Bald Barren And Boobless

An honest and comical reflection of my journey through breast cancer

Tag: Breast Cancer (page 1 of 7)

A small explanation for my absence

Hey everyone,

I am so sorry I have not added to this blog for almost a year, I am so sorry but I have been on such a journey of discovering what works and what doesn’t.  Firstly, as you can imagine this blog has been written retrospectively.  I wrote it originally in a journal on a daily basis.  This exercise was like oxygen for me.

I have since transcribed this to the blog.  I was diagnosed in late 2013 and this blog represents my journey each day for just over a year.  Late in 2014 I attempted to return to work.  I returned to my business and worked on it starting part time and pretty quickly upgraded to full time.

Anyone out there have a bump in the road when they returned to work?  I know for me that it was certainly bumpy……  I have never been great at starting slowly, in fact doing anything slowly is really a struggle for me.

So…. I over did it and CRASHED!!!!  I became so sick, I was struggling with pain, fatigue and I began to get vertigo.  I felt so bad that I felt like I had no control over my body.  I felt that I could not predict how my body was going to react and that really scared me.  I was then diagnosed with “post chemo chronic fatigue…..”

I felt frightened to book in work because I just could not predict how I would wake up, would I be able to get out of bed and show up or not?

So there has been a journey of discovery that I have been on, I will be sharing this as I go along.  I am determined to share what worked for me with you guys. I don’t want any of you to go through the darkness and feel alone as I did at time.  You don’t need to.

So I am back, the blogs will be regular.  I am working on some exciting resources for you guys really soon.  I have worked on my health and strength and am also only working the hours I can work.  Progress hey!  So please keep sharing, anyone you know that you believe would benefit from my experience, please share.  Let’s not do this alone…… if you know a family or a couple that is going through this, please share.

 

Love, hugs and health

Kylie

 

Mad Days

images-3I was awake until 1 am.  I’m so frustrated and exhausted.  I wake slowly again and realise that I have a big to-do list today.  I have many phone calls, emails and doctors appointments to do today.  We also have people coming to dinner, I don’t know what I was thinking.

I’m completely exhausted just thinking about what’s ahead of me today.  My energy is so low, I have burrning diarrhea, not sure how I’m going to get through.  A high point is that today is the last injection that I need to give myself.  It’s those injections to boost my blood from the effects of chemo.  What an accomplishment.  I still remember the fear and trepidation as I hovered shakily over my own stomach the first time with that needle.

Some people have to give themselves injections every single day, again you are my hero.  It amazes me how much you are able to overcome when you just put one foot in front of the other.

Amazingly I got through my to-do list today, but I did not rest.  I pray that tonight I do not pay the price, but it was just one of those mad days.  How am I ever going to find the balance, or is it accepting that sometimes you have those days?

I Am So Over Chemo!!!!!

no_energyThe day started off really slow.  I got the kids off to school, did some shopping and then I literally hit the wall.  I am as flat as a flat thing.  I am craving sugar, I feel sick, I’m so hot and bothered.  To top it off, the pain in my joints is unbelievable.

I wanted to go for a walk, I know it’s good for me, but I just couldn’t do it.  It’s a miracle though, I managed to cook dinner and we have Connect Group at our home tonight.  I really don’t feel like I have the energy to see anyone, but I know it will be worth it.

I’ve never felt so empty, so drained, so emotionally numb.  It sounds horrible but I almost wish my body was numb.  It’s such a weird situation when your emotions are not there, you’re so tired you can’t feel anything but there’s so much pain and discomfort in your body.

I pray for anyone who goes through this treatment or any other type of illness where you are in such pain on a long-term basis.  I really don’t know how you do it and you are my hero.

Just Walking the Dog

DogWalkingI slept okay and Marc left early this morning. I have decided to try some light exercise today after school drop-off. I walked our pup down to the chemist and back, my new best friend. This was her first walk an important milestone. There’s a long way from both of us to go yet but it was great.

