Oh Man I’m Pumped

Dancer got her last “blow job” as my Mother calls them (in innocence I might add) in Vincent’s last Thursday and I was so glad it was the last one.  Felt like another stage of this cancer gig was over for me.  I put everything in stages helps me get through things, should have been a coach driver :-)

  1. Diagnosis – Done
  2. Scans, Tests and Lymph Node Operation – Done
  3. Chemo – Done
  4. Mastectomy – Done
  5. Radiation – Done
  6. Reconstruction - Nearly Done :-)

The reconstruction stage I have to admit was very hard for me.  The first four “pumps” were fine (for those joining the blog a pump is when I get saline pumped into my new chest to expand the skin to allow for implant) and no bother at all.  After the fifth pump I have to say it was the most painful of all times during this cancer gig.   I left the hospital to drive home I could hardly move the steering wheel, then of course I had no petrol had to stop took me ages to get out of the car.  I managed to make it home and flopped on couch and couldn’t move and was really painful to walk.  The pain was like a piercing pain in my chest, it’s the first time I can say I cried from pain, the pain went all through my chest, my back and down my arms.  It took me nearly a week to feel normal again.  Thankfully a friend of mine Michelle went through the same process and she told me that one of her pumps were like this as well so then I wasn’t as worried.  I called the hospital and they said I could come back in and get some saline taken out, but to me that was going in reverse and decided to put up with the pain.  (a bit like Man Flu I persevered without complaint) What goes out has to go back in again :-)

My Plastic surgeon is a wonderful, wonderful lady and she reads my blog so I am going to be extra nice to her and hopefully she will take an extra bit of fat from my tummy when I am under the knife :-)    It was explained that as I had radiation this is one of the causes that it is painful for me as my “new” chest is so high up (honestly any closer to me ear I would be wearing it as an earring).  My Doctor also said I could get saline taken out but I didn’t want that.  We decided the next two pumps we would go in half measures and only 30ml at each time.  The next two were still very uncomfortable but nothing like the pain of the other one.  So now its finished and I have roughly 400ml of saline in my right chest this is enough (hopefully) to have expanded my skin enough to put in the implant.  We are going for a C Cup (a little smaller than what I was :-) ) so that’s why I persevered with the pumps as in my mind if I went back in and got saline taken out that would make my boob a little bit smaller.  Remember I am no medic I am sure what I thought was a load of crap but that’s how I figured it out.

My Plastic Surgeon described how in surgery they will take my “tissue expander” out and replace it with an implant.   To fill out the boob and get it as “natural” looking as possible they will be needing some “polyfilla” to shape it.  This is taken by liposuction from fat in my tummy and there is plenty there.  I said please feel free to hoover out as much as you can, she laughed saying that wasn’t the first time she had heard that.  Then Floppy Fiona will be reduced and “hoisted up” to meet my new boob.   So I suppose my boobs will be where they were when I started getting boobs over 30 years ago.  Isn’t science amazing!

I went to a conference recently on Plastic Surgery for breast reconstruction and it was really interesting to hear.  Speaking there was Dr Catriona Lawlor and Dr Morrison from  St Vincent’s who informed of all the options there are.   One thing to remember for any of you ladies that unfortunately might be starting your breast cancer journey, is that reconstruction is there for EVERYONE even if you lost a boob 10/15 years ago the option is still there for you.  Plastic surgery is covered under the public health system (yes the one where we pay a fortune in taxes to uphold).  If you would like to find out more information in relation to options for breast reconstruction you may like to read this document

What does a new boob mean to me?   I never for a nano second thought of not having reconstruction surgery, its important to me as a woman, as a mother and to forget cancer in the future by being reminded of a big hollow crater in my chest when I look in the mirror. Only 20% of women opt for reconstruction and maybe the figure is so low as women don’t know their options.  Therefore if going through this get in touch with your Breast Cancer nurses and talk to them about your options.  Some ladies don’t feel like going through getting it done and of course that is their decision, I feel I have a lot of living left to do and I want to do that with two boobs.

I just want to let people know that the way I opted for my reconstruction was my doing, I was informed that because I had radiation that usually they do not start this process till around 6 months after so your body has time to heal.  Of course I was having none of it saying I would take my chances and I was very pig-headed, determined and stubborn as I wanted a new Boob as soon as possible.  So for any of your ladies going down the tissue expander route that did not have radiation, having pump ups is not painful to most people,  I know at least four of my new cancer chickie friends who have had it done without any problem whatsoever.    Hindsight…….. ah wish I could bottle it and sell it for Christmas would make a fortune, in hindsight I should have let my body recover from radiation and then start the reconstruction process.  However on the other hand the rough time is over now and hopefully will have my new boobies for Christmas.

It’s quite uncomfortable to wear a bra at the moment so usually take it off when at home, I was doing up the tie of my six-year-old Beca on the way to school the other day and only had on a small t-shirt.    “Mammy” she said “Oh My God you have one boob way down there and one boob way up there” – couldn’t have said it better myself.   I told her by the time Santy comes hopefully they will be in the middle :-)

So I am ready and cant wait to get on that surgeons table in two weeks, six days time (not that I am counting).  I would say I will be pretty tender after the operation and will have to take it easy for a week or two so better get ahead with my Crimbo shopping.   So friends the gates are open again to drop in lovely food and wine to me.  Also feel free to drop in some new bras.   A friend of mine Kerensa has this cool thing in her garden like a whole line of bras, anytime she has a party friends leave their bras and she knots them all together like a tent – so reckon I must pop down and donate mine.

On another note I was asked by IBM recently to do a talk to their staff on Breast Cancer which I gladly accepted.   I went there on Tuesday and did two sessions with staff where I had to talk for 45 mins, firstly I was thinking Jesus that’s a hell of a long time but had to rush the end of if as could have talked for at least another 30 minutes or so.  I really enjoyed doing the talk and telling my story and I think they enjoyed it too.  From the law of averages around 4-6 women from that group will unfortunately develop breast cancer so I am hoping my early detection part of the talk goes heeded and the ladies will go and get their breast checked by their doctor.

Okay now I want something from all of you.  Can you do me a favour, a promise you are making to me (only between the two of us :-) ), next time you are down in the doctors ask him/her to check your breast, you pay €60 a visit so you might as well get it done.  I had a “dawning” the other morning, something that never entered my mind before (or maybe I didn’t want my mind to think about it), but if I am being totally honest with myself if I had gone to the doctor sooner I may have saved my breast or at least the cancer would not have started to travel.    I don’t want to hear anyone ever ever saying to me “oh I know I should” or “I must do” – ladies I want a NIKE – Just Do It.   I was one of those people thinking I should do it, should get the lump checked but was too busy and thousand other pathetic excuses.



"I promise you Dee next time in Doctors I will get my Breast checked"

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I promise Dee I will ask all females in my life to get checked when next in Doctors"

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I will be setting up a Boob Check monitor in the next couple of weeks, I know a lot of you have got checked recently and hopefully more of you will.  Could you PM me on Facebook and let me know if you have so I can count you on my Boob Counter.   I’m on a mission folks to try to make sure as few of you as possible have to go through the trauma and pain of what I have done over the last year. Ranting over….. I am not on a crusade I just love you all :-)

My daughter Maggie (10) got the Best Poem of the Week by her teacher and the teacher read it out to the class.  Very proud of her and it will be published in Irish Parent Magazine along with her photo – she is chuffed!!!


Cancer kicker
Life saver
Homework helper
House cleaner
Jewellery maker
Text sender
Food maker
Computer expert
Cake maker
Hair tie er
Hard driver
TV lover
Fire lover
Lace tie er

Good things that have happened recently

  • My lovely nephew Paddy got christened – lovely day
  • My chemo buddy Mary from Bray finished all treatment and got the all clear
  • My friend Marie finished Radiation – big whoop!
  • My sister got her second mammogram since I have been diagnosed and was all clear
  • I got six monthly breast check up at hospital and they were happy all is well
  • My friend Karen is back up on her feet after long illness :-)
  • Had a lovely visit from friends in Sweden (Mike, Birgitta and Victoria) lovely weekend

Sad News

A lovely old friend of mine passed away this week from bastard cancer.  Bren was such a character, full of craic and cheer and left us too early.   This is for you Bren :-)

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New Boobies for Crimbo

Its been a while since I last wrote plenty of things happening never a dull moment as they say.   Well lets talk about my boobs for a change :-)    As I was saying in previous posts I am currently getting “pumped” (injected with Saline) on my right boob to expand it enough to put in the implant.   This process is “a little uncomfortable” I mean whats comfortable about someone injecting a big huge fecking syringe into your chest I try not to look at it, but its hard not to its so bloody big.

