Strip and Dip 2015

Well our Third Annual Strip and Dip took place last weekend.   Well what a weekend we had was absolutely amazing.  We laughed from 12pm to 4am (or thereabouts) over 85 we reckon this year stripped and dipped and the fun we had was just brilliant.  We are still taking donations of course at www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer and are roughly
up to €14,000 for Aoibheanns Pink Tie – (who support children with cancer and run totally voluntarily)

This year I decided that I wanted to get a message out there.   Sure what better way to do it than bollock naked on a beach in Wicklow.   I really wanted these pictures as thought people might share because they were fun.   When people share the Blog gets mentioned, people might check out the blog and have a read and decide to maybe go get checked, might forward to a person undergoing breast cancer and they might read and have a giggle and cheer themselves up.   If one person gets checked I am happy my whole aim is to avoid
women having to go through what I have.

Three main photos of the day below :-)    The First one really has gone Viral :-)  Over 1900 shares asses have been to Newfoundland and Thailand.


Lovely ladies below I asked if people would volunteer their cheeks for a photo…  no problem to them all had all my cheeks filled pronto!!   Well done ladies


Paper donation by Alphabet Graphics thanks a million and lovingly spray painted by the legendary Patrick O’Carroll.

DONT BE MUG CHECK THOSE JUGS


Hope you enjoy all the photos of the day below:

 

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Here’s to 2015 Folks!

Well its been another roller coaster of a year for me and my health but feeling great now.

I’ve had a lot of medical issues but these are all now dealt with thankfully.  Had only three operations this year and all results were good and now have a bigger boob and a “sort of nipple”.    Next stop tattoo to make it look like more like the other one.   Next August another operation to try get the two of them the same size.  Unfortunately a huge waiting list so can’t be done sooner.

As always I have been blessed throughout the year with friends and family and all your support.   Been reading back through this blog a bit in the last few weeks and while I have enjoyed it made me quite sad in an inexplicable way.    Lost a lot of people this year to the little “c” as always not going to give the bastard a big head with “The Big C”.  It seems to be continuous, some people who were reading this blog have passed away,  some friends have passed and away and some beautiful children.    Life is just so unfair and cruel sometimes.

Right on with the happy hat……..

At the moment I can honestly say I am through the tunnel and my nose is peeping out the other side :-)     What’s in store for me next?    That’s the fun part of not knowing your future you just never know what it brings.   Been toying with the idea of a book and see if anyone would be interested in it.   Also thinking of a new career for the new me where maybe I could be involved with cancer and helping others through it in some way…. mind is thinking….

Great things that happened this year

  • I am still cancer free
  • I have great family and friends
  • All my operations were a success and all areas of body cancer free
  • Can nearly fill a bra :-)
  • I have a cleavage again
  • Had a lovely holiday in Sweden
  • Great break with the girlies in Glasgow
  • Wonderful night at the Marie Keating Fashion Show
  • Met some great new friends
  • Reconnected with great old friends
  • I got an article published in the New York Times blog
  • The dip was a huge success and we raised €28,000
  • I have three gorgeous kids who love me unconditionally
  • I have food on the table and a roof over my head
  • I have you guys

Seriously what more could anyone want?

Wishing you all a wonderful 2015.  Grab life and enjoy it.  Remember it’s not a dress rehearsal its the only one you get so be happy.

Loads of Love

Dee, Dancer and Prancer

 

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Cherry on the Cake……

Just a quick post for those not on Facebook…. lol just in the off-chance you might want to hear my news :-)

Well,  I was in Vinnies today to check out how the operation with my new nipple went last week.   You may remember I said in my last post a doctor kept saying “ask for me” when I was whacked out in recovery.   Rocked up and said “I am supposed to ask for someone I can’t remember his name but think he was an Aussie”.   “Ahhhh Conor” she said.

In I went nurse took off the bandages…… God I was honestly nervous in case it hadn’t worked, in fairness though in my heart and soul I knew it did.    While the lovely nurse was taking off my bandages I said “Oh God I hope it just doesn’t fall off” :-) she was laughing and saying “don’t say that” and said “everything is looking great”.   I was like a child on Christmas Eve waiting to see what was under the wrapper.

Well under the wrapper was a nipple (quite big but seemingly it reduces over the next week or two), stitches both sides but nurse said it looked okay.  Sure what’s another scar at this stage I have so many – who needs tattoos :-)  Was so weird nurse went out and I was just lying there looking down and looking at a nipple…. it sounds so bizarre and maybe only people who have been through it can understand the feeling.   It was like WOW I am nearly back to what I was.   When nurse went I got up  from the bed and had a look in the mirror (felt like a naughty teenager and of course I was never one of those)…… now its far from pretty at the moment but it is there and it is mine.

Mad thing happened while the nurse was slowly taking the bandages off the new one,  I got little stabbing sensations of pain in my old boob.    This happened around four times, they would take another layer of bandage off again a little dart.   Was again quite bizarre and definitely not just my imagination in a way it was maybe one twin saying to the other…. WHEY HEY HEY we are back together :-)

Was talking to my friend Naomi earlier who had the same procedure done and in her own words said “I feel complete again”.   That just summed it up it’s a feeling of WOW I am so near the end and I feel nearly complete again.  At the moment it’s just a nipple I asked the “quite seriously cute” Aussie doc when I could have the tattoo of the Areola and he said probably three months.    At this stage who cares…. its taken nearly 18 months to build this new one and what’s another few months.   Thankfully it’s not a Logan special and another year.

