Post-Exchange Surgery Milestones (as agreed with my surgeon)

goals

It’s two weeks out from my exchange surgery that swapped my rock hard expanders to squishy boobies so I thought it was a good time to let you know how I was getting on, as well as share with you the mini-milestones I am working towards in my recovery.

Healing wise I am pretty good. My wounds look good and I’m massaging the stiches and boobs with a good deal of cocoa butter. I have some nerve pain in my left arm and my left side feels more delicate than the right. Apart from that I feel fine and am mobile as a go cart. I’ve been walking every day and am now back on the cross trainer (minus the arms). Apparently I can drive when I feel comfortable, but I’ve tried twice and I don’t feel ready yet – I need two hands to move the gear stick in and out of reverse and parking is a bitch.

As well as this, I am eagerly working towards a few more milestones. Obviously if you are reading this at a similar stage in your pbm journey, here is the disclaimer….. I am not a medical expert (although my Dad is a Dr, apparently that doesn’t qualify me). This is the advice from my surgeon based on my circumstances. Please consult your surgeon on when you can do, what you want to do, following your surgery.

Right, back to me:

2 weeks post-surgery:

–          Walking

–          Cross trainer – MINUS ARMS

3 weeks post-surgery:

–          Running

–          Spin class

5 weeks post-surgery

–          Ride my bike – yey! (I did ask my surgeon why I could go to spin class at 3 weeks and not ride my bike until 5 weeks. He explained that I could fall off my bike. I didn’t tell him that in the week before surgery I’d fallen off my bike twice… and I’d only been drunk on one of those occasions).

–          Yoga

6 weeks post-surgery

–          Hoping to take off this massive, asexual surgical bra that I’m spending every waking and sleeping moment in since the op. I’m so excited I’ve already ordered this beautiful brassier from M&S, which may or may not be the right size http://www.marksandspencer.com/Rosie-Autograph-Padded-French-Designed/dp/B003ZKVKGU?_encoding=UTF8&mnSBrand=core

I do have a few more than this – like when can I ever do a press up again, or can I do a body pump class and get my muscles back – but they can wait.

How exciting!

xxxxxxx

The Power of the Carrot

carrot-stick

I’m a pretty motivated person when I want to be.

When I was 7 I was told I might be held back a class, away from my friends, because my reading wasn’t very good.  So, I learnt how to read overnight and became one of the best in the class. At 13 my mum told me I could have a cat if I got a good report card. I surprised both my mum and all my teachers and moved up a few sets to deliver my mum the best report card she’d ever seen…from me at least.

A lecturer in university told me I wasn’t astute enough to get a 2:1, so I worked my butt off and got one of those 2:1s to put in his proverbial pipe to smoke and when an ex-boyfriend said that my wanting to become an aerobics instructor was “just another one of my fads…” I qualified within 6 months.

But you see, this motivation always comes from either a carrot presented to me before I decide to beat myself with a stick, or baiting, which in my books is someone waving a carrot in my face telling me I can’t eat it.

Some of you have heard me say that the time before my operation was one of the most focused and effective periods of my life. I was healthy, productive, calm, happy and organised. But then the carrot was; if you chop your boobs off you might get to live longer and spend the rest of your life with your nice boyfriend – PRETTY FAT CARROT!

But how do you draw on the power of the carrot when there really isn’t one, or it’s just buried a bit too deeply?

At the moment my boyfriend and I are applying for our Permanent Residency Visa to give us a few more rights as almost fully fledged citizens of Australia. Better (and cheaper) healthcare provisions, the freedom to work in a café, or simply not work without worrying about getting kicked out of the country, and freedom from worry every time a client gets twitchy feet or cuts their budget. Pretty big carrots, yes, but not massive or immediate, so I have been struggling to harness my inner motivator and get everything I need together to lodge my forms.

However, in the absence of an immediate, pressing or aggressive (cancer related) carrot I’ve decided that what I need to do is pick myself an imaginary carrot.  You may know this as a ‘goal’ or ‘deadline’.  I have until my exchange surgery on September 3rd to sort my shit out and get my forms lodged. It’s not rocket science and I’m really not revealing anything you guys don’t know, but a goal shared is a goal half way reached I reckon.

 

 

 

COMMITMENTS TO HEALTH: PROGRESS REPORT

report_card_300x225_xlarge

Last week I made a couple of commitments to help me get out of my post-mastectomy fug and cheer the heck up.