Around three weeks ago I had a pump and it was my Mam’s birthday but due to car troubles had to bus it into hospital so couldn’t pop up to say Happy Birthday to her. Instead Dad and herself came down to meet me after my pump.   We were sitting having a coffee and ’ phone rang it was my brother Colly wishing her Happy Birthday she was saying (loudly) “we are in Vincent’s with Dee she just got a blow job” well I nearly spat my coffee out and my Father didn’t know where to look,  I was like “Mam think you got that one wrong” she was in knots laughing and I could hear my brother laughing too!!  Got a few odd stares from people in the café as we were laughing so much. Was a classic as someone said I must have the top-level VHI to be getting blow jobs in Vinnies!

That day while getting a “blow job” I was asking the doctor when I would be getting the implant she was really blasé and I thought condescending she was saying it will take a few more pumps and what was my hurry?  Easy for her to say what was my effing hurry it’s not her walking around the place with only one…… didn’t care for her much I must say.   In came my “real” doctor and the original doctor sort of laughed and said “Deirdre was wondering if she could have her new boob by Christmas” (very sarcastically I must say) my Doc said I don’t think that would be a problem let me check the schedule.   Wahoooooo she said no problem we will schedule you in for early December.   I was chuffed with myself and I must admit a big smug with the first doctor ….. ha ha ha told you so, told you so, nah nah nah nah nah nah, take that!!   I then asked what would be the schedule of getting Floppy Fiona reduced to match up with the new one,  how much longer would that be after Crimbo?  The most beautiful words then came out of her mouth I will do the two of them on the same day for you.    I nearly hugged her I was fecking thrilled I thought the whole process was going to take at least another three to four months.   So looks like I will be getting a new pair for Christmas :-)    Dancer and Prancer were names suggested.

So 11th December is the big day for the girls, one getting an implant and the other reduced and lifted to match the new one.   So far in this I have been really lucky as there is a high failure rate but I’m not going to think about that and my Doc said as well (she is very like me) let’s go with the flow and I am sure everything will be grand.    Will be a few weeks recovering as can imagine will be quite sore after, so better get shopping early this year.

Week after that was feeling extremely sick, like a really bad bug with severe tummy pains, made my way to the docs and she said I was so dehydrated that she didn’t know how I was actually sitting talk to her.   I had to go to hospital straight away, Jonas  came home from work and brought me in.   On the trolley in Naas A&E (where I was just over 12 months ago) they took blood samples etc. couple of hours later an Indian doctor informed me I had a “very serious UTI (urinary tract infection)” and I needed to go on IV drugs to try control it.   I was quite happy that was all it was, I wouldn’t be normal if there wasn’t a niggling doubt that this might be cancer related, even though I didn’t think so but the fear is always there.  Oh Yeehaa another shagging stay in hospital I said “will I be here for a while” he said “oh yes at least a few days…….” Was lucky I got off the trolley around 10pm that night to a hospital ward in the “old” hospital (which used to be a workhouse) and I swear was like moving back in time it was so old, anyway wasn’t complaining I had a bed.  Kept expecting Nurse Ratched to come over with my meds.   I got a bed in a mixed ward :-(    Didn’t sleep a wink that night I had a snoring and coughing chorus, snore, snore, snore, cough, cough, snore, snore, snore cough cough.     I had visions of being stuck on that trolley for a few days there was some serious “heads” there.  There were two girls and every time they passed me on the trolley they were muttering “for fucks sake” and trying to entice me to talk and bitch about the place which I had no intention of.  I was the last trolley before the door so I got loads of pitying looks and comments, take care of yourself, fair play to you, best of luck etc.etc. was quite amusing.  I was in a rush to get into hospital and couldn’t find proper shoes so went in with really high ankle boots the nurse said to me after a while “emmmm I think you can take your boots of now”.

Ended up in a three bed ward with two other ladies and we had some good laughs together, you get very close to people in hospital and we shared life secrets into the early hours of the morning.    Not sure what hospital does to you but some of these ladies told me stuff and they said Jesus never told that to anyone before.  We used to have our viewing schedule ready and bought goodies for watching the XFactor or whatever was on.   Lovely, lovely ladies and the staff in the hospital were brilliant the food was actually excellent and we got well looked after.

Ended up in hospital for five days, was on IV antibiotics all the time and had to get my bloods done every day.  Getting my bloods done was a nightmare, due to the mastectomy and the lymph node removal on my right arm they can’t take blood from there,  all the veins in my left arm are shot from chemo.   Nearly cried every time I saw them, in the end I said Jesus can you not get blood from some other part of my body.  In the end I ended up with the line and port in my foot.  It could have been stuck up my arse at that stage I didn’t care as long as they didn’t keep trying veins that were broken!   Wasn’t the easiest place to have a line put in was like hop a long Cassidy.

Since then I have been taking it really handy, the infection took a lot out of me and to say I was tired was an understatement.  Literally every time I sat down I fell asleep I am really only coming around now and getting a tiny bit of energy back.   I feel really in limbo with myself at the moment I think it’s all my body has gone through and maybe this is the “calm after the storm” instead of vice-versa.  One minute I can be high as a kite and a few hours later can be really down in myself  and to be honest its driving me mad.

I have been told by a few of my new cancer buddies that this is quite normal you are go, go, go all the time and then you get a break and you feel a little low.   I am so unmotivated its unreal and concentration levels are zero maybe its just my body reacting to all the chemicals and shit that have been put through my system.   I don’t like myself this way but am giving myself til after the operation to totally kick my ass back in gear.   Very strange for a women like me to actually laze around the place its a new thing to me and even when lazing I am thinking should be doing this, that and the other and then nahhhh can do it tomorrow!!  I miss being out in the workplace, sharing ideas, wheeling and dealing with people.  I really love my kids and am enjoying spending so much time with them but I wasn’t cut out to be a full-time stay at home worker.  I have to remember though as well am still on daily medication and they are hormone tables so my body is being run by drugs so I suppose there are bound to be some mood effects with that.  Only another four years and 10 months to go  :-)

Have had one more blow job in Vinnies and due another (my second last one) next Thursday then that’s the end of the pumping.  Also due a Mammogram next month a six month check up and I am confident that Floppy Fiona has been behaving herself and bastard cancer hasn’t seeped in there.   One good thing about being in hospital had loads of tests, CT scan, ECG and Chest X-rays so felt like my body was getting an MOT.