Was thinking…… always said I would have a big bash after the whole thing was over so looking like maybe March for the big booze up to celebrate EVERYTHING is done and dusted.  Hopefully like the “last chemo party” you will all join me :-)

In the meantime its bandages back on, another week on antibiotics and a party to look forward to on Saturday.   Happy Birthday Karen Meagen

Thanks again for all your support through all this…. honestly would have been so boring without you.

This was actually only meant to be a paragraph or two…. maybe I am getting my MOJO back :-)

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Think we are nearly there…..

 So weird not to have written for so long.  Laptop keyboard is broken and it’s just not the same writing on a PC.  Has to be in bed with a cuppa feeling cosy, however have not got my arse out of the bed to get the Laptop fixed, so PC it is :-)

Since I have last written loads have happened and all good :-)    Two operations and a fashion show in the last five months.  Not one visit to the Doctor for any ailments – that I will drink to.   They had a seat with my name on it in the local GP’s.  On Blood Pressure tablets for life as an outcome – that’s no bother just a pill a day and on Tamoxifin for five or maybe seven years as an insurance policy for recurring cancer, no problem with that either, thankfully for me no side effects and it’s just a pill.

Over two years now since being diagnosed and everyday brings me closer and closer to the finish line (I have in my head).   Finish lines for people with cancer are different, there are loads of finishing lines to be honest, mine is when I look in my “non-existent” diary and don’t see any operations looming or procedures planned.   My finishing line will be when I have walked the walk, talked the talk, did the time, did the pain, most importantly have the all clear.  To me especially it is when I can look down at my body or look into a mirror and see a pair of boobs that look back at me and look okay.  Both similar in size and both have nipples and I feel like a woman again.  That finishing line is within my sights now….. I am so nearly there, next Thursday will be a big day and if the word is good after my nipple op on Wednesday, then a few weeks later its the tattoo of the areola then that’s Dancer and Prancer done and dusted and ready to rock and roll.   Might I add perched way higher than where they were two years ago and looking a lot smaller (lol no harm there).

My little one Beca was over in my sisters house and “took” something.  Next morning she said Mammy I stole something in Mia’s yesterday – I said OMG What…. she showed me the back of the car – she had taken the Breast Cancer Ribbon off Mias car and put it on mine.   “Mammy your the real cancer kicker you deserve the sticker”

Following on from the wonderful Strip and Dip in the end we raised €28,000 for Aoibheanns Pink Tie we were all delighted with the results and the money was put to great use and us Fan Fucking Tastic women had an absolute blast doing it.    Few weeks later had a lovely holiday in Sweden with the family, was a great holiday with fantastic weather and very relaxing.  Came back like a new woman!

As mentioned earlier I am on Tamoxifen and a lot of women get side effects (I unfortunately did not get any).  Apart from the fact that I was bleeding (like a period) when really I shouldn’t have been.   I called the hospital and they said I should get checked out which I did.   Met with the Gynaecologist  in Vincent’s and they said considering my “history” it would be best to get a D&C (scraping of the womb) to ensure that everything was in order.  It was noted that while I was on the table they would “pop” a coil in as well which would also regulate the bleeding.  They also said that given my “history” they would do a biopsy and check for any ovarian or other cancer cells that may be lurking around.

I had my operation and while waiting to go down was told I was also having a hysteroscopy which seemingly takes a good look around the place “up there”.  So two for the price of one, actually three got the coil as well.   Wheeled up to pre-theatre and one of the nurses said “Ah hello Deirdre I see your back with us again” :-)     My Plastic Surgeon the lovely Cathriona Lawlor saw my name on the list and came over and said she was trying to make it a four in one and while under give me a nipple as well but due to time constraints couldn’t.

Anyhow moving swiftly along everything went okay, when in recovering the Gynaecologist said that everything looked okay and I would get my results in around 8 weeks.   To be honest I wasn’t worried in the slightest about any other cancer as it never entered my head for a minute that I had any other cancer.   Went in for my results around two weeks ago now and they sat me down and said that everything looked just perfect.  Not a hint of a bastard cancer cell and nothing all looking like it could turn into a bastard cancer cell.  Now even though not worried at all……. to hear someone say that to you was just wonderful.  A clean slate nothing to worry about. Happy Days! :-) :-)

Then I was one of the lucky ladies to be asked to model in the Marie Keating Foundation Annual Survive and Thrive Fashion show a few weeks ago.  Well my God what a Day we had it was just brilliant.   It was a night of celebrating women who came through breast cancer, remembering those that didn’t and giving hope to those that were going through it.   We got pampered from start to finish and had a brilliant day and night with loads and loads of fun way into the early hours ;-)

See all photos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152436400941700.1073741842.202941731699&type=1

Survive and Thrive Fashion Show. Picture by Shane O’Neill / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014. Copyright Fennell Photography 2014

Are you still awake??

Well last weekend had a blast with my girlie friends and had a three-day stint in Glasgow.  Talk about laughing glad I had no stitches to burst.  We laughed from morning to night including getting stuck in lifts at 4am for an hour.   Acting like total teenagers playing prank jokes on the phone – HOW OLD ARE WE?   lol hopefully never too old.  Favourite one was call say John Smith (with loads of letters after his name) … is that John Smith, ACII, ACI, MSC, Bhons, Dip…. yes….. – “God you’re a brainy bollox aren’t you”…..mmmmmmm

Last Wednesday went into Vincent’s for my reconstruction nipple operation and making new boob bigger to match the old one.   Rocked in around 10.30 into the guna I know the drill by now it was my 8th operation.  Nurses know me by name.  Got all the usual poking and prodding, ecg, bloods, samples, blood pressure, forms to fill out etc.etc.  It was told it would take an hour or two til I was brought down – deadly…. time for a nap was pretty sleep deprived after Glasgow.    My lovely Plastic Surgeon came to visit me and tell me what would be happening.  I would be getting liposuction in my tummy which will fill out my new boob and a reconstructed nipple.  There is a chance that my nipple wont “take” especially as it is a radiated boob – but I am crossing everything that it will work as I only get one shot at it.  So POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE firmly in place.

