Saturday, 30 June 2012

Seven

Seven years ago  - we stood on the threshold - the IVF roller-coaster. I started the stimulation injections the next day, July 1st 2005 and I wrote my first blog post.

Today is a momentous day we (note plural) started our stimulation injections to grow the egg(s) that could become our maybe baby (or babies)

How could I have known one year exactly to the day later !
Six years ago ...we welcomed our little miracles to earth  part 1 and part 2.

Right in the middle of the World Cup at 35 wks and 4 days. 









Five years ago ... a double first birthday celebration
(PS : the photos disappeared off the post and the comments are hidden because of Intense debate)

not the box Mum !

Cute , wooly butts !


Four years ago -the tremendous twos 

Happy birthday Sammy


Happy Birthday Joel


Three years ago - well it was all about the cake !


Plus, I finally got around to making a video montage ...stay tuned for the next three years in a few weeks.




They are still my favourite songs - Let them be little - and Thank God for kids !

Two years ago ...then they were four.

This birthday, my husband was undergoing his own journey with cancer . He was 2.5 weeks into 6 weeks of radiation. It was a very quiet birthday this year.




One year ago -




I am so grateful for my cherubs , every day they are my reason for living. 
They bring magic to every day and sunshine in every smile.



Friday, 29 June 2012

Irrevocable Hands of kindness

This week has been one of my best ever .
I've been overwhelmed, in a good way, by messages of love and support, flowers and chocolates as well as a huge parcel of very thoughtful gifts from dear friends in the blogging community.
I will get around to thanking you properly soon , I am so grateful.

There aren't enough words to thank you all personally.
I've had emails from strangers, or rather - friends I haven't met yet , women who are breast cancer survivors or currently undergoing treatment, offering to answer questions or just have a chat.
Kind, gentle messages across social media.

Countless messages assuring me of prayers, friends offering practical support and of course our families giving us TLC the last 2 weeks.
My husband has been my rock and so caring, under immense stress.
I've been embraced from Dublin to NZ and everywhere in between.
I wish everyone the same measure of support and kindness when they go through difficult periods.


I know it has made me feel stronger , evoking piece of mind and filling my hope tank to the brim.

I have some great quotes and images for my vision board too.
I'm banking on laughter too because have you noticed that when you laugh really hard, you stop thinking about pain, your worries and ... I am sure you can think of more.
People have shared funny images and inspiration on Facebook too.


I feel good in myself. I feel strong , fit and healthy.
I still have one drain in situ, beneath my left axilla (armpit) giving me pain , though the Endone is covering the pain relief well. It's there for a reason probably till Tuesday when I see my surgeon.
My short hair is growing on me - such a difference after 17-18 yrs of longish hair.
Now, I feel daring but can't decide what colour ?

This weekend my littliest miracles will celebrate another trip around the sun. I can't believe - SIX !
They had so many BIG plans to celebrate with their school friends and have been writing invitations for months.
I feel a little disappointment for them. We shall celebrate no less- with cake , fairy bread, chocolate crackles and lollies with their cousins and maybe a few friends . The school party might wait till term 3 commences.

So tell me how kindness touched you this week or share how you lightened the load for someone else ?

 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Little Rays of Sunshine

Love these smiles ... on Tractor mean for one !

From the archives ...can you believe they will be six in 5 days








Tuesday, 26 June 2012

One and half mins of your time

A few weeks ago before the kerfuffle started with my bust we got offered the opportunity to review the new LG 3D Smart Cinema TV 47LM6700 with a challenge attached.

That is 47" or 119cm metrical . Pure viewing pleasure.

It was only a loaner. Two weeks was all we got with it , due to the circumstances.
Then we had to pack it up and bring it back to Sydney - since we knew we wouldn't be home for weeks.

Posting a video to You tube, gave us a chance to win it back. I'm telling you it is magic !

Please click over and see how we went for our first real upload to Youtube!



My original video gave hubby hours of grief fun synchronizing the screeching at him audio script ,while he welded the MAGIC REMOTE -  I was just waiting on the cord to upload our film masterpiece from the LG android phone to PC.

Oh, the tragedy when we discovered it missing in PC land or it was deleted from the phone!

It probably wasn't him but I like the slogan and this dude is cute.
This was take #2 , which we rigged up today after I busted out of hospital yesterday. We had to film in our caravan where we are staying.




Disclaimer - This a sponsored competition entry post - The 3 videos with most views could win this 47" beauty .