Good things that have happened

  • Got two new lovely pair of “matching” PJ’s thanks Anne
  • I got out of hospital
  • Had a whale of a time at Mauleys 50th
  • Got date for operation Whoppiddy fucking dooo daaaaa
  • My friend Niamh had her last chemo
  • My friend Linda had a scare but all turned out clear
  • Met a new for coffee through this blog – thanks Joan
  • Attended the Irish Cancer Society conference and met loads of my cancer chickies was a great day
  • Thanks Jonas, the girls, Niall, Mairead, Anne, Mia for keeping me company in hospital

That All Folks – enjoy the rest of your weekend and keep on smiling and enjoying life.  “We are here for a good time not a long time”

Posted in My Updates | 17 Comments

Feck Cancer I’m off on me Holliers – Laughter 24/7

Still recovering from a five-day break in Portugal with my sister Mia, think we called it a break as we spent the whole five days breaking our sides laughing.   It was non stop fun from start to finish as for rest and relaxation…mmmm not too sure about that.  First time ever been away on a sun holiday with sister minus our six kids and boy did we relish and enjoy every single moment.  The only decisions we had to make were:-

  • Where will we go for breakfast
  • Where will we go for lunch
  • What will we have to drink
  • Where will we go for dinner
  • What will we have to drink
  • What club shall we go to
  • What will we have to drink

We spent most of the day at the pool or cafe people watching (one of my favourite hobbies) we hadn’t a care in the world.  You remember when you were a kid and you were in school or at mass and you got a fit of the giggles and you just couldn’t stop laughing?  that’s what we were like 24/7 sometimes we just had to look at each other to erupt into more laughter.  We met a great gang of lads from Sheffield and we had the craic with them and the slagging was 90 – Eh Up Lads….. got great craic taking off their accent, they seriously thought we were nuts.  Needless to say we were well-known around the complex by the time we left.    On our second night both fast asleep in the bedroom I awoke to Mia shouting “get out, get out, you’re in the wrong apartment” I was hanging out of the bed trying to have a goo….. some couple on our couch having a great old-time, obviously got apartments mixed up, was seriously funny the girl left her bra in the rush to get out!  We reckon we saw her a few times int he pool area after but she didnt exactly make eye contact with us.  We left the bra swinging from the palm tree outside our apartment!

We were in Albueferia in Portugal and the part we were in wasn’t for the faint hearted it was a bit like Ibiza uncovered but we found a couple of live music venues that were great fun and more our age.  We went into the old town of Albquefeira a couple of nights that was really nice.  We sat outside this place that had live music quite old-fashioned music, next the hucklebuck came on and five women dragged me up on the street to do it.    Honestly thought Mia was going to wet herself laughing I couldn’t look at her I could just see tears streaming down her face looking at me doing it.

Must say it was pure bliss the whole holiday, just looking after ourselves, not a worry in the world, never checked emails once, the sun was shining, the company was great that we met, dinners out, cocktails, cappucinos, dips in the pool, side-splitting laughter.   One thing that we noticed on holiday it was that everyone was in great form, everyone was enjoying themselves and laughing away and always smiling it was great.

For any of you ladies who have never done a holiday like that dump the kids, grab your sister or your best girlfriend and go away for a few days it’s the best tonic ever.   We were a sorry sight the last night bus came to collect us at 3.50am from our apartments and of course there was no point in going to sleep before that so we had dinner and just a couple of drinks that night.  Lucky me managed to lose my boarding pass between security and gate and that bastard Michael O’Leary charged me €70 for a new one!   Was quite funny as was frisked in security think the lady got a bit of a shock when she was rummaging around my bra and one of my boobs literally came off in her hands :-)

On a totally different note, this week I had the pleasure of meeting the two little girls that we did the Strip and Dip for, Lily Mae and Princess Leah.   I met Lily Mae and her Mam Jude in a hotel near Crumlin hospital and we had lunch together.  Lily Mae was a little dote and was enjoying the space of being able to run around the hotel.  Lily-Mae was on her second last treatment in Crumlin and you could see that she was really tired and it was hard work for her Mam to try to get her to eat. That evening I called up to visit Princess Leah who lives close enough to me here in Kildare, another beautiful little girl and a real trooper, Princess Leah has done all her chemo and radiation and so far unfortunately it has not worked, she looked very frail and is unable to walk at the moment, its heart breaking.  Her older brother Jordan was absolutely fabulous with her, looking out for her all the time and helping her on the couch to sit up for the photo he said “come on Princess Leah up you get”…..  a beautiful child.     The reason for meeting the two girls was two-fold, first I really wanted to meet them and secondly was to do an official hand over the cheque from our recent event in the hope that the girls will get some publicity out of it.  If anyone reading this has any contacts in the media whatsoever would be great to get the photos in the papers or chat about it on radio so if you know of anyone please let me know.

On a very sad note I would like to mention my friend Sheilas husband, Trevor, who passed away two weeks ago suddenly at the age of 48.  Trevor and Sheila were like two peas in a pod you never saw one without the other.  Trevor was a great character and I enjoyed many a fun night in his company, he gave me the lovely AJH saying, we were in a pub one night and he was telling us about all the AJH’s that came into the shop, we were like “whats an AJH”…….Ah Jaysus Howaya….. even got to use it in this blog.  You will be sorely missed by everyone especially your loving soul mate Sheila.   RIP Trevor.

Now in cancer world (nearly forgot) where am I at?  Have a boob pump on Thursday another 100ml injected into me, after that another appointment with oncologist to see how I am reacting to my meds that I have to take for five years – seem to be doing fine on them.   So maybe three more pumps, then operation to take out my expander and put in the implant a couple of months after that will get Floppy Fiona reduced to match the new one.   All in all hopefully be finished with everything around January/February and then of course it will be the MEGA KICKING THE SHITE OUT OF CANCER PARTY the chemo one was just a warm up!!

Good things that happened and are going to happen:-

  • Our blog got shortlisted for the Ireland Blog Awards 2013 :-) Award night in October to see if we win :-)
  • Going to Cancer Conference in Aviva on Saturday and will be meeting up with all my new cancer mates – see you there ladies ;-)
  • Looking forward to Paul’s 50th bash on Saturday
  • Was invited by Vincents to go the Maria Keating Foundation Fashion Show with dinner and drinks in the Conrad at the end of the month.  My cancer buddy Naomi is coming with me should be fun
  • Will be doing a photo shoot early October with the fabulous Elaine Laverty who is doing a calendar for Breast Cancer and I am one of the models and months –  whoop whoop watch this space
  • I am in great form and I wake up every day and count my lucky stars that I have come this far

That’s it folks, enjoy the rest of your weekend, dare to do something different, be a shame not to ;-)

Posted in My Updates | 8 Comments

Cancer treatment finished – Big Fecking Whoop

Is the cancer part of this really finished?  Eleven months on and finally all cancer treatments are finished feel relieved and so glad it’s all over and feels strange at the same time a bit limbo”ish” :-)

Think it’s roughly three weeks since I last wrote when I said that I was going a little pink from radiation.  Well the last one was yesterday so that was the 28th out of 28 and the skin I must say held up really well.  Now admittedly I do a have a great sun tan on my right chest, as for going topless mmmm don’t think so :-)    Think there might be a mass exodus from the swimming pool or beach.   All in all looking back over radiation it all went very smoothly and compared to chemo it was a walk in the park.  I didn’t burn, my skin didn’t crack, fatigue yes I was tired, but not sure about this fatigue thing would say there was a couple of days last week that I felt absolutely bolloxed so I think that was fatigue :-)     So anyone with radiation planned in the future it really isn’t that bad (well it wasn’t for me anyhow).   Definitely not as much craic as chemo as people don’t really talk so it’s very much you go in, you get zapped and you go home. Chemo there was more of a chance to “mingle” :-) if of course you were in the mood for mingling.  I drove in and out by myself everyday and it wasn’t a bother.

Beca and Maggie came with me for the last one yesterday, Beca had noticed a little girl the last time she was there who was bald, Beca asked the nurse if the little girl had cancer, the nurse was a bit taken aback and said yes she has but she will be well soon.   Beca had been playing with the toys in the hospital and of course had asked if she could take some dolls home which was politely declined, however she decided that yesterday she was going to bring in her prize possession her big Bratz bus and leave it for the sick children she also brought in three dolls (two of the dolls hair had been cut really short because they had cancer).   In she went chuffed as anything to drop off her new toys and dolls they made a great fuss of her and she was thrilled.  On leaving the hospital she decided that two dolls really needed to come home with her as they would miss her as a Mam….. lol so three in two out :-)

The nurses were great in Lukes yesterday they kindly took photos of me on the machine and a couple with them.  The kids were able to see the machine and use the remote control to move it around then got kicked out.  When I came out a friend of mine Ronnie was there to greet me with flowers, wine and a lovely card he made himself so we went for a quick cuppa in the hospital.    Had a lovely relaxing evening got a lovely bouquet of flowers delivered from hubby they were beautiful. Must say absolutely love flowers could sit and stare at them for hours.  Was fast asleep my 11.45 maybe that is fatique very rare that I am asleep by that time on a Friday night I am usually just waking up to spin a few discs :-)

So that’s it folks three-quarters of the way through everything now.  Chemo check, Operation check, Radiation check.  All the cancer treatments are now finished and what I am left with is rebuilding my boob and fixing the other one to match the new one.  All in all I think it’s around three more small operations, expander out, silicon in, left boob reduced and nipple placed where it should be ewwwwww then a nipple for my new boob.   Next appointment not til 19th September so have four hospital free weeks.   I reckon I should be totally out the other side by January/February I have been so lucky so far in that everything has run as planned so I am willing it to continue this way and there will be no setbacks with the new boobs.  Next mammogram scheduled for November I will have six monthly checks to make sure nothing is lurking.

