Day 6 – Post Op and it’s Date Night!!

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This time a week ago, it was the ‘eve’ of my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. I completed my final training session at Kosama Fitness and trotted off to Thursday night ‘date night’ with my gorgeous husband.  We had our favourite Guzman Y Gomez or GYG as we regularly call it and I responsibly ordered the ‘vegetarian salad’.  It was delicious!

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We are very fortunate and thankful for our regular weekly ‘date night’ and we know how ‘lucky’ we are as a couple to have this regular time together.  Leigh’s mum comes over every week for a sleepover, it’s just wonderful.  ‘Gran’ takes care of the girls, they eat an ‘easy’ dinner, usually comprising of Baked Beans, Mac & Cheese or Homemade Nachos and both of our girls enjoy learning some wonderful things by spending quality time with their ‘Gran’.   Layla can now crotchet and I often find some beautiful drawings and sketches created under the watchful eye of Leigh’s artistic mother.

An interesting statistic to share:  Gran, Layla and Libby are all left handed.

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Leigh and I usually enjoy a training session on Thursday night before heading to dinner together.  We usually go to China Town if we are sick of GYG.

We’re very lucky!  We know!!

Tonight, on Day 6 post-op, we had date night in the hospital and GYG it was. While I love seeing the girls daily, they have had almost a week of visiting me in hospital, which means some later nights than usual, so tonight they were on ‘catch-up’ mode with their sleep.  We can always rely on Gran to have them in bed super early!!

Date night wasn’t too eventful, but the company was priceless as we spent a couple of hours just laying in bed together watching reality television, which we rarely do.  This week I’ve been regularly watching The Block and hoping that it would be on again, but it was the darn footy on Channel 9 instead.  We ended up cuddling and watching The Amazing Race, still crappy reality TV, but it wasn’t the point.  We just wanted to spend some time together and it was fantastic.

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It was also a very exciting day on the ward.  I had three very special people from Smiling for Smiddy visit me, and I also had a fellow Smiddy rider who works here at the hospital pop in.  I always feel energised and on top of the world when visitors leave, they must be leaving some pretty good vibes behind for me.  I also have myself an awesome new Smiddy long sleeve jersey to train in as winter approaches.  It’s perfect, given that I’m riding to Townsville from Brisbane in August/September in the Smiling for Smiddy Challenge ride and most of my training will be over the winter period.

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You can check out my supporter page here, it tells you a little about why I’m riding and of course to make things more challenging, I decide to take on the ride in the same year I have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.  I do love a challenge!!  If you feel like donating your next morning coffee towards my fundraising target, I’d be more than most appreciative.  All funds assist The Mater Foundation research team, who I’m hoping one day will find the secret to preventing breast and ovarian cancer diagnosis.  Every little bit helps!

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Later in the afternoon I went on my ‘ward walk’ and visited new friend and one of the Under the Red Dress founders Beth Whaanga.  What an inspirational and strong woman with a story to tell that’s bound to change the way we all look at beauty.  If you haven’t already visited the Under the Red Dress website to read their Vision, it’s well worth the visit to both their website and Facebook page.

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While it’s too early to know whether I’ll be here for another night, I’ve had such a wonderful day, I’m well rested and while my drains might still be more full than they need to be for me to leave, I’m getting better each and every day at learning to ‘chill out’.

I even watched a ‘chick flick’ for a couple of hours today!!

I’ll finish it off with a Friday Funny, because laughter is of course one of the best kinds of medicine.  I wonder what my earlobes line up with now that I don’t have any nipples 🙂

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Day 5 – Post Op

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I’m really enjoying the act of writing down my thoughts and feelings each day. I find it really therapeutic and when something feels good, it’s bound to be good for you.

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What I didn’t realise when I started the whole ‘documentation’ process, is the impact that sharing my story might have on other people.  Today I received a beautiful message from a fellow Ironman finisher all the way from San Diego, California.   Not just a fellow IM finisher, but we have actually completed the same IMWA (Busselton) course and she even raced as one of the Smiling for Smiddy members in 2013, a year after I finished my second IM on the same course.  Talk about ‘a small world’!!  I learnt that she became a member of the Smiddy team at Busso after meeting Smiddy Founder Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy at Challenge Wanaka.

