Thursday, 17 March 2016

Closing in on 5 years cancer free!

Three cheers for the subject line! 

I'm so incredibly happy (actually make that ecstatic!) that I am alive and well and getting ready to celebrate being 5 years cancer free. Ok, it's not until June but I'm getting in early! Of course a celebration like this can't just be a family BBQ in the backyard.  This calls for something big, SO .......... New York City here we come!

You could say this trip has been 5 years in the making. It has always been a dream of mine to visit New York and with my 40th birthday in July and only a few weeks after my 5 year cancer anniversary we thought this was the perfect time and place to celebrate these special milestones. 

As you can see, I haven't updated my blog for some time. It was only after being in contact with some newly diagnosed women (who reached out to me after reading my blog) and encouraged me to write a new entry to update everyone on how I am travelling now, several years down the track.  A follow up 'where are they now' type piece!

I'm really not sure of the best way to recap the past couple of years but I'll give it a try! 

My reconstructive surgery, and the minor corrective surgery following, went well and I am over the moon with the overall result. To think that breasts can be reconstructed using your back muscle, tissue expanders and implants still astounds me! I can't speak highly enough of my incredible plastic surgeon, Tony Connell, and his wonderful staff - he is amazing!! I would also like to thank and congratulate whoever it was who came up with the idea of a lat dorsi breast reconstruction :) 

I've also acquired a couple of new tattoos! Unfortunately my nipples couldn't be saved, as they posed to much of a cancer risk, so these were removed during my mastectomy and subsequent prophylactic mastectomy. During the corrective surgery, I had new nipples created and tattoos were the final step to create the areola. Again, amazing result!

As most of you know from my previous blog entries, I am a patient involved in a worldwide D-care clinical trial. This trial is studying the effect of Denosumab (osteoporosis drug) to see if it can prevent disease recurrence in the bone or in any other part of the body. It is targeted at women with early stage breast cancer who are at high risk of disease recurrence. It finishes up later this year and I am hopeful the results will have a positive outcome and will help many people in the future. Whilst I am grateful to have been offered a spot on this trial, I certainly won't miss the injections in my stomach every 12 weeks!

In July last year I attended another BCNA summit in Melbourne. The theme of this summit was 'Starting the Conversation'. A conversation about how we can develop stronger community networks and innovative programs to support a broad range of women through their breast cancer journey. Unfortunately I was a little under the weather (with a cold) when I travelled over to Melbourne and went downhill very quickly. Alarm bells sounded when I started coughing up blood so returned home (on my birthday) and took myself straight to the hospital. They were a little concerned, taking into account my history, and performed scans on the spot.  Thankfully it turned out that I had acute bronchitis and nothing more serious.  What a relief!  Needless to say, my birthday last year was a write-off so I plan on making up for it this year ;)

We have experienced some wonderful holidays over the past couple of years. I suppose one positive of having faced cancer is that it motivates you to take these trips and not delay. "Live for today as tomorrow may never come". We have been to Hamilton Island Whitsundays, the 2015 AFL Grand Final to watch the West Coast Eagles, back to Bali a couple of times with some good friends and visited my sister and her family up in Karratha. One of the big highlights for us was when Ryan and I recently had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, Paris and London! Ryan was attending a conference in Amsterdam and we thought it was an opportunity we just couldn't pass up! I also met a very special friend in Paris.  My pen friend Sasa, who lives in Greece, surprised me by flying to Paris so we could meet for the very first time!  We have been writing for over 27 years and she said she simply could not miss the opportunity for us to meet given we would be in Europe and we may never get the chance again.  I am also, so very grateful to both of our parents who had offered to take care of our girls back in Perth whilst we enjoyed a very quick trip away.

Something I really enjoy and continue to do today, is provide peer support. This can be over the phone or in person, to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. I feel so lucky (as crazy as that sounds) to be able to give them some insight and support to help with their own breast cancer journey. 

I still remember how I felt when I was first diagnosed. It is extremely daunting and overwhelming, all at the same time. Sometimes, I even found it very difficult to speak with my own family and friends because I felt that they couldn't quite relate. I am still very much involved with Breast Cancer Care WA and the young women's support group and I have made many wonderful friendships over the past few years. It saddens me that we are still meeting newly diagnosed ladies, at every support group catch-up, held on a monthly basis!

I also make myself available to speak about my journey at various special events. Over the past couple of years I have spoken at Lions Club breakfasts, Jog for Jugs (fun run) held at Scarborough Beach and the Purple Hearts Ball, held at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2015. 

I am still very fortunate to be working at Crown Perth and will be celebrating 9 years employment with them this June. They continue to be very supportive and flexible and I will be forever grateful.

I thought I would sign off this post with some recent photos.  My daughters both celebrated birthdays earlier this month and I am so happy I was here to share these special times with them. There was a period of time when I genuinely wondered whether or not I would get to see them grow up! My sister Lizzy and her family have also returned to Perth, after living in Karratha for 3 years, and I couldn't be happier!

As a girlfriend recently said, "bring on the festival of 40!" 



 Lizzy is home!!



Family photo taken up in Karratha when we visited Lizzy and her family 



Meeting this amazing breast cancer charity supporter, Shane Crawford 
(ex AFL footballer & BCNA Ambassador and Fundraiser)


Ryan and I at the MCG to see our beloved West Coast Eagles at the 2015 Grand Final 


Our family enjoying Elizabeth Quay, Perth 


Ryan and I celebrating Valentine's Day 2016 at this special place!

