Bald Barren And Boobless

An honest and comical reflection of my journey through breast cancer

Tag: recovery (page 1 of 3)

My Last Chemotherapy Treatment!!!!

bigstock_road_to_recovery_sign_4438546 I had a slightly better sleep but it’s still broken.  Because my sleep is broken, I feel broken.  But that can’t stop my excitement for today, today is my last chemo.  I’m dreading it but I am also so excited.

 

It’s a really busy morning getting ready for the last chemotherapy plus the training conference that I’m attending today.  I’m trying to get the family ready for Marc and I being away.  I’m also on the phone trying to coordinate my upcoming surgery.  I have the second mastectomy and reconstruction on the 5th May.  I am also trying to have my ovaries removed at the same time.  I’m doing it this way to minimise the amount of general anaesthetic that I have.

There’s a bunch of research that shows just how toxic the anaesthetic is and how it shortens your life.  So far I’m shortened by about 15 years if you go by that theory!!!  Nice huh?  Lucky I was planning to live past 100 anyways……

I’m seeing some specialists next week to discuss the details of upcoming surgeries and work out a plan.  It is very hard to co ordinate to have 2 different surgeons work on you at the same time.

We arrived for the chemo and I need to slow down, I need to get my head in to gear for what’s about to happen.  The mind set you go in to it with is critical.  I need to focus on positive, healing and strength.

Marc and I are in the swing of things now, we have activities to do, the right food too and we also make a video diary as well.  We got some great pics of the staff all protected from the toxic stuff.  I still feel nauseous and I have a fuzzy head, but otherwise I’m okay.  I’m glad to say I will not miss this place.

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.

It’s the simple things in life….

change processAfter not much sleep I’m up early the church today. I’m feeling generally okay just a little flat. The message at church was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a message by Ben Houston all about the challenges that comes from every angle when you begin to pioneer again.

I feel like this is a new and defining time for me, for my business, even for my outlook. This journey is teaching me how to redefine myself, to look at what I want for my future and my life, to define what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t know if you ever noticed this but in my life each time I try and gain ground challenges come up. This is exactly what Ben is talking about.

It’s so important that as the challenges turn up they don’t throw us off course. In the middle of a battle it’s so easy to give up or change direction thinking that is the answer. I don’t know how many biographies I’ve read of successful people that have explained how close they were to victory when they almost gave up. I wonder how many people have been in that exact position except they have given up. I am determined not to be one of those people.

The enemy uses lies and deceit to throw you off course, however, my trust is in God.  I know He has a plan and a purpose for my life and He is always with me. This journey of cancer is a refining process for me. A way of stripping off what is no longer helpful and putting in place practices and mindsets that will help me achieve what is in my heart.

After church Marc and I went to the beach, I took Betty (our pup), went for a walk and then read a book. It was so nice sitting under the shade of a tree with my cute little puppy just spending some time. It was nice to do something so normal for a Sydney summer but something that we have not done in such a long time.

It was a powerful reminder how getting back to basics and doing the simple things can bring so much joy. I want to do more of this, I feel almost normal like I’m not in the middle of this battle when I do things like this it is a welcome rest. I’m only four days away from my next treatment so I am beginning to feel good again. I need to begin to prepare myself for the next round of chemo.

This is just as much a head battle as it is a physical battle.  I seem to learn and understand this more and more very single day. Some may say I’m a slow learner :)

Share-aholic Friday

green drinkHi guys,

In my commitment to Clean and Green eating I thought I would share my favourite, it’s like your slippers, your fav PJ’s or something else that just means comfort and bliss.

Today I am going to share with you my Go – to meal and breakfast without fail every day.  I LOVE IT!!!

handful of fresh  kale leaves ( no stalks)
1/3 cup blueberries frozen
1-2 tsp green powder ( like vital greens) – build up slowly so you get used to the taste
1 tbs raw cacao powder
30 g protein powder ( usually choc flavour)
water and ice
When you get used to this and love the flavour, add baby spinach to and even some broccoli.
I use my Nutri-bullet but all you need is a blender powerful enough to crutch ice.  Then the veg and fruit are emulsified so well you are drinking a glass full of veg laden chocolate  heaven – It doesn’t get any better than that kids.
To your health and happiness!!!

My own worst enemy

 

Again I woke feeling okay but not awesome. Some of you may get tired of reading this because I know I am tired of feeling this. I drag my sorry butt out of bed, get a cup of Green tea and look longingly at the coffee machine. On these days when I feel so flat I crave the idea of caffeine like it you would not believe.

It’s a normal weekday for me, I take the kids to school, I do some household errands, I vacuum and then I decided to treat myself. Again I will be my own best friend and take myself to the movies. Today I am seeing the “Wolf of Wall Street.”  I’ve always wanted to see but had no one to see it with. Everyone else in my world was not that excited by this movie.

It was certainly an interesting experience, I was one of only four in the cinema, an old lady, a woman in a wheelchair, a suspicious man in a trench coat, yes I said trench coat and me. If you’ve seen this movie then you will understand why I felt uncomfortable. I saw more of the human anatomy (mostly female) and also of the dark side of human nature than I ever had before. The fact that this movie is based on a real person makes it even more interesting.

I come home and had a little rest and then get Sam from school. I squeezed in a Pilates session, make dinner and then take the kids to youth. This routine is a great but where do I fit in this one to 2 hours sleep that I am being told to do every single day. Something has to give and I don’t want it to be me. At the moment it is me and its me suffering too much pain and lethargy.

