Monthly Archives: July 2016

Flat Friday Eve

So here we are the eve of Flat Friday (yes I know it’s gone midnight but shush!). This week has gone so fast it seems I haven’t had time to do anything let alone think.

Such lovely messages this evening being left for me by some lovely people, it’s really nice to think I am in some people’s thoughts. It’s also amazing how many people have supported the fundraiser for York Breast Friends. The raffle is going on until the end of the month so please get involved .. you can find out more here

Someone asked me tonight if I’m worried about the op. In honesty.. the it’s just surgery, the doctors know what they are doing and I’m sure will do it well. It’s what comes after that is terrifying me.

As I’ve said before I’ve always been Bertha big boobs, I’ve never tried to hide them and infact actively displayed them on more than one occasion.

 I have always been proud that no matter what I weigh my hips and bust have been equal with a smaller waist. Damn it I am proud of my hourglass figure, and the whole vintage 50s thing I have going on works because of it. (Also check out the hair and eyebrows too.. damn you chemo!)

Yet tomorrow afternoon I will wake up and it will be gone. I will be more hourglass with all the minutes at the bottom. I will be flat… and I’m not sure how I will deal with that.

I know it’s only temporary until I am reconstructed and that the cancer is better gone etc etc but they are a big (obviously!) Part of me and my personality and I’m gonna miss the cheeky pair. 

Where am I gonna keep my spare change? Where will my crumbs fall now? What will blokes stare at in the pub!! These are all answers I do not have.

I am not too proud to admit I am scared. I’m scared that I won’t be able to look at myself, I’m scared my whole style that I fought so hard to keep will change, I’m scared I’m going to go back to that time and headspace again where I hated myself. Yes there are prostethics.. but there will always be an edge.. a break between where my bust should be and where they begin. I will look and be different.

I’ve fought so hard to keep me throughout this whole process, yet ultimately cancer gets to take a big part of me and I can’t stop that… not without risking my life anyway. Fuck you cancer.. what right do you have to do this?

I know, especially tonight with the atrocities happening in Nice, that sat here crying about my boobs is vain, that in the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t matter but tonight it does, and I’m sure over the next few days there will be lots more whilst I adjust to being less Jessica Rabbit and more Olive Oyl.

Thank you all for being along for the ride with me and knowing you out there helps. This is just one more step and my story is far from over. 

So wherever you are please think of me at 7.30 am as I am admitted, maybe say a little prayer if you that way inclined, if not at least offer a quick message up to ask that my surgeon not be suddenly struck with a case of hand tremors. 

For now I’m off to try to sleep. I’m kidding… I’m going to lay here and worry for the next few hours and fall asleep about 20 minutes before my alarm goes off.

See you all on the other (flat) side xx


It’s not just the treatment 

I was scrolling thru my phone this morning and found a picture.. and then remembered I was going to write a blog post and didn’t. Damn you chemo brain (I can blame loads on that!) 

Anyhow as I’ve said before I had pretty much just prior to diagnosis decided I was pretty happy with me and how I looked. I was still actively trying to lost a few of the jiggly pounds but I didn’t look in the mirror and retch anymore. 

Now this is either irony at its best or straight down shitty but I didn’t realised how vain I was until cancer started stripping that away. Suddenly I looked ill.

I had to wear make up if I wanted to avoid the sympathetic head tilt that people often threw in my direction.

My eyebrows and eyelashes went (apart from one.. hang on in there dude!!), my finger nails are falling off, my face is ballooned..although going down a little now. 

But you know what it’s a small price to pay. If my options are be a little more heavy handed with the trowel and polyfilla for a year or so.. or take my chances with the reaper.. pass the blusher brush and chain me to boots make up counter. 

I took this photo before my make up and after to show the reality of cancer. Some days it’s just like a big game of dress up! 

Next time bagsy me the cinderella dress! 

Line in..line out! 

Today is the day.. finally my Hickman line is coming out! 

I moaned like a stroppy teenager about having it but there is no denying it.. it did make things easier. I even managed to get rid of the district nurse visits and was taught how to flush my line myself.

But it is a pain in the arse (or chest!) .. I do catch it, and pull it, or fiddle with it, so will be nice to be tether free! 