Operation went well.  A doctor came over after I was in recovery and told me to ask for him next Thursday as he was in the operating room. He said the nipple was very thin as it was so close to the implant.  I think I said around four times – what’s your name again?  Still have no idea what his name was but think he had an Aussie accent :-)    Everything bandaged up til the big reveal on Thursday…… I can feel its gonna be okay and then I really am – nearly there, nearly there, nearly there.  If all goes okay its then a tattoo in around 7 weeks or so that will finish EVERYTHING

At the moment I am black and blue, battered, knackered and just came out of a day of feeling sorry for myself (I blame the drugs) - ah sure I suppose that’s allowed every now and again :-)

Guess who is gonna get one Fan Fucking Tastic bra for Christmas this year.

Myself and my daughter Katie are listening to this now – crank it up – arms in the air everyone!!!   That’s defo a cheek ass jiggler :-)

Until we meet again enjoy your Bank Holiday Weekend – Dare to be Different!

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Wahooo 100 naked women and €26,000 raised

I find it so hard to describe the feeling of us all doing the Strip and Dip even now writing this my eyes are getting moist.  It was a most magical day the laughter started at 1pm and didn’t finish til 3 am (lol for some of us!)   I have this absolutely immense pride for all the beautiful women that did the Dip.   For a lot of women it was their first time doing it and they were extremely nervous – afterwards first thing they all said – doing it again next year.

It was very liberating for everyone and a huge sense of WOMEN….. being part of the day the camaraderie was amazing.    We were effing amazing every single one of us and we all got on so well.

It started with whoops and hollers as people arrived at the beach car park manned again by the lovely Wayne who reckons he defo has the best job in Wicklow on that day.   More people arrived, bus taxis arrived, the bus from Cork arrived with the 13 Rebelettes to more whoops and hollers.  People getting out with mad wigs on, people with only one boob and amazing artwork all around their masectomy scar.  Champage, Toffee Brandy, Prosecco, Beer, Wine, Bacardi was all being taken to hoots of laughter and craic beforehand.  The Amazing photograph Barbra Hackett and her friend Emer were there to take all our photos which I hope you like below.

We Stripped and Dipped to mayhem of hollers, false starts, screams, singing, laughter, cursing and overall mayhem of 100 women getting naked and running into the freezing sea.  To be honest I don’t even remember the cold I was laughing so much.

Women got out hugging each other all immersed in the moment of being free and liberated and remember all those people who we so dearly lost through cancer.   We forgot we were naked that sounds mad but you really don’t give a shite!!!

More craic and to the pub for a few after the Dip and the wonderful Sinead Hamills Ditty on the DIp.   Take a look it is absolutely hilarious!

We ventured back to our accommodation and met up for a great Dinner in the Bridge Tavern around 55 of us.  Well we had the craic and the laugh.  We lost a few people en route :-) no names!!    There was a band on outdoors it was lashing rain we didn’t care we danced in the rain.  Loads of us then continued on (the lightweights went to bed).  Myself and my sis among the last of us…. couldn’t get into the Chipper so we fell into bed!

Great craic next day at brekkie reliving the day and night and some extremely green faces among us.     That was our Strip and Dip the memories made will last a lifetime.

We are still taking donations at www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer  The charity is the wonderful Aiobheanns Pink Tie who are a voluntary charity who help families and children going through cancer.

Here is a “taste” of the Day – dedicated to Barbara Ward and all the other people we were thinking of on the day Ger, Brendan, Gra, Mark and many many others.

This is a summary of some of the Dippers comments about the day……. I love them and I think you will really get a gist of how we were feeling.

Reenagh Maher – I did it for my beautiful neighbour. Dee and I would do it again in a heartbeat !!

Fidelma Murray-Hill - Personally I did it for all the women in this country as none of us know the hour or the day when breast cancer may strike I am now goin to Kick the shite out of cancer every year by taking part in Strip and Dip

Breda Hurley -  I did it for my family nd myself nd I would do it again xxx

Josey Foran Farrell - It’s the most liberating thing I’ve ever done and to know ur raising awareness for breast cancer at the same time there’s no feeling in this world like it x

Michelle Masterson – I did it as I had reached my 5th year cancer free & also for the legend that is Deirdre Featherstone an inspirational fellow member of the lump club. Amazing scary & emotional experience that will definitely be an annual event.

Emer Halpenny – I did it for my sister who has bravely battled breast cancer. I never expected to get the gift of knowing what truly matters. Try and stop me next year – and I hope to bring a few more with too!

Sinead Hamill – I did it because, like last year, it was a life affirming moment that brought a great group of women together for a great.cause

Marion Pyper – I did it for all us women and especially those of who have been there,,,,,next year can’t come fast enough

Claire O’Toole -  It was such a brillant day. Having lost a sister who died of cancer and to see women who have survived it and what they are going through are inspiration to everyone. Definately do it again next year.

Jacqueline O Driscoll – I did it for everyone who has been affected by cancer and thinking of the little kids who are going through it but still manage a smile x roll on next year

Eilish Carney Brady - I did it the first yr because Deirdre had been through a tough time with the cancer and still was thinking of others. . I was totally morto about doing it. . But it was a fantastically liberating experience and the atmosphere was amazing. .. hence I had no quibbles about doing it this yr. .

