Friday, 31 December 2010

A Women To Be Admired

23rd December 2010

The Belfry event on the 5th was a success and everyone had fun, but back to normality and the house hold chores. I received a phone call saying my operation will take place on 10th January. They also have to repeat my assessment because more than two weeks have passed. I sat up most of last night until 4am this morning chatting to Lyn. We spoke about various things and what I wanted to do. We discussed the calendar and the attention it is receiving in Germany. Six of the girls have done a small paragraph each including myself for a German women’s magazine Brigette. Lyn told me I am a pretty girl and I should be proud, but I don’t feel pretty. I feel crap and slowly I am suffocating. I want so much out of life. Yet every obstacle I face is wearing me down. There are no easy solutions just hard graft.

Karen has been told the cancer has returned in her liver. She remains adamant that she will beat it once again, but the BC girls are concerned. Not about beating the cancer she has done it time and time again. It is the overall repeat of tests drugs and wear down with lows and highs she has to face. We all admire Karen and her zest to conquer this diseases. Our concerns drift into insignificance compared to her journey. Karen will not allow you to feel self pity. If you could take one lesson from her it would be she is living her life to the full. There is no time to complain or worry just keep looking forwards not backwards.


I tried to speak to Steve about Karen. His reply just filled me with anger in the end. He said that if Karen is positive and does not surround herself with negativity she will be fine. Which is fine but I told him she has been fighting this diseases four years. With not a glimmer of negativity around her. Why is it people think that when you are ill you are negative? This women is bright eyed and bushy tailed. She is a twinkling star that will not fade into the shadows of this diseases. Realistically Karen is a shining example of how you should be. Then the conversation was turned on me and to sum it up I was at fault. It was my doing that I have this diseases because I am negative all the time. He was concerned with the people I surround myself with and talk to. I should talk less about cancer and find something else to talk about. I was so angry at what he was insinuating. That all the negativity that was building up through his behaviour I regurgitated right at him. I spoke angrily about the love note. The threats of an affair if I did not have sex with him. The conversation his sister had with me about men not finding implants attractive. Everything I threw at him in full and then said is that not negativity? How can I relax knowing my husband with a phone call or text is fooling around. This man is walking on very thin ice to say everyone I speak to is being negative or that I am encouraging negativity. When his behaviour has caused me more stress than the bloody cancer. I tried to get him to reply, but by the time I had finished ranting he had absorbed himself into the Xbox. He refused to react only his final sentence summed it up.. “Sarah you do this every time and now is not the right time.”
So when is the right time? When can me and my positive husband talk? Well certainly not now because the Xbox  and his university course work are more important. Not the fact that I’m going under the knife on the 10th January once again.
After all I’m back to square one with the opposite breast. CALCIFICATION!


Nurses Get Cancer Too

1st December 2010

Life has it’s peaks and troughs no matter whether you have cancer or not. It is whether you can admit to yourself that the cancer is not to blame, but a combination of circumstances. People can become very angry because of this diseases. They do not have to have had cancer for this to happen either. A loved one/friend may of had/have the diseases and it’s affects leave an emotional hole. When you come across theses people you have to bow out gracefully. Your positive approach they do not want to see or accept. That’s why they say you are insensitive because you are not silent to this disease. But people have to understand just because you smile does not mean you are not crying inside.

Karen informed me the lump on her neck has started to grow again. I am so worried for her, but she is taking it in her stride. She has been here before and to her she will beat it again. Karen asked me not to repeat anything to the BC girls until she knows what the results from tests are. But deep down I think she knows her battle is going to get even harder.

I had my assessment this week for my upcoming operation to remove the calcification. No matter where you go cancer is all around you. As I walked into the room I could see the nurse who was assessing me seemed distracted. I had filled in a form with all my personal details and answered a few questions. Two of which I could not answer not until I had spoke to a nurse/doctor. I took a seat as we went through the form. One question was to do with indigestion/ulcers. I have been having stomach issues lately which I need to see my GP about. And the other question was the affects of anaesthetic. My heart rate was accelerated in recovery after the mastectomy.
After chatting with the nurse the questions were soon cleared up. When she saw what I was having done and that I had a mastectomy in October 09. Her eye brows raised with a tilted head and we began to chat about it. She said, “But how do you get through it?”
It turns out she had a mastectomy eight years ago and now her BC had returned. The women was in a dark place it was plain to see. I could feel her pain and the fact she had to remain in a role of distance was distressing. I reassured her as best I could and I told her you have too. I had a Chemo, courage & corsetry calendar with me. I was posting it up to another BC girl. I undid the package and we flicked through its pages while I told some of the girls stories as far as I knew them. Then I tapped my finger on Karen’s picture. I said, “Like you her breast cancer has returned and she is not letting it control her. It is her life and she will not remain cornered. It is you fighting you and for whatever the reason you must look for goals, a positive. Once you have achieved that the fear will subside. You have beaten the cancer once you can beat it again. I and Karen plan to climb Ben Nevis this year. That is our goal and all of the other girls are doing the same looking for goals, not just looking at cancer. Do not look back look forward see your cancer as another wake-up call. It is easy said than done I know, but you must do this. Please don’t shut down your not the only one fighting this diseases and you won’t be the last. Just take every day as it comes.”
Once my assessment had finished I stood up and rubbed her shoulders with my hands and I told her to remain strong. The fear in her eyes was there, but she could not show emotion. The shock of what she was going to go through was still sinking in. After all she had been there before and new the statistics, she is a nurse.  
For a nurse to feel so isolated in an environment that treats this disease is shocking, but no matter how much support you receive it leaves doubt. Doubt on your treatment and doubt on the future. She had explained to me how scared she was. That her work was her only distraction from her upcoming treatment. The thought of remaining in an area with just four walls to talk to caused more distress to her. So she chose to remain working like most BC women.
I cannot understand why my outlook on life is so different. That I am not looking at death or like this nurse talking about it. I do not even have a will. Even though I should actually have one not because of cancer, but I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Yes I worry for my girls and the what if’s, but not about my death. Is that the answer to get through this? I have noted that our BC group is divided emotionally. Some actually thought about death like the nurse, but others never even stopped to think about the possibility of death. Why is this? Should I be talking about it? Can I talk about it? Well I am now, but I am not dead. I am very much alive and no matter where this conversation takes me. The reason I am alive is because I have not doubted the outcome. I have fought my way to this position in my treatment. I have come to the conclusion there is no room for doubt with cancer. You must remain active to this disease, but look for other outlets so it does not remain your only conversation point. That is why you must set goals to achieve where possible.

