Anyone who thinks as I did that you would have magnificent boobs after breast reconstruction due to breast cancer is naive. I had convinced myself that this was my 'gift with purchase', my 'silver lining' for going through it all. Reality is, they will never be perfect, but they will be ok because they will have to be, they're the only boobs I've got & they're cancer-free. I'm not going to lie, it's the most horrific, mentally challenging, saddest thing that I've ever had to experience, & my journey isn't even half way yet, but it's a hell of a lot better than the alternative!

A word of advice if you are considering this route, do not envision  Pamela Anderson, Elle MacPherson or any other perfectly chested woman you know.. Keep your expectations realistic, & be grateful that you are able to have reconstructive surgery, & that you're alive!!  Be thankful for family, friends, faith & health.  Try to stay strong, tough & brave - you will get through it.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Goodbye boobs...

This is weird, I'm at my mums in my old bed, last time I was here was the night before my wedding, also with a feeling of anxious anticipation, but obviously much much happier about the impending day ahead & not silently praying that all will be ok..

Saying goodbye to my little boy was the hardest thing ever, I practically sobbed the whole way in the car, it's not the leaving him, that I've done lots of times, but the thought that... well let's not even go there!

I have to be at the hospital by 7am, around 8 i'll be taken somewhere for a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, & then the operation is at 11, it should take a couple of hours, an hour in recovery & back in my room by 3pm.

So before I try & get some sleep, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all my wonderful family & friends for their unconditional love & support. It's because of you all that I'm able to face this journey with courage, faith & humour.

To everyone reading & sharing my blog, a huge thanks as you are helping to raise awareness, and strive towards a future free from the fear of Breast Cancer.

Goodnight everyone & see you on the other side!