Jen O Driscoll – I did it for my mom and two aunts especially! Also for every family who has been touched by this horrible disease!! Really can’t wait for next year very liberating!!

Mina Kerr – I did because I lost my sister Ger and her husband Brendan to cancer and they were so young and I loved them so much. If Ger was alive she would have been first in the water and the last out! So I did it in their memory and ill do it next year and every year after that for them and for everyone we have lost to this despicable disease xxx

Helen O Shea - I did it for 2 of my closest friends ©who have had cancer and my wonderful dad(RIP Dad)who died of this disease. Will deffo be doing it next year. I had a blast.

Nichola Connolly – It’s such a moving liberating day… There really are no words to describe it, to do something so amazing and raise money for cancer at the same time is incredible… Where do I sign up for next year?

Patricia Lang - I did it for my darling mum – a lady i lost 2 years ago – she had ovarian cancer. But next year i will do it for the most inspiring bunch of women i have ever met in my life – Next year i will do it for the brave 2014 strip & dippers

Julieanne Odonovan - Did it to raise money for aoibheanns pink tie and to support dee and doing it again because its the most magical feeling to be surrounded by such love and support and non judgement. Not to mention the amazing after party;)

Afric Bolger - I did it to show my support for all the women who’ve suffered at the hands of the “BIG C” and in support of friends who have survived and in memory of those that didn’t. As a first timer this year I really did think it was going to be a nerve racking experience and I was so so wrong. It was the most liberating empowering thing I’ve done and I’ll be back next year to do it again.

Debbie Nolan - I did because my friend Dee had asked me to do it. My first reaction was no way! Dee said “if I can do it with one boob so can you” reality check! To see this amazing woman giving back to the children suffering from the same disease made me realise that life is to short. I did it last year and had no hesitation this year and just try hold me back next year. I met the most amazing women all there for their own reasons and made some great friends.

Maureen Connolly - Back in December my daughter Nichola Connolly was on her Christmas ngt out rang me and asked me would I do it with her , I said yes to get her of the phone .i was so glad to be part of the day ,well done to all the ladies and let’s kick the shite out of cancer x

Rionach De HOir Campbell - Saw it as a fun opportunity to celebrate life, raise funds and awareness for aoibheens pink tie. The day was a really fantastic experience and reminded me to live each day and to be thankful for so much. Met fabulous like minded women and celebrated everything life has to offer into the early hours!! Thanks for asking me to join the warriors dee. Xx

Karen Meagan - I did it because my mum & aunt and Dee battled and won the fight against breast cancer and I did it for the women who didnt pull through. Words don’t do justice to the emotions we felt on the day. Women encouraging, enabling & empowering. Thank you Dee

Patricia Demery - I did last year for the first time because I came across Dee’s story through a friend of mine and I was blown away by her strength and vitality, her complete lack of self pity and I did it this year again because I cant tell you empowering and up lifting it is, to get my middle aged butt out get over myself and do some good and meet such inspiring and genuine women , thank you Dee this is life enhancing to say the least xx

Siobhan Tinkler - I decided to participate because I wanted to join these inspirational women. Self consciousness wasn’t in the cards! It was a liberating and emotional experience. Thank you all. It wad a privilege.

 

Here are the photos hope you enjoy them

 

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Details of Strip and Dip 2014

Can you believe its the night before the big Dip? Oh what fun we are going to have ladies.

1″ish”PM START

The beach we are doing it at is called Magheramore Beach in between Wicklow Town and Brittas Bay Beach.

This is the same beach as we did it on last year :-)

It is a private beach and will be manned by two security guys and one security person at the top of the beach to block off intruders from any other beaches. Wayne will be the only man in the vicinity and has to be there to make sure other people don’t. The beach is approximately 8km from Wicklow Town heading towards Brittas Bay.

I think you will agree its a fabulous beach and is privately owned and can only be accessed by a small dirt track. The owner of the property has also kindly donated the services of three security people to make sure its just us.

Start Time

We are to meet at 1pm (between 1pm and 1.30) so we can have a bit of a giggle. When driving to destination (see map below) you will see a sign saying Nuns when you see this you got the right beach. You will see a barrier and two guys at the barrier then you are at the right place. If stuck for directions please call Mia on 087 9736243

Whats happening on the day

Meet at 1/130pm in the car-park. Come down in whatever clothes you want and we can get changed into whatever in the Car Park, people are wearing dressing gowns, dresses, big t-shirts, vajazzles whatever you feel comfortable in of course. A good few women are wearing fun hats and gimmicky thing so feel free to do (or not to do) whatever you want.
Gonna be cold ladies so make sure you bring a really warm dressing gown.

After a while and a few nips of whatever tickles your fancy. We will take a group photo for the blog www.kickingtheshiteoutofcancer.com and www.aoibheannspinktie.ie we will hold the signs up in front of our white bits so the rest can be just in the background – don’t worry NOTHING will be showing. Initials will be handed out by Jules, Mia and Helena.

After the photos we down the signs. There will be a countdown 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
and we leg it in! Go in as far as you want!!

Suggest maybe bring a bottle of bubbly (cheap or expensive) and a couple of plastic glasses to toast ourselves afterwards. Please Please make sure you bring plastic bags for your rubbish, this is a private beach and they have had issues before with illegal dumping. Recently people left it in a mess and they have cleaned all the litter away at a huge cost to the property owner. They have been so kind to let us use this property we have to make sure not a scrap is left behind – thanks Ladies.

