Day 4 – Post Op

Posted in News, Video

Today I share with you an image of my 100% confirmed breast cancer free body.   Day 4 post-op marked the day I received confirmation from my breast surgeon that the tissue removed during surgery was ‘all clear’.  Hooray!  It’s the news we were all hoping for and it means that I’m at risk of around 1% in my lifetime of ever being diagnosed with breast cancer.  In a family where breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t come as a surprise anymore, this news was gold!!

Yas_Day 4

So with that out of the way nice and early, it was another eventful day in recovery, resting, napping, chatting with friends and being cared for by genuinely caring nursing staff.

wekosh-quote-keep-calm-relax-and-take-it-easy

Today I committed to ensuring that I would sleep in again, so I’m pleased to say that despite waking up in the early hours of the morning again, I stuck it out in bed with my new method of nanna-napping and successfully managed to stay in bed again for that extra rest needed for recovery.  Yay for me!!

I showered this morning, something that’s an exciting part of the day.  The reason it’s exciting is because I can be relatively independent, other than the initial strip down.  Getting myself out of the compression vest is tough, so I will admit that I use the nurse ‘call’ button for assistance here.  It must look really funny, me standing there like a 2 year old waiting to be undressed for my daily shower. Thankfully I can squeeze my butt cheeks hard enough together to wedge them through the top of the vest,  so the vest can come up over my hips rather than me trying to get it over my head.

I had another visit from the physio today, he was very kind and gave me some additional exercises to do now that I’m a little more mobile.  He even gave me a list of a few lower body stretches I could incorporate into my day.  It’s not much, but every little bit helps.  I did a little happy dance!

I’ve included a short video of my upper body regime.  It’s relatively boring, but it’s one small step towards a full recovery.

Leigh and the girls came in again today, but they came in really late.  It was late because of some bad news from our neighbour, who was responsible enough to find an issue this afternoon outside of our house!  Unfortunately our second car, which we park safely on the street, sustained some damage which is either the result of an a$$hole driving past and knocking off the mirror, or some low-life vandalising the car by pulling the mirror off.

IMG_6722

Would you believe that in addition to this, Leigh’s mums car (also parked on the street because she’s selling it) was also damaged.  Two mirrors taken off the cars in the street – you can imagine how happy I was to hear that news!!

IMG_6721

Darn it!!  Two bloody mirrors to replace, which despite a Police report being filed and them NOT being damaged by us, are now our responsibility to fix by filing 2 separate insurance claims with 2 separate excesses to pay.  ARGH!!!!  It’s not the first time our car has been damaged when parked on the street.  I seriously think it’s time to install a camera on the outside of our house to keep an eye on the area where the car is parked!!

I didn’t burn up too much energy worrying about something I can’t control, so when the girls arrived with Leigh, I chilled out with Libby watching The Block, while Leigh played a game of Yahtzee with Layla on the floor.

Libby and I took a selfie as we chilled in bed together!!

IMG_6720

What I loved most about their visit today is the normality.  The girls propped themselves up for a kiss and cuddle, Libby bounced into the bed beside me and as she tucked her legs in under the bedsheets, she just moved the drain cords out of the way so she could snuggle up with me.  The fact that I’d just had major surgery didn’t phase her or even get mentioned.  I absolutely loved it!!

Our girls keep me grounded……because life goes on normally without nipples and breasts.

This is our new normal.

Yas xxxx

Training Time

Posted in News, Video

For those that know me well, I love to train.  Whether it’s training for an up and coming triathlon, training to improve my core strength, or just training for the fun of it, I’ve always been a big fan of getting up early and doing some sort of physical activity.

I’m a member of the local Tri Alliance triathlon squad and I’ve been a member for around 5 years now.  During my time with the squad, I have competed in all distances, including my favourite long-course Ironman distance.  For those new to Ironman, it’s a 3.8km swim, 180 km cycle and 42.2km (marathon) run – all in a row!  I know, it sounds crazy, but competing in an Ironman event is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have in your lifetime. Seriously!!

An all time favourite photo of mine is this one of me finishing my first Ironman triathlon.  I’m literally running down the chute towards the finish line and would you believe that the professional photographers managed to snap a shot with Leigh grinning from ear to ear in the background as I finished the race. It’s a priceless moment on what was an amazing day!

Yas_Ironman

And yes….that Official Time of 10:56:55 is 10 hours, 56 mins and 55 seconds of non-stop racing.  With the right training and guidance, it’s amazing what the body and the mind can achieve.  I finished that day wishing I went harder and faster, finishing relatively ‘fresh’ if there’s such a thing after an Ironman.  It’s one of the most memorable days in both mine and Leigh’s life.

I have had a break from triathlon training, mainly due to several injuries I sustained after being involved in an accident with a car just over 12 months ago.  I almost lost my legs that day, but thanks to the quick thinking of a fellow training partner, I was able to avoid serious life changing damage.  I had 6 months of rehab followed by some shoulder surgery to correct the issues, so training for triathlon during this time took a back seat.