I am committing to walking my pup  every second day and then building up to daily.  I need to do this for both hers and my benefit.  She has so much energy, and needs to use it.  I have none but know walking will help me feel better and also help get all of the toxins out of my system.  Besides what could be better than walking in the sunshine, puppy bouncing by my side???

I met two people on the way to chat to; it’s amazing how interesting puppy makes you. When I got home I stretched and then did some errands, these things never seem to end.

I slept for two hours this afternoon and tonight I see Peter Walsh with my sister-in-law.  You know Oprah’s go to de-clutter guy? if you don’t know who he is check him out here.  Don’t know how late this will go but we’ll see, I’m excited to be going out and doing something fun. I’m quite sore after my walk but it’s a start.

I feel I’m ripe for a de clutter moment.  It’s funny how when your life is put on “hold” how much crap builds up, then it just seems to grow and take on a life of its own…..  Maybe I should adopt Peter?

So, tonight we actually met Peter Walsh, what an awesome guy! We were in the upstairs lobby and he walked straight up to us like he knew us and said “hi” to my sister in law. Now she’s in love with him, with de cluttering and all things organisational so she nearly fainted. He said a name that was not hers. She politely said her name was Alison and he said, “wow you are the spitting image of one of my best friends”

Totally made her night, and why not!

How bizarre…. her doppelgänger is her decluttering idols bestie.

It was a great night out. It felt good to do something normal like go out. So simple but it has not been a part of my life for months now.  I need to try and do some more of this when I feel up to it.  I am sure it will help me get better and back to the land of the normal, whatever that is….

Still circling in the woods

dark-forestI slept!!! Yay! Marc and my step daughter are off to school early. I am feeling ok but still have this pure acid diarrhoea and fatigue. After I do the school drop off, I have a small rest then am off to the psychologist.

I have been finding this really helpful just to make sure I am supporting my self along this journey. People have told me that I should be feeling lost of grieving or, hopeless etc. I have not really felt any of these things that intensely, so I am just checking in and ensuring I am giving myself whatever I need.

I am craving the quick fix sugar again, this has to stop, I know how bad it is for me and how it makes me feel. I still think this is because I am so freaking tired all the time.

After my appointment I rested, did my errands and appointments and needed to return to bed. This frustrates me a little but I cannot argue. I am sure this fatigue will continue at least until chemotherapy finishes which is still 6 weeks and then goodness knows how long recovery from that and further surgery will be??

I have eaten so much sugary crap today it is awful. I’m like an addict looking for a hit, but nothing works. This needs to stop; I know I am not helping myself. I feel so bad physically regardless so I know it is not helping.

I have decided that tomorrow I m going to have 2 green whole veg and fruit smoothies each day, breakfast and lunch. I am also aiming to stop sugar completely.  I was sugar free before chemo, not any more :(

I may have leaped too far, raised my expectations too much. Welcome to my black and white world. Just the other day I was giving myself a leave pass, now I have circled back the other way. Wowser, are you as confused as I am. I suppose this is what happens when you openly share your thoughts on a daily basis.

I am just so desperate to feel better I don’t know what else to do. So I go from extreme to extreme. Balance is the key, how do I find it?? Kindness and self-compassion is also the key, am I doing this?? The extreme guilt I feel tells me “No.”

So starting tomorrow I will aim to have 2 smoothies each day and I will share a recipe.

Kylie’s Green Healing Smoothie

Handful of kale,

Handful of baby spinach

2 tsp Vital greens

30g Protein powder  (I usually use chocolate flavour)

¼ cup blueberries

ice

1 tbsp cacao powder

Wizz away in the nutribullet (or a strong blender) and enjoy.  Lets see how I go hey? Wish me luck.

Talks of Reconstruction begin

reconsrtuction imageI had a pretty awful sleep again, I was awake from 1am to 430am. How is a human meant to cope on so little sleep? Marc let me sleep in and then we saw the plastic surgeon together.

