Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nipple Twist...

Thursday 27th August 2015

Tuesday 1st September is the date for my bilateral nipple construction.

Check out this video of a nipple reconstruction:

EEEKKKK, I hope I'm asleep for that.

Will keep you posted.

with love
Shaz x

Thursday, August 13, 2015

3 years.........

13th August 2015

I sit here 12 months on from my last post and wonder where the time has gone.  Many things have happened over the last 12 months.  

After my last post, the family and I headed to Coral Bay (WA) camping in a caravan.  We had such an awesome time with friends, the entire family forgot about day to day stresses and we fished, off roading, ate/drank and laughed alot.

The plan was as written in my last blog, to get myself a new set of nipples, I met with my surgeon, we filled the paper work out and it was decided I would get them after our trip.  As we know,  life doesn't always go to plan.  
Shortly after returning from our trip, our beautiful big black baby,  Bella had a seizure on Miss 16's bed.  It was 5.30am Sunday morning and our daughter came running into our room screaming something is wrong with Bella.  Sadly this wasn't her only seizure that day, she ended up in a vet hospital over night with the vets suggesting she may have brain cancer and liver damage.  As you can imagine, this was devastating news for all of us.  Bella was given medication to control the seizures and  sent home with follow up needed. 
Long story short, I didn't want to know if she had brain cancer, I didn't want her to have chemo, I didn't want to see her sick.  We sat in limbo for 2 months, giving daily seizure meds and loving her. It was a Thursday and our beautiful girl had a seizure on her medication, seeing her body thrash around on the floor had me petrified for her, for me and what would be coming.  My hubby came home and we decided it was time to say goodbye.  We arranged for a vet to come to our house and put her to sleep. Kids were picked up from school and the 4 of us sat and  talked to Bella, told her how much she means to us and that we were sorry.
That day I lost someone who had sat with me everyday of my cancer journey and loved me, didn't want a single thing from me, listened to my fears, walked with me after chemo's, radiation and recovery and was just a beautiful friend.
Having cancer is a lonely road, anybody who hasn't had the big C diagnosis can't truly understand, yes I can talk to my family/friends but it gets frustrating when flippant comments are made.  Bella was my confidant and   I miss her terribly.

The loss of Bella has affected me greatly.  I was not interested in doing anything that saw me outside having fun. I didn't have my mate with me so a simple walk felt incomplete.   I became so busy with other commitments and worries that I put this latest surgery at the back of my mind "not sure I want nipples!."
Which brings me to my 3rd cancerversary.

I'm getting nipples, I've decided I need them to feel normal, hang on what is normal ??  I guess I'm saying 'my' normal.  The scars all tell a story and I'm proud of those scars but it's time to look more like me.   I need to close that chapter and look forward and hope that the big c never comes knocking. I need my husband to look at me and not see the woman who had to have those big boobs removed because of cancer.
So I'm back into walking and running.  I'm back into push ups and planks.  I'm back into being the best version of myself.
My hair is growing and just this week I managed to put it in a teeny tiny pony tail. I'm undecided if I want to grow my hair or have a trendy pixi cut.
I worry about who my friends and hope they continue to self check, 1 in 8 is so shocking to me, scares me and has me holding my breathe,  "who is next?".

I remind myself daily,  to not sweat the small stuff and release the stresses of negativity around me.  I remind myself daily,  how lucky I am to be here 3 years on.

3 years on, I remind you to stop and smell the roses, love those close to you deeply and never ignore your health.

Cheers to life!

With love
Shaz x

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2 years... nipples

13th August 2014

On the eve of my 2nd cancerversary, I'm shocked that it slipped my mind.

Here I was working my arse off doing a workout when cooling down,  I start  mentally ticking off my to do list for the rest of the week.  BOOM... I literally held my breath "surely I haven't forgotten??".
A quick check of the calendar and tomorrow marks my second cancerversary.

I have re-read my very first blog, the emotion has hit me hard, the unknown was so unbearably scary and here I sit, 2 years on.
Things have changed since my diagnosis.  My body & mind have been through hell, I've cried many tears, wanted my Mum and lost some friends along the way.  I've wanted  the noise in my head to stop, the worry to ease, inner peace to come.  Will inner peace ever come????