Shopping For Belfry

21st November 2010

I had a fantastic day window shopping with Lindsey today. We went into central London to search for a masquerade ball mask. Lindsey had never been to central London before. So we wandered down to China town and I took her through Soho for a laugh. There is a place called Cox, cupcakes & cookies. She thought it was a cake shop at first because of the cupcakes in the title. It soon sunk in it was not so innocent. Lindsey is from Leeds a little younger than myself, but not a BC lady. The conversation was made up of dry humour which I revelled in. Londoners are too sensitive to Yorkshire humour. We say it as it is, not what others want to hear. So I was able to speak my mind without worry of offense.
I and Lindsey went into Liberty’s just like when Lyn took me to site see. The prices of items she was comparing to up north. There was a tailors dummy priced at £2000. Lindsey replied. “Well I paid £20 for mine in the market!” I laughed at her response because she held no punches. When we reached the top floor Liberty’s had their Christmas items on display. Amongst the items were masquerade masks. We thought the masks would be double the price, but no. I took the mask to the till to pay for it and they asked if I would like a points card. Me and Lindsey turned to each other and smiled. We were two Yorkshire lasses with barely a pound between us, but were being asked would we like a reward card. This made our day, but I declined their offer of a card with a polite thank you. When would I have the money to shop there again. Yet it made me and Lindsey feel important for that brief moment. Once I had paid £5.95 for my mask we checked out various other items in the shop. We knew we could not buy nothing else, but having a Liberty’s bag made me smile as we walked down the high street.
As we headed back home we found an old fashioned styled sweet shop. We got a 100g of our desired sweets. Mine were gob stoppers to shut me up and Lindsey had alphabets. It is amazing what a bag of old fashioned sweets can do to the mind. We chatted about our childhood and how things have changed. Things were so much simpler back then or were we just shielded from the truth? Well my childhood was not so simple, but the sweets brought forth good memories. Our day trip into London soon ended, but it was a added distraction which was defiantly needed.

The only issue I have in my positive moment is the theatre had emailed all the charities involved with the calendar. Why they did this is beyond comprehension. Trying to defend your company while slandering someone who has not even had any contact with two of the charities involved is out of order. I should sit back and smile at the hole they are digging, but this is Sharon’s fund raiser. To put a negative on something that does not involve the theatre is disgusting and highlights their true nature. Not once have I slandered their name in any form. I made my reasons clear for not returning to their establishment. Those very reasons they had brought to my attention. So I have a right to defend and apologise for any offense which I may of caused. The fact that the theatres story had changed slightly in the email they sent to the charities highlights their total disregard to me.
The theatre thought in their good nature to cc it onto me so I had a copy.
Does the theatre honestly think that they are the be all and end all in my general chat with others. I certainly think so because they are obviously judging me by their standards. My silence to their behaviour must leave them thinking that people I associate with are interested in my affairs. I left the theatre not because of payment, but my time there was done. When someone ridicules you in front of staff members and young people you must save face. Especially when you are not contracted to them to remain there. I just hope in their rash attitude to send emails and to leave a phone messages. Does not bounce back and bite them where it hurts.

My visit this week to see my consultant to discuss my biopsy lead to the usual prod and poke. The date for the removal of the calcification in my right breast is either December or January next year. So I’m once again waiting to see and ponder on the forth coming results. I did ask what the treatment would be if it shows something. I personally demanded that they remove my breast. The issue there was it was a registrar rather than my consultant, but it was noted. 
I am fit and healthy except for the diabetes. So I should stop complaining and find peace of mind in the fact they are dealing with it, but your mind still turns to what if’s?

All the BC ladies are lovely, but they have similar issues. They feel out of sorts and there is no way forward. No matter how you look at our situations which are all different. We all want the same thing, but how? How do we move forward on this conveyor belt of prodding and poking? No matter how much you wish for a end to this journey. The realisation that it is not possible for another five years as long as all results remain clear is frustrating. Not only that every ache and pain leaves you questioning has it come back.
The problem with remaining in a group of BC ladies you see mistakes. Mistakes that could of been prevented. Women don’t feel confident about the system that treats them. The fact we have to remain on the ball and push our requests highlights that. The lack of appetite and lose of weight certainly signifies it in my case. I am barely sleeping which is abnormal for me. Part of me hopes nothing is found, but I have lost faith even if the cancer is not there. It is important to know you can trust the system that treats you. Or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Well so far my argument is valid. Like my husband pointed out if your child gets hurt. The offending party is not worried you are because it is your child who is hurt. Until it affects them then the true nature of this disease is just a ride in a fancy car to work.

I bought a lovely long black evening gown for the calendar/book launch party.
Me, Karen, Pauline and Lisa are going to share a hotel room. They are all bringing bottles of bozz and we will not be sleeping. These women are living for the moment not wasting one second. Knowing what this women has gone through and going through leads only to admiration. Any other person may have curled up and let life drift by, but no not theses girls. They are on a mission to prove you can beat BC even at its worst.  

Micro-calcification

My BC nurse informed me I was being sent to a different hospital to do a different procedure to clear the calcification from my ducts. She said it was micro-calcification and because of the severity of my left breast they needed to do further investigations on the right breast. I could not hear all she was saying on the phone, but I know they want to solve this once and for all. The pain in my breast is back in full swing thanks to the mammogram.
I decided to cancel my operation to correct my implant because of the biopsy. The thought of not being able to do nothing with both hands for a few weeks. Is a no, no in my book. I was suppose to go to the hospital this week for my assessment for the operation to get the go ahead. I knew they would not say yes because I have flu like symptoms’ anyway.
I also had a second phone call from the theatre group I volunteer for. I have been watching from a distance at certain things happening around me. It was explained to me they were looking for funding to keep me at the theatre company. After all I had worked as a volunteer for three years and had done three productions during my treatment. I designed and made nineteen waistcoats for the first production. On the second production I had done around sixty alterations and made/designed twenty costumes. The other smaller community project I had designed and made four aprons, four headmasters cloaks and fourteen 1940’s style dresses which I was not happy with, but now something was making me nervous about my position there.

Me being the trusting person I am. I had mentioned that they may of found an issue in my other breast. I could see that this put me and the theatre in a position of do they offer me employment or not? After all I had requested payment.
It was mentioned they would bring other volunteers in a relieve some of the burden of making costumes. This I think is an excuse to say my time is done.  
All my hard work and for what?
I understand the theatre is a business and there is no room for sentimentality.
They are concerned about my health issues. I have seen this tactic used before and how they move someone else in to replace you. You train them and they make valid excuses up on why you should leave. Friends and family have expressed their concerns also about how I am treated at the theatre. The fact they are constantly asking my advice on issues yet they have not offered me a job leaves room for abuse.
I try to convince my friends they are wrong. That I just need to get on the tread mill and prove I can do the work, but if my efforts over the last year have not already proven I am a positive to the theatre. Then my energy should be concentrated elsewhere.
My BC nurse said I did not have the same illness as the other ladies involved. So I would not be able to relate to them. I know I did not have full blown cancer. I know I did not have chemotherapy or radiotherapy and the medication that follows, but I did have my breast removed and others involved also had DCIS. So I turned the table on her and said so I should not have had my breast removed? Her reply was No! If I remember rightly had it been left more than a year it would of been serious. So this very day I would of been fighting their fight. I would be pumped with lord knows what chemicals and steroids.
This women grates on me to the bone. Her support I find condescending and worthless. She was questioning whether the calendar is a negative on my recovery. After all my treatment is finished only observation. So I’m thinking to myself Ok! A healthy group of women who have not had breast cancer can do a calendar to raise money, but a group of women who have had treatment for cancer can’t because it is a negative on recovery. This to me is so wrong and her even analyzing my reasons for being involved angers me. Does she not think that I have not already questioned myself and my reasons. To me it has boosted me to keep looking forward and not to last year’s events, but the constant pain I am now having in my right breast is a reminder. The fact I have had to undress and look at my body that now has changed drastically from the year before is a constant reminder. How can I move on with the constant check-ups needed to make sure it does not return.
To me this women had no right to even question my actions and surprisingly Steve backed me 100%. He has seen me change in ways this BC nurse has not. In fact Steve said the only negative was her approach on the whole subject. Why do people want to sweep cancer under the carpet? Can’t they understand certain people deal with situations differently to others. I know I have to be in contact with this women, but in future I will keep clear of discussing anything with her.

