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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.