They were to;

–          keep my stress levels to a minimum, stop sweating the small stuff and meditate once a week

–          go see a Dr about my painful periods, and

–          be grateful

This week I  have;

–          been ridiculously stressed and not particularly easy to work or live with. I have been impatient with people, snapped at a few others and upset one person (in my defence, I wasn’t mean. I just had to have a difficult conversation with someone, which was upsetting. Still, it’s not nice to see someone upset as a result of something you’ve said)

–          not mediated once. I worked late on the night I was going to go to meditation class. Viciouscircle.com.au

–          I got my period… It didn’t hurt for two days then BAM. In hospital after the op the nurses would ask me to rate my pain levels on a scale of 1 to 10. I always replied that it was less than my period pain. Mr F has very little sympathy for me as he says I get them every month and know they are painful so I should a) be used to this by now and b) be more prepared and take pain-killers before the pain comes

–          Been miserable and full of ugly self-pity

Progress report? Must do better.

I have all weekend to rectify this situation.

Jobs to do before Sunday evening;

–          Meditate before the end of Sunday if not today? Maybe go to yoga? Whatever, just chill out!

–          Cheer up and stop feeling sorry for myself that I work so hard and woe is me… (Read- smash up my tiny, scratchy violin)

–          Take painkillers repeatedly and think about making an appointment at the Drs at some point before the end of June

–          Smile

I’ll let you know how I go.

 

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

inspirational blogger

The only award I have every received was a highly commended certificate for my handwriting at a St. David’s Day Eisteddfod in primary school.  Those of you who know me, and especially those who work me will know that I have the most appalling hand-writing known to man. I blame my Dad who has passed on his Drs scrawl, combined with a flamboyant and creative mind. Anyway, I think they made a big mistake.

So, it is with great humility and pleasure that I accept what I believe in my first ever, legitimate recognition with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

One of the brilliant things about bogging has been connecting with people from all over the world in similar situations to myself. My very first ever blogging friend was Mogatos who writes, Saying NOPE to Breast Cancer http://bilateralmastectomy.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/very-inspiring-blogger-award/. Her blog is brilliant and very informative and she has been a great support to me over the last few months, including very kindly nominating me. She’s also a couple of months ahead of me in her journey so she gives me a bit of a heads up as to what to expect.

One of the conditions in accepting the award is to tell people 7 things about yourself. If you know me you already know I am a massive over-sharer so it’s difficult to find 7 I won’t have already shared, but here goes:

–          I am 34, female and live in Australia. I grew up in Wales and class myself as Welsh

–          I can only say a few, rude phrases in Welsh

–          I have 3 tattoos. One is my mother’s name written in Thai, one is a set of stars that I got done in Selfridges in London and the last is now a splodge I obtained from a questionable establishment in Swansea

–          I’m a pretty good singer. I don’t really sing any more but I used to a lot and won lots of beer T-shirts in university Karaoke competitions. I even won a ‘pager’ in the days before everyone owned a mobile phone

–          I starred in a reality TV program when I was 19. It was on Sky 1 in the UK and it was filmed over 2 weeks in Malouf. This is all you need to know

–          I love coffee so much and my morning cup, in a nice coffee shop whilst reading my kindle is my favourite part of the day

–          My mum was and still is my absolute hero and I can’t believe how much I still miss her 12 years since she died

OK, there are probably a few more than 7 facts there.

The other condition is that I have to nominate other bloggers and tell them about it. So my nomination goes to Lissie Bendy who writes about her journey with breast cancer at 37 on http://shittytittiebangbang.com/. Lissie’s humour and courage is incredibly inspiring and I love her Shittietitttie Chemo Cuts Reveal Challenge. The challenge inspires people to make positive changes in their life and share their commitment with others. Every time ten people share their commitment, she gets a new haircut. And despite sporting new locks that would challenge the best of us, she always looks sensational. http://shittytittiebangbang.com/2013/04/08/the-shittietittie-chemo-cuts-reveal-challenge/.

So along with my nomination, here are my commitments to make positive changes in my life.  I commit to keeping my stress levels to a minimum, to stop sweating the small stuff and to meditate at least once a week in order to achieve this. I will go see a Dr about my really painful periods to put my mind at rest rather than worrying about it. And finally I will thank my lucky stars every single day that I was able to take at least a little bit of control over my future and will so enjoy this life I have to its maximum limit.

