Sunday, 20 November 2016

The one where I get a new knocker....

Well tomorrow is the big day. I've spent the evening playing the human canvas as Professor Malata sketched out his plans for tomorrow's operation. I'll never cease to be amazed by the skill and dedication of Prof. Malata and his team, it may sound like a cliche but he is an artist as well as a surgeon and firmly believe that I am in the best possible hands.

Nathan and I spent the weekend distracting ourselves from the inevitable by falling off the wagon at a beautiful converted castle just outside Bath. Whilst the rugby formed a necessary part of the itenary, the antique shopping culminated in the purchase of a lovely new knocker for our front door - the irony of which was lost on us at the time but makes so much sense now........ so we thought a picture of my pre-surgery markings next to my other new knocker would provide temporary solace from the nerves!

We've also spent the last couple of weeks converting the cellar of our house (previously a pub/ Post Office) and have had dealings with a multitude of tradespeople, as I sat in the consulting room with Nathan sketching out the plans with the surgical team it felt very much like our cellar renovation... Nathan even managed to convince them to remove my old chest port scar as part of the job.....!

So the plan is to re-open the mastectomy scar, remove my temporary expander and replace it with fat and skin from my stomach. The team will re-attach the blood vessels and create, to all intents and purposes, a breast that will look almost identical to the other but will be made entirely of stomach fat. The beady-eyed amongst you will recognise this as a tummy-tuck and boob job in one, some have even gone so far as to call the surgery "cosmetic" and I can assure you that nothing can be further from the truth.... first off I did not choose to have my breast hacked off- that was deemed necessary to save my life, secondly although it has been fun to grow a new boob over the last couple of months (I had to 'fatten-up' for surgery "Bridget Jones" style), I hate putting on weight and the process has made me pretty damn miserable.

I can't wait for it all to be over and start preparing for my summer bikini body. I'll keep you posted but will likely be unable to type for the next couple of weeks so have downloaded multiple box sets to keep me entertained.

Thank you for all of your support throughout this journey, you have no idea how much it means.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Make it happen

Two years ago today, a rancid collection of tumorous cells were dividing at a rate of knots and attacking my lymphatic system as Nathan and I tried, in vain, to get the doctors to take us seriously. At this point I'd seen two GP's and a specialist private consultant - although I was persistently patronised and fobbed-off at every appointment, I steadfastly refused to give up. I'd found the lump in September but it would take until 30th December to finally get a diagnosis.

The very thought of that makes me feel physically sick with a mix of rage and relief. My story is one of survival through tenacity and determination but sadly there are so many who don't get that chance. As I count down the days to my reconstructive surgery and what I hope will mark the end of my surgical marathon, I look back on the last 18 months and still genuinely believe that it happened to somebody else. I don't see myself as a cancer survivor, I don't want people to wear ribbons for me or share infuriating Facebook posts about how much they hate cancer, I want people to learn from my experience - Doctors are not infallible and you owe it to your family to make a nuisance of yourself until you get to the right outcome.

Although I would never, ever want to go through this experience again, I can't help thinking that cancer has changed me for the better. I have finished a Masters, won an industry award and bagged myself an awesome new job. Some may say it's coincidence, others may consider it karma, I think it's a louder inner-voice. I am no longer willing to compromise on what's important as life is too damn short. 

So if you're debating whether or not to make that next career move or you're worried about upsetting the doctor who isn't taking you seriously, just remember how fragile life can be and who is counting on you to make it happen.