Thursday, 28 August 2014

My breasts, 1 year on...

As if this is my first post of 2014!!!

I wanted to write today considering it is my 1 year anniversary. The anniversary of my prophylactic double mastectomy. The operation that was to save my life, to prevent the high possibility of breast cancer and an operation that should have been just that, 1 operation.

A year on, and I have an impressive 6 breast operations under my belt (there should be like a Karate belt or something awarded for this)!

I now have two breasts. Yay!!!

They are:

*Different sizes

*Different shapes

*Scarred to crap

But they're mine - and they represent something so much more than "breasts".

When I woke up from my operation, this time last year, I cried. I was so relieved that it was all over, that it was all going to be okay. I know no one knows what tomorrow will bring, but I never could have foreseen the incredible journey that I was about to go through, along with my amazingly supportive husband, friends and family.

I've had to battle my conscience through every hiccup, when I felt sorry for myself and when I just sobbed for hours, I had to constantly remind myself that there is no "hero" in me, there is no "martyr", I am THE lucky one. What others have to endure and have had to endure, in my family, especially, makes this whole experience seem pretty minute and a complete walk in the park.

There are so many wonderful things in this life, so many things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for all of these operations. I'm thankful for my patient and amazingly skilled surgeon, Mr S, and I'm thankful for all the research that goes into helping prevent, help fight and cure all cancers. My family and I, will always be grateful for that.

My journey still is not over. I am still being monitored and we still have our fingers crossed, but I will never forget how lucky I am and how many stars in the sky shine, for me to be where I am today.

Thanks for reading,

Bex xox

Sunday, 29 December 2013

What a year...

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I hope the big fat man bought you lots of goodies and most of all, happiness and well deserved time with your family and friends. 

I always find myself becoming reflective in this week between Christmas and New Year. The magic of Christmas is fading and the dawn of a new year is upon us...

Where has the time gone?!

I can not believe it is nearly January again! 

So how has your 2013 been? I hope that is has been a prosperous and happy year, one to remember, for the good and not the bad.

 2013 has been a year of mixed emotions in our family... Some of the most wonderful memories: my son saying "mama" for the first time, my little girl being able to count to 20 and saying her alphabet, my children's first holiday to France, my husband having a prosperous year in his job, the decision of a future move back to Paul's hometown, the making of many wondrous friends, the celebration of my two best friends marriages (they were both amazing!) the remission of two family members, a great start to my husband's catering company, the completion of Hell Runner and my first half marathon, conquering those damn cake pops(!!!) and many, many more...

The year also included some sadder times, my father in law's progressive illness and the loss of a very dear family member. It is the sad times that encourage me to reflect more. Where is my life heading? Am I good mum, wife and friend? What do I need to do next year to help myself and my family grow? How do I show myself to the best of my ability to be a good role model to my children?

I will always count myself so incredibly lucky to have the family and friends that I have. Their love and guidance and support shows no bounds and without them, especially this year, I would have been a much less of a person. So, thank you, all of you.


My only disappointment this year is with my bilateral mastectomy and the events that followed. This means that I will continue, with the help of my family, friends and wonderful consultant, treatment procedures into the middle of next year. I call it a disappointment, but the whole situation has been a blessing, and I should try harder to remember that! (no.1 resolution I think!) 

So to you, my blog friend, I wish you the most prosperous, happy, healthy and enjoyable 2014. Cherish everyone and everything. Love yourself and your family. Smile as often as you can, you are amazing! 

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

All my love,
Bex xox


Monday, 11 November 2013


In times of sadness, it's so hard to know what to say or do.

I wrote a poem...

To sit is to wonder, to cry and to ponder
To love is to miss and remember each kiss
The mould we were breaking and convinced no more taking
A beautiful life gone, so much love to pass on.

Words escape me, the thoughts they break me
What message to send to help and to mend?
There’s nothing I can say to make the pain go away
So my love to you all, may it help cushion the fall.

Stand strong and stand tall, we will remember you all


God Bless


Friday, 11 October 2013

Boobs schmoobs...

3 weeks ago, I walked out of hospital and phoned my husband. "The doctor has given me the all clear, my breast tissue is clear, it's time to get on with our lives!!!" The sun was shining, I was over joyed.

Tonight, I am sat here 2 days post op, wondering what happened...

My left breast, "lefty", had been a bit of a nuisance since day one. It hurt more, it was more swollen, the drains coming out of it were filled with nasty liquid, it was always just a little bit more trouble.

Last week I saw my consultant on the Tuesday. I was concerned about the look of the wound across the middle of my left breast. It just didn't look right. My consultant agreed. We discussed leaving it for a few days to see how it developed and if I had any trouble I was to call him. On Thursday it had become worse. I made a frantic call to the Breast Care nurses and left a message. Friday morning I received a call back saying my consultant (Mr S) would like to see me ASAP.

Paul rushed me up to the clinic and Mr S assessed the situation. Mr S explained the risk of another surgery, infection, general anesthetic etc. He told me he didn't wish to operate unnecessarily but that the implant was pushing my scar open. Basically, the wound would pop open at some point, he just didn't know when. I was sent home with a complete kit of saline, gloves, dressings - the works! And Paul was sent home with strict instructions on what to do "when" my breast burst open! - Well the weekend was a nightmare. I was petrified to do anything. I was scared I would end up at A&E and no one would know what to do!

Luck was on my side and by the Tuesday, there was still no split. I found myself back with Mr S. "We need to operate" was his response. I knew it was coming, but I had hoped and prayed that it wouldn't be necessary. I'd hoped that my awesome breasts would make a come back and save the day. Mr S explained to me that the surgery would be a 10/15 minute procedure where he would cut away the bad skin, the part where my blood vessels had died, and literally pull the skin back and sew.