The hospital my BC nurse booked my biopsy at phoned to confirmed my appointment for the 19th October. All the information about the procedure will be in a letter. 
Not only that but Ealing Gazette want to do an article on me and the calendar. They had seen a piece I had done in another local paper to try sell the calendar. It is all a bit surreal, but an added distraction.
I asked Steve if he could take time off work. He said he would look into it. Part of me knows the time he takes off will be for him and what he wants to do. I look at my BC friends on my FB page and I see all the support they are receiving from their partners. And part of me feels jealous and sad inside. It is partly my fault that I’m twiddling my thumbs in the hope of finding attention from Steve.
Right now my feelings are turned upside down and I feel nothing for him. I listen to him grumbling about work and how people are stupid and it angers me. In my eye people are only stupid when in the company of stupid people. It is all about communication and a sympathetic approach to any individual. Just because they do not want to bow to your demands does not mean they’re stupid. It means they don’t care to listen because you have approached them wrong. An outsider can easily look in and make a quick opinion on an individual, but Steve is my husband and I know him too well. His arrogant response to how I am feeling is clearly demonstrated for all to see. Management at work asked if he would like time off to be with me. Why can’t he take up on that offer now?


 

Another Appointment & More Questions

30th September 2010

Met up with Lyn at Victoria station before going to my appointment this week. I showed Lyn my pathology results and discussed a text message I received from Sharon. Sharon thought I should of been on herceptin to prevent the problem from returning. Lyn said she was not sure because some of the other girls have been treated the same way as me with DCIS. The argument is that if you are HER2 +++ with pre-cancer should I have received this drug? I’m not sure and find the whole treatment scenario confusing. DCIS is not recognised as a cancer and a mastectomy is a precautionary measure, but mine was high grade with a tumour.
My concerns for my health are genuine, but I’m not sure they are being heard by the team that are treating me. If the cancer has returned has the system let me down?
Lyn reassures me and explains that the only way any solution will come about is by the mammogram.
We arrived at the hospital a little late, but were soon ushered into another corridor adjacent to the mammogram room. The radiologist quickly explained why I was called back. They had found three areas on the breast with calcification developing, but only small. Lyn quietly sits and listens to what the radiographer was saying. I requested if Lyn could be in the room with me and of course the answer was no!  
My mind and body went into auto mode. There was no time for tears and tantrums. The radiographer could do nothing, but apologise for the distress I may be feeling. After all it was sprung on me with no warning in their eyes. The truth of the matter is I have been preparing myself for months.
My consultant had insisted on eight images to be taken of the right breast in various angles. Six of the images were to be magnified. Every picture that was took I yelped with pain. My poor breast had had enough and was making it known.
Once the images had been taken I dressed myself and returned to the area outside the room where Lyn was seated. She said she could hear me yelping and all she could do was wince.
The radiographer said that they would contact me as soon as the results had been viewed by my consultant. Lyn stepped in sharp “But when? Today, tomorrow or next week?” Lyn is sharp and on the ball with her questions. Personally I would of just walked away nodding my head. Lyn was upset that I had not seen my consultant that day. Her team of consultants dealt with her the very same day, but Lyn had private health insurance.
We left the hospital slightly deflated and at a miss at what to say to each other. We clambered onto a bus and set off back to Victoria station. Why do we have to wait so long? Sharon has had her treatment for recon cancelled twice because of complications. Stress free life is all we want, but with this diseases it isn’t lightly.

Letter from the Big C hospital

Dear Dr S

Re: Ms Sarah Mendoza – DOB: **/**/**** NHS Number **********
      18 **** **** Road, Northolt, Middx, *** ***

Diagnosis: Eleven months post left mastectomy and immediate reconstruction with latissimus dorsi and implant.

Management: For release of tethering, inferior aspect reconstruction.

I saw Sarah in clinic today. She is doing well. She does have an area of tethering inferiorly which is deforming the shape of the implant, this on a background of grade 2 capsule formation. I suggest we could try and release this local area as her capsular formation now appears to be static. We will therefore organise to get this done on 15th October and I will let you know how she gets on.

Yours Sincerely

Mr H

Spoke to my BC nurse about the mammograms. The MDT had not done a review on how or what would happen. This will take place on Tuesday and she will get in contact with me once they decide.  
My BC nurse has asked me to take a calendar into the hospital and have a chat about it. Also my GP surgery have agreed to put a poster up too.
The Gertie’s are on a roll and it is a positive.

Got involved with an interesting discussion on FB. With breast cancer our only hope at being treated correctly lies in medical hands. We are told to believe and trust the system we are in, but what if that system has a dark side? Cancer is a multibillion making industry with people at its mercy. If a cure was found those billions in research would be gone. You make treatment easier and people lose jobs. This breast cancer lottery is getting more complex by the second.

M: Bernie Nolan is a great woman but she is campaigning for more mammograms. I´m not sure if she is aware of the dangers of Mammograms, they use 1,000 ionizing radiation per breast. If you have a lump there already this can make it WORSE! Using Digital Thermal Imaging can detect cancer 8-10 years before a mammogram. Why a...re the NHS still using such old and dangerous methods of detection?. There is a proven alternative.re the NHS still using such old and dangerous methods of detection? There is a proven alternative.

J: costs per person?

S: insurance and cost

P: unless you have been there and looked into all this you just don't know - I didn't!!!! If it makes it worse than why do they do mammograms, if it's a lump can't they just do an ultrasound? I don't understand I'd agree to anything if I thought I had cancer

F: Please send me the scientific proof of this. I will forward it to my solicitor it will make my case concrete !!

Sarah: My tumor under my nipple could not be seen on mammogram or ultra sound.

B: It was only because I had a cyst drained then another came up within 10 days that the consultant sent me for a mammogram. My tumor was so deep back in the breast it couldn’t be felt as a lump. Even the mammogram didn’t make it obvious. I had to have an ultrasound as well. Younger women have denser breast tissue so making it harder to detect anything on mammogram. Having said that I’m so glad that I had a second cyst come up else I wouldn’t be here chatting to all of you. I was told by consultant that the reason they don’t do routine mammo’s in under 50’s was because of the breast tissue density.. so it does make me wonder .. xx

L: My husband is in NHS Finance, it’s all down to money.

