Well it’s official, I’ve made it to the 3 week mark! Yesterday was my 21 day anniversary post Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy.
There are quite a few exciting moments of this past week…..
Number 1 – I can now drive!! Whoo hoo!! I’m back on the roads, driving as safe as ever and a little more cautious as I turn corners, go over speed bumps and reverse park. You see, even as the passenger, being in a car post prophylactic bilateral mastectomy has been a challenge. Every bump feels like I’m being grabbed around the chest, pulled violently and propped back into place with a jolt. Leigh’s been really good (most of the time), he remembers to slow down and take the corners a little less excitedly, but when we pull into our driveway, I’m often heard ‘groaning’ momentarily as I get flung around, reminding me that I’m a little fragile.
I must admit, it’s a good reminder, because it if wasn’t for the bumps in the car, I probably would forget that I’m still in ‘slowing down’ mode.
Number 2 – I am now sleeping back in our bedroom! Gone are the nights spent sleeping alone downstairs in my bargain Gumtree recliner, I can now make my way upstairs and sleep cosily beside my beautifully warm husband.
I’m proud to also confirm that since I posted my blog about my little ‘speed bump’ – I haven’t had any more accidents. I was surprised to have more than 20 friends, family and strangers all share with me their own little story about their ‘accident’. It seems that wetting the bed or your pants isn’t so rare as an adult after all. I laughed so much at the shared stories, many of which are in the ‘vault’ as promised to so many of you.
Number 3 – I’m able to sleep on my side! This sounds insignificant, but it’s actually really exciting, because it means I’m healing well and for a sleeper who normally loves to be on her tummy, sleeping on my side takes me one step closer to the dream of sleeping ‘normally’ again.
There’s no spooning just yet, but I think it’s getting closer each and every night!!
Number 4 – No more knee scooter! This is a great milestone, because it means my foot is healing well enough that I can now weight bare on it. While I’m a little while away from running again, I can now waddle my way around comfortably in my moon boot without injury and without medication.
Number 5 – I can now get on the wind trainer – Dr’s approval!! I’m surprised I didn’t make this one Number 1 and I bet some of my friends are shocked too. I must admit, I popped it down here at Number 5 because while I’ve been desperate to do some sort of training, I really must admit that I’m proud of myself for not being so ‘hung up’ on it in the past 3 weeks. I’ve really tried to suppress my previous strong desire to train, so instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to just embrace and accept that I needed to respect my body, be healthy to my mind and not ‘care’ about the fact that I haven’t been able to do anything. So that’s why this is all the way down at Number 5, because while it’s important to me, it hasn’t been the priority in previous weeks.
I know, even I’m surprised!!! I can’t wait to train with this crew again, Friday here we come!!!
Number 6 – I don’t need to wear a bra! My first trip ‘out’ this week was to attend a corporate function with 900 other delegates at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. I managed to fit reasonably well into one of my business dresses, I was relieved after trying on at least 5 different options from my wardrobe, most of which were far too roomy around the bust to take out in public just yet. The bonus – I didn’t need to wear a bra! No crop-top, no tank, no cami, no boob-tube, no nothing! Just me and my bare skin underneath my Cue dress. It was a little strange to begin with, but I decided to run with it and it felt amazing. I think I might make a habit of this!!
Number 7 – I had coffee with friends! Lucky Number 7 indeed. Who would have thought that the act of simply catching up with some of my triathlon buddies would make me feel so much more alive? I took advantage of the fact that I can drive again and decided to sneak into The Valley Pool and meet up with some of athletic friends all training with Tri Alliance Queensland at the regular Friday ‘windy’ or ‘swim’ session. Our favourite meeting place is Bellissimo Coffee in Fortitude Valley.
I arrived as everyone was finishing and just seeing some familiar faces immediately made me feel better. I was connected again, seeing the people who I’ve trained with over the years all sweaty and grotty after a tough session. Not once did I feel sorry for myself because I wasn’t able to train. I got a few smelly hugs and loved it! I couldn’t stop smiling, I was surrounded by some really amazing people and when we all met at the local coffee shop for breakfast, it reminded me why I miss training. It’s not the act of physical activity that I miss, it’s the connectivity with the beautiful people I train with that I’ve missed the most.
I had a little spare time before my Dr’s appointment after coffee, so I popped in to visit the team at Kosama. Talk about another injection of positivity and energy! I chatted to Niki, one of the trainers and once again it reminded me of why I get out of bed at 4:30am most days. Being surrounded by people who are passionate, positive and truly genuine is enough for me to want to skip off to training each morning. Yes the exercise is great and it undoubtedly keeps you physically fit, but I really don’t think that it’s the driving force behind why some people love to train. For me personally, it’s the friendships, the connection and even the smile from a familiar face, even if no conversation occurs.
It really energised me for the whole day!!
Number 8 – My hair is long enough to cover my ‘chest’. This is a weird one I know, but that’s kind of expected if you know me well. You see, I’ve been growing my hair for about 2 years now with the view that I will shave it all off during my ‘Smiling for Smiddy‘ Challenge this year. I’m riding my bike with around 50 people all the way from Brisbane to Townsville, all in aid of helping raise money for The Mater Foundation, supporting much needed research into Breast, Ovarian and Prostate Cancer.
It’s timely that this weekend is my Pop’s birthday. He passed away a few years ago with Prostate Cancer, so in addition to me proactively beating breast cancer by removing my breasts, I’m a big fan of supporting Smiling for Smiddy via their many events, to raise money to help find a cure so I can save future family members from being diagnosed with this terrible disease.
I’m prepared to shave my head bald – completely bald, blade ZERO style!! But I’ll only do it if I reach my fundraising target this year. If you’d like to make a small donation to have your vote for me to either ‘Save’ or ‘Shave’ my hair, check out my Fundraiser page and make your donation there.
So now that I’m past the 21 day mark, I’m well and truly on the way to a full recovery. I have my first ‘fill’ scheduled on Monday 31 March, so that’s going to be a whole new experience. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.
On a final note…..I’m currently preparing my own ‘no make-up selfie’ to post on my personal Facebook page. Mine will be a little different though, as I’m actually working up the courage to post an image of my chest, bare, no make-up, no touching up, no filters, nothing! I know I’ve shared this here in my Previvor blog and on my Previvor Facebook page, but I’ve never posted it out to a wider audience via my own personal profile.
Most of the photo’s I post of myself are makeup-less anyway, so I thought I’d bravely share an image which will undoubtedly represent what I see as a visual image of being brave and raising awareness of breast cancer.
I’ll be asking my friends and family to support my selfie by making a donation of just $5 (the cost of a takeaway coffee), in support of Cancer research.
If you want to get in early, feel free to make your ‘coffee’ donation here, you’re also welcome to connect with me on my personal Facebook profile to see the ‘chest makeup-less selfie’ post when it comes.
Thank you to all of you for following my journey and supporting me with messages of love and unconditional, non-judgemental support.