After the Dip we are ALL going up to the Leitrim Lounge in Wicklow town. Here we hope to get as many people as possible including those that are not staying down we are hoping you will join us. Wayne our security man has kindly sorted food for us (and he has paid so kind) so there will be some hot platters going around and sambos. Sinead Hamill will be doing her Ditty about the Strip and Dip.

50 of us staying over in Wicklow Town and you all know where you are staying at that stage. We are having dinner at 8pm in the Bridge Tavern €19 for two course meal, if anyone wants to join us please let me know. Eileen is bringing a bucket with her so we will take this on our travels and try to raise some extra money.

Room List – Bridge Tavern

Ladies take note of your room numbers please :-)

27

Mary Cunningham Debbie Afric Bolger

30

Dee Featherstone Mia Featherstone

26

Breda Hurley Breda Hurley Breda Hurley

21

Breda Hurley Franics Martina

29

Breda Hurley Jacqeline Jenny O’Driscoll

23

Breda Hurley Marion Piper Daughter

22

Eileen Wall Helen O’Shea Lisa Monaghan

25

Alison Timmins Karen Cryan

24

Karen Meagen Dympna O’Carroll Rionach DeHoir

28

Julieanne O’Donavan Sorcha Murphy Helena Walby Eilish Carney

Donations

If you have cash donations please put it in an envelope with your name on it and give it to me After the Dip in the pub please. If your still collecting cash after tomorrow please lodge into your account and either donate it to your own idonate account or if you don’t have one lodge it to www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer

A Big Thanks to You

A huge thanks to all of you doing this. I know around half of you personally and for some of you I know it takes a lot of courage to do this. We are going to have a FABULOUS DAY

To the people I don’t know personally and I have met through the blogs, we have chatted in the middle of the night when we couldn’t sleep, spoke in chemo rooms and helped each other out when things seemed really dark. Women are amazing people with huge hearts and we are all there to help each other. A lot of you are travelling from Cork, Kildare, Laois, Dublin and more to do this.

Lastly this funding will make a huge difference to the children at Aoibheanns Pink Tie and their family and you have all gone above and beyond the call of duty with fund-raising.

As at 19.45 (Online Only) we have raised €17,000.00 – AMAZING

Map of the Beach

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Love this Song – Substitute I – for WE and this is WOMEN

 

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Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Hi folks can’t believe I have not written in so long over three months!   That is just not good enough is it?  There has been so much happening in the last few months every time I sat down to write something happened.  Well that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The old saying “just when you thought it was safe to get out of the water” has a hint of truth in it for me.  Gladly I will say that at the moment I am absolutely flying it and I think my beautiful brain has finally started kicking back into gear and have a pep in my step and things are nearly getting back to normal (lol whats that?)

I have had a lot of medical problems over the last few months and have been in and out of hospitals for tests, scans, blood pressure monitoring, biopsies and reviews.   The local Doctor I am  sure is just totally sick of seeing me and have been there I would say over 12 times since January.

I will tell you whats been happening because it may be of interest to people going through it and if its TMI (To Much Information for you old codgers) just scroll down.

My rollercoaster of medical problems started with severe headaches, the really continuous ones that don’t go away and I had them constantly for two or three weeks.  I went to the doctors about them and they found my blood pressure was off the scale and was told that they would have to keep a close eye on it.   I got some medication for the headaches and they told me to come back in a week.  After a week it was no better so they decided to put me on a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring machine.  During this lovely 24 hours I got extremely ill as well with some sort of bug.  Needless to say the results reflected this.  However when the results were read they decided that I should go on blood pressure medication for a month to see how I got on.   I did what the doctor said of course and was down with one of the kids for something else and mentioned again to the doctor that the headaches hadn’t improved.  I was getting worried at this stage I think when you have been through cancer you get worried about abnormalities like that.  The Doctor decided to send me for an MRI just to make sure all was okay.  I was booked into Naas the next morning.

I rocked up to the hospital the next morning for the scan and was shown to a bed and told to make myself comfortable.  WTF?  I said to the nurse I am just going for a scan she said No, you are having a top to toe assessment here today and will be here till around 4pm, that was fine by me getting an MOT on my body is always a plus.   I got so many tests done I can hardly remember, bloods, CAT Scan, Chest X-ray, ECG Heart Assessment among other things.   While in the ward there was a lovely lady beside me in the next bed.  We got chatting and she was asking why I was in there etc.etc. I was telling her about coming through cancer etc.  She got out of her bed and down on her knees and held the cross around her neck in her hand and prayed for me for two minutes solid.    Wow what a lady we got chatting and she had lost a daughter the year before and a grand-daughter.   A wonderful lady she was and full of the joys of spring.  Dinner came around and I didn’t get any she insisted I had half of her chicken in gravy I said no its fine, but she insisted and was force-fed the chicken :-)

Thankfully after the Cat Scan the results came back and it was AOK - phew!!!!  I told the lady beside me who at this stage was lying back in her bed she said “come over here and give me a big hug” which of course I did, at this stage her daughter was with her and she said “come on I want one too”.    What lovely lovely people they were.   I so enjoy meeting people like that!

When I got my final once over with the doctor I mentioned that I had been in the doctors the previous week with a suspected UTI infection she checked the samples and confirmed yes indeed I had an infection and wrote out a prescription for more antibiotics.  Then I asked her to check something for me I had found a lump under my armpit of the boob that was taken away from me.   The doctor said that I really should go and get it checked out it was probably just fat left over from operation.   So I left with a bundle of prescriptions and knowing I had to get that checked out.  The thoughts of going through the whole process of biopsies etc.  yuck!