What I did replace it with was a core strength focus at Kosama – Fortitude Valley.  I have spent the past 6 months building up my strength following the shoulder surgery and more recently, I’ve been fine tuning my core strength in preparation for my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy surgery.  I wrote about the great advice from my surgeon in a recent blog titled: Dr’s Orders – Get as fit as you can!!

I actually trained the eve of my surgery and loved seeing the results of all the hard work we did. My trainer Benny really challenged me on the last night and had me do 3 x 15 sets of band-assisted chin-ups, but then he announced that the 4th set was to be a set of 20.  I managed to do it, but gee it took all of my mental and physical strength to get the last couple of chin-ups out.  Here’s a quick snippet of my last training session, moon boot and all!!

As I watch the footage of my last training session, it motivates me to appreciate the small steps I am now taking towards being strong again.  Today, on Day 3 of my recovery from my Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy, I have done a full day of exercise and it’s been really enjoyable.  My training is VERY basic and I mean VERY VERY basic.  But do you know what?  It’s training! It’s motivating to move again and it’s a small step towards a full recovery.  In addition to 4 laps of the ward daily, I am allowed to do these 4 exercises 4 times per day.

photo-2

One of the most amazing nurses you could ever meet (seriously, she’s brilliant!!!) told me something very exciting today!!  She said, “you should be able to resume some training in about 4 weeks from now.”  WOW!  I think I told her that “I loved her” as soon as I heard this news.  4 weeks is nothing!

Keep Calm

You might think I’m mad even thinking about training on Day 3 post mastectomy, even I think it sounds a bit crazy!!  But, I have realised something new about myself during the last couple of weeks and I’d like to share it with you today.

As I started to talk to some of my friends in recent weeks about the up and coming surgery, it dawned on me that the training passion I have runs far deeper than the exercise and fitness benefits I gain from ‘working out’.  It’s more meaningful, more healthy and more motivating than any tough session I can conquer when I’m at my fittest, and more memorable than any race where I achieve my goals.

I’m addicted to training and I bounce out of bed everyday because of the amazing people I train with, the buddies that pick me up when I’m down, the mentors I admire as they push themselves (and me) beyond imposed limits and the genuine love and passion we all have for each other when we achieve those special memorable moments in our lives.

fitness-friends

Training may shape us physically, but training shapes us in so many more ways in which we may not initially understand.  Training with our mates shapes us emotionally, socially and mentally and it’s these moments that make for lifetime friendships and memories which are priceless.

This hug says it all I think!  It’s me with one of my favourite training buddies, who stopped during the marathon leg of her Ironman race to give me a truly memorable hug.  That’s what training time is all about!!

Friends_15

Day 2 – Post Op – The Big Reveal….

Posted in News, Video

It’s now 48 hours after my Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy and while I’m tender and a little slower and more steady than I usually am, I’m feeling very fortunate at how smoothly my recovery is going.

I didn’t really have any expectations prior to surgery as to how I would ‘act’ or ‘feel’ post op.  I’m the type of person that doesn’t really acknowledge the ‘bad’ things that ‘might’ go wrong until such time that they happen.  I just figured that I’d wake up, see how it all feels and then roll with whatever I had to deal with.  I tend to think this way…..

Stay positive quote

So far it’s been a dream run.  I haven’t had any pain whatsoever, although there’s definitely a little discomfort but it’s certainly not painful.  I have a feeling that some of the nursing staff think I’m a bit ‘weird’ because I’m acting very normal.

I went to bed quite late again, which is pretty normal for me but I promised myself that I would aim to ‘sleep in’.   My body clock is finding it hard to adjust, so when I woke up around the time my alarm usually goes off at 4:30am, I worked hard to go back to sleep for another hour or two.  I eventually gave up around 6:30am and started my day.

To ensure I was well rested, I even propped myself in the bed for a few nanna naps before I had a visit from Leigh and the girls.  When they arrived mid morning, Leigh went for a run at Southbank, leaving the girls with me so we could spend some time together colouring-in and drawing.  It was fun, we traced pictures from a drawing book and coloured them in together, I absolutely love the fact that the girls are so ‘normal’ throughout this whole process.

Girls Drawing

Layla, our eldest daughter wanted to see what was going on in my little ‘hospital bags’, so she popped over to check out the drains.  What I love about this photo is the innocence and the inquisitive nature of her quest for knowledge about what was ‘in’ the drains.  She didn’t hesitate to grab one of the drains to check it out for herself.  This is the same daughter who loves to be involved whenever there’s an injury in the house.  She’s also recently recorded a video of Libby having a blood test, zooming in of course on the needle to really check it out closely.  She seems to be very interested in science and the body, so she’s in her element in this pic!

IMG_6650

During the family visit, the Doctor popped in and was ready to remove the tape.  I wasn’t expecting this to happen today, so it was a really nice surprise. Once again, I didn’t really have any expectations, other than the fact that I would be relatively flat with a big scar across where each of my nipples once were.  I must admit though, I was very keen to check it all out.  Here’s a photo of what it looks like today….

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.03.06 pm

The girls were both interested to check it out, so when they returned to the room, they both came over to take a look for themselves.  Layla thought it looked amazing, saying something like “WOW, it’s awesome”, whereas Libby said something along the lines of “Ewww, it’s gross”.  They both even had a little poke of my chest to see what it feels like.