During all this I have been dreaming of a few days holidays somewhere warm, somewhere you can lie on a sun lounger and just relax and feel the heat of the sun.   Well it’s happening myself and my sister are heading to Portugal in a couple of weeks for 5 days.   Thankfully my sister is very quiet and not into going out at night so it will be very relaxing, maybe the odd sherry of an evening :-)    We have six kids between us we reckon best part if someone is shouting “Mammy “at the beach or pool they are definitely not ours :-)    For the last six weeks have been looking at you all on Facebook on holliers with fabulous pools while looking out the garden at my deflated paddling pool – so watch out for loads of blue skies and beach photos :-)

I will of course keep writing my blog for those that still want to read it, still have a way to go and enjoy writing it and good to see that people actually read it!   Can’t believe people enjoy my musings, happy days

Good things that happened in the last few weeks

  • I finished radiation  whoop fucking whoop
  • Great night at Julieannes 40th and great to meet some people who follow this blog in person, Catherine, Andrea and Gary
  • Heading to Mary’s Benefit tonight in Wicklow looking forward to it
  • Bought and actually received school books
  • Lovely lunch with Emer Hynes Denton what fun
  • Nights out with Jackie Desmond, Karen Bedford, Liz Murdoch
  • I wake up each morning and thank Christ I am alive
  • We officially raised €20,417 for Leah and Lilly Mae

That’s it folks I suppose I should get back out of bed again..  woke up this morning and no coffee worst feeling in the world.  Got the little one to run in and get it for me while I was a scanger in PJs in the car – was thinking betcha it will be one of those days you bump into an ex that you haven’t seen in twenty years and they spot you in all your finery :-)   Have a great weekend folks.


Posted in My Updates | 16 Comments

Halfway through Radiation and only slightly tickled pink

Must say it’s not the same writing my blog on my PC as being tucked up in bed feeling like crap from chemo…… it just doesn’t seem right, however way too hot to type up there!  Got to the halfway mark of radiation therapy yesterday, 14 sessions done and 14 sessions to go.  So far so good no major side effects feeling very tired some days and my skin is starting to go a little pink from the radiation.  This is normal they say the burning starts in the later weeks, I am just hoping I don’t get it too bad, I am lucky being dark-skinned that helps a lot as my body takes a good colour (if I ever let it).

As I said before Luke’s is a lovely small hospital in beautiful surroundings and I have been lucky to be able to drive in good weather and home in good weather.  I wouldn’t like to make that daily trek in the middle of winter it would become very depressing.  It is tough in there though to see so many extremely sick people, a man around my own age with one leg, a lady of around 60 with a hole in her throat but worst is the young children (which thankfully I have not seen many) going around with bald heads, it’s the Mammy in me I just can’t handle that emotionally I get immediately teary eyed thinking of both the child and the poor parents.  Cancer is a bastard for anyone to get but for a kid to get this shitty disease well that’s pure unfair….

A friend of mine Siobhan works there and they have a lot of other services in there to make the patients “trip” with cancer a little easier.  I am meeting with a lady on Wednesday for some information on complementary therapy, so maybe a bit of Reiki, Massage and that feet one (can’t remember the name – ahhh reflexology thanks Adele)…… never had any before so should be interesting.  Also as part of the process met a Social Worker/counsellor and she was asking if I felt I needed counselling I said I didn’t think so at the moment I just wanted to keep going and going and not get stuck in the “thinking about the fact that I have cancer bubble”.   I told her that I sometimes look on in at my cancer and it’s not really happening to me it’s happening to someone else, she said that is quite common and its called denial and some women just want to go, go, go and get it over with.  It was mentioned that people like myself after it’s all over, its then the shock sets in and your mind and body actually realise what you went through.   Hopefully it won’t be a big shock and if it is then yes I would agree to some counselling if I felt I needed it.

A lot of kind people keep telling me I am nearly there, which I am and I nearly have the worst over.   Without being negative but I still have a good bit to go after radiation.  I still have to get my boob pumped for a few months (which is uncomfortable), then an operation to take out the tissue expander out, then another operation to get the implant in.  After that in another few months I have an operation to reduce Floppy Fiona to look like the other one…. then a nipple tatoo for my new girl…..   Sounds like I am a bit morbid today, I’m not I’m just a bit tired I think and even though I know I am close to the end which is great, it’s getting really tedious getting there.   However hopefully by Christmas I will be planning the “I Kicked the Shite out of Cancer Party” and meeting you all for a few pints :-)

Also a word of advice for women going though an “immediate reconstruction” I think they should change the name of it, as it is in no way immediate, absolutely nothing immediate about it my right chest is just a crater still.  To have it all finished it maybe around December/January and the operation was in April – I am no mathematician but doesn’t sound immediate to me.  Looking back if I had known it would take this long I probably would have opted for the “Tummy Tuck” reconstruction where they take the “excess fat” which I have plenty of and use that for your new boob.     Ah well we will just have to wait and see.

On a much brighter note I have gone through all this with ease.  After speaking to many of my new cancer friends who have ended up with infections en route which ended up in hospital stays, I never did, even after eight chemos my body responded really well and I obviously have a great immune system.  I got the best news ever afterwards that I was cancer free the news you dream about and radiation compared to chemo is so much easier on the ole body.

Had an absolutely fantastic day and night at Elaine and Bryans wedding,  Elaine Laverty has been a great friend to me and we only met each other through Facebook.  Elaine took all the baldy pics and Dip in the Nip photos she is a legend.    Elaine and Bryans theme was a 50′s wedding and was held up the Wicklow Mountains at Kippure estate it was an absolutely amazing wedding and the two of them seem just perfect together.  What fun we had (of course I was wrapped up in bed by 11.30pm).  Watch this space Elaine is organising a Calendar in aid of Breast Cancer and I will be in it – a whole month to myself :-)   12 Lovely ladies who have either had breast cancer or have been effected by it.

Have had plenty of “me” time recently and maybe too much time to think….. met a lovely friend Karen Meagen last week for dinner and drinks and we had a great night, love getting out and about in Dublin and there was a great buzz around the place.  We had a great giggle.  A very handsome taxi man on the way home – thanks Ed and thanks for the lovely wine glasses you left at my folks.

Big life event for me got a hair cut last week, honestly you should have seen the state of it small grey/black curls – just gross!  Got around an inch off the top and now it looks shorter with small grey/black curls…… hairdresser says I just have to grin and bear it and let it grow out……mmmmmm……searching for some hairbands of neutral colour to make it look at bit more normal :-)   Always have Daisy the wig to fall back on – ehh nooooo never put that girl back on me – curls or no curls.

Good luck to Marie and Darina for next week in Vinnies xx

Good things that happened this week

  • Halfway through radiation
  • Boob so far not really burnt
  • Great night out with Karen
  • Two B&Bs with the folks and got pampered as always
  • Mary Ball popped in for a chat last night – always great to see you Mary
  • I’m cancer free
  • We are just up to €20,000 for our Dip in the Nip Fundraiser

Have a great weekend folks, go out grab the rays, hold your kids tight and wonder at all the beautiful things you are surrounded by.

This was playing yesterday under the machine – love this song

Posted in My Updates | 10 Comments

Week One of Radiation Finished – I am Radiant!