F: I’d agree there, I asked for a sentinel node biopsy... they refused it and I ended up having full lymph clearance for no reason.. but I can’t complain they’ve spent enough on me with herceptin. I think the key thing is, ladies should still go for mammograms it’s important to know that they CAN detect cancer early and without all types of screening, ladies would be diagnosed later than necessary.

H: Sounds like false economy to me. Mammography uses ionizing radiation that can cause cancer so treating the cancer that mammography causes is mad. All healthy women should run a mile from mammography. Mammography is NOT early detection, Thermographs can detect breast abnormalities including cancer 8-10 years before mammography. That’s early detection... it is also 100% safe and more accurate especially in younger women, and guess what they can rule out the need for dangerous unnecessary biopsy. Biopsy causes angiogenesis that triggers tumor growth and the spread of cancer!!! Thermal imaging cameras cost far less than mammography machines. If it’s down to cost use thermographs for early detection and remove the cost and misery of the aggressive treatments that wouldn’t be needed

Now if a man can end the discuss on a valid point and all what was said is common knowledge. Why aren’t we having thermal imaging? 
There are a lot of people out there with valid points, but these points have yet to be proven. When talking to Lyn she explained the very treatment we receive as its risks not just to the patient, but to the nursing staff doing it. It has been noted that staff handling the chemotherapy drugs are getting cancer. Not only that those that are exposed to x-rays or rads have questions that need answering. When we have our treatment we are thinking of ourselves and our families not the duty of care to nursing staff. So the very treatment we are given is putting others at the mercy of this disease.

Finally I Am Not Losing My Mind!

21st September 2010

Another dream I wish I had not had, but it woke me with a feeling of dread.
I dreamt the cancer had returned and that the other women was sneaking into my home. I know there is no other women in Steve’s life. It is just a dream after all or is it?
The other women was arguing over my bed and how it was hers now. I know this dream has come about because of the mammogram appointment.
But my fear is I leave Sophia and she suffers. Steve is not as organised and I don’t want no-one else bringing up my children. The cancer has got me thinking about things I would not even give a second glance at, but I should. Who will wash and iron Sophia’s uniform? Certainly not Steve. Children need regularity in their lives not mayhem. I should not think ahead of myself, but there is no-one else. I reluctantly get myself ready for my mammogram appointment.

Nothing like Metal Mickey squishing and squashing your breasts from two different angles. This time it was painful and the mammographer was not merciful with the foot pedals at all. I gritted my teeth tight holding the cussing I so wanted to shout. They say they want the breast the be as flat as possible in between the plates, but the pain. So now the waiting game starts again. My only consolation is the room was not full of nurses this time. Questioning whether I have breast cancer in the family.
My right breast is throbbing from the attention it received. The left breast is numb with no sensation to speak of. Yes, I should think myself lucky to even be here. After all if it weren’t for Metal Mickey I would not have a story to tell.  

Letter from  Hospital  

Dear Dr S

RE: MENDOZA, Sarah DOB: **/**/**** Sex: F NHS No: **********
       18 M*** **** Road, Northolt, Middlesex *** ***

It was a pleasure as always to review Sarah in the clinic today. I am glad to report that she is doing extremely well following mastectomy and reconstruction of the left breast for wide spread DCIS

On examination there is certainly no sign of local or regional reoccurrence and in particular I note that she has had some recent in the right breast. There certainly no abnormality to be felt and I have reassured about this. I have booked her for her annual mammogram and I will write to you and the patient with the result.

Yours sincerely

Miss S FRCS, FRCS (Gen.)
Consultant Breast and Endocrine Surgeon  

I received a phone call at 12pm saying they want a repeat mammogram done on right breast. There is an area they are not happy about and it needs repeating. An appointment has been made for the 28th at 3pm.
It seems every time I build my hopes up and look to a positive light it slaps me in the eye. Yes it is a matter of caution this procedure must be repeated because now they have a comparison from last year. But to say I am scared is not the right word. I am shitting my load is more like it. ( Excuses my language)
I rang my husband and he did not pick his phone up. So I rang Lyn and told her about the phone call. She said at least I was persistent and to remain calm until the other results come back. She is so right and is only repeating what Steve would say.
But it has been nine months now since the right breast played up. The fear I feel is not for me, but my two daughters. Yet again they could have their lives turned upside down. Not only that if there is something it means possible surgery again. It took the hospital less than twenty four hours from mammogram taken to phoning me. Please, please, please don’t bloody say it is back!

I phoned Sandra up she is a barrel of laughs trying to get me to see the positives. The two clucking hens trying to reassure each other yet again. “You’ll have to have the calendar shots done again. Then they will be a perfect matching pair.” I understand what she is trying to do. If I have this breast removed also then it will solve the problem. I so have my fingers tightly crossed that this is nothing, but part of me says not a cat in hells chance. Seems like I’m on repeat or a stuck record. 
I feel guilty that I am letting my family down in some way. Maybe it is mother nature’s way of giving me a kick up the arse. I honestly don’t know anymore and if I did would I want to know?
Steve returned home from work and I’m not even greeted with a hug. Steve complains about work and my hospital appointment for the 15th at the Big C hospital. It collides with his day at university. Not only that, but the damage he has to his knee is bothering him. Again the focus is on Steve and I have to carry on like nothing is happening. There is no mention of the phone call I received. I’m just praying it is just formality and not the dreaded C.

Calendar Shoot I'm Miss April 2011

19th September 2010

The pictures that were took of me for the calendar were fantastic and funny, but it is not me. It is the clown face that has been painted thick and strong. Strip the make-up and fancy lace away, that is me. We try to create normality and strength in our actions as a group. I had brought a satin pale peach pair of shoes with four inch heels and diamante detail on top of the heel. They had put a barely colour corset and a barely coloured bra and thong on me. With chocolate stockings which set the shoes off a treat. I stepped onto the gel and a red amp and guitar was waiting. The poses that were pulled were unbelievable especially me balancing in four inch heels. I did feel a million dollars and that is what Sharon wanted, but when she started to cry I felt guilty. It was as if I should not of been there in some way. This is wrong of me to think this way, but I had not been on the same journey the girls were still on. My journey was nearly at an end treatment wise. If my mammogram is clear it just means regular checks and no medication. One of the BC girls was not so lucky because the treatment she is on is delaying the inevitable for who knows how long.
I look at all the BC girls and admire their determination not to let this diseases control them, but every now and then tears were still shed. The attention we received from the crew and the odd passersby was amusing. It added more determination for the girls to poses and flirt with the camera even more. One man just could not help himself returning after he fell over when I dropped my dressing gown. The BC girls and Sharon did not shy from the attention because it is what we all craved. To grab our femininity back and to show breast cancer is not an end, but a beginning. We were dressed to impress and we surely did that over them three days on two locations.  
I just hope that all goes well with the calendar and the very reason it was done remains strong.
The calendar officially goes on sale on the 10th October and a book will come out in December. I am officially Miss April 2011 and I chuckle at the thought. I not seen the picture being used for the calendar, but Sharon has assured me it looks fantastic.
I am so pleased for Sharon and the ladies involved. There will be a launch party for all the ladies to attend. Although our journey has not ended with breast cancer. It is the confidence boost the ladies needed to spur them into a positive place. I have requested that all 440 people on my face book page pass it on, and I’m praying the book of our three days doing the shoot sells well, and it receives an award.



http://www.sharonfoxcancercentre.org.uk/shop.php

On my return home two letters were waiting for me. One to confirm my surgery for the 15th October, and the other my mammogram 21st September. My heart is sunken at the thought of returning back to the room I was diagnosed in, but there is no going back only forward. I must remain positive for sanities sake. I’m full of what if’s and no real answers.