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I have no idea how she came across my blog in the first place, but our conversation today felt like we’d known each other before, it was strange how linked we were despite having never met one another.  Before our connection today, we were strangers!

Sadly, I received some bad news from my new friend.  Three weeks ago, my new friend was diagnosed with breast cancer – Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC).  I was shocked!!  A strong, fit, healthy, young woman being diagnosed again!!  I say again because I continue to hear it more and more often and it’s just not fair!!  This disease does not discriminate, it doesn’t latch onto those more susceptible due to health, age or even predisposition, it’s just so cruel.

When I hear stories like this one, it encourages me to continue to share openly and honestly my little journey.

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I realise that making the choice to remove seemingly healthy unaffected breasts is incredibly invasive and unusual, but when I hear about confirmed cases of cancer in women ‘just like me’, it makes the choice I made sound less confronting.  My new friend too has a strong family history of women in her family being diagnosed with breast cancer, including, like me, her own mother. I pray for my new friend and send her love and strength.  I’m sure once she’s fought and won this batter, we’ll be discussing plans to race another Ironman triathlon, perhaps this time lining up at the start line at the same event in the same year this time.

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My day 5 recovery went smoothly.  I’m feeling strong, healthy, happy and ready to head home when the time is right.  The suction on my drains was turned off today, which is another step closer to a full recovery.  With the drainage almost ready to come out, I decided to snap a selfie of myself standing side-on today.  I’m really appreciating the beauty of my new body. No, I’m not talking about ‘beauty’ as defined by media, nor am I referring to public expectation of what we are taught ‘beautiful’ is.  I’m referring to the beauty inside of me, the beauty in my mind, the beauty which has strengthened my resolve to be strong mentally and physically throughout my shared journey.

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Libby commented with perfect innocence earlier this week that she thought my tummy looked like it had a baby inside of it.  I guess without the usual curve shape of my breasts, my chest now blends right into my stomach and it may give the perception that my tummy protrudes beyond my chest.

Our gorgeous girls came in again tonight and Leigh enjoyed a feast from the room service menu as the girls gobbled up jelly and ice-cream as a special treat.  It was Layla who jumped into bed with me this time and as we cuddled and snuggled, I could see that she was really enjoying the closeness we were sharing after 5 days of me not being home with them.  I could have cuddled with her all night long….

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Day 5 was another fantastic, smooth and trouble free day.  I’m grateful to have the abundance of support and care from near and afar.

Yas xxxx

Day 4 – Post Op

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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!!

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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

Day 3 – Post Op

Posted in News

Day 3 post Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy is done and dusted.

I was really determined to sleep more, so I switched off and fell asleep around 10:30pm on Sunday night.  I thought I’d trick my body clock and sneak in an earlier night than normal, but it didn’t work as I woke up at around 2:00am ready to start the day.

Darn you body clock!!

Determined to win, I stubbornly ignored the ‘wake up time’ and stayed in bed talking myself into sleeping for at least a few more hours.  I managed to sleep until around 4:30am, then I really stuck to my guns and aimed to nap until a more ‘normal’ wake-up time.  After about 4-5 nanna-naps, I made it through to just after 6:00am.  Whoo hoo!!  Broken sleep or not, I rested and that sets me up for the best chance of recovery.

Nanna Nap

Day 3 was once again super!  I am still pain free and recovering really well.

I had a surprise visit from The Mater Chicks in Pink and they gave me some goodies, including a stash of ‘chick flick’ DVD’s to watch.  I’m destined to spend some time in front of the DVD player watching some of these!!  And yes, before you ask, YES it did take all of my might not to alphabetise and order the pile before I took this picture!!  I see it as a sign that I’m ‘relaxing’….