Life is good doing the normal things one does daily and not thinking about being sick or treatment or anything……. then BANG back into the hospital system and to being poked and prodded by wonderful medical people.   I think starting radiation was a big shock to my system.  I started on Tuesday this week and on the Monday I was feeling really low about it and quite emotional.  There was a bit of moist eyes happening on the night before and on the way to my first treatment in St Luke’s.  The strange thing about it is I don’t know why I was emotional, I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t dreading it, I don’t know really my emotions took over me and I felt as emotional as when I driving to last chemo!  Think my ole body is a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the moment maybe due to the drugs Tamoxifen which I started taking and will have to for next 5/10 years.  Basically the drug changes your whole system inside,  my cancer was hormone driven and the drug fights too much hormones being generated in my body!

First day at Luke’s lovely place, lovely surrounds and lovely people.  I had to have a verification test on my first day.   They were verifying that the physics on the readings and measurements they had done the last time had not changed.  I had to lie on the machine with arms over my head (this was very uncomfortable as my arm is still very sore at times).  Loads of measurements taken, 0.5mm to the left, 97mm to the right, up on the chair 5mm, over 2mm it’s quite amazing.  I had already got three tiny pin prick tattoos to mark the spot.  The lovely nurse marked me again on my upper chest area close to the chest bone and put a plaster over it and told me that the plaster (see through) has to stay there for the duration of the radiation.    All measurements were in order then back to the waiting room to await my first treatment got called quite quickly.  In again stripped to the waist on the chair arms above the head and they were fussing over me (always around three staff nurses during radiation) they set it all up then leave the room when the radiation starts.  You are left there and the machine slowly moves around you I always have my eyes closed so not really sure what is happening.  Either way it is not in the least bit painful and the only discomfort is having the arms over my head.

When in the loo afterwards saw myself in the mirror and noticed my lovely new target practice marks……….Jaysus could they not have made the X’s just a tad smaller :-)   I think on reflection I would have preferred black as that would match more of my clothes :-) I asked them about it the next day as I honestly thought they were having a laugh saying it had to stay there for the six weeks – they said yes it really does have to stay there the other alternative was three more tiny pin prick tattoos and not mad into blue freckles.  I was quite put out about those stupid X’s – now I couldn’t care less – I mean whats a few X’s between friends :-)

Havent met any new people yet you don’t really have time to sit around and chat (unfortunately) anyone in the waiting room are usually men and they don’t talk they just stare into space. It’s very hard to see the young kids in the hospital bald and in wheelchairs. There was one little fellah on my first day and he was in a wheelchair sitting beside his Dad he was crying and the look of utter desperation on the Dad’s face was just awful, he was asking the nurse if he could bring him out for a while he was doing anything he could to try cheer his son up, it was heartbreaking.

Had four radiation sessions so far this week so that’s week one over with which feels great, five more weeks to go (25 more sessions) and then that’s the radiation trip out-of-the-way.  So far have had no side effects I have been lathering on the E45 cream both front and on my back as the radiation goes through your body and out the other side.  Main side effect is fatigue which wont kick in this early, I mean more fatigue, drug fatigue, chemo fatigue, radiation fatigue, sleepless nights fatigue – I could dress an army with all these fatigues!   The other one is burning of the skin, this wouldn’t usually happen until a couple of weeks into it, it can either be like bad sun burn or really actually burnt and they would have to give you special creams for it.  I am hoping that I will just get it mildly cooked!

With this lovely weather we are having I asked the doctor about wearing high factor and being able to go out in it.  He said absolutely not, nothing has to touch that area except E45 cream and that I really should be wearing a polo neck as can not have sun on my neck either – he said it with a smile and said of course you can’t in this weather but you have to protect the area.  So out with the scarves (nice cotton ones so they are cool) to keep the sun away from the radiated area.  Its nothing to do with cancer its to ensure that as that area is getting burned by radiation you dont want sunburn on top of it.   Went to the beach yesterday afternoon with the girls after treatment and donned the ole scarf and t’was no bother at all.

Through all of this people have been saying that you get to appreciate life more and I sort of took it with a pinch of salt.  It is so amazingly true though, I have this amazing inner gratitude of being given a chance.  I don’t sweat the small things anymore (to be honest I never really did anyhow).  If I am invited out in the middle of the week for dinner like I was with a great friend of mine Dairiona I say yes that would be lovely.  This time last year it would have been too much hassle – not now I go anywhere I am asked and enjoy the company of others so much more now its really hard to explain.  When out to dinner on Wednesday I bumped into the lovely Pat a truly wonderful lady who I went through chemo with and I have popped in a few times since if I am in the hospital on a Thursday, was so great to see her out an about and enjoying the laugh with her friends!  Go Pat!!!   I brought the kids down to Sandycove last weekend and I was like a tourist on speed and was so enjoying the beach, went and checked out the 40ft and then we climbed Joyce Tower and enjoyed the view from the top.  This was topped off by an impromtu dinner at Dymphna and Ian’s house along with Karen and I had a lovely evening just enjoying the fun and company of friends.

Going to my photographer buddy Elaine Laverty’s wedding on Friday can’t wait its a 50′s wedding and its gonna be fun fun fun am going on my todd I find this fun too get to meet so many new people!

Good things that happened this week

  • The sun shined everyday
  • First week of Radiation ticked off and complete
  • Lovely Dinner out
  • Lovely Day on beach with the girls and my folks (thanks Dad for bringing them swimming)
  • A cancer buddy Joan got the good news after chemo that the tumour had disappeared!
  • Enjoying a lovely lazy Saturday doing nada, zip, zip, zilch

Thats it folks – grab life by the balls!

Posted in My Updates | 8 Comments

We did it we Stripped and Dipped What Fun

It’s so hard to explain the day that was our Strip n Dip, it was one of the most magical days in my life and I am not alone in that sentiment.  It was a gathering of truly wonderful women who bared all for Lily-Mae, Leah, cancer survivors, people who were lost to cancer and just as important themselves.  Women after doing it were absolutely buzzing with the fact that they had done it and the fact that it was such a truly wonderful event of women coming together.   The whole lot of us got on so well together it was a true credit to women!

The craic started the night before when people found out the venue and their pain in the beauticians around Ireland on previous days could be heard from waxing and pruning.  Details were unveiled of the lovely beach in Wicklow Magheamore Beach kindly offered to us by the Land Owner and his wonderful security men and a special mention to Wayne who sorted us all out.  We were missing two bras at the end of the day though…… Wayne????  :-) :-)    Wayne had to man another aspect of the beach while we dipped he reckoned he had the best job in Ireland that day.

On the morning we travelled from Cork, Kildare, Laois, Dublin, Wicklow and Galway to join together and unite and do a Strip n Dip for Lily-Mae and Leah.  People along with doing it for charity.  had their own reasons, some were undergoing cancer treatment like myself, some have lost dear ones to cancer, some were there supporting me and some were only at the start of their cancer journey.  When we all arrived at the car-park it was great fun with horns beeping, people waving and a few strange lingerie objects being waved out the windows.  We all got acquainted and there really was a buzz, there was a bottle of whiskey going around and most of us had a little nip of it, some were popping champagne and one of two had hot chocolates.

After around 30 mins laughing and joking we made our way down to the beach to do our www.kickingtheshiteoutofcancer.com photo with the lovely Elaine from Elaine Laverty Photography.  This sign was the most important for me as I want to get the message out about this blog to people who are going through it and people I feel it may help.  Thanks Patrick and Shauna for doing the signs for us – very impressive :-)     There was a bit of mayhem down on the beach when we were all lining up I had given out letters to people the night before (in my secret post) but we all got a bit confused.   By the time I got down there was none left for me, sorry can’t remember who I kicked out but I was definitely having a letter!  Well there was whoops of laughter when we were trying to get into a semi-circle.  We all lined up perfectly and then the chant Strip, Strip, Strip was heard so we all de-robed behind the signs and swear to God the laughter could have been heard on a beach in Wexford.  Strange thing was it didn’t bother any of us.  After the photos were taken some people started shouting lets picture it from behind, without any of us even thinking we put the signs behind our back with our bare arses showing and none of us gave a shit.  It was liberating and powerful there was so many people so nervous about getting naked then all of a sudden people forgot!   I can still remember the laughing.