Steve’s cousins party was ok, but at 2am I climbed into my bed with Sophia and left everyone to it. 4.30am I woke to everyone packing up and leaving. Steve’s cousin could not go nowhere because her things were locked up in someone else’s home. So she had no choice but to crash at our home. I’m pleased this happened because it meant the house would be cleaned in the morning. Steve’s cousin woke at 10.30am and started on the kitchen and all was sorted by 2pm. I know if she had left in the early hours this would of been left all to me to sort. Steve had to go to work in the morning.
But at the end of the day the birthday girl had her party and I got my house back to normal.  

Appointments, Calendars & Dad

8th September 2010

My hospital appointment was this week and I saw my proper consultant instead of her registrar. She greeted me with a pleasant smile and general chit chat. Like I said my consultant is brilliant, but the hospital I have issues with. The mammogram has been arranged and I am waiting on an appointment to be sent in the post. We both agreed nothing more could be done over my right breast. The mammogram will clear up any doubts left in my head, but she insists I try the Primrose oil capsules.
She gave me my examination checking my breast and nodes in my armpit. She questioned why I had not had my nipple replaced yet. When I gave her my reply she said the consultant was being a perfectionist. Well personally I’d sooner he was a perfectionist than a person who did not care. If he did not care about the end result I would be worried.
My consultant thought I was a housewife. Even though I had told her months back I work in a theatre. I explained I had done three productions and this was my fourth at a Theatre. The shock on her face said it all. She even admired my determination to keep going. She explain that women are the backbone of society not men. We just keep moving forward until a job is done.
Now I have to go to work and fit some actors up with their costumes for another production I am involved in.

The photographer for the calendar shoot wants us to sign a modelling contract, but I have told Sharon I won't be signing it. I don't see the point in having a contract. As long as the pictures are protected everything should be fine. 
Bless her, while we were chatting Sharon was watching a link on how to make cupcakes. Cupcakes to buy cost £1.50p each and she wanted to do something special for some people she is involved with. So she has decided to make them herself. What will this women do next?

My plastic surgeon is fantastic he wants to tweak the muscle that encases my implant. It still means my implant will have to be replaced, but for now he wants to do this forty five minute operation to relax it slightly. It will correct the balance of the breast and maybe relax it a little. 

I received a message via my eldest daughter Kayleigh that my father’s estate has been settled. I spent the rest of the day and night secretly crying my heart out. Finally the hard exterior that I had in place had cracked. My husband said I was on a mission because my fists were clenched and I was wearing a line in the floor. I was so angry and frustrated over everything and all I want is to fix it, but I can’t.

I have a photo of my dad that my mother had given me on my last visit up to Redcar. She did not see the point in her keeping it. You were forever trying to please.. RIP Dad, The fight is over..
Like father, like daughter isn’t that what I do best too.

Why Stress Yourself Out?

30th August 2010

I took Sophia away for a few days to see my mum in Redcar. We visited Whitby for the day and Sophia was spoilt rotten as usual. Well right now all my mum has is Sophia. The other grand children she has no contact with.  It was a well deserved break as short as it was.
But when I returned home this evening I was greeted with the pots from when I left and a nasty odour. My heart sank and the anger returned. I dialled Steve’s number and asked, Were you home at all during the four days I was away? His reply was I’ll ring you back? Which he did not!
This man is treating me like an idiot!
Ok the excuse is his hand is still sore. Well put a bloody rubber glove on it and what about the food bin? I look around no pots have been used over that four day period. Everything is as I left it on Monday. The heart ache I feel leaves me close to tears. Is this man trying to make me ill? Or am I totally insane? Because that’s how I feel.
I cleaned up the kitchen and give Sophia a sandwich for her tea.

It has been a year now from my diagnoses of breast cancer. Yet it feels like only yesterday I was going through tests. I’ve been reading various pieces written on posts on my FB page.
Why is it that if you are an alcoholic or drug addict you receive all the help you need? People even take the time to fill in the forms to make sure you get the help you need financially or physically. Yet when someone has cancer they have to fight all the way. The system is so one sided to the real victims.
I choose not to drink alcohol or take drugs. Does that mean I am worth less in society? Cancer leaves those affected vulnerable and worthless. Some of the women have never received help financially in their lives. So the one time they need it, they do not know where to begin. Yes you can go see citizens advice or phone them. If you are lucky maybe the breast care nurse handling your care will give you some pointers.
But the frustration that follows a lengthy wait and then for you to be turned away puts women off. 
Why stress yourself out even further than you already are? So they remain in work instead of taking time out to recover. Or they are forced to remain in work because the help they requested was refused.
I personally have requested no help even though I may be entitled to it. I have chosen like many others to keep going, but when the cracks show who is to blame? Who takes responsibility for those women who crack under the pressure.
The list of female names affected by breast cancer on my FB page gets longer by the day. But some of those names will vanish because the help they needed was not there. We take comfort in the fact we are a community of women who can share advice and experiences. Make senses out of non-sense, but there are always new faces to be added to that list. With the same question that cannot be answered.
Why me?  

My darling husband has informed me that his cousin wants to hold her birthday party at our home once again. The sheer arrogance of the women grates on me. She has my phone number why not ask me first? The last time she held her party. I could not leave the mess alone that greeted me in the morning.
The truth is I don’t want the party held here. Why should I? Steve has come across as having zero consideration for me and I don’t want to be a hostess.
Personally I would prefer she had the party elsewhere. Then I will not have the stress, but Steve would not take the time out to go if it was. It is another reason for him to play lord of the falling down manor he resides over.
But what about me and the affects it is having on me! I shout from the rafters without anyone listening.  
This women is vanity walking and god forbid she never has to face breast cancer herself. She is stunning and very high maintenance.   
Her point clearly spoken on my treatment of the cancer is get on with life. (If only I could!) I have had my mastectomy and treatment is done. (Sorry I have five years of check-ups!) Steve’s cousin even said she would of insisted the next breast be removed too if she had it. (Easy said than done!They are not listening and will not listen to the facts. Once you have had breast cancer it don’t just go away. It remains in the back of your mind festering with what if’s..
Each and every time I feel I am placed in a dark place because I cannot say No!
Steve says I should speak out more, but I feel if I speak out it will course more issues then solve them.
So what choice do I have?
I have set conditions in place this time round. She must clean up after the party because I am not doing it! Whatever bits she needs doing she must do herself because I am not doing it! Yes this comes across as self centred, but I must put me first.
The last party she had at my home I decorated the house for her, but not this time. She had cleaned up bits and bats while her party was in full swing, but it is the after math that I face in the morning I dread. When I saw her that night leave my home with a male friend I knew what my position was. Steve had insisted I leave it alone and his cousin would clean it up on her return, but this is supposed to be my home. If anything Steve should of been cleaning up behind her that day because it was his cousin. Yes, her two sons remained behind to help clean up in the morning too, but it still feels like liberties are going to be taken.
Last time when she returned the following morning at 11am. Her sons were grumbling about cleaning without her and I had packed most of it away anyway. Is this what I have to face again? I don’t think so! I am tired of being a door mat and others walking all over me.