I talked with my wonderful plastic surgeon she said come in to me tomorrow and we will check it out for you.   When she checked she said that I should get it checked out too and she too thought it was fat but better to be on the safe side.  Back a few days later into the Mammogram area of Vincents and I had an ultrasound and they took a biopsy of it to send off to make sure it was nothing suspicious.  The doctor did look me in the eye and say “I am not concerned” that was enough to put my mind at ease.  The results were to take a week and to be honest I wasnt really worried (maybe a little the night before the results and on the way to the appointment).  I didn’t tell any of my family about this as whats the point of them worrying for a week its such a waste of time!  My friend Karen Meagan came with me for the appointments and we rocked in on that Friday and we got the great news nothing sinister ALL CLEAR!!!!   Must say I was relieved the thought of having to go through everything again was NOT in my plan of action.

That was my main medical things sorted.  I am on Tamoxifen at the moment (which is a drug that prevents the reoccurance of cancer) and will be for five years.   During this time it is unusual to get a period however of course I got one and the hospital wanted me to go and get it checked out.  I did last week and to be on the safe said they are calling me in for another operation and giving me a D and C and will do a biopsy lovely…. but the doc also said its purely precautionary so another thing not to worry about.  This will be my 6th general anesthetic in around 14 months.  They will know me in theatre at this stage and say Jaysus here’s your wan again!   Must be honest I was deflated coming out, yes its great I am getting looked after it…. but was just oh no not again!

I am amazed at the care I am receiving from the doctors and hospitals are leaving no stone unturned which is brilliant.

Are you still awake?

Okay so where am I now?  Well on Wednesday I go in for the second of my reconstruction operations (23rd April) and last year on the 22nd April I lost my boob.   Nearly a year on and still working away at things.  I go in at 7.30 am and they will try build my boob bigger to match my new perky one.   I will be getting my sister to come in and collected me after the operation and probably wheel me out in a wheelchair again when I am talking total crap as still zoned out on drugs.   Going to my folks for a little R and R after it.   After that operation the next operation will be them constructing a nipple for me.  Then the one after that will be a local where I get my nipple tatoo!!!

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?  It feels like I am nearly there but still a few more operations hanging over my head but that’s fine I can deal with that as long as I come out smiling the other end.

Well that’s my medical update :-) Now for the fun updates this blog is holding its second Strip and Dip on the 24th May and ladies reading here and who have followed this blog this is OUR event.  Everyone reading this blog has helped me along the way and has made the blog a success so if you would like to join us and give cancer a kick in the arse please join us.   https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/555730994533872/

This Strip and Dip is a salute to people who have lost their battle with cancer, a celebration of those who have battled with it and come out the other side, it’s a dash for womanhood and what lovely women we are and most importantly it is an event to raise money for families of children going through cancer.  This year we are dipping for Aoibheanns Pink Tie an absolutely wondering charity who are working to build an organisation to help and support Children and their families during their Childs battle to beat Cancer.  You can read about the wonderful work their charity does here http://www.aoibheannspinktie.ie/

So far this year we have over 100 dippers signed up and the ones who really didn’t want to do it and were “blackmailed” into it last year were the first to sign up.   We are fundraising online at www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer so if there was any chance you could throw in a couple of quid it would be greatly appreciated.  Or if you work in a place that maybe a sponsorship card could be placed at reception maybe you would consider downloading a Sponsorship Card and collecting a couple of quid.

There are over 50 of us staying in Wicklow Town that night – GOD HELP WICKLOW!!!!

Good things that Happened:-)

  • My blood pressure is now under control albeit have to be on tablets for rest of my life
  • Cat Scan was okay so brain doing good :-)
  • New lump was nothing sinister
  • It’s Good Friday and the sun is shining
  • I’m Healthy, Happy and Kicking
  • The hospital just rang and operation on Wednesday now 10.30 instead of 7.30!!!
  • Swam 7 lengths yesterday of a 50m pool doing the overarm and arm held out…. lol first time I had every swam that much… nothing to do with cancer :-)

Well “Thats All Folks” hope you all have a brilliant Easter and get laid loads…. I mean get loads of eggs ;-)

 

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Thanks 2013 We Kicked Cancer’s Arse

I have been sitting at home pondering over the year that I have had.  There was some terrible low points and some wonderful high points.   I’ll get rid of the low points first as the high points list is way longer.

Low Points

  • Chemotherapy – Eight sessions  (6 months)
  • 40/50 times been jabbed with needles for blood or drugs
  • 29 Hospital appointments
  • My right breast was taken from me
  • 5 Days in hospital post operation
  • Four times in surgery
  • Four general anesthetics
  • I was bald, I had no eyebrows or eyelashes either
  • I got kicked into menopause by chemo
  • 28 rounds of Radiotherapy
  • Some very painful pumping sessions for reconstruction
  • A five-day stint in Naas Hospital for a kidney infection
  • Double operation for reconstruction and boob reduction
  • Infection after operation so taking it handy again over Christmas

High Points

  • I was declared cancer free
  • I had the option to reconstruct my missing boob
  • I had a great party to celebrate finishing chemo
  • I was nominated for a make-over and spa break by my friend Emer and won!!
  • I helped in a great gig in Stillorgan in aid of Leah Little from Greystones
  • My cousin Kerri came to stay
  • I was declared cancer free
  • We did a Strip n Dip with so many great ladies and raised €21,000
  • I got to meet Princess Leah and Lily-Mae
  • I ditched my wig
  • My hair started growing back
  • My eyebrows starting growing back
  • My eyelashes starting growing back
  • I was declared cancer free
  • I met some amazing new friends on my cancer trail (my cancer chickkies)
  • I reconnected with some old friends who have come up trumps for me
  • All the cancer chickkies I met have come out the other side too
  • I got so many pressies, cards, flowers, masses said, angles, holy water, lasagnes and wine :-)
  • My friends cleaned my house and cooked me meals and kept me company
  • I went on holidays with my sister
  • Did a talk in IBM on my cancer journey
  • I was declared cancer free
  • Got a new boob (ongoing project)
  • Got my old boob lifted and reduced
  • Got liposuction
  • Spent some really great quality time with my folks after operation
  • I am alive and well have a brilliant family and friends
  • I was declared cancer free

Our Year in Images

 

 Happy New Year Everyone!