Then literally in a flash (excuse the pun) Dymphna started shouting run, run, run, so all of a sudden we were running naked (in the rain) into the water.  We reckon there was around 80 of us including my Mother who I was so proud of.   That we screamed the beach down was an understatment we were hollering and shrieking like mad ones!   Some stayed in quite a while.   We ran back then and got our towels, well some of us did, it wasnt for modesty it was to get warm some people were just standing around naked and nobody even noticed.  We were having a great ole laugh about it then more women went back in for a second time all of a sudden around another 10 joined them.  Some went in for a third and fourth time.   Magical is all I can stay.

We all hung around the beach and had a glass of champers or whatever was on offer and some others went up to the car park and had a chat and a hot drink.   We then all made our way back got dressed (well I forgot to was still in my onesie) and headed up to McDaniels pub up the road for a few drinks and some hot food.  Most of us went back which made it really special.  Sinead Hamill did a great ditty on our day – my phone shut off at the last verse……

Around 25 of us headed back to Wicklow town as we were staying there for the night.  We showered the sand from us, got ready and went downstairs and we had a drink in the bar before dinner the craic was mighty.   Dinner also was mad as we were all on such a high and to there was a few strange objects flying around the place during dinner.  I apologise to the person who got my boob in their Thai Chicken Curry.  After that we adjourned to the disco in the bar of the hotel and danced our socks off and were all lit up with the glow necklaces Karen had bought.  We brought a purple bucket with us (thanks Julieanne) and on the night raised €203 which was great.  We went over to a pub across the road for more fun and frolics, then a late one in the hotel and a sing-song (as you do) and hit the hay around 4am!    Not too shabby considering we had such a long day!

The main thing I really felt on the day was so humbled and so lucky.  So many women came out to support me that day – there is no way they would have taken their kit off otherwise.  My Family (My Mam, My Auntie Marie who also had breast cancer, my cousins, sister-in-law and cousin in law), my wonderful friends old and new, my cancer friends, people who have been following this blog who I have never met before – you are all just wonderful – thanks from the bottom of my heart.

We would like to thank all the Kilcock Dippers who joined us for their friend Sonya who is currently undergoing skin cancer for the second time and who was in hospital on the day.  We were thinking of you Sonya and wish you the best xx

Our fund-raising for the event has been fantastic we are currently up to €18,000 from people’s very generous donations and we are of course still accepting donations at www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer we really want to get to the €20,000 so if you havent already donated and would like to…… we would gladly accept.

Must say took a couple of days to recover from the fun, frolics and highs of the weekend we regaled online the fun we had with each other and had a great laugh looking at all the photos.

The following Thursday I had my appointment in Vincents with my oncologist to discuss my medication moving forward.   I will be on a drug called Tamoxifen for five years (maybe ten) this is to try to prevent the cancer from coming back.   Loads of lovely side-effects with it which I am not looking forward to including hot flushes and night sweats…..mmmmm lovely….. also fatigue,  Jaysus at this stage there is so much fatigue and lack of sleep I don’t think I could be possibly more fatigued.

Starting radio-therapy next week daily (apart from weekends) for six weeks.  Side effects again are fatigue and possibly burning of the area that is being zapped.  So there will be plenty of E45 cream on hand and hopefully the fatigue might throw a few ZZZZZZ’s my way.  Having terrible problems sleeping and its all getting a little too much.  I’m a pretty strong person but living on 3/4 hours sleep a day has to catch up with me at some stage.  Going to doctors tomorrow to discuss what can help me sleep better. I did have some sleeping pills but they didn’t even make me sleep,  so maybe I need stronger ones even for a couple of weeks to get my body ready for radio-therapy.

Had a brilliant night out at the Rod Stewart concert on Saturday with my sis what a laugh we had.  Thanks a million Colly for the tickets.

So folks I’m getting there its a looooooong road still being travelled but bit by bit I am getting over stages.  I am happy and healthy and I am so grateful for that!

Good things that happened recently

  • We Stripped and Dipped
  • Met some wonderful new friends
  • People have been so generous with donations
  • Had some good weather
  • Learned some new dance floor moves
  • Saw Rod in concert
  • Alarm clock not set til 7.15am for a while
  • Oncologist said I did really well with everything so far and that definitely my positive spirit really helped in the whole process
  • I have my lovely friend Siobhan who will be looking after me in Lukes
  • Met the lovely Emer and Niamh for lunch – great to see you girls


Posted in My Updates | 3 Comments

Drum Roll Here are the Details – Strip n Dip

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


The beach we are doing it at is called Magheramore Beach in between Wicklow Town and Brittas Bay Beach.   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 another beach.  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 down 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 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 call Dymphna on  0868574884

Whats happening on the day

Meet at 1pm in the car-park.  You can get changed into whatever maybe in the Car Park is best spot, people are wearing dressing gowns, dresses, big t-shirts 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.

We go down to the beach.  I want to get a group photo for the blog so have a sign for each of the initials in the blog name – www.kickingtheshiteoutofcancer.com we will hold the signs up in front of our white bits (not enough signs for everyone) so the rest can be just in the background – don’t worry NOTHING will be showing.   I am asking my close friends, cancer budders, cancer survivors and family to be the ones holding up the signs and you guys behind if that’s ok.    All the initials will be giving out by Sinead and Dymphna.

w Aileen Murphy
w Breda Hurley
w Anne Cunningham
. Debbie Nolan
k Eileen Wall
i Eilish Carney Brady
c Grainne Hartnett
k Julieanne Odonovan
i Karen Meagan
n Karen Woods
g Kerensa Darcy
t Grainne Hartnett
h Linda Shadlow
e Mairead Murphy
s Ann Marie Featherstone
h Deirdre Featherstone
i Ann Featherstone
t Marie McGee
e Marie Shadlow
o Mary Ball
u Mary Margaret Molloy
t Orla Rowse
o Reenagh Maher
f Sinead Hamill
c Mary Cunningham Keenan
a Jacqueline Crowley
n Josey Foran Farrell
c Lisa Hannan
e Breda Hurley
r Francis O’Driscoll
. Sinead Hamill
c Dympnha
o Katie Brady
m Patricia Demery

Dymphna and Sinead are the two ladies helping out on the day they will have Yellow Hi-Vis jackets on them.  They will be organising us and if any of you have cash please put it in an envelope with your name on it and give it to them.     After that photo maybe we put back on  the clothes face the ocean and Sinead and Dymphna will do the countdown.  Maybe we go in as four rows of women or something like that.   Everyone dashes in dips and dashes back out again and gets clothed.

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 going up to McDaniels Pub in Brittas Bay around 3kms away on the coast.  We are hoping that everyone will come up for a while.  Its a lovely pub with great Beer Garden.  McDaniels have offered us Sausages and Chips for €3 per person that should be enough to keep us warm.   There we can have a laugh about the day and of course you can order other food if you want.

After that there is around 24 of us heading into Wicklow Town and staying the night in the Grand Hotel.  We are having dinner at 7.30ish €15 for two course meal, if anyone wants to join us please let me know.   Julieanne is bringing a bucket with her so we will take this on our travels and try to raise some extra money.


If you have cash donations please put it in an envelope with your name on it and give it to either Sinead or Dymphna (the ladies in the Hi-Vis jackets).   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

A big thanks to a few people helping out with this – let me introduce my band,  Sinead on Beach, Dymphna on vocals, Julieanne on buckets, Karen on sausages, Elaine on photos and Patrick on signs.      Thanks all for helping out folks.

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.  I have been a pain and bribed and blackmailed you into doing this.  It means so much to me that you are all doing this supporting me as a person and you have been so very good to me during my cancer road-trip .   It’s amazing that my friends turn up and get naked for me.  It’s such a huge show of support to me as a person I can’t describe how humbled I feel.

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.  Some of you are still in treatment and some are starting treatment next week the lovely Jacq - I salute you Jacq your wonderful.

