Monday, 18 July 2011

Never, Never, Never Give Up!

What an amazing few days!

Since receiving the goods news on Tuesday (no trace of cancer found in the extra lymph nodes they took 10 days ago), I have had time to reflect on the last 4 weeks.  As much as my diagnosis has rocked my world,  I do think that in some kind of way I have been lucky.  This may sound strange but I often think.... what if I hadn't scratched under my arm and onto the side of my breast that night, what if my Doctor had misdiagnosed me or sent me home telling me to keep an eye on the lump, what if I had to wait a matter of weeks or months before all the tests could be done and so on.  So much has happened since finding the lump to today and although it has been traumatic and unsettling at times, I feel that I have received the best possible care available.  For this I am forever grateful.  Time has been of the essence and my care team hasn't wasted any of it.

I have recently become a member of the BCNA group (Breast Care Network Australia) - a group I never thought I would be joining.  It has been a wonderful resource for me and I have been in contact with other woman of varying ages around the country who are going through exactly what I am going through.  It does upset me to see some beautiful girls as young as 24 having to also go through this too - life does seem so unfair sometimes :(  With this said,  I have learnt more about breast checks and can't stress enough the importance of these.  I am sad (and a little embarassed that I was so naive) not to have given myself a 'proper' breast examination before now (I always thought at my age I was too young to worry about it) so can I please ask all of you to perform a breast check -  I know you may not be able to do it right now but please make time either tonight or tomorrow to do it.  It is important this message is also passed on to all the special females in your life - I can't stress this enough.  Please let my diagnosis be a lesson learned as the earlier it is caught the better.  If I can help just one other, I will be very happy :)

Well, we are heading into my birthday week and like most years I am hoping my birthday lasts for more than one day! he he.  I am so happy that I am not in hospital and will be at home to enjoy it with my amazing family.  It does make me very nervous though that just 2 weeks after my 35th birthday I will be facing Chemotherapy.  The first treatment is making me very anxious as I have no idea how I will handle it both physically and mentally.  I am really hoping my body holds up well and I don't experience all of the horrible side effects, but unfortunately only time will tell.  I have tried to be as prepared as possible especially with the thought of losing my hair so I have ordered some beautiful scarves from the USA which were delivered this morning!  I am pleased to say they are just as gorgeous as the website and I think I might be ordering more soon - need to make sure I have a scarf to match every outfit :)  I have 'toyed' with the idea of a wig but I really don't think I can do it.  My main worry is that the wig will look just like ....a wig!  I think I am also worried about it being uncomfortable or moving / slipping if I am out - awkward!!  My first Chemo treatment is on 3rd August just after lunch and my oncologist has advised that it will be 17/18 days following this that my hair will start to fall out - aaaghhh!  She also advised that the longer my hair is, the more it is going to feel that my hair is being pulled out by the roots when it starts to fall out  - how awful!  I didn't realise this so have had a few inches chopped off already and will have it cut shorter again in a couple of weeks time.  Thankfully Ryan has the clippers on stand by (at home) for when the first lot of hair starts to fall out.  Gosh, I think that day will be very emotional for me :(

My diet is going well - I am embracing the organic lifestyle and am actually quite enjoying it!     In a strange kind of way I actually feel cleaner on the inside.  I am trying hard to cut out nearly all processed food from my diet and have also eliminated red meat and dairy products (for the moment).  In addition, we have been told about a fantastic retreat in the Yarra Valley run by the Gawler Foundation and we hope to visit there sometime in the next 6 - 9 months, depending on how I feel whilst on Chemo.  They run a 10 day cancer retreat and we have received raving reviews from friends and feel this will be very beneficial with my recovery.

Quite some time ago I decided to celebrate my 35th birthday (nearly everyone celebrates their 30th & 40th but there was no way I was going to have a 10 year gap between parties!).  I had the invites printed and would you believe they arrived in our letterbox the day I received my diagnosis :(  I cried and cried... this is not how it was meant to be.  I immediately put them aside thinking the party wouldn't happen and even contemplated at one point about throwing them in the bin! but Ryan convinced me to go ahead.  I just kept thinking there is nothing to celebrate :(  Ryan knew how excited I was about celebrating my birthday this year (obviously before the diagnosis) and felt that I needed something to look forward to.  I changed my mind and decided to go ahead (with very little notice) and I am so thankful I did.  We had a cocktail reception in (A)lure at Burswood and I had the time of my life.  It was so wonderful to see so many of my amazing friends to help me celebrate.  Of course there were a few tears during the night but for the most part I was on a 'high'.  It was so overwhelming at times.  I received so many unbelievable gifts (completely unexpected as I told everyone 'no gifts'!) and I will treasure them all.  We made sure the camera got a good work out and I have posted a couple of random pics below.  This was definitely one birthday I will never forget!  My naughty husband had arranged a cake for the evening (a big thanks to Mel for her help with this! x) and had an inspirational poster printed which had me in tears! It reads across the top 'Never, Never, Never Give Up', the speech made famous by Winston Churchill.  Underneath this were little inspirational quotes randomly printed and all of our friends have left me warm and fuzzy messages to help me get through the next 6 months.  It was a wonderful idea and I still get goose bumps when I read them and have to have the tissue box close by!  It was definitely one night I will never ever forget and am so glad I went ahead with :)  xx

Me and my amazing husband Ryan x

I said no cake!! he he

My wonderful 'school' mums and dads x

My special Burswood friends x
Our amazing group of friends x 
My inspirational poster x