Pandora's Box

25th August 2010

Well I have booked my tickets for the calendar shoot in Birmingham and Sharon is doing loads of work to promote it. This women is on a mission without a doubt. I must admit me parading in underwear or swimwear is making me nervous. I don’t see myself as model material more so since the operation. When anyone ever mentioned the fact I maybe attractive I would blank it out. But it would be nice for someone to show me a different side. It is a well deserved distraction to the hum drum life I lead.

Calendar shoot will be personal milestone for women who have fought breast cancer
BRAVE women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer are to don their swimsuits to pose for a charity calendar.
The calendar project is being led by Sharon Fox, the Herald columnist who has been charting her battle with the disease and has teamed up with a major international lingerie and swimwear stockist, who are launching a new mastectomy range.
Around 20 women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies have already signed up to be photographed for the calendar.
Sharon said: "The photo shoot for the calendar is taking place on September 10, 11 and 12 in Birmingham.
"I have been very surprised with the response I have had, it has been great.
"I think taking part in this is a personal achievement for the ladies, it is about restoring confidence, looks and feeling glamorous for a day."
All profits from the calendar will go to The Sharon Fox Cancer Centre, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and St Giles Hospice.

I spoke to Steve’s dad on the phone tonight. He does not know I have had breast cancer. When chatting he asked me when I was going to have his grandson. After all Sophia was getting big now and a grandson with the Mendoza surname would make him happy.
The fact that he already had a grandson was not the point. It had to have his surname to follow on tradition. This angers me because I am not a baby making machine. My father spent years obsessing over having a grandson and it did not have to have the Byrne surname. It just had to be a healthy baby boy in the family. Not one of us girls produced that boy and my father never got to see his wish followed threw. Each time one of us fell pregnant he would have his fingers crossed. Only for him to be told it was another girl.
I am now forty years old with other medical issues to take into account and the conversation I am having is uncomfortable. Once my husband hangs up the phone I tell him what his father said. Steve shrugs his shoulders like it is nothing. I ask if he had told his father about my issues. He said no and said it does not matter. How can it not matter if his father is sat on the edge of his seat waiting for his grandson to appear. Then I tell him you know you will have to swoop me for a newer model. This body is dropping to bits after all. Then I ask does it bother you not having a son? His reply was not as I expected, but deep down I should of known.
“We shall see!” What does this mean? We shall see? Then followed by I’m not ready.
 He went on to explain why it was important to his father to have a grandson. Not that I did not know why it was important to him. Like I said my father died not seeing his wish come true. Part of me would love to have a son and I know if Steve left me for  that it would break my heart into.
A conversation I had a few years ago about men and affairs opened my eyes. Her husband unbeknown to her had an affair and brought up a separate family. It was only when her husbands’ grandchildren came knocking on her door that the revelation of his adulterous indiscretions came to light.

I am slowly becoming numb to the comments that rear from Steve’s mouth. Some would say I was over analyzing the situation and searching for problems. It is like a Pandora’s box waiting to burst out its contents and what you are searching for will come out.  

A Moment Of Deep Thought

12th August 2010

The death of a BC friend has left a hole amongst the BC girls and it needed filling. I and Steve discussed details of her death and the fact she had a young family.
His reply was:

Sarah I believe we all have our stories written out and some as sad as it is will have their story cut short. Your father passing away was a sign a message for you to be more vigilant. You were not suppose to find the breast cancer and I strongly believe that, but you did. So your story continues until who knows when or where. To me it is like picking up a glass of water or saying a certain word that is the trigger for your journey to end and for you to be reborn into a next life. I am an old soul and I believe I have been here before. I was once told I was a pirate and my ship mates left me to die because of infection. It does not matter whether I believe this or not, but the fact is it gives us hope there is something else’s out there.
When the surgeon phoned to say you were out of surgery I was relieved. I did not feel I had to go running to your beside because I knew you were safe. He had reassured me all was well and you were groggy from the anaesthetic.

There was only one point where you felt sorry for yourself and that was when you questioned why I had no emotional response to your cancer. The facts are what could I do? Encouraging you to feel sorry for yourself was a no. You had to do this on your own to make you stronger and bring back the old Sarah. Now you have lost a friend, but I have not lost you and you are important to Sophia. Her journey as unjust as it is has ended and we must all move forward.

My sisters reaction to your situation is the fact history is repeating itself and this has left her in shock. My father had to go through this with my mother, but her path was cut short. It was a error on the surgeons part that ended my mothers’ life. They had left a piece of the tumour behind and it spread. You have the good fortune of knowing they removed it all and you have to move forward. You were the one who discovered the cancer and throughout you remained strong. Your story has not ended and your friends memory will remain a dominant part of the group you all have formed. That you all should admire not question....

I am appearing in a calendar to raise money for three charities yet to be confirmed. The theme is 1950’s and we have a team of people involved to make sure our day is special. Sharon Fox needs a medal for what she is doing or recognition. She is still having treatment for cancer and running fund raisers. She is also opening a drop in centre and shop to raise cash.


I went to go get measured for the underwear we shall be modelling for the Calendar shoot. All the girls are both nervous and excited about the whole event. The fact we are doing something for an awareness campaign and raising money makes us feel proud.
I must admit me and camera’s don’t get along at all. Just because you work in theatre does not mean you’re comfortable within your own skin.
There will be some BC ladies who would like to do the shoot, but won’t be there. The effects of the surgery and complications from treatment has left them at an all time low. They want us to represent them and make sure that the truth is seen within the pictures.
We all moan about the results of our surgery and the effects of medication. Yet we try to remain positive to show there is light at the end of the tunnel. One breast may look bigger than the other and misshapen. The skin where the radiotherapy was directed may not want to stretch. Or the scar tissue may leave disfigurement from the LD or bi-lateral. Nothing is perfect, but we remain positive and support each other through the dark times. We got rid of our defective bits and took hold of the demon within.