For all the Kilcock Dippers we are thinking of Sonya who could not make it due to being in hospital.  Sonya we will raise a salute to you and will help you to kick the shite out of cancer.

Lastly this funding will make a huge difference to Leah and Lily-Mae and you have all gone above and beyond the call of duty with fund-raising.

As at 18.45 (Online Only) we have raised €10,000.00 – AMAZING

 Map of the Beach

Google Maps

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


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Getting my kit off for Cancer – Get Yours Off Too

Can’t believe it’s nearly a month since I last wrote anything here….. does that mean I am not sick anymore?  I wonder about that if I got the all clear am I still sick?  Sick in the head well I know that always been sick there, but sick no I don’t think so.

Since I spoke to you last there has been a lot of hospital visits to pump up my boob.  Its amazing the way technology works.  In my old boob there is a thing called an expander which they pump up every few weeks to start the form of my new boob.   I went in for the first one around 3 weeks ago.  I met with the plastic surgeon and she was checking my scars etc. she asked me if I thought my scar was healing well.  Seriously how would I know I have never had a boob cut off before or a scar on my body…… she seemed to think it was healing fine and all is good. Lay down on the bed for my first injection, there is a little magnet in my boob and a magnet in my file at the hospital she runs the magnet over the boob and finds the other magnet then they know where to inject the fluid.  They injected 50ml into me was a very strange feeling and a bit unpleasant.  I texted a friend of mine before I went in to see if it hurt she said no not really just don’t look at the needle – what did I do? looked at the needles a big huge syringe – well it looked huge to me anyhow.  First pump over wasn’t too bad didn’t come out looking like Dolly Parton or anything but one step at a time I suppose.  The following week had another one this time it was extremely painful as my whole arm went numb and I could feel the fluid going down my arm I think the (gobshite) doctor missed the spot and my arm got injected instead.  What a waste of a trip drove in waited two hours and the doctor pumped my arm instead of my boob.

Moving right along got another pump a week later and this time it was 100mls and it all went smoothly and felt like the fluid went into the right place.  Had a lovely doctor seriously cute like the kind you see on ER he was so nice as well and I said was hoping for another fill next week.  He sat me down and told me to take it easy and that I must have patience and not rush into this.  He said we should leave all the filling  until after radiation as when boob hits radiation no one really knows what is going to happened.  As I mentioned before with the sort of reconstruction I am having there is a risk that it will all flop (not that there is anything there to flop) but I don’t dwell on thinking that it’s not going to work – IT IS :-)

I must say this week in particular I have been in great form and feeling really good in myself and not in any pain or discomfort whatsoever.  First week in a long time I had nothing to do with cancer, no hospital appointments no doctors pure bliss.  The ole brain seems to be getting back to normality I was able to sit down on my PC and actually concentrate for more than a minute.  This “chemo brain” as its called is a very strange thing to explain it’s basically a total lack of concentration and I am a go getter and get things done since this hit me I look blankly at things thinking I should do that…. but later then later I say I should have done that!!!    Anyhow feeling fab and was literally thinking God its great not to think about cancer when phone rang it was the hospital and the oncology nurse saying that they should have been in touch before that I need to go in and start my new regime of tablets anti-hormone pills.   Back to normality with a crash I have to take medication for the next five years a pill called Tamoxifen some people have a lot of side effects on it and I don’t like the thoughts of being on something for five years but hey if it keeps me healthy I can handle that.   It’s just strange though you think your out of the woods and you’re not really its all about trying to handle what I have had and make sure the bastard doesn’t come back.

My next step is radio therapy.  I start on the 8th July and before this I will have a big CT scan where they will mark where exactly they are going to zap this is done by way of a tiny tattoo marking (thinks its two actually).  Radio therapy doesn’t have the same after effects of chemo thank God so I wont feel sick from it.  They did say that it is tiring and my boob can get burned so I have to be really careful and lather on the E45 cream all the time to make sure its kept moisturised.   I have to do six weeks of this daily its 30 sessions all in all not looking forward to the daily grind of doing it and it ruling my life for six weeks.  However no doubt I will meet some more great characters there which is always a bonus.  When last in hospital I went back to the chemo room to see if any of my old friends were there and spent a pleasant hour chatting to the ones that were.  They didn’t recognise me at first due to my hair style was great seeing you all and keep up that great spirit and destroy this bastard.

Ten months now since I was first diagnosed can’t believe that I have been in the cancer time warp so long now.  Its been “the best of times and the worst of times” and still reckon it was bequeathed to me for a reason, just have to figure out what that reason is :-)    Ahh I reckon it’s all my new friends one lucky woman I am to be both alive and to have so many great friends.

I have been working away on our blogs big charity event the Dip in the Nip which is taking place Saturday 22nd June.   Deep breaths…… every time I talk about these two beautiful girls I well up which I am doing at the moment.  We are currently around 130 ladies signed up now to do the Dip in Wicklow so far online we have raised roughly €5k my goal is €10k and by hook or by crook I am going to get it and I don’t care who I blackmail or bully :-)   This blog is not my blog its our blog you guys have been through this with me and I need your help.   The main help is getting more lovely ladies to do the Dip as the more people we have doing it the more money we get for the girls.  Next is I want you to please donate anything you can afford to the girls at www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer .

Both of the girls are extremely ill with rare forms of cancer they need to get the proper treatment to have a chance of surviving.   I can only imagine the pain Lily-Mae and Leah have gone through during the past year with their endless chemo and radiation and being poked and prodded and basically just feeling so sick.  Disgracefully Ireland can’t offer them the treatment and they are fund raising to get treatment overseas.  In Leah’s case they must have the funding up front before she can travel to London to give her a chance, it’s no mean feat they need €250k and so far they have raised roughly €100k.  God I wish I was a billionaire and give them the money they need – if you know of anyone that is please tell them to help :-)

Thanks in advance folks for your help – ladies if you are worried about your size, shape etc.etc. who cares we are all women we have from a size 8 to a size 26 doing it.  Don’t sweat the small things in life its only flesh!  I’m doing it with one boob okay blackmail over.

Good things that have happened

  • We featured in a great article in Irish Parent Magazine of how my kids dealt with cancer
  • There was a week of glorious weather
  • Had great day yesterday with Sinead going around Wicklow getting the beach sorted and doing a Trial Run for Dip in the Nip
  • Didn’t have to go into hospital at all this week
  • I’m cancer free (did I mention that before)
  • Some great people helping me out with the Dip, Sinead, Adele and Patrick big thanks
  • Had a great trip to Cork for Elaine Lavertys hen what a laugh we had
  • Great night at Patricks 50th
  • My brain is somewhat functioning again

That’s all folks – hope all is good with you guys – have fun and don’t sweat the small things


Dee x


Posted in My Updates | 2 Comments

Cancer Free and Getting by with a little help from my Friends

Friday 3rd of May big day for me – appointment with surgeon to get the results of my operation.  I was very confident about the results (as he had already told me that all had gone great and in my heart and soul I knew the bad stuff had left me) but I do like to see things on paper and have a look at the evidence so to speak.

Off to Vincents sporting my lovely drains which were still hanging off me.  There was however a very stylish way of clipping them to my belt – John Wayne eat your heart out.  Also I was sporting my new hairstyle no more wiggy for me just can’t do it anymore it’s not that its annoying or hot or itchy or anything it’s just not me anymore.  My brother told me I looked like the kid from Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in hospital (God I just love compliments) :-)   Met my friend Niamh outside the girl who had the operation the same day as me.   We were of course hoping for the best results for both of us.

My surgeon sat us down and told us that “as far as medical science can tell you are cancer free, all cancer was cut away, unfortunately you can’t see cancer cells but medically was deemed cancer free”   Obviously this was all I wanted to hear after seven months on my road trip with cancer.  This is a little technical but will be of interest to people who may have breast cancer.  They took out 19 of my lymph nodes in my right arm (lymph nodes are a drainage system in our body and they also can carry cancer to different parts of our bodies).   When they take out the lymph nodes they get dissected afterwards to see how many of them are cancerous to see if the cancer was travelling.  He said that there are different scales 1-3, 3-7 and then 7 plus which grades the severity of the cancer.  Out of the 19 they only found one that had cancer so as he said himself you can’t really get a better result than that.  He did say of course it would have been better if it had been zero but we knew because of my earlier operation that it had started to travel there.  So that was very good news as well.