As I write this, I'm NEC.... "No Evidence of Cancer".  I'm am overjoyed to be NEC, I'm also bloody petrified that this beast will return.  For those of us who are NEC, we live in fear that the beast will return, every little niggle we are worried about and want checked out.  We are on the cancer bus and the bell won't work, we can't get off at the next stop, we are sitting at the back of the bus, just waiting, waiting for it to stop.

My body is still recovering from my Lat Dorsi Reconstruction.  Movement in my left shoulder/arm is limited and my  physio and I are seeing alot of each other.  I'm scared I will end up with Lymphoedema, this can come on very quick, so I'm careful in what I do with my left arm, no sun etc.
My new girls aren't what you would expect.  Reconstruction surgery is a tough gig and the outcome will never be exactly how you envisaged.  My new girls are not perfect but I guess, perfect for me.
On Friday I have my 3 month check up with my breast surgeon.  We will talk about nipples again. He creates the nipples by drawing a star on your breast, cutting,  then twisting into a star.  I won't have any feeling to them, I will have to have them tattooed for colouring, do I want them?  I'm just not sure??  Will they make me feel better about myself... maybe,  maybe not?  Will they look good... maybe, maybe not??  Do the risks of another surgery drive me to complete my reconstruction... I just don't know.
Every medical appointment brings more fear.  I see the fear in my daughters eyes when she enquires how the appointment went.  I don't think this fear will change, it truly hurts my heart to see her fear.

You may think having nipples constructed would be an easy choice, it's probably the hardest one for me to make.  What if I have them done and they look hideous?  Whilst I don't love my boobs now, they don't make me cringe, "it is what it is".
As I stare in my bathroom mirror, I see a body that is battered, a body that is working hard to see me through to an old age.
I don't feel beautiful, how can I.  I have huge scars on my back and on my chest.  I feel awesome when I work out, I feel fit and healthy, do I need to feel beautiful???  Does my husband 'really' think I'm beautiful????  For those who know my hubby, will answer yes of course he does.  I think he does, but does he 'really' think so.  We talk but does he hide how he is really feeling??
You see, while I'm going through hell and back, my hubby is also on the journey. When was the last time someone said to him 'are you ok?'.  "How are you really feeling about seeing your wife go through everything?".

On this 2nd cancerversary of my diagnosis I write:

Dear Shaz,

Over the last 2 years, you have faced cancer, treatment, reconstruction and life, with strength, positivity and your heart full of love.
I know you struggle with your memory and verbally communicating when you are exhausted, I know this frustrates you.  It's ok, take a deep breathe, sit down and relax.  
I know you always strive to see the good in every situation, it's ok to admit situations/people are just crap and that you are hurt.

I am proud of you and I love you!

Live every minute of every day and laugh, laugh until you cry and continue to love unconditionally.

Happy 2nd Cancerversary!

Love Shaz xxx

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

1st January 2014

Happy New Year!

Today I am grateful for being alive.

What are you grateful for?

Lots of love
Shaz xxx

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 wrap up

Tuesday 31st December 2013

2013 has shot right by and for some of it, I'm bloody glad!

I started the year feeling the love from my family and friends.  Chemo 4, 5 & 6 went by and I started 30 days of Radiation.   Damon surprised the kids & I with a quick Bali trip to celebrate my treatment being over. 

We all ran/walked in the Mother’s Day Classic and hubby and I ran the HBF run for a Reason, not bad for someone getting over Breast Cancer Treatment.

In July hubby and I took our first ever trip away from the kids to Bali.  We had a wonderful time and made some new special friends.

Our Daughter again had an excellent year of netball,  had her braces removed and had a solid year at school.  She is our Princess, who at times,  is your typical 14 year old, at other times an old soul, born to this world before.
Our miracle, whilst not hitting all school milestones, continued to inspire us to never give up.  He is such a happy soul, who will find his niche in this world. 

My hair grew back and I even had it foiled blonde :)

I had talked about having a reconstruction and saw myself having it done quicker than I expected.  I was very emotional about the reconstruction.  I know I have gone on about getting new boobs,  BUT getting them as a result of Breast Cancer really hit home.  I had always talked about reduction prior to Breast Cancer, but would never have done it.  Firstly, the pain  scared me, secondly, this is what I was given, I was more or less happy with myself.  
Knowing I was going to go under a GA for more than 2 hours scared me, WHAT if something happened to me??  My right breast cost $7000 not covered by health insurance and was payable (in full) 7 days  prior to my surgery.  I have had the breast removed and reconstructed to minimize my chances of Breast Cancer in that breast, it definitely wasn’t for cosmetic reasons, our insurance company cited.