The LIFE's GOOD - LG news is if I win - I also get ONE to giveaway - which means you have a chance to win ONE too.


So for your viewing pleasure, as many times as you can stand it and mine I present you ...thank you




Monday, 25 June 2012

I must confess ...

Firstly , I've been promising Kirsty I would join her meme for a long time. Forgive me .... I have a lot to confess.

I am still in limbo regarding the full pathology results after the mastectomy and axillary clearance. So far so good. I've have a lot of time to think about 'what if's' while in hospital.

Some say the worse is over now that my breast (s) and the cancer is gone.The drains are still uncomfortable but necessary. Once they're gone I won't have much pain (I hope).

The exercises to restore full arm movement have commenced.I starting walking on treadmill later today.

The proposed chemotherapy regime and hormone therapy treatment is more than mopping up. It is not to be taken lightly.




I have long dark brown hair and I don't colour my hair. I've been lucky to have only a handful of greys. I confess I glad of all the money I've saved - not. I've only added a semi permanent colour maybe 2 -3 times ever.I mostly tie my hair back in a pony tail. I'm practical.

A legacy of being a lazy nurse who preferred sleep to hairstyling. My hair do took me 3 mins, tops (after washing of course). I could even go to work with damp hair pulled back.

It was also easier, with twins , to care for it with just a brush and a hair elastic. I've thought about a style change a few times but I was too lazy to get out and do it.

Faced with the real possibility of losing my hair slowly or rapidly in distressing clumps , clogging the drains and my spirits, I want to do something positive first.

To get used to it.
The loss won't be permanent , just annoying.
It might not be the same when it grows back.
Deal with it.




I confess I am more worried about how other people will see me ...I do not want to look like Gollan (google him). I do not want pity or stares or want to worry my little boys.

The physical stripping away of my femininity is highly emotive. I care less about my breasts.

I know there is Look good feel better course I can do http://lgfb.org.au/lgfb_wp/.
I will .


I've enough body issues before this with visible skin lumps , cafe au last spots , a wonky eye and a titanium screw in my head. I am not beautiful , nor vain but I don't want to look like a freak.

The idea of hiding away for months is appealing.
I could do it out on our farm.
Not practical .
Not really what I want .

I am not in utter despair.
I confess I have barely cried , undoubtably the tears will come as a relief.

I am so grateful my almost six year olds are now experienced bus travelers.
No one will see me at the property bus stop.I could live in pjs ; they are comfy.

I've realised today my wig options may be limited because of my bone anchored hearing aid prosthesis {screw} behind my right ear ...I can't occlude my hearing aid nor the screw that sits out on the hairline. Hats are tricky too. They make my hearing aid buzz and squeal if they touch it, if I don't get the right one.

I know we will figure it out. I found this site for short hair styles for women in 40's ...I will link later .

Those who know me , please tell me what you think ? Will this suit me ?




I am going to CHOP my hair , all - off next week once my drains are out. I found a few more styles I just can't add links with blogpress ...

My new hair-do won't last long before I'm likely to go bald.
Like an answer to a prayer , that hadn't passed my lips , a lovely friend sent me a link to her friend's business . She is a survivor who makes head coverings , specially designed scarves for cancer patients.

My hubby asked if I'll go blonde ...highly unlikely .
Maybe pink or purple ;-)
Do blondes have more fun ?

I like this look too.



I will save my plait to use to make my own wig if practical and affordable , or I will donate it for another organisation to make someone else's wig like- locks of love.

I feel very overwhelmed reading 'what if's regarding my body being chemically forced into early menopause and that is a whole other post. Still it is giving me a little more control about the dozens of questions I need to ask.

Someone , not just one person told me , said she bet hundreds of women checked their breasts last week after hearing my news. I hope you all did and continue to do regularly.



Posted using BlogPress from my iPad so forgive my grammar, autocorrect and lack of links.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Damn Straight - double mastectomy

Just to be clear I won't be sharing photos anytime.

It is Day #3 today, if 'ground' day zero was operation day. I slept really well last night surprisingly - they only woke me 3 times from a deep sleep. My room was dark and I ditched the I'V pain relief yesterday. Three-four less cords and things to worry about tangling and alarming.

It was good to get up and about.The views to city skyline are beautiful. Getting to the bathroom with all that get up was a major event before.

The previous 2 nights I think I had pain relief drug induced hallucinogenic dreams - side effects of twilight sleeping that left me drained.