At least you’ll get new tits!

used-boobs-for-sale

I read this article the other day from one of my new previvor friend’s web sites entitled ‘What Not to Say to a Previvor. http://www.mydestiny-us.com/what-not-to-say-to-a-previvor.html

Before I go on, a Previvor is essentially me. Someone who minimises their risk of getting cancer by making pretty bold choices, like getting their boobs chopped off.  In my own small bubble I may be unique, but there are loads of us and they are pretty amazing.

Anyway, I digress. I found this article and boy I wish I’d had it before my op.

Some of you reading this will have been in the situation where you heard what myself, or someone you know was about to do and…. you didn’t have a clue what to say. I get it. I like and need to fill spaces myself. Silence is an opportunity to talk.

And for those of you who have told others about your decision? It’s tough. I had a practiced monologue that accompanied my informing people about my decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy. It laid down the facts about my testing, then what BRCA meant and what my risk factors were (including statistics) and then, and only then did I tell people I was getting my boobs chopped off.

As you’ll see in the article, there are many things that people say, and you may have heard or used some yourself. The main one I got early on was what Lisa lists as ‘saying nothing at all’. I call this, ‘the face!’ It’s ‘the face’ that verbally says nothing but visibly says….”I can’t comprehend what on earth you are doing or why and wait, you don’t actually have cancer and hang on, I feel incredibly uncomfortable now, I wish you hadn’t told me this and … oh, swallow me whole.”

If this sounds familiar, I do describe this with a heap of sympathy and empathy and no judgement.

The other point from the article that most resonates with me, is ‘at least you’ll get a new pair of tits’ (or something more eloquently put).

Now I’m a glass half full person and yes, I will get a new, shiny pair of bazookas, but this statement does grate a little. And it’s not as bad for me as it might be for some women. I’ve never had boobs big enough to define me or my body image. However for some people their sense of self is very much wrapped up in their breasts. So this statement is probably the worst thing you can say for a number of reasons:

–          The other day me and Mr F were looking pictures of non-mastectomy, augmented breasts and wowsers, they are so pretty. They appear symmetrical and they are a lovely shape and I swear the nipples point up to where a guy’s eyeline will naturally be, winking like diamonds. You see, real breasts act like bubble wrap for implants. They cushion them, they keep them warm, they allow everything to jiggle a normal amount, and they make the process a whole lot easier.

–          I would pay a significantly smaller amount of money for a normal boob job.

–          I wouldn’t worry that my nipples may drop off or may not make it.

–          I wouldn’t have drains attached to my body for weeks trying to make sure that the empty cavity where my breast was is fully healed and unlikely to get infected.

–          There would be less chance of infection and my body rejecting an implant. I am in a good place now, but this could still happen. If that was the case I’d have to walk around with no boob/s until my body was significantly healed enough to start all over again.

–          For many women scar tissue may be an issue which means the final product will look less than perfect.

–          I would be up and running a whole lot quicker as someone probably wouldn’t have cut open my pectoral muscle and chucked some balloons underneath there, prohibiting my arm movement.

–          I might still be able to breast feed.

–          However good the result, they will look like false boobs that are so firm, no man should ever attempt moterboating them for risk of brain injury.

So what about the partner of a woman who is prophylactically getting her boobs off? Well I’m afraid the same also applies for similar reasons to the above, alongside the following:

–          This is going to be a really tough time for the bloke. I’m sure he’d be OK with his partner not having new boobs in order to avoid the worry, the stress, her moods, the upheaval to daily life etc.

–          Regardless of how shiny and new they are, emotionally his partner may struggle to accept these new boobs.

–          He may get really weirded out by the new bazookas and not find her as sexy as he used to.

So look, I think you get the picture.

However, as I was saying, I get it, you need to say something. So, here are some things you can say when someone else tells you similar news that makes you feel equally as uncomfortable (p.s. this may just be my preference so apologies if you offend someone as a result of my advice):

–          Wow, you’re actively embracing your risk of getting cancer and are and taking life by the balls, telling it to look out! (feel free to paraphrase).

–          I know you’d rather have your own boobs and not have to go through this, but I guess yours will never ever sag ever again? (For me this one’s OK. One of my boobs, small as it was, had started to look like a foot coming from my chest)

–          I have no idea what you’re going through. Good luck man, I’m here if you need me.

Or simply, ask questions.  I love questions as it’s all about me and gives me a chance to spout off all the new information about BRCA, hereditary cancer and prophylactic mastectomies that I have worked so hard to acquire.

Good luck with social minefield. Hope this helps? x

social minefield

 

 

The Patience of Being a Patient


Patience1
I went for a walk today and felt something smeg-like on my arm. I looked at my arm pit and I had a mini freak out that my right drain – the previously well behaved one – had fallen out.