August 27th,  saw me in hospital for 10 days after a Bilateral Mastectomy & Lat dorsi Reconstruction, with expanders.  The surgery was 8 hours long and little did I know, recovery was going to be longer and harder than I had thought.  8 drains was so painful, especially having them removed.  I also got  burnt from the  Bair Hugger, which was with me for 2 days.   
I’m so thankful for my gorgeous husband and Dad , without there help, the kids and I would have been up shit creek. 6 weeks ,  not being able to drive & no household chores, cooking, laundry,   was extremely tough on all of us.
For those of you reading this, who are or may end supporting someone  with cancer, the biggest thing you can do, is call and say hi.  Telling us,  “call me if you need anything!” is a throw away comment, that only makes YOU feel better.  Being too busy to check in, is an insult to your cancer relative/friend.  Oh and why I’m at it, after treatment ends, it doesn't mean the end of someone’s cancer journey (well, unless that person is dead!) check in with them from time to time and ask them straight out, "how are YOU and I won't accept I'm fine!"

I have had 3 expansions.  It’s a bizarre experience, very large needle injects salt water into your expander (normally fortnightly)  The surgeon places a disc on your breast, searching for the port, once found, I could feel my back pull (remember I have my lat dorsi muscle now sitting in my breast) he then stabbed the needle into the port and began syringing.  My chest felt tight after the expansions and at 250mls each breast, I decided I was more than happy with my new breast size and for the first time, felt comfortable in my own skin.
I will have my expanders removed at the end of January and implants will be inserted.  This surgery is roughly an hour long and fingers crossed, I sail through it and get to go home quickly.
Since my last surgery and expansions, I have lost movement in my left arm due to scaring and am still seeing a Lymphedema Physio.  I feel like I have an iron bra under my skin, it can be painful and is very uncomfortable.  I have numbness in my back and occasionally feel like I’ve been zapped, (nerves were cut during surgery) I wish I could have just one hour free of pain :(
I now have two smiling faces, minus nipples on my chest, a constant reminder I had Breast Cancer.

The family and I had a great trip to Melbourne to see our CDH Australia Family.  It was lovely being able to cuddle my CDH besties.

December was Mum’s 3rd Angelversary.  We had her ashes placed at Pinnaroo, and a part of her are now with Dad and I.
Christmas Day was lovely, kids had fun with Dad, Hubby and I.

My wish for you all during 2014,  be HAPPY!!  and PLEASE let's keep the positive attitudes going.   Life is so short, life is to precious to be anything but happy.

"The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters."
- Audrey Hepburn

For me 2014.......

is going to be Healthy, enriching & joyous. 
A year that will bless my family with all things good, a year that we will wake up daily and feel blessed to have each other in our lives. 
A year that will see, hubby and I continue our fitness, a year that our children will continue to develop and be happy, A year that will see us, catching up with friends old and new and a year that we can look back at and say "what a brilliant year we all had!"

Happy New Year

With love


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

12 months.... really???

Wednesday 14th August 2013

It is 12 months to the day that I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.    I remember the phone call "Hi Sharon, it's Dr Wong, can you and your husband come and see me now?".  As soon as I heard the request, I knew it was bad news.
I sat along side my husband in her office and couldn't quite believe that I was hearing correctly..... "me, cancer?"

As I reflect on the last 12 months, first and foremost, I am proud of myself.  Proud to have faced this head on and not let the negative take hold of my thoughts and heart.  Yes,  I've had down days over the last 12 months,  but being negative will only send me on a downward spiral, one that I wasn't prepared to embark on.

I'm blessed to have my Husband,  gorgeous children and Dad by my side.  I'm thankful for all the message of support, all the love sent, it has truly helped.

12 months on I still face: 4 1/2 years of Tamoxifen, tests and reconstruction.   I am back running, have cut down on my alcohol consumption, eating clean and appreciating the small things in life.  I feel amazing.

So on this day, I look cancer in the eye and say "fuck you!"

Today we turn this anniversary into a celebration of life, a celebration of our family love.  Yes, I'm looking to the silver lining:  12 months on I'm here, I got through surgery, Chemo, Radiation and I'm loving life.

"Breast Cancer, you might have taken my breast but you haven't taken my spirit"