Tuesday, May 27, 2014

And you thought things couldnt get any crazier...

Hello my beautiful people!

So its just over 3 months since my father passed away. Tomorrow would have been my dads 76th birthday, had he been alive to celebrate it with us. He was a man I will marvel at and cherish in my heart for the rest of my existence.

In the last 3 months its been some kind of crazy. And you thought having a funeral for your dad 3 days before your best friends wedding was full on? Well it got even more wild and dangerous here. 3 days after the wedding my mum went in for a mammogram, 5 days later she was asked to come in to discuss their findings only to discover she had breast cancer. So they gave us a date for the surgery about two weeks later. Mum was hoping she had time to get her head together, but they called a few days later to move the surgery closer. They had gotten the pathology back and the cancer was aggressive... small but aggressive.

So she went into surgery and had a double mastectomy... one breast with cancer one without! They took both because we have a stupidly high number of cases of breast cancer in the family.  We don't know if we have the genes yet... so only then can we (my sister and i) make choices about our own health and long term physical well being.

What I found most amazing was that after having such a radical surgery she was home within 24 hours!!!! Seems crazy right? but its actually because people are more likely to heal in their home environment away from "Sick people" at hospital. She is immuno compromised so she could catch anything at the moment. So it makes sense... just seems weird! lol

So for the first 6 days we had nurses visit daily to check the drains, and eventually (and disturbingly to me) remove them. I don't do blood & bodily fluids well... and that was too much for this little princess to cope with. I was not born to be a doctor or a nurse! Kudos to those of you out there who are!!! You are an amazing group of people.

A HUGE thank you to all those amazing Doctors, surgeons, staff, nurses (both at the hospital and visiting), physios and councilors at the hospital who were just absolutely amazing with my mum and with a pair of very concerned "kids".

My sister and I learned so much about ourselves and about our friends and family. Thank you to all those people who sent us notes, emails, texts, cards, flowers, food, support, love, thinking of you's... they made so much of a difference to us. We are so grateful for all of you! Thank you!

Mums health and recovery has not been simple, by any means. Ive learned some things I never knew before existed with breast cancer "Cording" & "seromas" just to name a few.  But we have got the amazing news that she is cancer free and does not need Chemo or Radio therapy. We are so blessed that they found the cancer so early and were able to remove it before it did some serious systemic damage. Really we are totally grateful... after all I couldn't have lost my mum and my dad in the same year. I think that might literally have killed me.

And through it all my mum has been grieving for my dad. But you wouldn't believe how strong she is. Sure she cried a lot(and continues to on occasion) , but you would too if you had lost your husband and survived breast cancer all in the same month. She is stronger than she thinks she is and I am so proud of everything she has achieved and done for us through all of it. I love you mum! So does Vandra! We are proud of you for just keeping on going... because sometimes that is the hardest part!

One of my favorite quotes, and forgive me for not knowing who said it, but it seems adequate here...
"Women are like tea bags. You don't know how strong they are until you put them in hot water."

 I have had some added complications too with my own health because about now you were expecting this story to be over... after all how much can one family bare?
 *Be warned gentlemen & Squeamish ladies this is a bit gynecological... so i totally understand if you want to skip this next paragraph entirely...*

So the surgery I had last year, to burn some of the Endometriosis off my uterus, was then a success but now my own uterus has decided to fight back. in other words they are pretty sure the Endometriosis is back (WAY SOONER than expected) less than 10 months after the surgery. So the doctor has told me that I need to think about having kids sooner rather than later, because in 5 years or after, with the deterioration of my uterus and the damage the Endometriosis is doing, I might not be able to have kids. So that sucks a bit because I don't even have a boyfriend, let alone a fiance or husband. And I always hoped I would not have kids on my own. My family have been beautiful and have said that if i want to have babies on my own they would support me! Thank you my beautiful people! I'm still not sure a lifetime of commitment (to a baby/child/teen/etc) would be the best way to cure a gynecological issue.

But i am clinging to the hope that my best friend has been beating me with... she has told me of a work colleague who had the same condition and was told the same thing at around the same age as i am now (28)  and who is now 38 and just having a baby! Thanks Tanya... it means so much that you keep giving me hope! Hope... its amazing how it can make such a difference!!!

But wait there is more... we have had 5 funerals in the 3 months. Some anticipated, some not. I have decided I am now getting pretty good at the whole funeral thing. I just hate that I have to loose acquaintances, friends and loved ones to prove I can survive these sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes tragic events. I send great love to everyone who has lost someone dear to them... no matter when. It is not an easy thing.... my deepest condolences.

Would you believe that one of the things that has been getting me through this is the love and support  I have received from this community, and the positive actions people have taken and the small kindnesses we have witnessed through these last few months.

My sister who took on a role as an administrator on the Facebook page whilst I was on my Round the World adventure, has been so supportive in everything I have done. From the first day I decided to try make this project work (in its original form) to now and, I am sure, well into the future, she has encouraged and supported me. Even whilst we have both been grieving and struggling and doing our best to just keep moving forward. Thank you beautiful!

My brother-in-law who has been a quietly strong rock that we have all leaned on at one stage or another this last few months. He looks after his wife (my sister) with love and compassion. And yet he grieves too. After all he was mates with my dad for the 17 years that Vandra and her hubby have been together. And probably a few years before that too. Thanks for all the support Glen. Your energy and enthusiasm with your extracurricular commitments, your kindness to mum, and your quiet words of encouragement really make a difference to me.

Oh the kids. The bringers of light, love and endless joy (ok... and the occasional tantrum)! From my niece being able to walk around with a spoon on her nose (which is Soooooo Epic!!!!) to my nephew calling me to tell me he had his Plate out this afternoon. I love being there for you, and I am so proud of the awesome little people you have become. I love you so much! and thanks for telling me you love me too, even when it might not be "Cool"! Thanks you beautiful ones!!!!

Our family seems to have gone through hell this year. We have been broken into a million pieces and scattered to the wind, only to find that our friends and some family have been catching our fragile pieces and slowly putting us back together. It might not be exactly the same as it was before. But somehow with all the glue and scotch tape used to put us back together we are coming out stronger than before. And that is a blessing.

Thank you to everyone... whether you read this tonight or tomorrow or in 50 years time. YOU are totally and utterly appreciated!!!!!!!

Oh and as for kindnesses... they might not be as exciting as some, after all i am earning my keep as a carer at the moment, but i am still doing them. Every single day! As promised! I hope you are acting with kindness too! :)

with great love to you all...
Luv Daena xxxx

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