The process isn’t nice. They literally numb you, seperate the cuff from any skin grown over it and pull it out. Not painful but a very bizarre pulling feeling. Then they put lots of pressure on your neck to stop you bleeding, dress it and you are done.

As with all cancer appointments then comes the cup of tea, pack of biscuits and please sit there for 10 minutes so we can make sure you aren’t going to die… that’s my favourite part! Maybe they would let me still come in for the tea, biscuits and don’t die sessions if I asked nicely?

However the following day I noticed the dressing was itching, and sore so popped back to the unit. Oooh said the nurse as soon as she saw me.. allergic reaction!

Wtf.. my body has had this exact same dressing on it for 15 weeks and now it decides it’s allergic. Give me a break! It’s sore and blistered but now has a different dressing on it which hopefully won’t make me look like I have the bubonic plague or a bad case of something lumpy and gross.

And already it’s Wednesday.. how did that happen.. 2 days to go till flat Friday.. holy mastectomy batman!

The result! 

So Thursday came and my phone rang…

It’s the breast nurse.. we fed back your information and feelings, and your surgeon examined everything to them..and they agree that full surgery is the best thing for you!

Well I could have cried! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying that it’s still there hiding in tissue. At least this way if it does come back its just really crappy luck!

She asked if I could go see the surgeon that afternoon. So off I toddled to the hospital again.

The surgeon was lovely and wanted to explain that it wasn’t her and that she wanted to look at all options. Apparently the decision makers had also suggested an immediate dermal sling reconstruction and had I considered it. 
I politely refused. Many reasons that implants had never been my choice – the risk of problem with radiation, the fact I would need them replaced regularly, the fact it retains the very tissue we were trying to remove..and the big one.. it would mean weekly hospital visits to be inflated like a leaky tyre! 

It sounds silly but I’ve done so much hospital visits I want to have my surgery have my rads..and be done. Have our holiday, relax.. deal with a life that isn’t based around cancer.. then when I’m ready I can start the reconstruction process. If I am going weekly for a pump up there is no “end of treatment”

She agreed and the consent form was signed. Practically a walk in the park..only half a sheet of a4 side effects..compared to the a3 chemo ones it’s all good. Oh she says we can also bring the op forward to the 15th

That’s next week? I could avoid thinking about it when it was 2 weeks away but next week?! Ermm

I’m handed an appointment card full of appointments.. hickman line removal, pre op, bloods, admission….OMG this is actually happening.. and really really soon!

It’s a funding issue! 

So I got a phone call from my breast nurse… she needed to ring and tell me that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be having a bilateral surgery in 17 days.. say what?! 

Then came the fatal words..”it’s a funding issue” it’s turns out that because the majority of my left breast is healthy with some suspicious.. but not biopsied.. areas that the decision makers in the trust felt that they couldn’t provide the funding to remove healthy tissue. Or if they did the bilateral they may not fund a reconstruction both sides..

Say what again! I was literally speechless. Would this not hugely increase the odds of reoccurrence.. well yes..and would I not look a total prat?! I am a HH – there are no HH prostethics.. and I cannot be reconstructed to that size.. seriously I would look like frankentank boob. 

And that my friends is when, as they say,I lost my shit! I was calm and polite but made it very clear exactly what I thought about the trust putting funding above my survival rate.. and what did they expect me to do with one flat and one HH – stuff it with a small bald man? Flop one side over comb over stylee? Seriously! I told her that should they decide I could have both then I wanted to discuss my other treatment options..

She said she would take my concerns back to the team and that she understood my feelings. I also made it VERY clear that should they decide to protect their “funding” …I would make it very loudly..and publicly.. known exactly how that left a mum of 4…

She said that she would feed the info back.. not to make any rash decisions and she would ring me Thursday with the answer..4 whole days.. 2 weeks before surgery.. man and they say avoid stress! 

Well that escalated fast!! 