On my return home my stupid husband had set himself alight. How? I am not sure the story keeps changing. Me beat drum, me play with fire, me get burnt! What is it with men and barbeque pits? They always want to see big flames bursting out the grill. 
But this incident got me thinking about Sophia and her well being. I had left Steve in charge of her and the home. I had barely left the house two hours and this happens. My thoughts went into over drive. What if Sophia had tried to put Steve out? She is only five years old and it is her daddy. My anger was so deep inside me. This man is so selfish and bloody stupid. Time and time again I told him not to play with the barbeque pit. Only the other day the boys told him not to play with gas, but no! What makes him so superior to everyone else?
On arriving home I am greeted with the smell of burnt hair and flesh. My husband is stood at the sink in his boxer shorts with his hand in a bowl of cold water. The site was humorous to see. He looked so sheepish and knew he had pushed to boundary to far this time. I give him the once over without even questioning what happened. Sophia was unfazed by the whole situation. Like it was an every day event that occurred in the house. Steve’s hand was a mess it was a hospital job. He had burnt his hand and down the right hand side of his rib cage. He was bloody lucky that the flames had not caught him further. Steve had contacted a few of his friends to see who would respond the fastest to get him to hospital. When his friend arrived he started fussing over Steve. I just stood there thinking well let him do it himself. I phone my eldest daughter Kayleigh requesting her to pick Sophia up from the hospital as we arrive. Who knows how long his treatment would take?  
When at the hospital the pain from what he had done drove him to tears. Yes it hurts, but he had been warned. Part of me wants to reach out, but he pushes me away. My mind is in turmoil over what if’s? This man actually deserves no sympathy anyway. If I passed away tomorrow what life would Sophia have? How could I trust this man to take care of our daughters.
He soaked up the attention he received from the nursing staff. Accepting every bit of pain relief offered to him. When Kayleigh arrived she could not believe he had been so stupid. She left the hospital with Sophia telling her every detail.
Two hours later he had been bound up and sorted.  A lift home was waiting outside the hospital from the same friend who brought us to the hospital.
Steve’s friend  kept going over and over how could Steve have set himself alight. Rechecking his story for clues to the truth behind what he was saying. I honestly could not be bothered in talking about it. What is the point? My thoughts are on my two daughters who are waiting at home.

We are still trying to get to the bottom of the accident Steve had. None of it makes sense to me. He had thrown petrol on the barbeque pit to speed it up. The vapours from the gas must of ignited and burst out onto Steve’s clothing causing his nylon football t-shirt to melt. But the severity of his injuries leave loads of questions still not answered.
Ok I joke around with my eldest daughter saying, What if your granddad was behind this? After all he can see what a jack arse Steve can be. We chuckle at the thought of my father stood there thinking, Ok you want to play with fire now have a taste of this. The facts are my father was very much like that. If you want to learn the hard way, let me show you the impact would be his reply.
Steve reckons something had it out for him that day because unless he had dowsed himself in petrol it does not make sense.
Kayleigh is disgusted by his total lack of responsibility. Accident or no accident Sophia was in the house alone with him. The fact Sophia is not fazed by the whole incident worries me.
“Daddy you should not play with fire. You could of been dead! You know fire can burn you.” Was her reply to the whole incident. Now if a five year old can sum the situation up so easily. Why can’t my husband?

R.I.P Gertie

30th July 2010
We had the Annual BBQ Steve holds at our house. I did potato salad, coleslaw and macaroni pie. It is a Trinidadian event on the calendar which a lot of people look forward to, but the mess after is something I dread. Men are good at organising a get together, but the clear up side is not there strong point. Plus Steve likes to do things last minute which I personally hate. We have 150 plus people expected and to me it should be more organised. He says I don’t have to do nothing. The truth is I have to do a lot and those things he does not see. Don’t get me wrong people help and do there bit, but I am a control freak on certain issues.

I was pleasantly surprised by the end of night the mess was minimum and only a few pots to wash. The crowd was a good bunch and friendly. Normally I end up sat in a corner twiddling my thumbs, but this year I enjoyed it.

It has also been a emotional week and one which leaves me numb. One of the BC ladies passed away. She lost her fight with breast cancer this week. The shock is echoing through my face book page. We are confused and angry because really it should not have happened. The girls do not know how to handle the grief they feel inside. It is like a bubbling pot with no end. So the shock of her death is leaving us scared and uncertain.
We keep crying on and off discussing our upcoming treatments. We discuss her story of being misdiagnosed leaving her treatment to late. It is sending nothing but worry through all of the group. As a group we constantly hear of such stories echoing through forums, but we had spoke to her and others had met her. If I had gone to the Tamworth event I would of met her myself. Lyn explained to me how she was bubbly and bright she would not let the disease beat her, but now with her death you question what hope do we have if people are being blasé about our treatment. Leaving us at risk and torture of this dreaded disease. She had three young children, a loving husband  and was only 36.
R.I.P. Gertie you will be sadly missed.

My face book page is full of birthday wishes, but there is also the dark cloud. The facts are when you become an member of such a group it can lead to a sad event.
Each women is at varying stages of treatment with a uncertain cloud hanging. So we have all grouped up and are supporting each other in the only way we know. Humour and positivity because we know the gertie (nick name given to the group) that passed away would not want us to give up our fight.

We enjoyed our family special day out organised by Willow foundation. It was fantastic first stop was the Rain forest cafe. Our youngest daughter was taken aback with the whole place. Monkeys, butterflies and the rumble of thunder left her jumping with excitement. The meal was fantastic with happy birthday sang at the end for me and Steve. It was just the beginning to what the foundation had arranged, but we were impressed.
Once the meal was finished we headed for the Lyceum theatre with two hours to kill. We decided to cut through Covent garden to see what was happening there. I bumped into a impersonator of Capt Jack Sparrow. The camera was out and picture was taken. Then we cut through Soho and my hubby decided he wanted some acupuncture done. It was a sight to be seen.
Once all that was done it was 6.30pm and we were ready for the theatre.
The curtain came up and the show began with cast members dressed and moving animated animals down the aisles. It was jaw dropping and spectacular leaving even Steve questioning the whole show. Our youngest daughter did not move from her seat until the interval. Our eldest daughter who had seen the show when she was eleven and had advised me to ask for this show because of Sophia. Was proud as punch watching Sophia’s reactions at various sections. It was a memory she would not forget in a hurry.
In the interval the manager sat beside us explaining that at the end of the show she would meet us by a door near the stage.
The show finished at 10.30pm and received a standing ovation.
The excitement of knowing I’d get to see a big production back stage was something I could not hide. I was at the door before everyone else and patiently waiting for my husband to stop texting on his phone. As our tour began on stage my eyes were instantly drawn to the ceiling. I know the tricks of the trade to well if it cannot be seen on the floor look up. The manager explained how they had one costume failure tonight and how Timon’s face cost £5000 to make. The whole thing left me shivering with excitement. I knew deep inside I could do this and more. I explained to her what I did and she said that is how she started more or less ten years ago. I looked at Steve for a positive push, but hey water would freeze first. He was full of questions himself and that was that. Once the tour was done we were taken upstairs to the backstage door. While there I met one of the props and puppets designers. The thought of knowing I could actually work alongside this man was spurring me on.   
The advice I was given by the manager was to get a portfolio done of my work. So ladies and gentlemen watch this space.

Me, Sophia & Kayleigh

A New Hobby

22nd July 2010

Opening night for another production happened this month. All the work was well worth it. The set was fantastic and the costumes with a few tweaks were ready to be worn. No-one will really know how much this meant to me. The only drawback is to be back in the very space the news of my fathers’ death was broke to me.
To think this is where my journey actually began. This place spurred me into action to get confirmation of something I already knew. I watch the ships wheel dangle above my head in pride of place. If my dad was alive he would of called me a daft bitch and made it from wood, but he would of still been proud of my attempt. I could actually see him altering all of the stage set. Undoing screws re roping and fixing bits of wood. He loved a challenge and the challenge loved him. No job was difficult and he could not tolerate the word ‘Can’t’. Despite my fathers’ faults his passion was true just like his daughter and those memories no-one can destroy.