By 930pm I am completely exhausted, I mean I am in so much pain I just needs to sleep. I need to find a way to rest and prevent myself from getting to this level of pain. I also realise I am my own worst enemy.

I have preached work life balance my entire professional career. I am the first person to tell someone to put themselves first, to be their own champion, to take care of themselves because if they don’t no-one else will. How sad that I have not been listening to my own message. This alone is so confronting and makes me feel like a hypocrite.

Luckily I am one determined woman and will not give up on learning this lesson. How can I expect 40+ years of patterning and learning to be unlearned in a few weeks/months. This is part of where my own patience with myself is critical. Tomorrow I have my lymphatic massage I’m hoping it is helpful and that it feels relaxing.

No rest for the wicked, I mean hairless

photoOh my goodness I actually got a little sleep last night. I’m in shock this has not happened to so much time. I am at day 12 of my Chemo cycle now and am beginning to feel human again. As many wise women have told me I need to be careful of being romanced by the idea of my energy returning.

Many amazing women who have walked this road before me have shared with me that I need to prioritise my rest. As many of you may imagine, this is one of my biggest challenges. I am not used to pacing myself, pulling myself first, being kind to myself, being patient with myself. This is like a new language I am yet to learn.

As I have shared previously, I do believe this experience has come to teach. This is how I choose to look at my circumstances and take the gifts from it. One such gift I believe will be for me to learn how to be kind to myself. For me to learn how to give back to myself and how to fill my own tank.

I believe God has been trying to teach me this for many years, however I am as stubborn as a mule. I think it has taken the road of cancer and a complete and utter destruction that comes with chemo to bring me to my knees. And on my knees I am.

Despite this enlightenment I again had a busy day ahead with no planned rest. So whilst I am waking up to the idea of the lesson I am being given I am still yet to put into practice. As one of my business mentors would say, “if you know and don’t do then you don’t know.”

An exciting thing that’s happening today is a new piece of furniture is being delivered. We bought what is called a snuggle chair this beautiful chair that is round, comfy and fits 2 people. Romantically, I think Marc and I had visions of us sharing this chair while we chatted, read the books and just spend time together.  See the picture above, this is the chair in our lounge room.

The current unfortunate truth, is that each time I am near him I have so many hot flashes that I cannot really be near him. What a sad story this is.

Again my to-do list is longer than my energy levels. After church this evening we head home and I am completely whacked. I really need sleep. I also really need to get this lesson and start resting regardless of how I feel. I need to be proactive not reactive. One day it will sink in.  Thank goodness my God is so gracious and patient with me.

Flatter than a Flat thing

exhausted 1I slept ok, better than expected without medication. I wake feeling tired but ok. Tiredness is a permanent state of being for me at this time, Lethargy s like a friend staying on my couch uninvited and I can’t get the to leave.

Marc is out doing some errand and I begin to do some chores. It is not long before I realise I need to return to bed and sleep. The pain in my hip is unbelievable. I eventually fall off to sleep and wake at 3pm, I feel so hot it is like I am on fire.

I have my own personal light bulb moment and realise we have a pool! Eureka!!!! I go for a swim and oh my gosh it is so nice…… I float around I my own cool bliss.

I am not sure what it is but because I am so flat I am craving carbs something ridiculous. All I eat is chips, chocolate and liquorice. The only thing that tastes semi normal is liquorice. It is the only thing that can cut through the permanent metallic taste in my mouth.

Because I have eaten such crap all day I feel really bad by late afternoon. A combination of bad food and guilt has me crippled. I need to just crawl like a bad dog into bed and hide away.

I want to leave today, start fresh tomorrow; I hope my body will allow me to. Part of this is me learning to allow myself to have a bad day, a slow day even a nothing day. I am so achievement oriented and this journey is sometimes full of me achieving nothing except having a day like today eating crap and then feeling sick.

What’s that saying, “some days are diamonds, some days are stones…..”

Running on empty

dog tiredI woke at 1am and was wide awake until 3am. It was a combination of being too hot (internally, hot flushes) and being in too much pain. I got up and walked around for a little while.

These wee hours of the morning can be such bliss and peace or the exact opposite so horribly quiet and lonely.  The time passes so bloody slowly and every bad feeling or emotion seems magnified.  I am always so glad when the sun rises fem these nights.

Today we had vision Sunday at church. This day is always so inspirational, it lies out the vision over our church for the next 12 months. The vision spoken over this year is a year of new beginnings. This could not be more true for me and my family.

So many things will be new this year, Sam is growing as a young man, Moni is doing the HSC. Me, well I am just trying to find my new normal. Marc is balancing so many things and being the rock for us all.  This year will hold many mysteries, many challenges, many opportunities and much growth.

Physically I am in less pain today but I am still dog tired. It is really hard to put into words the gravity of this tiredness. I still don’t really even understand it myself I just know I have no control over it.

Despite being so tired today was a big day. There was little rest, and many errands to be done. Anyone else reading this who has a family knows exactly what I mean. Today simple things like the ironing, the shopping, the washing, general organisational stuff all that needed to be done.

I know some of you reading this may be saying, “Why doesn’t someone else do it?” The simple answer to that is, “Who?” Yes, we have had so much support, it’s almost overwhelming. However, these people have lives to lead too. Additionally, one thing I’ve always struggled with is asking for help.

So this day may take its toll tomorrow only tomorrow will tell. I’m so desperately tired but I can’t sleep. At midnight I decide to take sleeping tablets I just need to sleep.

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