I asked him what next?  He said that I will still have to have radio-therapy probably around 35 sessions which is done daily over six weeks give or take a day or two.  The radio is not as urgent as before but of course still needs to be done.   People ask why do I need radio therapy and I have asked myself that too…. radio therapy is a safe guard for the future and zaps any cancer cells that maybe hiding in my body at the moment.  It’s really to limit the chance of reoccurrence.  I did ask the doctor about reoccurrence and if I had more chance than other women of it happening again.  He said that they will keep monitoring me every six months and I will be on a drug called Tamoxifen for five years, as for reoccurrence I would have a slightly higher chance than normal but nothing drastic.

Happy Chappy I was after that meeting and Siobhan the lovely nurse helped me get rid of my drains and gave me some new paper stitches.  I still had my bandage on from surgery she suggested to leave it on for a couple of more days.   We went home extremely happy with the news cos hey what better news can you get than someone saying your Cancer Free!!!

Next step was to meet my plastic surgeon (sounds posh doesn’t it) and I did this the following Thursday.   More tech details so skip if you’re not interested.  At the moment there is currently what is called an “expander” inside my “sort of” boob.  This gets filled up with a saline solution every couple of weeks which of course expands my boob.  The nurse was telling us that inside my boob there is a magnet and on my file at the hospital there is a magnet.   When getting my boob filled they run a magnet over my boob to catch the other magnet then they can inject the saline within that point – wow isn’t that amazing!

Anyhow met with my plastic surgeon and she checked my wound and was happy with the way things were going it was great that there was no infection which is quite common.  I couldn’t get my first “pump” that day as wound was too raw.   I will go in next week to get my first pump to get the ball (boob) rolling.  It was mentioned that I can only get two pumps probably before radio therapy which I wasn’t too impressed about, then after radio I will have to wait five months to get the “official” implant.   I seriously wasn’t impressed with this as I though I would be done and dusted before Christmas I asked why do they call it immediate reconstruction if it’s really gonna take nearly a year to have a proper new boob.   Politely she explained that even though the official implant operation can not be until five months after radio therapy I can still be pumped.  Also in the meantime I can get Floppy Fiona operated as she will have to be made smaller she asked if I wanted this and I was like yes, yes, yes I agree to it now put me down on the list.  So pinky and perky wont be writing a letter to Santa Claus for some nice new lingerie but maybe by Feb/March everything will be finished.   My new one will have to have a nipple tattooed on it jury is out as whether to get a nipple or something else still thinking a winky smiley face could be fun!  Overall after the meeting I was a bit down as I am extremely impatient and I really didn’t think it would take this long but what can you do?   Patience is a virtue obviously I am not very virtuous :-)

I’m three weeks over my operation now and reality and what I thought it was gong to be like is quite different.  I thought recover 5/6 weeks yeah right, not drive for 4/5 week yeah right, I thought me being me would be up and at it at least within two weeks.  Reality is that it’s quite painful and have extreme lack of energy, interest and concentration in things.  What is actually sore and painful is my right arm (not the “sort of” boob) I walk around with arm in air like its broken trying to train myself to have it by my side.  Any sudden moves silly ones like plugging in a charger or something sends pain up my arm and I have to be extremely careful getting off couches and silly things like using the kettle with my right arm.  The nurse explained to me that when getting lymph nodes out that some nerve endings would have been severed so this is causing the pain.  I am typing this on my laptop as using my beloved computer is fairly painful a small thing like reaching up to move the mouse!    However at least I know this is normal and it will pass sooner rather than later :-)

Other main problem is cabin fever now I am in no way an outdoor/sports person that feels the need to go for a 5k walk or climb mountains however I do miss being able to get in a car and call to someone.   I have walked down the village twice (probably 2k return trip) I was wrecked after the first one and had to get one of the kids to come meet me half way to take the one tiny bag I had off me.  The next time was a little better.  I also suffer from tingling feet so if I walk too much it gets uncomfortable (this is a leftover from chemo).   My friends have been brilliant to me Ger dropping over dinner and drinks :-) Reenagh too with her lovely spag bol.  Terry and Una came down the other morning to take me out for coffee what a good idea – thanks guys and hope you enjoyed the red lemonade and ham sangers enroute!!   It drives me mad my “Dublin” friends think Clane is out in the sticks it takes 40 mins from my house to my folks house 35 was the best I ever made it in.  Thanks for all my visitors so far :-)   Keep it up folks it’s the only thing keeping me sane!!!

On a sad note a few days after my operation I found out that an old friend of mine Tommy Rath had died and of cancer.  Tommy was a lovely guy and a perfect gentleman and was loved by thousands and will be so sadly missed by his family and friends.  I went to the funeral with Mary and it was great to see such a huge amount of people at it to say goodbye to him he not only filled the church he filled the adjoining hall as well with people.  It was lovely to meet up with old friends some that I haven’t seen for over twenty years.  I know Tommy used to follow my trip on Facebook.  Sleep well my friend.

I am not as I have stated before a very emotional person or a touchy feely sort of gal.  However I have to take this time to sincerely thank all the friends and family that I have.  I have so many more friends now than when I was pre-cancer and some of these friends are the worlds best people.   They have come out of the woodwork for me supporting me all the way, making sure life is as easy as possible for me with offers of help and loads of delicious dinners :-)   Without all of you and my wonderful “gang” I would not be doing as well as I am.  I feel humbled by your love and support and all I ask that you keep it going I now realise a lot of things in life about what is important.  Its friends and family and that’s it!!!

As mentioned before I am helping organising a fund-raising event which is being held this Sunday 19th May in the Stillorgan Orchard.  Its called a Gig for Leah - Leah is this beautiful 14-year-old young lady who is suffering from a rare form of bone cancer and unfortunately already has lost a leg to this bastard disease.  We are raising funds for her family to get her the treatment she requires as the treatment is not available here (shame on our system).  If your around the area pop in tickets are €10 and if you can’t make it you can donate on Leah’s Website   There is a huge line up of bands playing, The Shoos, Stepaside, Superfly, Fistfull of Oranges and Blues Crew will be a great day.  Looking forward to getting out for a few scoops on a Sunday afternoon – cant remember the last time I did that.

I am also organising a Kicking the Shite out of Cancer Dip in the Nip.   I am delighted to say that so far 95 women have signed up for it and yes your right I want you lovely ladies to come as well.  It’s on the 22nd June in a “secret” beach location in Wicklow. Its going to be such a laugh and great craic (excuse the pun!).  I decided to donate all the monies we raise for two little girls Leah and Lily Mae who are both suffering from rare forms of cancer and again trying to raise funds for treatment outside Ireland.  So come on you lovely ladies bare all for these brave little girls and remember if I can do it bald with one boob you can too!  Join the Wibbly Wobbly Wonders and splash for cash.   If you cant make it or you are a “man” feel free to donate www.idonate.ie/kickingtheshiteoutofcancer every little helps!

Good things that happened in last three weeks

  • I got the All Clear from Cancer
  • My friend ALSO go the All Clear from Cancer
  • I got loads of dinners cooked for me
  • So many lovely bouquets of flowers (even chocolate ones)
  • Some great books to get me reading again from Amanda
  • We had two days of sunshine
  • People are starting to do the trek to Clane from Dublin
  • Got brought out for lovely brekkie thanks Una and Terry
  • Thanks Reenagh and Ger for all that you do for me
  • Going out on Sunday – whoohaaaa
  • My Mother is doing Dip in the Nip

That’s it folks sorry for the long blog – once I start sometimes I cant stop :-)    Summing it all up am in great form and getting better daily.   Folks are enroute now to bring me out for a drive – should I take a rug and a bottle of TK Red Lemonade??


Posted in My Updates | 17 Comments