My appointment for having bloods taken at my GP’s arrived. The bloods are for the research team for cancer research UK.
I read a article on my face book today and it is something I find alarming. Apparently a research team have found a link to DCIS/tumours and artificial sweeteners. The fact I am diabetic and I have been using sugar free foods since 1996 has left me gobsmacked. Not only that but I have encouraged both my daughters to use sugar free products because they could develop diabetes.
Yes this could be scare mongering, but reading the article left little doubt that to side on caution is better than not. So I have decided to drop the sugar free stuff until I know more.
My review from my appointment at the Big C hospital arrived today.

Dear Dr S

Re: Ms Sarah Mendoza – DOB: 29/07/1970 NHS Number: *** *** ****
      18, **** **** ROAD, NORTHOLT, MIDDLX, *** ***

I reviewed this lady in Mr H clinic today. She underwent a left breast reconstruction with an LD flap implant in October 2009. She was under investigation of her right breast and as I understand it she has duct ectasia. Her only concern is that her left breast is starting to feel a little hard.

On examination today, she had a grade 2 capsule with reasonable shape and symmetry. My impression is that this lady is developing capsular contraction. I have therefore suggested that we should wait a further three months to re-assess her prior to carrying out a nipple reconstruction. We will keep you informed of her progress.

Yours sincerely

Mr J FRCS (Plast)
SPR Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

I would not mind, but I did not complain about my left recon. He asked if it was alright and I replied, “Well I would not know I have not had a implant before.”
A friend explained it is there way of rushing things forward to say you have complained. Yes, all that I understand, but I feel a nag.
After all they did all the tests on my left breast and found nothing. Just enflamed ductual tissue that is still playing the fool and causing me discomfort.

I had a conversation with a BC buddy. The shock of all she has been through has spiralled her into a depressive spot. Her life has had so many twists and let downs it has mounted up. I tried to explain she needs me time and not looking out for others. Her personality is a bubbly out going and meet people type. A lot of people seem to rely on her for her emotional strength. She can’t say no because what is five minutes of her time, nothing. I explained she has to be selfish for once and say no.
We both agree that because we have gone through such a ride and remained positive. People do take our feeling for granted. We laugh, joke and smile, but underneath we need reassurance too.
Both of us have very strong individualistic personalities. With a very kind helping heart that can be easily abused. We feel we need to help in a time of need without falter. Well now is our time of need and we have to put others to the back of the queue for now.
Our life’s seem to be focused on cancer or at least this is how she feels. Yes, this is very true because we cannot escape the appointments and examinations. These are a constant reminder of the pain we have had to go through emotionally and mentally. The wounds heal, but the sickening thought that rumbles deep in your stomach never goes. All we want is to wake up without feeling fear.

I have taken up a new hobby to raise money for my over locker. It is a way of taking my mind off all the stress I am under, a focus point. I am buying used studio pottery from charity shops and selling them on eBay. So far I have spent fifty pounds on books to research potters marks. Seven pounds on scales for postage and ten pounds on a shredder. I have sold five pots so far which cost me eighteen pounds to buy. They have raised one hundred and thirty two pounds minus eBay expenses.
Yes, I have made some errors like all beginners, but it is to a well worth cause and the pots I don’t sell I return to the charity shops. Some would argue I should hand all the money over, but I work as a unpaid volunteer and I have to raise the money somehow for equipment. Besides think of all the people out there that do it has a business. The theatre director thinks I am mad, but whether it is a pound or a penny. ‘Something is better than nothing.’ My new motto. 

£3.50 & sold £74

Just Like Any Other....

14th June 2010

I have had a rotten start to the week because my purse was pick pocketed off me. I spent most of the day cancelling cards and trying to see if they may leave it on the bus. The facts are they are opportunists’ and I was their victim. Thankfully I never carry much money in my purse. So what little they did steal off me won’t go far. 
Steve did not sympathise at all because I should  not carry loads of bits in my purse, only what I need that day. My reply was blunt “I needed it that day!”
He offered me his travel card, but I said I could get a new one tomorrow.
Later on I shouted out three times ‘I hope who has my purse receives plenty bad luck.’ Sounds crazy, but I felt tons better at saying it. If it works they will get no satisfaction out of the money or my purse. Besides my mum bought me that purse as a gift so it has sentimental value.
The following day after dropping Sophia off at school my mobile rang. The Barclays branch at Ealing Broadway had a member of the public hand in my purse this morning. I don’t know how it got there, but it looks like my little shout worked because I have got my purse back minus the money. I would not recommend people do this, but hey, it worked for me because I got my purse back. 

Willow foundation phoned to say they have organised a back stage pass for the ‘Lion King’ production at the Lyceum. I am so pleased because I get to see all the costumes and compare their efforts with the stuff I make.
I also went to see one of the productions I did costumes for. It had a standing ovations all round which is excellent news for the director. Although I am not an actress and would not want to be one. The stage amazes me and the work that goes into setting up a show. People think you just flick a switch and it is all done, but it takes weeks of prep work. The costumes are continually being altered and changed because the directors decision is never final. Thankfully this was not the case for this production. All the costume decisions were made by the director. The only thing I designed and made was the nineteen waistcoats in two sizes.
One of the previous pupils from the theatre was chatting to me at the end of the show. The usual how are you? My reply although false was a happy one. Forever the joker with humorous comments hidden behind the real truth. The theatre is an escape from the real truth of my real blight. Without the distraction of making costumes I am not sure how I would of handled this last year. My marriage is a mess and in general my life is just to breath rather than be happy. I can honestly say I have never ever felt this lonely in my life, but this is not because of the cancer. It is because of the people I surround myself with or lack of.

I had another strange dream and I swear I am going mad or something is not right in my head. They say in dreams you live out your conscious thoughts and they are made into a jigsaw of events. Well I don’t know what my conscious thoughts were doing, but it was freaky.

I’m walking home and I see a child in a pushchair. The child I recognise as being from one of the parents at Sophia’s infant school. The child is crying out because she is on her own. I push her about in search of her mother, but I cannot see her. So for some reason I take her home. My dream turns into panic because it is some days later and I have not returned her to her parents. I start to plan how I can avoid getting into trouble. My thoughts are to leave her in a park and someone else will find her. Then I realise I cannot do that because someone might hurt her. Then I notice a stream near the house. I don’t understand why there is a stream. My dream switches again and I think about getting a false birth certificate and keeping her.

The clatter of the letter box and I wake up. Why on earth I was dreaming about a child and taking it is beyond me, but any answers would be appreciated.
I collect the mail to see Willow foundation have sent the tickets and the special day itinerary. My birthday is going to be the best I have ever had thanks to the Willow foundation. Let’s hope my husband is just as grateful to have is wife around for both of us to celebrate our birthdays together as a family.