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Em, thanks for sharing. You are an incredible woman and an inspiration to us all. Much love across the miles and years x Meg Keough

Margaret Irvine said...

Thank you thank you thank you xx

simone fairbrother said...

You are such a gem Emma, so very inspirational with a heart of gold. Thanks for sharing xxx

Anonymous said...

Please do read Emma's latest entry in her blog. Love Mum x

Anonymous said...

Ah Emma Taylor... This is amazing!!!! What an inspiration you are, and despite being cancer free for nearly 5 years you continue to raise awareness and remind us all how important it is to check our bits...Thank you for doing all that you do.... Roll on the next 5 years... 😁😍
Ps.... I can't believe we are turning 40 this year lol Love Kellie Whitaker

Anonymous said...

My amazing, inspirational, good friend, Em. You make me smile!! Absolutely, bring on the festival of 40 - you deserve to celebrate it in style!! 😘 Love Sharm x

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog Emma. So happy to have met you. What a celebration it will be! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Love Nicola Peachey x

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written Em. This will provide hope for many women! Bring on the birthday celebrations! Love Lou x

Anonymous said...

Wah hoo!! Was a beautiful read Em couldn't imagine life without you in it. Love cousin Tanya xxxxx

Anonymous said...

Another brilliant update Em!! Rock on your 40th!! Love Lizzy xxx

Anonymous said...

My friend Karen has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is struggling a bit at the moment so I have told her about you. I hope you don't mind if I give her your number so she can have a chat. So proud of you Em! You only deserve the very best! Love Meg Rank x

Anonymous said...

You truly are an inspiration to all around you Emma Taylor (the blog bought a tear to my eye) love you! Love Nomes xx

Anonymous said...

I read your blog Emma Taylor, couldn't stop reading. Yes, you are an inspiration and beautiful inside and out. Very pleased I've met you during our fashion parade at the Parmila 2 years ago!! We do live life to the fullest!! Love Marion Dreijer x

Anonymous said...

Just brilliant Emma, so very happy for you, bring on your well deserved celebration. Love Kylie Bennett-Bremner xx

Anonymous said...

That is truly the best news I have heard in a long time. Congrats Em! Love Crystal x

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your story, you are an inspiration! Love Janine Le Febour xx

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful em. Love Kim Haberley xx

Anonymous said...

What an inspiration you are Em! So happy to read this latest blog update. Enjoy your upcoming 40th celebrations. Love Kate McClure x

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous Em,I am so happy to have you in my life. Love Brooke Goodlet xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful words Em! It is such a pleasure to know you and be around your positive and infectious energy!! Congrats to you and your beautiful family!. Love Noelle xx

Anonymous said...

You are Amazing Em!!! Great work on this blog and everything you do. Love Jo Oksanen xx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Em! Bring on the festival of 40 that is for sure!!! Love Tami Knell x

Anonymous said...

You are amazing beautiful girl Love Michele White x

Anonymous said...

Congrats. Looking at the positives....I would have never met you! Love Karen Stark x

Anonymous said...

YAY!! Love Rach Cusack-Kemp x

Anonymous said...

You're amazing Em! Can't wait to see all those NY celebration pics! Love Dre xx

Anonymous said...

Your amazing Em. Your determination and positivity to get through the tough times inspires me. Simone Bourne x

Anonymous said...

Luv ya babe! Love Ryan xx

Anonymous said...

Love you Ems! Love Rach Potter xx

Anonymous said...

well done Em, love you. Love Aunty Kerry xoxox

Anonymous said...

You are amazing Em. Love cousin Gem x

Anonymous said...

You are such an amazing, inspiring and genuinely gorgeous person (inside and out) Em. Love you! Love Kristy Sadlier xx

Anonymous said...

Congratulation Emma Taylor!! God bless you!! Love Swan Bird x

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Love Lou Mox x

Anonymous said...

You're amazing Em! Love Nikki Rogers xx

Anonymous said...

Gosh Em I loved reading this. You are so generous. Thank you. Love Kym Wishnowski xx

Anonymous said...

What a truly inspirational young woman. Love Wendy Dowling xx

Anonymous said...

Em, you are truly selfless and inspirational, I loved our desk buddy time together. Can't wait to see the pics of 40th in NYC!! Love Anna Francis xx

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Emma!!! You are amazing and should be so proud of yourself. Love Angela Jurman xx

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Em, your are truly an inspiration to so many, an incredible woman I just don't know how you do it -amazing. Love Vicky Yates xx

Anonymous said...

You are super special and I am so lucky to have you in my life Em. You are a true inspiration and I am so excited for you guys to be celebrating in NY !!! Lots of photos pulease chicken!!! Love Mel Caldwell xx

Anonymous said...

That's fantastic Emma. Love Jane Griffiths xx

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Em!! Love Rebecca Bennett xx

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Emma. Love Mrs Nicholson. Xxx

Shannon Purcell said...

Thankyou Emma , I was diagnosed just over a year ago & at that time found your blog (thank god I did) . You inspire me , you amaze me & you pushed me to beat this , for that I thank you x PS - yearly check up done & im all good !!
Shannon xx