Strength after Surgery

Posted in News

I realised yesterday that 2 years ago to this very day I came out of hospital after having shoulder surgery, which was required after I was hit by a car on my bike and very nearly killed.  Someone saved my life that day and if it wasn’t for a fellow triathlete calling out to warn me, things could be very different.  I am forever grateful for her ability to spot the car turning illegally.

Since my shoulder surgery and in unrelated incidents, I broke a bone in my foot, had a bilateral mastectomy and finally a full breast reconstruction.  It’s been 2 years of surgery – recovery, surgery – recovery, surgery – recovery, surgery and recovery.

It’s been a busy 2 years health wise for me.

2014-02-28 15.21.42

Today I finished an 8 week challenge at Kosama Fitness, Fortitude Valley and I am celebrating my strength after surgery, actually, I’m celebrating my strength after surgery 4 times over.

It has been a real battle for me to get through this challenge.  Physically, I have aimed to be strong and fast, each challenge has required both of these elements.   It hasn’t been easy and for someone who gets a little anxious about times, nervous about performance and isn’t a fan of public posting of numbers on a whiteboard, it has been tough.  Thankfully, the energy in the gym, the positive vibes and support from fellow challengers, and the unconditional motivation from the Kosama trainers, has absolutely made the journey possible.  For me though, this challenge has been as much of a mental battle as it has a physical one. Finding strength after surgery hasn’t been smooth sailing.


I realised after we were a few weeks into the challenge, that I have really struggled emotionally this past 12 months.  It’s almost exactly a year since I rode my bike (along with 49 other cyclists) from Brisbane to Townsville.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you would remember the incredibly personal story I shared of my struggle with this ride.  It hurt!!  It hurt a LOT!!  Physically (my legs and cycling ability to make the distance) I was OK, yes there were up and down days, but mentally it was a different story.  I battled each and every single day, fighting the indescribable pain of a torn up bum from severe chaffing, which started on DAY 1 and got progressively worse for the 8 day journey.  It felt like this…..truly, like sitting on razor blades for 10-12 hours a day.  I spent the first 5-6 hours of every single day working to trick my mind into overcoming the excruciating pain of sitting on open wounds all day long.


I wrote about it in my Mind over Matter blog (click on the link if you’re game – but beware of the butt images) and after sharing the blog, which included some graphic images and a conversation I had with someone I thought was my ‘friend’, I have barely written any blogs since.  In fact, I went from writing almost weekly, to writing just 5 articles in the past 12 months, 2 of those inspired and dedicated to my beautiful sister.

I feel disappointed in myself for letting the bully win!!

This guy literally said that “he felt my blog was written for attention, that I’m not about the ‘cancer cause’, that what I share makes people uncomfortable and it’s not appropriate to share on the internet to the world”.  He also said that I wasn’t invited to share my story in this forum and that he doesn’t like it.  Presumably he was offended by the pictures, the nudity, the openness, the honesty, he didn’t like it and I began to feel like he was making sure that he could ‘take me down’ to others behind my back like a teenage boy.

These two images below were reported on Facebook, which thankfully never got removed, because Facebook is mature enough to know that mastectomy images are not considered pornographic.

YG_2    Previvor Magnets

The magnets have since been removed and I now have ‘normal’ implants, rather than tissue expanders – so there’s no more magnet party tricks!!

You see, he did this to others in the 5 years I called him my ‘friend’.  He had this knack of bringing people down with his strong opinion and in his leadership role he had the power and influence to steer even my thoughts and opinions about people that I didn’t really know.  He wasn’t right at all, I now know that, the people I love know that, the tens of thousands of readers who visit my blogs each month know that – so why did I stop writing?

Previvor quote

I’m not sure I can answer that question right now, other than saying that I let the bully win and I am here now today making a comeback.  I am committed to sharing my journey, it’s been inspiring to others and I am proud to have helped many women travelling the same road.  I know there are thousands more who are contemplating their own surgery and I am standing up to my bully and no longer going to let him stop me from letting my light shine.

One of my favourite quotes is this one…..

Dr Suess

The Kosama Fitness 8 week challenge has reminded me that ‘What you believe, you achieve’.  It has reminded me of the value of true friendship.  It has inspired me to start being less judgmental of myself and more appreciative of what my body and my mind is capable of.  It has reminded me that people are good and it has given me the chance to redirect my thoughts to a more positive light.  What I LOVE most about the challenge is that it helped me see through the dark cloud which I’ve let cover my light this past 12 months.  I have admired my fellow 8 week challengers and their individual strengths, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. I seriously love the energy I have been able to experience while being surrounded by such amazing people this past 8 weeks!!  I found this quote on the Kosama Fitness Facebook page and I think it sums it up perfectly…..

Kosama Quote

I made a mistake and believed that others felt the same way as the bully, I let it crush me, I let it stop me from being who I really am and I suffered from some serious self doubt in all areas of my life.  It has impacted my friendships and my relationships and most importantly it has impacted me.

I’ve graduated today from an 8 week strength challenge and who would have thought that the end result wouldn’t really be about the speed, the numbers or the improvements along the way.  It has been far more enjoyable to learn that the challenge has been a journey of re-discovering myself and being comfortable with who I am.  I am strong and I am proud of myself for all of the amazing things I contribute to life!! This is my new motto……..

Strong Thoughts

When I started this blog back in late 2013, I described myself in the About Me page and just as I stated then, I’ve always said that “I’m not for everyone” – well it’s true and I am NOT for my bully and I’m not letting him crush me any more!!

Thank you to the whole team (trainers and members inclusive) at Kosama for helping me break through!!