All in all, I’m wrapped with the way it’s all healing.

In keeping with the daily updates, I have put together a quick video update for you below, which includes a snippet of how it all looks right now.  If you can’t click the link below, you can access via You Tube here.

Their Perspective

Posted in News, Video

Prior to my Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy this week, I watched a beautiful video clip of a dear friend singing in the car with her children.  It was a truly beautiful thing to see.  Not only were the kids all singing and dancing in the car, their gorgeous mum was hitting the notes as she boogied with them.

It inspired me!

Children quote

I’d recently convinced my girls to have a little dance in the car with me, however it didn’t really inspire, but it was funny.  Miss 7 head butted me by accident and instead of sympathy from both girls, little Miss 6 did what I can only describe as ‘cackled’.

When we returned home that night, the eve of my operation, I decided that it might be nice to ask the girls some questions about how they were feeling.  The little ‘interview’ process was funny and despite some wild and animated impersonations of their dad Leigh at the end, I have decided to share it with you today.

I truly hope you get as much out of their little rambling interview as I did.  I think both girls far exceeded their word count for the day as they both tried to keep the spotlight on themselves.

When the door bell rang in the background, it was two very beautiful friends visiting before the big day.  The girls eventually did come down stairs and I can assure you that no children were ‘pounded’ that night.

I hope you enjoy these uncut little snippets of our amazing girls.

What do you think?  Are they funny or what?  I especially loved Libby’s animation of what ‘Daddy’ might do and Layla’s ‘doorbell’ impersonation too.

Yas xxxx

 

 

 

Day 1- Post Op

Posted in News, Video

Day 1 is a wrap!

I’m sharing my own personal journey here, however before you read my account, please don’t consider any of what I’m saying as an indication of what others may have been through themselves or what you might go through in your own journey.  Everyone has a different experience and every day it can change in an instant.

Different quote

Like anything in life, we are all different and whether it’s good or bad, please remember that there is no right or wrong.  What I’m sharing with you is just my own account and what I feel today can easily vary to what I might share tomorrow.

So Day 1 is done!  I feel fantastic!  I always thought I’d feel good afterwards, but I’m a little surprised myself at how well recovery is going so far.  When I came out of recovery I was a little ‘crazy’ according to Leigh.  I only wish he captured some video of that crazy speak, it would have given me something to laugh at now.

eCard_7

Once crazy Yas left, which I think was in a matter of an hour or two, I began to feel ‘normal’ again.  I was given loads of information from the amazing nursing staff, including a summary of my drains, my oxygen, my PCA and other medications and finally my meal plan.

Would you believe that I didn’t get to sleep until after 1:00am?  I know it sounds strange, but to be honest, I’m usually a night owl so it didn’t really feel that strange to me – although I think some of the nursing staff wondered about it.  Don’t fear though, there’s a whole Rainbow Magic book about Yasmin the Night Owl Fairy!!

Yasmin Fairy

I did have the odd power nap here and there yesterday, so that might have kept me awake a little later than normal.

I woke up around 4:00am, right around my normal wake-up time when I’m training.  Rest assured, I didn’t get up and train today though, despite what some of you might think!  I waited for the sun to rise before really ‘waking up’ and found myself ready to start the day around 5:00am.

Today was eventful, I managed to do quite a lot, including:

  • a sponge bath
  • dispose of my attractive hospital undies (YAY)
  • change into my Macaroon Peter Alexander PJ’s gifted to me for my recent b’day
  • walk myself to the loo regularly for visits
  • brush my own teeth
  • eat a light fluid based diet
  • track my friends and fellow athletes racing at Ironman New Zealand today, congratulations to all of the boys for finishing
  • welcome some loving visitors, including our beautiful girls
  • I ate a normal dinner, including a fresh salad and serve of sweet potato mash

Dinner

When your highlight of the day is having your family just hang around, it’s always a good day.

I finished the day with another couple of power naps in the early evening, all with Happy Feet playing in the background.  Although, when the movie finished, I found myself full of energy again until about 1:00am.  I’ll have to start thinking about cutting out the little naps if it means I’m up this late each night.

All in all, it was about as perfect as it could be today.  I still have no pain whatsoever, I’m soaking this up for as long as I can.

Here’s a quick video update:

Thank you for your love and support.

Yas xxxx

Post-Op Post

Posted in News, Video

It’s official!!  Farewell to my nipples, along with the potentially deadly tissue that classifies my family as a high-risk statistic for breast cancer diagnosis.

he-said-you-aint-got-no-nipples

I am feeling fantastic, thanks predominately I image to an array of medication being pumped through me via the drip.

I may read this in a day or two and wonder how on earth I managed to string some sentences together, so at risk of truly messing up with some weird kind of rambling, I thought I’d provide a video blog update.

Hopefully this works!  From my hospital bed just now, I somehow fumbled my way through setting up a Previvor You Tube Channel.  Let’s see if I did it right!!

I really do appreciate everyone coming along this journey with me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments area below, if this little video blog works for you, let me know.

Love Yas xxxx