No pun intended ...but the 3 drains don't seem to bother me much at all. A breast cancer support group makes (donates) little pink bags you use to carry them around. A great way to recognise other breast patients .

The support group also make little pillows , like neck travel pillows but for your arms / no boobs or boobs if you keep them. They are soft, satiny and pink .

I have fairly strong pain relief , oral tablets Endone, taken with Paracetamol and it keeps me comfortable. I have moments where the pain bites but it is completely bearable.

Now it is a matter of getting on with everything. It is Saturday today and I should be discharged , with drains on Monday. I should only have them a few extra days.

My Surgical oncologist told me yesterday because my lymph nodes weren't clear he is organizing chemotherapy to start in a few weeks. The breast navigator nurse said it will be a month to allow for surgery to heal fully.

My chest just looks flat and neat , I had no idea because I wisely didn't google images. I didn't have much to miss really if that is a silver lining. I did not undergo any reconstruction, my choice, because of the timing and I didn't choose to wait for it to be organised. That is another path to follow later perhaps. I may not bother.

A friend told me it was a hell of a way to lose weight. I'm lucky I'm slim chested because DR said it makes it easier to have neat look.

The Chemotherapy wasn't a shock, as such , but I hoped to avoid it , if nodes were abnormal cell/ cancer free but they are not .I still don't have exact details. So be it.

I did feel teary about it initially but it is just another step in my journey.
I have hesitations sharing my journey just beginning , of course I wont share everything because some things are very personal.

I do know if it prompts one woman to do something because she has concerns after reading my story , then it is worth it. Early diagnosis is so important.

I admit, I'm still terrified, beyond measure, even after a double mastectomy. The Breast nurse told me to think of the cancer as gone and the chemo as mopping up. I never liked mopping , my husband does our mopping ...seriously I have weak ankles ;-).

It is not an easy path and I don't know much yet. I do know it is to give me best possible long term outcome so it is worth it.

I do feel very self conscious and I have miles to go towards being comfortable with the changes it is going to bring to my body and life. It is hard to feel feminine when everything is stripped from you, no wonder they use pink as breast cancer symbol.

I don't feel brave , strong or courageous right now but I feel the support of many women who have been on this journey before me , and others who are with me now. So many have sent me messages and I've spoken to others .

I sincerely thank you for the kind messages and prayers, flowers and chocolates too. I am really touched.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad so grammar police please forgive any omissions or stuff ups.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Thankful update

Just a quick update, how can it be Friday already !
Though it has been one of the longest weeks ever.

I love that technology allows me to keep in touch with everyone while I am in hospital .

I know I don't feel so alone in the wee hours when sleep eludes me.
I did sleep better last night.

I am feeling less bravo today and I know that's ok. They told me there would be days like these.

I am missing my cherubs so much. I am looking forward to seeing them briefly today. They know I am in hospital but not so much of the details.

My five positive things

1. A hot cup of tea from the lovely night nurse this morning, the other tea with meals is terrible but the food is actually edible .

2. DM's / PM and Late evening phone calls of support, giving me much comfort. Visitors bearing chocolate


3.Tulips from a newly met twitter and boggy friend who works in the hospital. Thank you Lisa.


4. Blogging from hospital's free wireless Internet.

5.Today is a new day and I am thankful for that most of anything. Bring it on.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Hugged






Thank you, I feel loved and prayed for beyond measure


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Comfort in music

I'm finding comfort in music today as tomorrow draws nearer.
I've spoken to several women in my situation and it is the best decision to me.I've read the personal blogs of survivors and they give me hope.

I am feeling calm but terrified . It is not an easy road. I know I am not alone.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer last week , another 179 women in Australia alone have joined the ranks (30-35 women a day depending on what stats you read )





Music brings transformation and healing.

My biggest concern right now is finding pajamas with button down front in a soft, stretchy material.

For information on how to be 'breast aware' and look for any changes in your breasts -see  Australian Govt Cancer Australia website on breast changes and breast awareness.

Tell me your favourite inspirational songs ?


If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, please contact Breast Cancer Network Australia for information and support www.bnca.org.au

·         My Journey Kit is a free, comprehensive information resource for Australians newly diagnosed with breast cancer www.bcna.org.au/my-journey-kit


Monday, 18 June 2012

When life is a bitch 2

There is no easy way to break this news but it must be dealt with.

It would be exhausting and overwhelming to tell my story over and over, so I choose to tell it here.
I'll know when I get emotional I get a wobble in my voice and lose the ability to articulate words. Only a squeak escapes.
 