He said that we should be all good for reconstructive surgery in mid to late May. So 6 weeks after I finish chemo, I can have the other mastectomy and reconstruction can begin.  I am excited, but trepidations abound about further surgery. Just the idea of going backwards physically again makes me feel anxious. But I need to do it.

I cannot leave the other breast and wait for it to turn against me too. This happened with my Mum and my sister.  After cancer in one side it returned in the other a few years later.  I just cannot rest knowing this could be my future too.  I asked the surgeon for the simplest surgery possible, he recommended the implant surgery. One scar, 2.5 hour surgery. The expanders will be in for anywhere from 6-12 months. This is to expand the chest muscle and force me to grow more skin to accommodate an implant.

He says that with a recovery on track I may be able to return to work after August. That would be before the removal of the implants but he said the implant switch over with the expanders can be a day surgery if I like.

So much to consider, I am keen to try and get back to work asap, but also keeping in mind that a full recovery now is best. Being self employed has its bonuses but its complications also. I only get paid when I work and its hard to work reduced hours and make a good income. May need to rethink a few things about how I do business.

I am so tired today and also in a lot of pain. Nausea, heat, horrible indigestion are all I experience today. I get home and go back to bed. So much to consider, so many decisions, none of which need to me made today.

Time to rest my sweet, time to rest. Rest is thy best medicine.

Descending into the depths

sadnessI woke at 2am, then was wide awake until 430am. It’s the weekend so no school run, yay! Thanks you for small miracles and gifts each day. So I slept in, or rather stayed in bed. I feel quite nauseous, sore, slow, everything is buzzing, hot, swollen just yuck!

An old friend from my high school and Uni days called and we spoke for a while, that was really nice. I continued in bed, it just seemed too hard to do anything else. I am finding the nausea is much worse this round.

It’s my 42nd birthday tomorrow. I pray it’s a nice day and I can do something with the family. I have a long history of struggling with my birthday. First of all my Mum was so great at making us all feel like princesses for the day.  She went over the top and made it really difficult for anyone to compare to the big effort she made.

It wasn’t about spending money rather being thought of.  I have so many wonderful memories. Then I got married and my ex Husband was pretty hopeless. He was ok initially but as his world spiralled out of control I was last on the list and I am pretty sure he forgot the last 4 or 5 of my birthdays.  To add to this I left him on the last birthday we were together which happened to be my 30th.

So I have a history of sad days and unmet expectations. The last birthday with him I remember finding out he had spent more at the pub the day before. The forgot my birthday with an “oh f@#k its your birthday” at 12pm, then handing me a broken photo frame.  Special times…..

Looking back he was such a mess how could he do anything else. They were certainly hard times though. So my new outlook is to not have expectations and to spend time with the people I love.  My Husband Marc is wonderful and really makes and effort, there is just so much sensitive scar tissue there.

It almost like each year I compete with the ghost of birthdays past each year and enough is enough. Time for a new way, out with the old in with new healthier ways.  Easier said than done, but at least I am aware and working toward a better way.

So I stayed in bed, lamenting on how much I miss my Mum, particularly when I feel so sick and my birthday is looming. Wondering how she would be feeling knowing her baby girl is on the same journey with breast cancer as she was.

I’m glad she is not here really as she would have been racked with guilt, even though it is not her fault at all. I love you Mum xxxx.

Down for the count

dog tiredSo it’s Day 2 after chemotherapy.  I slept through the night, it’s a miracle! I don’t usually start of this way, but hey how kool. I am feeling quite swollen and fragile. Like I will break into a million pieces. My hands and feet are hot and swollen tight, my head is thick and full with pain and fuzziness.

I am nauseous and feel the beginnings of the hot acidic diarrhea. How lovely. I have discovered a neat trick though. Use baby wipes, especially the ones with cucumber and aloe vera. Very cooling on a hot and acidic burning butt. I know you may not wish to hear this but it is only shared in the event it may help someone.