I pegged it back to the ward and no, it hadn’t fallen out, but it had come out a bit from where it should be and has stopped sucking the smeg out of my right breast cavity.

The Dr tried to plug this up but it didn’t seem to work. This would be OK if my drain amounts were low enough not to worry. They weren’t. There are several potential outcomes as a result of smeg-gate:

a)      My body fixes itself and gets rid of this waste by itself and all is well with the world

b)      The fluid builds up in my cavity and they have to drain it with a needle

c)       The fluid builds up in my cavity and they have to go in and drain it with an operation

How will I know which one will happen? I can’t. I simply have to be patient.

None of these things sound too bad, until you get to the potential sub-outcomes of b and c. You see, both b and c increase the risk of infection and if I get and infection, the likely sub outcome is, they have to remove my expanders, I am fully boobless (even more so than now) for some time and I have to come back in and have another, stage 1 operation, and new boobs are quite a way off.

How will I know if this will happen? I don’t. I just have to be patient.

So that’s smeg-gate. Combine this with drain-gate on my left side, which doesn’t seem to be abating…

Me: Hi plastic surgeon. If after 10 days, if my left drain is still going, what happens?

Plastic Surgeon: Nothing

Me: I’m not getting out of here for ages am I?

Plastic Surgeon: I’ll get you out of here within a month

INSERT > EMPTY SILENCE

Tumbleweed_rolling_2

The Power of Patience

DalaiLama

For me, the boobs were the easy part, something in my control that involved action. This part however, that I have no control over and as an otherwise healthy and able person, just have to let it take its course, is taking me to limits of my puny patience.

With even more time on my hands I decided to look at the definitions of what it means to be ‘patient’, versus what it means to be ‘a patient’, to see if I can pick up any pointers on how to be better at both.

Patient

Definition 1. Bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is enduring pain, difficulty, provocation from her annoying drains and smeg and the annoyance of being in hospital with limited calmness.

Patient Verdict: Fail.

Definition 2. Tolerant; understanding: 

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is tolerant to pain but shows very little understanding for the fact that the body will do what the body will do.

Patient Verdict: Fail.

Definition 3. Persevering; constant.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is constantly persevering (to try and go home).

Patient Verdict: Pass (questionable).

Definition 4. Capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is incapable of calmly awaiting the outcome of drain and smeg-gate. She is hastily trying to behave like a normal person and impulsively crying.

Patient Verdict: Fail.

Being A Patient

Definition 1. One who receives medical attention, care, or treatment.

Trisha’s Patient Barometer: Trisha is definitely receiving medical attention, care and treatment.

Being a Patient Verdict: Pass.

Definition 2. One who suffers.

……

According to the above I am rubbish at being patient but really good at being a patient. So, with my prognosis unclear and my exit date, within this month, I have decided to seek guidance and motivation from the Dali Lama. He says:

“The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions.”

Roger that, Dali. What’s another week between friends, eh?

Patience2

My Little Book of Gratitude

Some of you will have seen that I sporadically talk about how grateful or lucky I feel at the moment, during what may questionably be one of the most challenging times of my life.

It really is an amazing feeling and is part of what’s getting me through each day. Even when I temporarily hit an emotional, and I believe drug induced, wall. Every day I feel so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to glimpse into my medical future and take back some control. Each day, when I’m surrounded by my loving and supportive network of friends and Mr F, I thank my lucky stars I’m not alone in this. And even when I look at my chest that currently looks like action man, after he’s gone through a few rounds with GI Joe, I’m thankful that these bad boys have less power to hurt me anymore.

Action man

And in my support of gratitude, it seems I am not alone.

This dude, Dr Robert Emmons (who looks very grateful) has written a best-selling book called, ‘Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.’ http://gratitudepower.net/science.htm. He believes gratitude can improve emotional and physical health and without it, “life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished.” Wowsers, steady on Dr Emmons!

This article from the NY Times gushes even further. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html?_r=0. They claim that “cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.” Lucky Mr F… I wonder if he’s grateful?

It’s obviously with these weighty claims in mind that my friend, MT, who I’m incredibly grateful for, made me this gratitude journal. Or as she’s called it, ‘A little book of good things.’

GratitudeBook

Throughout the book she has pasted happy looking pictures, underlined by inspiring, happy quotes. Some of my favourites include:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr Suess.

Dr Suess

And, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible.” Audrey Hepburn.

