Progress Update AND Next Step – Double Mastectomy….

2016 has come to an end, and what a year it was! My focus for 2016 was for it to be the YEAR OF FUN for my family and I, and that’s exactly what it was! I’ve had so many good times with family and friends, experienced new things, travelled to new places and created amazing fun memories. That’s really what life is all about and I’m so happy with what we achieved last year and with the path we are on.

Family time in Bali

I am now just over 19 months’ post op, and I can definitely feel a sense of ‘normality’ coming back into my life. I do still have some hurdles and challenges to face and overcome, and I am learning to deal with them each day.  I still have moments where I go over board and eat too much at one sitting, I’ll then pay for it later by feeling bloated, getting reflux and sometime just needing to lie down and rest. My food intake has been pretty good, I’m always open to giving things a go, and if they get stuck or it doesn’t feel right, I’ll leave that and move on to the next thing. I think that’s the biggest lesson for me, it’s all about trial and error, and I’ll never know unless I give it a go.

There are times I have learnt the hard way, where something like a piece of chop looks too good for me not to eat, and then I’ll eat it too fast or too much of it, and have to rush to the bathroom to bring it up because it has got stuck on its way down my oesophagus, but like I said, I’ll never know unless I try. Yesterday I ate my first full burger from McDonald’s – a filet-o-fish! Now, I’m not a fan of Mc D’s at all, but we were stuck in traffic, kids moaning in the back about how hungry they were and Mc D’s was the first place we passed, so out of convenience, we stopped for lunch. I thought I was doing really well, ate the whole burger, some chips and about half a chocolate milkshake! It wasn’t until we were in the car driving home that I started to get some pains in my tummy area, (not the usual bloated feeling) this was constant for about an hour. I’ve never really had pains like that after I’ve eaten so I’m guessing my body was not happy with that type of food, and like I said, lesson learned!

I ate a whole Filet-O-Fish – then paid for it after!

Unfortunately, I am still having hypos (blood sugar levels drop and I feel shaky, sweaty and fatigue, off balance) on the odd occasion, and as time goes on, I’m picking up on different triggers. It’s not just about the foods I eat, but also how often I’ve eaten that day, if I’ve had enough protein that day, or could even be if I’ve pushed myself too much, and am completely exhausted. The more I listen to my body, the easier it is for me to prevent and manage the hypos. I’ve found, adding some protein powder to a glass of milk or coconut water throughout the add, has helped a lot with my energy and also preventing the hypo’s. Again, it’s all about seeing what works for me and what doesn’t, and as time goes by, I’m learning more and more about how my body functions and what it needs.

As some of you may know, as a female carrier of the CDH1 gene, I am also at a higher risk of developing Breast Cancer. I have been meeting with a Breast specialist and Plastic surgeon for the past year to discuss options for a double mastectomy and reconstruction procedure. Similar to the Stomach cancer linked to the CDH1 gene, this type of breast cancer is also hard to detect in mammograms, MRI’s, etc. I have my final appointment this Wednesday with the plastics team to discuss the finer details around the reconstruction side of things, and I will then look at booking in a date to undergo this operation and procedure, possibly in the next few months.

I’ve had a lot of advice and opinions fired my way about what I should and shouldn’t do in this circumstance, and like I say to everyone, we are all different, and until we walk in someone else shoes, we probably never quite understand exactly what it is that they are facing. It is a big decision to make, and whatever I decide to do, it will be what is best for me and my family. Will keep you posted on my next steps….

Once again, I do have an amazing support crew, who continue to shower me with love and support and I am forever grateful for you all x

Here’s to another amazing year in 2017, full of love, fun, adventures and happiness!