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I had some lovely visitors pop in today, including my wonderful SIL (sister-in-law) Regina, who came up from the Gold Coast to keep me company and also my lunchtime picnic surprise friend Jess, who is also the talent behind the photo’s taken of me prior to my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. If you haven’t already seen Jess’s blog, take a visit to her Essence Images website to read her very beautiful blog piece.  The images are truly beautiful.

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I also had a visit from a beautiful breast cancer survivor and fellow mother, Pauline Sinclair. Pauline and I met only recently in December at the TEDxSouthBankWomen conference where we sat beside one another as strangers. We connected after the conference via social media and have since become friends, connected initially by the disease that Pauline fought and beat, and I fought to cheat. Pauline told me her amazing story of strength and courage today as she underwent her own journey to successfully fight breast cancer in June last year.  It’s people like Pauline that inspire me!

While today was the first time we ‘met’ since our very brief introduction at the conference, I felt like we were old friends catching up after years of not seeing each other. Isn’t it funny how people come into one another’s lives just at the right time. I just had to share this picture Pauline sent me last night as I was thanking her for the visit…..it definitely resembles me relaxing!

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I gobbled up my delicious home-made and personally delivered picnic lunch, keeping the left overs (thanks Jess) in the fridge so I can munch again on it tomorrow.  Even in this photo below, Jess has a knack to make me look like I’m glowing!!

Picnic Lunch

The biggest news of the day was the fact that two (2) of my drains were removed.  I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how it would all feel, but after some reassurance from the same amazing nurse I referred to in my previous ‘Training Time’ blog, we took some deep breaths together and before I knew it they were out – pain free!!

My final ‘high’ for the day was the visit from my beautiful family after school. The girls came in with Leigh and shared their school day news with me.  We also shared Vanilla Pod gluten free cupcakes together, well actually, the girls and Leigh ate the cupcakes, I didn’t have an appetite for sweet food.  Of course we don’t normally have cupcakes after school, but yesterday marked a special day for our family.  It was the 3 year anniversary of my Pop’s passing.  Pop was like a father to me and we would always take him to visit Nan at her grave when she passed away. Together we would always share cupcakes with Pop as we sat at Nan’s grave reminiscing over the ‘good old days’.  It became a tradition and we have continued it on special anniversaries ever since.

RIP Poppy

It was an eventful day, enjoyable for so many varied reasons.   I’m looking forward to sharing more of my journey with you as I start Day 4 today.

I honestly can’t think of a better song to start the day with!!  Get up and dance along, you know you want to.

Training Time

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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…..

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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!

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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….

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

It’s Breast Selfie Time……

Posted in News

When I was recently at a family event, I casually asked some of my female relatives whether they would participate in a crazy thought I had.  Some of them looked at me with those same eyes that I see when I have come up with ideas they might not approve of in the past, but I continued anyway.

You see, a big part of my journey towards having a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy is documenting the process in words and in images, which naturally involves the inevitable photo of my boobies, hooters or breasts.

You what?  That’s right….selfies of my breasts.

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I know, it might seem weird, unusual and even strange that I’d willingly put my breasts out there for the haters to hate, the negative naysayers to take down and the critics to analyse every single thing ‘wrong’ with my floppy, half filled, non-perky and lacking natural youthful glow, boobies.   So what better way to make myself feel more comfortable about this than to have my sister’s and cousin’s bare their breast selfies too.  Great idea hey!!

It’s no ‘duck face sexual selfie’, nor is it a photoshopped impressive rack of beauty.  The selfie I’m talking about is the kind of ‘before’ selfie you take when you are about to undertake a drastic change.  You know, the type that we take before having our hair done at the salon?

There are always ‘rules’ with me, but they were simple;

  • no faces
  • not sexy
  • your choice about showing nipples or not

My family are amazing.  They have been incredibly supportive throughout my journey towards having a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy, so today as I head into surgery, it seems fitting that I share the beauty and diversity that is the breast selfies of my amazing family.

Now’s not the time to be shy.  To get the full impact of this image, you really do need to click on it.  Go on….do it!!

Family collage

Did you click on it?  I hope so, because it’s when you click on it that you really see the diversity in our family.