After, seeing our Specialist oncology surgeon .
I am okay and at peace with the decision to have a double mastectomy. I am terrified but calm , well at the moment.

The pathology isn't back yet but it is most likely DCIS Ductal Carcinoma In Situ.

I trust the Specialist completely because he saved my husband and I'm comfortable with him . 

I can't control what else happens, or if they find something else but I can choose this because my husband and my children are my whole world. I can live without boobs.

A mastectomy lessens the risks of it becoming invasive. The Dr is hoping to avoid chemotherapy and radiation therapy if there is no lymph node involvement. I'll have a Lymphoscintigraphy on Wednesday before surgery to map them.




The surgery is booked for Wednesday, prayers, positive vibes and cyber hand holding would be much appreciated. I may not have a chance to respond to messages for a while.

This website really explains it better than I can

How To Tell Your Family And Friends You Have Breast Cancer


If you find something humorous or inspiring please feel free to share spam my facebook page because laughter is still the best medicine.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Frenchmen like it hot ~ what could you do with 25mins ?

A few weeks ago I flew to Sydney for a little demonstration ...


credit
 Alas , there was no wine nor French man ...



I was already the proud owner of this awesome appliance and seriously The Soup & Co. is the best kitchen appliance I've ever owned*.
It makes soups, smoothies, milkshakes, hot chocolate,  and plus a variety of other recipes including sauces, is also blends and crushes ice {sshh slushy cocktails I've told}.

A soup maker and a blender in one HAWT machine !

  • 2.8L SS Jug, 1.8L useful capacity
  • 2 cooking programs: Fine & Thick soup
  • Automatic cleaning program
  • Ice-crushing function

Imagine - hot soup in 25 mins , from go to whoa ! {Not including ingredients prep}. I love my winter soups , this all in one unit does it all. Simply add your favourite ingredients and select your setting. That's it!  
Leave it -

What could you do with 25mins ?


I've made Cauliflower soup , Chicken and sweet corn soup and Pumpkin/sweet potato soup and a few variations in-between . My favourite was from their recipe book...

Chicken Tom Yam



After peeling and chopping ingredients you toss them in, set the program and leave it - leaving you time to do whatever takes your fancy.

If you get distracted ;) - it even keeps it warm for up to 40 mins.


There is no stirring the pot or bubbling over the stove top, not to mention the wall splattering and 3rd degree burns on your wrist from soup splattering up .

Near the end of the program you add any other ingredients as required , otherwise the program automatically blends your soup smoothly or you can chose thick. Ready to serve and slurp !

I tried the Bolognaise recipe but we didn't like it blended with pasta. I used in cannelloni though and it was fine.

Hot chocolate loved especially by the French , was made popular in 18th Century, when Louis XIV's appreciation of the beverage made it a fashion in the court. It is the most amazing, hot foaming chocolate milkshake - 150g chocolate (or to your taste) and 500mls cold milk ...ready to serve 'hot' in 7mins.

THE next best feature - it self cleans on Program 3 - in 1 min - no pot scrubbing ever , a few drops of dish-washing liquid and tap water . I found you might need to wipe the bottom if any food or bits are caught up near the base blades and on one little angled area.

I am not surprised - Tefal , as a brand owes its origins to a Frenchman, Marc Gr├ęgoire, and his wife, Colette M. Gr├ęgoire ...she wanted a fry pan that didn't stick
Soup & Co is actually still made in France too !


Watch the French demo here with substitles !

*I don't own a KitchenAid yet

This isn't a sponsored post , no financial payment was received.  I was sent a Tefal soup & co without expectation to write about it but I was so impressed I wanted to. All opinions are my own -

I was going to make you Soup & Co vlog till life turned upside down last week, now I'm just tidying up a few loose ends. I wish I had one to giveaway :(

Friday, 15 June 2012

A Big Internet Hug and Long talks

I can't begin to thank you enough , yes, all of you.

There aren't enough words to describe how buoyed I feel by messages of support , prayers / positive vibes, karma and family & friends offering to help.



My day started badly with a friend who , without any malicious intent, shattered my today is going to a better day ...

I know a FEW NEGATIVE words can cancel a thousand hopeful ones.



I can write it here , because she doesn't read my blog. She sounded upset and asked me a question which I answered (she is a breast cancer survivor herself of 10 yrs or so) and said something negative.

I told her to I didn't want to hear negativity , she said it again - I cut the call short , right then and there. I said "I have to take the kids to school". I ended the call abruptly

Well I did ...have to take the boys to school.

