All good!

Just reporting in that all is well! I’m sitting up in my “airy, light filled room”, just as requested. Thank you God!

It was confronting going through each step of the pre surgery procedure early yesterday morning. Funny how your brain just blocks traumatic experiences out, and then gets triggered as each little reminder turns up! So I was a bit teary when I came round the corner & saw those pre op beds. And again when those pre med lines were being inserted (“Ohhhhh no! Not again!), but on the whole kept it together okay. Plenty of deep breaths!

This hospital is so much quieter & brighter again than St V’s so I am loving that. Didn’t sleep much last night, just dozed, so I will be resting most of today.

James has just been in to see me this morning and he’s happy with everything. I’ve had my drip & oxygen tubes removed – yeah! Then a quick sponge bath and into my own nightshirt – superb. Dosed up with pain killers and am feeling fine, all things considered!

Thanks so much for all the love and prayers sent my way – they are working! 😊

 

Letting go …

let it go

After weeks of count down, the big day for my follow up surgery arrives tomorrow. I have to say it has been a bit of a struggle to keep my anxious mind calm as I head into it. I think last time I was worried about the unknown (“will they find cancer?”) and this time it is dreading the known downsides of my last surgery – needles, blood, pain, bandages, scars – all things I hate!

I know that this surgery is WAY less invasive than last time, but I’m really not looking forward to revisiting ANY of the trauma of it again. So I have been piling on the soothing rituals, speaking gently to myself and visualizing a positive outcome – a smooth surgery and a quick and easy recovery.

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Body update – 9 months post surgery

photo[58]I just read this on a breast cancer website: “In Australia, around 5,000 women have a mastectomy every year, but only 6% to 12% of these go on to have reconstructions. This compares with 42% of women in the US and 16.5% in England.” It is thought that this is because when diagnosed with breast cancer, Australian women are not being as well informed and empowered about all of their treatment options.

I suppose that means I’m one of only 500 Australian women in the past year that have had a mastectomy and reconstruction. A much smaller proportion had bilateral surgeries (on both breasts). And most reconstructions are done with implants, not a tissue transplant (TRAM or DIEP) as I have had so I am a rare breed! That being said, when you see the low rates of breast reconstruction in Australia, it makes sense that this rate is rising fast, as information and awareness improves, especially with the “Angelina effect” on preventative mastectomies.

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Slowly and steadily – we can rebuild!

butterfly w quote JPEGEight months today and counting since my surgery. Progress continues, slow and steady.

 

There have been no radical changes in the past month, but I do feel like I am inching along in the right direction. As well as taking the Gotu Kola capsules daily, Bas, the lovely man who does my lymphatic drainage massages, is also a naturopath and has made me up an ointment with Gotu Kola, Vitamin E, zinc and primrose oil in it. It seems like my scars are slowly fading with twice daily applications of that. While I am still very conscious every day of my uncomfortable stiff, numb stomach and sensationless but softening breasts, it feels like my old body is becoming accustomed to the new bits. The old is accepting and integrating with the new!

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My left breast

be soft JPEGSeven months today and counting since I’ve had my surgery… I’m really looking forward to the time when there is nothing more to report! In the past month my healing progress has continued to inch along in the right direction. I think I am only at about 80% of my usual energy levels, which is an improvement, but still frustrating! On the downside, the whole area is still pretty numb. That’s no fun. It still feels quite stiff and uncomfortable too.

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Back in the saddle

Holly & Sarah Jan 2014

Me with our daughter, Holly

Today it is six months since my surgery, and next week it will be a year that I have been living every day with my breast removal and reconstruction on my mind. What a long, slow recovery it has been, and still is. I am so over it! As you read this I will be winging my way to the USA with my friend Louise for a trip we booked some time ago. When we booked it, I thought the breast surgery would be a distant memory for me, and this would be a nice little reward for a long finished chapter. Not so! I think this is more a pit stop on the long haul journey! However, the worst is behind me so I am certainly celebrating that.

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A touch of the miraculous …

pre & post lymphatic dr 02 14 JPEG

This is just a quick post for my breast surgery followers … I want to share the GOOD news about some treatments that seem to be working for me.

Firstly, the lymphatic drainage massage is really working! Take a look at the (v glamorous – not!) pic of me this morning, compared to just over three weeks ago – see how my distended belly  has deflated? Not so “barrel like” any more. It is still stiff – it feels like someone has embedded a small Frisbee in my lower abdomen and stitched it back up again sometimes – but that horrible stretched feeling, that I’ve had for months now, has gone in just a few short weeks. Hooray for lymphatic drainage massages, and the lovely man, Bas, who does mine. I really feel like it has made a big difference in a short space of time. I will be continuing to have this treatment every few weeks for most of this year, just to keep it all flowing. And hopefully the treatment will break up the scar tissue internally too, which will stop it feeling so stiff and uncomfortable. We are off to a good start!

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The naked truth – five months on

Me - post surgery, 5 months on

It’s now almost five months since my surgery, so this is an update for those women who want to know more about this “muscle sparing TRAM” reconstruction procedure that I’ve had, following my preventative double mastectomy. I figure this is the type of info I would have liked pre-surgery and it’s reassuring to be able to compare notes with others during recovery too, so here it is …

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Christmas … and four months post surgery update

Anna, me and Paula

Anna, me and Paula at the Christmas table

Hope this finds everyone happy with their Christmas celebrations. We had a lovely time, joined by my two sisters, Anna and Paula. And of course, Martha and Lou were watching over all of us, wherever we happened to be!

On Christmas night I was so exhausted, it felt like a wave of fatigue had hit me like a truck! Clearly I’m still not up for a lot of running around and it was another reminder post surgery that “it ain’t over yet!” I went to see James, my surgeon last Friday for a final check up, and he reinforced this too. Continue reading

From my husband’s point of view … (and mine too!)

Me in intensive care - v attractive!

Me in intensive care post surgery  – v attractive!

I read another woman’s blog the other day who had the same surgery as me, and she asked her husband how he felt about her surgery, a few months down the track. So,  sixteen weeks on, and mainly for others who are contemplating the same path, I thought I would put a few questions to my husband too, to give his viewpoint on these past few months:

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