If we look beyond the nipples, the moles and the obvious differences in size and shape, we see 7 women bravely showing their bodies in a raw and beautiful way.   What you don’t see is that 6 out of the 7 women pictured from my family are statistically likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in our lifetime.

These women are my family, they have bravely stepped beyond the comfort of their clothing, beyond the support of their bra’s and they have demonstrated real strength beyond any words that I could share with you today.

I received some amazing thoughts from some of them during the breast image emailing process, which I am pleased to be able to share with you.

From my gorgeous and very pregnant (due any second now) Sister-in-law Jess:

A few weeks ago I overheard an older gentleman telling Yasmin that she can’t cut up her beautiful body simply because she feared cancer.  As with most things, she took it in her stride and kindly told him this wasn’t the case.  Even if something like this sparks because of fear, it certainly doesn’t dictate the actions being taken.  Yas is determined to be around for her family – purely out of love.  If this means sacrificing her breasts to be healthy long enough to meet her grandchildren then so be it.  It is not a fear of not being there.  It is not a fear of dying.  It is a pro active approach to enable her to live the fulfilling life she wants and has every right to live, without the constant nagging concern her bosom could be a ticking time bomb.

Fear simply does not have the substance to make this kind of decision. Her love of life and family however, give her every single kick of motivation she will ever need.

From my amazingly brave cousin Jodie, who is embarking on her own challenge during my recovery:

In my eyes I can’t even totally comprehend what Yasmin is doing, but that does not waiver my support for her for even a second.  Breasts symbolise so many things – becoming a woman when they first blossom, watching them grow when your growing a little person inside of you and being able to nurture the little people who become the biggest part of your world.  That is what is comes down to ultimately.  Family.  It’s the core that we all cling to.  It’s why I believe Yasmin is doing what she is doing, so she can experience the above plus SO more with her girls.  That is why I didn’t mind contributing, because Yasmin is my family and we ever turn our backs on one another.

From my younger cousin Kylie, who was the first to wear a bra among us, despite me being 3 years older than her.  In fact, Kylie was the reason I started wearing a bra, and at 13 years old, I still didn’t need one!!

I think all you girls r so brave and congrats looks great:-) I really can’t tell whose boobs r whose (lol) which makes me think boobs are just boobs….I love that our family is there for each other no matter what. You are amazing love u all xxx

From my cousin Rachel;

It makes me very proud to be in a family that are willing to do extraordinary things for one another.  For most of u this was a scary thing, but u did it anyway to show support to Yas during on of her most difficult journeys.  I don’t think there is a better bunch of  women out there than our family and friends.

From my youngest sister Jane:

Doing this photo with all the love and support of my family was probably the most empowering thing I have ever done, I am neither ashamed nor embarrassed of my photo instead I feel proud of it.  The purpose of the photo is to raise awareness and create thought and discussion on a topic some consider taboo and I am sure you all agree that the photo has served its purpose.

Jane also shared a very beautiful post on the Previvor Facbeook page, which I just had to share.  You will need to click on the image to read it in full.

Jane's Eords

There’s not really much more that I can say, other than Thank You.  Thank you sincerely for the love, the care and the support from each and every one of you.

I truly hope you like reading my blog as much as I love writing it.

Finally, I had a nice surprise towards the final stages of publishing this blog last night.  A very good friend of mine was up late online and we got chatting, mostly about today, what I’ll be going through and how I feel about it all.  She’s been amazingly supporting throughout this journey and she knew I was finalising this very blog, so after a couple of teaser text messages, my wonderful friend bravely sent me her own chest selfie.

I thought it looked so much like my breasts, that with her permission, I decided to have a bit of fun with it and post it as part of this blog.  Our breasts are very similar don’t you think?  I’m sure if our husbands will be able to more expertly discuss the slight variations, but in my opinion, I think we’re about the very same size and shape.

Yas_Friend_Collage

I thank you for sharing my most brave post yet and look forward to updating you as I recover from surgery in the next 24-48 hours.