 Audrey

The 3 GTs:

Then each day, from the day of my op, MT has earmarked 3 spaces where I must write down 3 of my grateful thoughts. I have been pretty good with this and think it will help when I look back at this time in the months to come, and hopefully, see how far I’ve come. My GTs are very simple and may seem pretty banal at times, but I think the more simple the GT, the better as it’s easier to conjure back when it’s most needed.

I won’t bore you with each GT from the past 5 days, but here’s a snapshot of the small things I’m grateful for since my two friends left my inhabitance:

Day 1

–          For coming through the operation

Day 2

–          For HP bringing me coffee

Day 3

–          For being brave enough to look at my chest

Day 4

–          For my right nipple looking less purple

Day 5

–          Going to the toilet!

Oops, much better now: Day 4 Day and Day 5 Morning

Right, so you’ll be pleased to know, I am in much better spirits today. As I also was yesterday afternoon so apologies for that little dent in my spirits as I hit the wall of the Macquarie ward.

crazy

After pouring out my soul yesterday I had a nice visit from my two, no frills friends. This is not an insult to them or anything to do with their appearance. It’s due to the fact that they are two of my friends I know I don’t even have to speak to when they come or make any effort, so in short, no frills. They took me for breaky on the grass and we watched patients, hooked up to their IVs, puffing away on their cigarettes in the hospital amphitheater.

????????????????????????????

I am not one to judge, especially as when life throws you a hundred curve balls, sometimes a cigarette is the least of your worries. However, I am glad I knocked my once social habit on its head years ago. Especially as smokers have more chance of their nipples failing post-surgery due to poor blood circulation. (you may pick up that as well as bowel watch, I am also on my own private-ish nipple watch)

I then slept for a couple of hour’s yesterday afternoon.  The first time in the day, since surgery.  Bliss! Even on waking, with eyes full of smeg, I felt a heap better than I had that morning.

My two friends, northern K and German K came to visit in the afternoon. They brought with them a lovely zebra plant with the famous last words ‘you can’t kill this plant’… I have killed every plant that has been introduced to me in this way. Then more importantly, German K washed my hair and plaited it. This is important because:

I smell;

Wash

It’s been a good few days and I’ve only been able to wash with these wonderful, Bed in Bath wipes. They are essentially like baby wipes on speed. Massive! The packaging says, ‘for a complete bath’, which is a ‘complete lie’. Until the drains come out I can’t shower, so I have been festival washing any skin that hits the air. I still have the surgeon’s marker pen on my chest, as well as the black sticky marks where plasters have been. I have been wearing the same surgical socks for days, and whilst, as you know, I have been changing my pants daily (yesterday was luminous orange, today, turquoise) I am starting to hum. Thanks to the pesky drains coming out of my pits I can’t use deodorant and I’m too scared to try and shave them in case I catch something (small mercies that this is definitely wouldn’t be one of my breasts.)

Before the op I worried about how attractive my boyfriend would find me sans boobs. I hadn’t taken into consideration this might be mainly because I’m gross. A fact, which Mr F confirmed last night.

Bowel watch:

Day 5 and there is still no sign. This is now, the main question anyone is asking me. My pain is well under control, and so it seems, are my bowels.  Victorian control! Despite laxatives, multiple walks round the car park, stomach massages and a couple of squats, there is no movement. My stomach is so swollen it is now more prominent than my deflated chest. However, whilst I’m still able to breathe and not in pain, I’ll resist the urge to double dose on the laxatives.  Do not fear – I’ll keep you updated.

Drain gate:

Whilst it’s a bit minging, I fear it’s difficult for anyone to really understand what I mean when I say I have drains coming out of my armpit, so see below for a graphic visual. These lead into the cavity of my chest, where all the potentially cancerous tissue and fat has been removed and where my expanders are currently sitting behind my pectoral wall.

drain1

Blood coming out of the drains is a good thing because if blood collects in the cavity I have to go back under to open up my wounds again and the risk of infection is high. Also, as the Dr’s keep saying, it’s better out than in. However, before I can go home, and essentially before they can start filling up my expanders and giving me new boobs again, the drains need to run dry.

drain2

It is this area that is causing the delay. My right side is doing OK and the volume of blood and serum that collects in the bag each night (that they change at 12am) is decreasing. My left side on the other hand remains pretty heavy and the blood is darker. There is nothing wrong per se, as long as it’s draining out, but it does have to do its course before I can continue with mine.

Infection = bad! Especially with expanders as if this happens, they have to remove them and it could be a while before the reconstruction process can begin.