Posted in My Updates | 13 Comments

Happy Christmas from Dancer and Prancer

 

I really can’t thank you all enough for the support over the last year.  This photo is dedicated to anyone going through Breast Cancer and hopefully it will show them there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Happy Christmas to all and I will be in touch after Christmas.

Grab your loved ones and squeeze em tight :-)

Dee

xxx

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Dancer and Prancer are in place!! Ho Ho Ho

Nearly a week over my operation “and I’m feeling good da da da da da” Dancer and Prancer are in situ and getting ready to spread some cheer this Christmas :-)

Wow folks is all I can say, what a year this has been. This time last year I was sick to my gillsin the thralls of chemo and bald, today I am resting in my bed looking down at my cancer Christmas present, a boob lift, a boob implant and a bit of liposuction thrown in. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me feel to look down and not see a crater where my old boob used to be. Only 25% of women opt for reconstruction after Breast Cancer for me it was a decision I made the minute I realised I could get reconstructed. Now instead of looking in the mirror and seeing the devastating visual effect (and reminder) of having had a mastectomy, I see a (nearly) beautiful pert pair of boobs and say FUCK YOU cancer you big ugly sneaky bastard!!!

As you can probably tell I am in great spirits at the moment and looking forward to sharing the details of my operation with you. I am still recovering, battered, black and blue, little sore but my mindset is brilliant! Well….. long long time ago…. I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…… sorry getting side tracked.

The night before the operation I stayed with my wonderful folks in Kilmacud as it would be handier to get to hospital in the morning as they are only ten minutes away. Went to bed at a reasonable hour and think I actually slept okay. Got up 6.30 showered playing special attention to Floppy Fiona last time to wash a really big boob ;-) No brekkie for me was fasting my Dad drove me in and I arrived on time and reported to St Marks Day Ward. I had been a bit anxious for a few days before the operation but the day of the operation I was in great form and ready to take this great step. Bring on the Dancers I said!!

I settled in nicely to my blue guna and had a wonderful Irish nurse looking after me she made me feel totally loved and relaxed. I had a visit from a doctor working with my plastic surgeon and she asked me how big I would like my boob to be, I said “as big as you can make it”. I said j”ust please don’t make it really small” as feel I would lose my whole identity after having big boobs for so long. Then my plastic surgeon came along and warned her team that I write a blog :-) We briefly discussed the operation which consists of a boob reduction and lift (Mastopexy), an implant exchange (exchanging my tissue expander for an implant on the new boob) and liposuction (the fat would be used in my new boob around the implant). I was hoping the person doing the liposuction would be using a Dyson :-)

There was a few jobs ahead of me so I waited around for around two hours, mine was quite major surgery I was told so was scheduled later in the morning. I got wheeled down to pre-theatre area and met the wonderful staff down there. Met my anesthetist a lovely man and met my fab doctor again who kindly drew lovely markings on my boobs for the operating table. I felt so happy and safe (getting teary eyed here) leaving my boobs in the hands of this lovely lady. I must say the nicest doctor I have come across, no airs and graces, great sense of humour and a woman who inspires me. Anyhow moving on got into the room outside theatre for the drugs. Unfortunately as always problem getting a vein told the person (not sure if doc or nurse dealing with me) don’t bother with one part of my arm, he gave me the knowing look as if to say “hey I know my job, or hey I can get a vein no problem” well he didn’t and it really fecking hurt as always. I will never ever, ever, ever let anyone again try to get a vein from that part of my arm. In the end I got gas and maybe when they knocked me out they got a vein. I remember breathing the gas in, then him saying it will start to smell funny (which it did) and then nothing else….. (thanks be to Jaysus)

I woke up around three hours later in recovery ward with a lovely nurse looking after me, she was helping with the pain I was totally out of it. I remember her saying on the scale of 1 to 10 how is the pain “maybe an 8 I said”, then more drugs hows the pain now “maybe a 7 I said” I got down to a six…. Even though I was really out of it and talking shite I remember there was a man beside me, would say around 40 or 50, he was moaning with the pain “oooh ahhhhh nurse” the nurse was doing the same thing with him giving him more pain relief and asking him how it was on a scale of 1-10, between the moaning and groaning he managed to say “still a 10″ this happened three times, on the third time I couldn’t help it I think I laughed out loud the nurse just sort of looked at me. Not sure what he was in for probably an ingrown toe-nail or something :-) I found it highly amusing anyhow :-)

Back to Marks Ward still fairly out of it. I was in as a day case but in my own head I had sort of planned that there was no fecking way I was leaving within a day. However speaking with the nurse that morning I sort of realised that I was going home whether I liked it or not, it made sense in one way as she explained I could end up on a ward with really sick people and get infected etc.etc. I think it’s a bit of both with the health system its 50% to get you in and out in a day turnaround and 50% to make sure you don’t get infections. Another lovely nurse looking after me she was asking are you ready for some tea and toast I’d say “Oh yeah” then conked out again, finally I woke up long enough to handle tea and toast.