So today was the day of my oncology appointment with Dr Love God

One question that had been playing on my mind was that I understood when people had surgery to remove the cancer then chemo to “mop up” but I had done it all arse about face… did I face the prospect of chemo again? The Dr promised me I would not have any more chemo for this cancer. Yippee

I also asked him about my prognosis. I wanted to know what my chances were of it coming back. This , said Dr 50shades, was a bit more tricky. Normally the surgeon would remove the offending tumours and measure them, test them,chop them apart.. stick it all thru a database and the computer would spew out my probability.. however these results would be somewhat skewed.. we know the cancer has shrunk my main tumour.. so what should be the probability of a 9cm tumour..maybe be measured as a 5cm one instead..he said given the size, the node involvement etc he would suggest 75-85% of reoccurrence up to 5 years .. balls that’s a bit higher than I was hoping 

However, and here is his saving grace as he was nearly losing his status and being demoted to Dr death…with the bilateral surgery that risk is hugely reduced! Yay right answer Dr .

He was a little annoyed as there was no appointments showing to see my surgeon but he assured me his had sent his secretary “to follow the surgeon around until they got pissed off and made an appintment” and that someone would ring me Monday with a date. Eeek 

With a final cheery wave to the chemo team I headed home. As I got home my mobile rang and for once it was no one offering me ppi – altho as a side note the life insurance cold callers soon shut up when you tell them you have cancer! .. anyway it was the Secretary.. the surgeon would see me this afternoon could I go back now. 

The appointment with the surgeon wasn’t great. I cried , again. I think the enormity .. not just of my boobs!..but of everything was a lot to take in. We decided a delayed reconstruction would be best. For several reasons, the decision is mine and I wanted to have our holiday, lose some weight and ultimately being as it had taking me 6 months to deal with the diagnosis I felt I would need some time to deal with losing my breasts too before substituting them 

Bit like rebound relationships…I was concerned if I replaced Mr myboobs straight away with Mr falseboobs I wouldn’t ever fully deal with the life Mr myboobs and I had built, the fun we had, the places we had been, the jiggly way he sagged.. ahh such memories.. or it is mammaries? 

We discussed recon options and I think I will chose a diep – using the skin and tissue from my flabby stomach to create new breasts. Figure might as well redistribute it there is enough to go around. She also grabbed a handful of back fat and advised there was enough to make a “decent pair” there too.. thanks love now I feel really great .. her later comment of but there isn’t enough fat on my arse or thighs to make a decent size didn’t help redeem her that much.

So just like that, I was given a date of 21st July.. 3 weeks and bobs your uncles fanny’s your aunt, and my boobs are going to be in a bucket somewhere… shit that escalated quickly! 

Chemo reflections (aka shit I have cancer!)

The admission this time was very different to last.. not for my treatment but for my ward buddies. Gone were the Margarets, and in their place were 3 other women. All 3 were waiting for their place in a local hospice … this was a real wake up call.. suddenly you are faced with different cancers at different stages and I suddenly realised this was pretty serious

And I cried..big snotty sobbing tears. A nurse came over and asked if I was ok and if I needed anything.. between the dramatic sobs I managed to blurt out “I’ve got cancer!” Erm yes she said, frantically checking my chart to see if I was newly diagnosed.. she looked confused and asked if the Dr had been in and given me some bad news? No I said I was diagnosed in January … she looked confused and it made me laugh. I guess it did seem a bit wierd having a moment 5 months post diagnosis.

I got over my breakdown, with the help of ice cream.. for my sore throat obviously! And I realised we all deal with our issues in different ways – me? I’ve tried to carry on, see the light in it..but the bay of doom as I named it.. those ladies were dealing with it a different way.

They had chosen to have a cancer off.. seriously it was like cancer top trumps in there.. rating on age at diagnosis, how many rounds of chemo, how many secondaries.. and then bizarrely arguing over which one was bad enough to die first.. one lady was convinced it would be her as her mother died from the same cancer…it later transpired her mother was 98 at the time of her passing! It was funny at the time but looking back its actually quite sad. 

Reflecting on my know I didn’t do badly! I expected , as per Dr sexybuns graph of shittiness to feel mainly crap with the odd day of ok …but in general I felt ok with the odd day of feeling close to death. 

Don’t get me wrong there was some shocking low points but I coped, I moved on.. and as promised I did it all wearing some gorgeous dresses. 

So now with appointments looming for oncology debrief and surgery I’m ready for the next step..

You can have the boobies cancer.. But the style stays mine!