Day 5

So a day 5 begins my aims are as follows:

  • Walk
  • Read – I usually love reading, but have been too hyper until now to settle down with a good book
  • Meditate
  • Keep on an even keel…

The Luckiest Girl in the World


Lucky3

I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received over the past few months and am incredibly grateful for it. Friends old and new have really touched me with their generosity and kindness.

The more people who know what’s happening, the more I get asked how I’m feeling. The most common thing I hear when I tell people what I’m about to do is how brave I am.  These words are of course, very kind. It’s just, I don’t ever really feel brave.

For me, taking the test was brave. Especially, as from my Dad’s side of the family, I have inherited the Ostrich gene. Symptoms include putting things off and not wanting to deal with overly hard situations. Side effects vary from unopened letters from the bank, overdue visits to the dentist and to late tax returns. So for me, taking the test was huge.  Besides, I’d always assumed I’d die at the age of 40 anyway, so what difference did a piece of paper make?

OK, so my life probably would have rolled out quite differently to how it is today – or somewhat like it had in my 20s. Moving from job or location every two years, drinking more than a healthy amount, exercising within an inch of my life, unable to sustain a decent relationship for any notable period of time and carrying round a massive chip on my shoulder.  Yes, it doesn’t sound much fun, BUT, it was familiar, so again, for me, the test was the brave part.

So now, the best descriptor for how I feel moving into the operation, is incredibly lucky.

I’m lucky to have had the most inspirational woman for a mother, albeit for too short a time, who was honest enough to speak to me about my risk.

I’m incredibly lucky that my late uncle was selfless enough to take a test that has given me information that may dramatically prolong my life, whilst he was coming to the end of his.

I’m lucky to have a supportive father and stepmother who financially and emotionally have enabled me to get to this point, from way across the pond.

And I can’t believe my luck to be with someone who, both emotionally and physically, is supporting and enabling me to take the most life changing step of my adult life.

I’ll never forget a conversation I’d had with a neighbour not long after my mun had died. My mum had always found her a bit tactless, but with a good heart so had formed a polite, location based friendship with her. Having gone over to tell her about my mum, she said, “Trisha, don’t you worry. By the time you get to your mum’s age, there will have been all sorts of medical advances, I’m sure you won’t have to suffer the same fate.”

I wanted to smack her in the face . Of course I wouldn’t suffer the same fate, I was 21 years of age and invincible!

The funny thing is, she was right. And as a result I have the power to change my fate. So maybe I don’t have the opportunity to feel brave. I’m too busy feeling grateful for being one of the luckiest girl’s in the world.

   Lucky lucky2

lucky4

Preparing for the Chop

DietandMedicine

In approximately three and a half weeks I will undergo surgery to remove both my breasts. Whilst I have tried to educate myself on what my body is about to go through to the nth degree, I’m pretty sure I have no idea how I’m going to feel.

I have always been pretty obsessed with my health and grateful for what my body can do.  From climbing trees as a child, dancing as a teenage show-off, teaching aerobics in my twenties to running marathons in my 30s.  So it goes without saying, the fact that the operation is going to stop me from doing pretty much anything for at least 2 weeks, and any form of physical activity for around 6, is a difficult prospect to face.  I realise that by having a preventative mastectomy, I’m potentially giving myself an extra 20 years, so it’s of course inconsequential.  But something I know I’m going to miss, all the same.

My boyfriend is also a little worried about the effect that lack of physical exercise and activity after the operation, will have on me.  He is well aware of the positive combination between my physical and my mental health.  The better I feel, the better equipped I am to deal with life’s curve balls.  And let’s face it I’m about to get a cannon ball fired in my direction.

So as the operation looms ever closer, my aim is to get my body and mind as strong as possible. The way I see it, the stronger and healthier I am, the better I will cope in the run up, I’ll be less stressed, and ultimately my body will recover better after the op. I’m not going to be an obsessive clean eater, but I’ve given up drinking for 4 weeks before the date – which also means I won’t miss the odd gym session thanks to a hangover, I’ll keep my diet healthy and I’ll meditate at least 3 times a week. So whilst I’ll miss drinking the beautiful wine that me and my boyfriend have accumulated from wineries throughout Australia, it’s a small and essential price to pay.

Countdown to the Chop – Healthy Checklist

–          No booze

–          5 x gym classes a week (including at least one core)

–          Meditate at least 3 x a week

–          Get lots of sleep!

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Images sourced from Lorna Jane, Pinterest