My plastic surgeon came to visit and I showed her what I was looking like she seemed happy, was hard for me to really see with bandages but I did notice new one way smaller than the old one. I was informed that I would have to have another operation probably in February (would have had to have one for nipple anyhow), in this operation I will have a little more liposuction (just fine by me) and more fat will be injected into new boob to even them out and I will also have nipple construction – I was happy enough with all that and she seemed happy with her handiwork….. yay I have a cleavage again :-) I spent years hiding the fact that I had cleavage funny that!

My sis came in around 5 to collect me/bring me home to the folks, however at that stage there was no way I could go anywhere. Still fairly out of it and on IV for pain and oxygen too (it’s all a bit of a blur) think she got a bit of a shock when she saw me. Anyway I perked up when I saw her and starting talking gibberish and I think I kept her entertained. I was dying for a cappuccino or Coke Mia went and got both for me. Nurse came down and said would be the worst thing in the world at the moment and that the anesthetic hadn’t worn off properly. We donated the coffee to the nurse (she had a great sense of humour and we had a good laugh) and Mia had the coke. Hour or so later another nurse came along a lovely Filipino nurse and took control, she was joking saying I was the last left on the ward :-) we made a couple of attempts of me getting out of the bed without success as I nearly fainted, then finally she linked my arm and I made it to the bathroom. OMG have never seen myself so white before it was really scary like the blood had literally gone from my head. I lay back on the back she opened the window for me to cool me down, finally we reckoned we were ready (this was around 7.30pm) after a photo for the blog of me in the wheelchair I was wheeled down to the entrance and Mia picked me up.

Back to my folks for some potato waffles (and an egg I think) and a cup of coffee which I was gasping for. We had decided that it was best for me to hang on in my folks for a day or two to help me recover as at home no matter how good your kids are you just don’t get enough peace and quiet. Jonas was able to work from home so he took control of the nuthouse for a few days and did quite a good job I must say :-) Big thanks to Jonas’ workplace also who have been extremely considerate to our family situation and have helped us cope.

Lovely Bouquet of Flowers thanks Maureen

Well life back with Mam and Dad was just wonderful. First night they gave me their bed downstairs (as close to loo), I had lavender sprayed all over my pillow to help me sleep, new PJ’s, a hot water bottle in my bed, a bedside lamp was to be left on all night to make sure I didn’t fall if needed to go to the loo, bottle of water and painkillers. I got totally and utterly spoiled rotten and ended up staying til Saturday evening as my Dad said Three Nights B&B in St Patrick’s Ward :-) In those first few days I have to admit I was extremely sore and could literally hardly move I would have to call to my folks to get them to help me out of the bed. I was totally exhausted and still quite weak from the operation. I stayed in bed a lot and listened to the radio (something I never do and must say really enjoyed it), I got fed, we chatted, watched TV and generally really enjoyed each others company. On the Friday I said to my Mam maybe we could go to Stillorgan Shopping Centre in the morning just for a coffee to get out of the house for a while, she was all on for it. That night I had a really bad night, was quite sore and literally never slept a wink I was up at 6.30am getting breakfast. I was starting to feel a bit sorry for myself and getting a bit emotional I said to my Dad don’t think I am up to going out for that coffee he said of course do what you feel. However something inside me told me to get up off my sorry arse and get it in gear, I got up, got showered and dressed and said right let’s have that coffee. Was the best thing I did as it kick started I think for me the whole healing process. We went out for a couple of hours (little bit of shopping to thanks Mam!) and had a really lovely time. I felt this trip was the turning point in my recovery. I got picked up later on that evening and went home to a fab clean house, Christmas tree and decorations up – thanks guys :-)

God I ramble……. anyhow I am now nearly a week over my operation and I really feel I am on the road to recovery. I hope I am not tempting fate but I feel I am over the worst of it now and it really wasn’t as bad as I expected. I have been very lucky my sister-in-law Mairead who is a nurse just lives down the road and she had been great to me and has changed my dressings twice for me. I am delighted with the results so far Floppy Fiona (Dancer) is now as pert as anything and the size was better than I expected still a nice handful :-) Cancerouse Chloe (Prancer) is getting there still needs some more work but she is up there with Prancer.

As always the support I have is amazing and it keeps me going so take a bow all you lovely people reading this. I can’t imagine this time last year I was so sick, bald and slap bang in the middle of chemo, one year later and I am in great spirits and have come so far. As I mentioned before, usually reconstruction is not recommended for a year after radiotherapy however me being pig headed (and not one to wait on things), I took my chances (and there was a 35% it may fail) and went for immediate reconstruction which is not the norm. The tissue expansion (blow jobs) were really really uncomfortable and painful this was due to my radiotherapy. However now I look down at my new boobies and the memory of that pain is fast disappearing and I reached my Goal…..

New Boobies for Christmas

Good things that happened to me

  • Maggie got her poem about me publish in Irish Parent Magazine – so proud!
  • Floppy Fiona is no longer Floppy
  • Cancerous Chloe is gone and replaced with new boob
  • My big operation is over and I am on the path to recovery
  • I got the best TLC possible from my folks
  • All Christmas shopping done (before op) as cant drive for a while
  • My ole love handles are looking a lot less like handles
  • Lovely visit from cousin Terry thanks for lovely flowers
  • Great to see Emer and Grainne while in Rathmore
  • My hair is growing fast alebit upwards
  • Its nearly Christmas I am alive and in a good place and cant wait to spend Christmas with my family and friends

I’ll be back in touch before Christmas until then my friends enjoy the preparations.

Dee xx

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