Afterwards, I went to the gym for a paddle in the Hydrotherapy pool and a short burst on the stationary bike and treadmill . The pool is like a warm bath and relaxing. Exercise helps apparently.

Yesterday, I went for a long talk walk with my friend Lea , before I officially knew my ultrasound and mammogram results. I said nothing as I only had suspicions.

This morning , I messaged my Lea . Lea is a twin mum my age , with twin boys the same age as my boys. I've only known her 4-5 months , she said to come over. She gave me a big hug and she listened . She didn't ask those awkward questions. Lea gets it. Just what I needed.

Another amazing friend, Mel sent me a message , that her friend MM has been through breast cancer, MM's sister too. I started to read MM's blog.



MM messaged me and offered to talk to me . Within a minute of messaging my phone number to MM, she called me. She is the kindest lady, who gave me over 1hr of her time, gently answering some vexing questions. She eased my fears.

My head is in a better place because of all of you. Sending peace, light & love and thank you (s) to you all.

Source: tumblr.com via Trish on Pinterest


Thursday, 14 June 2012

When life is a bitch

I am 45 years old (for another 3 weeks anyway) with few risk factors. My maternal and paternal grandmothers both lived well into their 80's. I have twin boys (6 in 2.5 weeks), my older adopted son (19 in 4 days) and a husband (who himself had cancer 2 years ago). 

Last week I noticed a sore spot in my breast while running , and then a discharge from my nipple. I saw my GP the next day, and booked a mammogram and ultrasound for a week later (yesterday) .

I 'knew' before I left the building , foreboding sinister thoughts derailing sensible, keep calm ones. I wasn't even home an hour when the GP's receptionist called to book a followup appointment today at 2pm.The report said my scan and mammogram are abnormal most likely 'breast neoplasm' and an immediate biopsy was recommended.
 
I had the 'punch' needle biopsy this afternoon. They squeezed me in straight after I saw the GP . She called the Surgeon who said the biopsy would be a good idea. The u/s lady, about my age, kept telling me - I was a 'good girl' and calling me 'Sis' ...I can laugh a little at how silly it sounded to me, but she was lovely. Kind.

I barely felt the bad ass needle - after a little local anaesthetic , adrenaline or whatever - it didn't hurt, maybe slightly uncomfortable. The punch biopsy was like a sudden unexpected jolt ...

I will see the Surgeon, Monday 8am, in Sydney. He is a great specialist ; a Professor even. His receptionist said  if , I need surgery, he has already booked me in for Wednesday next week. 


I would be lying if I said I wasn't terrified or consumed by anxiety.
We traveled a similar road barely 2 years ago.
I am not being a pessimist.

I slept maybe 2-3 hrs last night - once the worry wheels start churning and there’s no way to put the brakes on.

It is one step at a time from here.
There are miles to go... there is no way out but through.

What if I allow myself to put the outcome in God’s hands and just live intensely in the present, absorbing and embracing life as it happens? Emilie Lemmons
IF you believe in prayer or mantras, then say one hundred for me because I do believe in the power of prayer - mightily so. If not, virtual hand holding is good too.


I feel blessed to have my choice of specialist, one , whom I am very comfortable with and trust completely - he saved my husband's life. Ironically, he is the very same surgeon who operated on my husband's malignant tumour just over 2 years ago.

I decide to Google the Prof's details minutes before I saw the GP. I could not remember his surname (at that moment), just his first name and the private hospital, breast - bingo.

We will travel to Sydney on Sunday. I don't know how long we will stay.Our cat and dog are coming too.

New International Version (©1984)
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


For information on how to be 'breast aware' and look for any changes in your breasts, visit the Breast Cancer Network Australia website - section on breast changes and breast awareness.

PS - I apologise if you are family or a good friend reading this before I've really had a chance to tell you, I am sorry.  It is the only way I can deal with this , all at once in this message. I just can't put the words together eloquently on the phone . I have to hold it together anyway I can.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Desert Art - Creating shape




The Bride


looking closer





can you see the Emu ?





One day, I'd also love to re-capture - all 12 of the silent desert stone sculptures - Sculpture Symposium , silent sentinels ,stunning against the backdrop of the setting sun ... The above photos weren't my best shots but I loved the detail in this sculpture.





Have you entered my awesome giveaway to win a Sony Cyber Shot HX20 {r.r.p $449}  NO more Bad Photos ?