It’s Valentines day today but I am not feeling very romantic. I sleep much of the day, try to have some lunch with my Valentine. I lived on anti nausea today.  I feel without it I will surely lose my cookies.

A light dinner and bed for me, such a beautiful way to spend Valentines. Lucky my lovely man and I don’t need to rely on Valentines day to have a rich and loving relationship. He has been so gentle and understanding as I face this daily battle. What is more romantic, seriously?  I know which one I’d pick.   The man who stands beside you with Roses, or the man who stands beside you in the trenches loving you despite the circumstances.  My man, in the trenches with me xxx

Tonight I pray for sleep and for relief from the heat that is madly coming out of my body. My acupuncturist explains that this is my liver madly trying to cope with the toxins. Again my besties come to the rescue, Endone and Valium, I love you xx

Ding Ding! Day 1 Round 3

day 1 r 3I am awake again from 2am but did not go back to sleep. Man I am tired, how can I not be exhausted. I haven’t slept well since mid November 2013 and I was exhausted before this all began.

Big day today, I will over the “hump” so to speak. Got my “Brave” t shirt on, acupuncture this morning to help with side effects. I shaved down for battle too as I had a light covering if hair that has tried to grow back only to fall out again soon after this next round.

At acupuncture, Amanda asked me about how I have been. I explained that I haven’t been resting out of guilt for not pulling my weight. She explained that guilt comes from a feeling of doing wrong, the only wrong I have been doing is not putting my health first. Ahhh, got it! A nice new way for me to approach things.   Certainly a more kind approach than my default.

Chemo goes ok today, my veins are not co-operating, they have sunk deep into my flesh, in an attempt to avoid the toxic assault. It does not work for long as they are coaxed out with a warm wrap.

My white cell count is too high so again less injections afterwards – Yay! As I sit there the toxic cloud descends, I am reminded of this familiar foe. As the headache begins and my stomach begins to protest and twist I decide to think of the fact that I am making progress, I have one more to go before the next stage, surgery. I am making it.

Only, 7 days to go of this pain and illness before the sun begins to shine again.   I can do it. Thank goodness for the journal which has really helped me map out how I respond to chemo. Such a blessing; please if you know anyone going through treatment like this encourage them to journal.

Tonight I sleep with the help of my new besties, “Endone and Valium.”  Bring on the rest, after being up for close to 20 hours, goodness knows I need it.

Look Good, Feel Better

Beauty mythI am awake from 2am, so I am washed out this morning when it is time to get moving for the day. I have the “look good feel better” workshop today. It’s a workshop sponsored by the beauty industry to help women facing cancer to feel better about their appearance.

Great idea, it has a realty good reputation around the traps. My friend Tammy booked me in months ago. Just as well, I may not have gotten around to it myself.  Tip – If you are supporting someone and you find out about groups like this, do it for them. They can always say “no” closer to the day, but at least if its “yes” it will happen.

I am to take a support person so I asked Al, my sister in law. It was a great day, I learned so much. Came away with free make up and skin care, a few new friends and ideas on how I can make myself feel just a little better when I’m having a bad day.

No rest again today, workshop finished, by the time I did some errands, helped kids after school and had dinner prepped it was time for puppy school. My calendar needs some more gaps – seriously.

I realise I am going to need to say “No” to some things and prioritise my rest but it is so hard. I am so tired by the time sleep is possible but I have pushed too far and am wired. Besides it’s chemo day again tomorrow and if I could put my head in the sand I would. I don’t want it. I don’t want to feel like crap again.

It’s such a cycle of teasing as you get through the worst of the toxicity, you fight to regain some resemblance of feeling human and just as you arrive, it’s time again. It really messes with your head.

ON a slightly different note, I have been watching the “Under the Red Dress” campaign. What and inspiring campaign the woman behind it, Beth is.  I am going to contact them to share my story if they are open.  At the very least it supports their cause.  A cause I find myself very close to.

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