The morning of the op, I was slightly apprehensive, but nothing major. I kept thinking "It'll be fine, the last operation was a lot longer, this will be easy" ... I saw patients in the day unit coming in and out. Some crying as it was their first ever operation, I felt optimistic. At 2:30 I was called and sent down to theatre.

I awoke 2 hours later. The first thing I did was check down my gown. Phew... I saw gauze and padding, I thought it had all gone well. Within a minute of opening my eyes, Mr S was there.  He held my hand, looked me in the eyes and said "I'm so sorry Rebekah. I did everything I could, but I could not save the implant.."

Two tears fell.

I was numb.

I looked again, "lefty" wasn't there.

Before I was let home, Mr S came to see me. He explained that the strattice (pig tissue) hadn't taken. It hadn't attached itself to my skin, so was effectively floating around in the build up of fluid. He had no option but to take it all out. He had tears in his eyes as he told me. I wanted to hug him and tell him it was ok...

I left hospital at 9:30pm drain in hand and one boob down.

It's been tough. The discovery of having the BRCA gene was tough, but incredible. The first operation was tough, but worth it. Now... well... I have to live for the next 4 months or so without my left breast. It's so very hard to come to terms with. The hardest part being, I AM NOT ILL!!! I've been so lucky not to have been diagnosed with breast cancer, yet I'm forced to bear a similar scar. I will see the prosthetic department next week and they will supply me with a fake boob to pop into my bra.

Mr S says he can rebuild my breast, but it will take time and multiple operations from now on. I had one shot at the strattice and implant and my body rejected it.

I'm in limbo at the moment. I can't look at myself. Looking in the mirror makes me cry. My left side is sunken in and flat against my chest cavity.

Big baggy jumpers will be my new best friends.

I have so much to be grateful for and in a few days, I will realise that again.

For now, I will grab the box of tissues, wrap a blanket around me and my new best friend, and cry.

To everyone who has been there over the last 12 months and especially recently. Thank you for your support.

To my two bestest friends in the whole world, thank you for allowing me to send you regular "boob updates" at inappropriate times! I love you both so much.

To my husband, well what can I say... If  you leave me for some double D model now, well... I couldn't blame you...

                         Seriously, thank you. I couldn't do any of this without you and your weird sense of humour.

To you...Thank you so much for reading and letting me lean on you to tell my story.

I love you.

Bex x


Monday, 23 September 2013

My boob job...

I want to run. I want to put on my trainers, grab my phone & put my running soundtrack on. I want to feel the ground under my feet as I run, run hard and run fast. I want to run to the top of a mountain. I want to feel the pain the breathlessness, the wind against my face. I want to stand at the top of this mountain. I want to stand there and scream. I want to scream "I did it!!!!"

I really did do it.

I took the gene head on and now I, have the upper hand.

I went into surgery at around 4pm last Wednesday. I kissed my children goodbye in the morning and my husband left me, teary eyed at around 8am. I was scared. So very scared. I was not scared about losing my breasts, I was not scared of how they would look afterwards, to me, all that was irrelevant. I was scared that I wouldn't wake up. I prayed and prayed and nearly 5 hours later I woke up in recovery.

I awoke with 4 drains in me and a horrible "tightness" around my chest, arms and back. The rest, to be honest, is a bit blurry. I remember Paul coming to see me around half 9 ish. I remember him looking so white, I can't imagine what I must have looked like, I'm grateful that I didn't have to see. Our conversation was a bit hazy as I drifted in and out of sleep. He kissed me on the forehead, told me he loved me and left. I fell asleep and had one of the worst nights sleep I've ever had - even with 2 kids!

I was closely monitored throughout the night by the wonderful nurses who kept coming in to check on me. I had a button clenched in my hand, it was for the morphine. I held on to it tightly but managed to get through the night without it.

It was 6am when I heard the nurses do their rounds. That's when I really "woke". That's when the pain really hit. The anesthetic was disappearing and I was close to tears. I had 1 drain under each arm and 1 drain under each breast. The most painful thing was the tightness. It's so hard to describe.


I wrote the above a week or so ago, after my operation. I saved it as a draft as I couldn't find the words to describe the whole experience. I also did not think I was worthy of moaning or wallowing in my pain or upset.

Now, another 10 days on, the drains are removed and I have had the "all clear" (in regards to my breast tissue) from my consultant, I feel elated. I feel happy and blessed. That looming operation that my husband and I had hanging over our heads for over 17 months, has been done. That's it. I have no worries now. We did it. I did it.

My life is a different colour now. I can no longer see any bad in any situation. I was given a chance at life and it may have taken me to 30 to realise it, but I will never be the same.

I will live my life differently. But I will never forget those who made it possible for me to walk around with this smile. For those REMARKABLE women and their sufferings, I will be eternally gratefully. Also, to my surgeon and consultant Mr S... how do you thank someone who has saved your life...? For him, a daily operation. To me, my life. Thank you. All of you...

So now it's time to move on, for tomorrow is another wonderful day.

Thank you for following me on my journey.

It's time to run.

Bex xxx

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The day before...


It feels like a rock that is lodged in my chest. I can’t really breathe in enough and its there blocking my smile. Gone are the boob jokes. Gone is any sense of bravery. Instead I am weeping for me and for my breasts. I don’t want to be cut up and I am so scared of the pain. I’m actually a great big woos and make such a drama out of the tiniest cut and I’m frightened of the fire pit that I now have to throw myself into.

My bag is packed but packed full of terrifying imaginings.

I hold my breasts tight to my chest not wanting anyone to touch them, to take them from me.

I am preparing to go into battle now. It is this powerful cancer gene versus me. For I may not let it win and take me from my children. Instead I have to now absorb all that kindness that I have had from so many and layer it on like shields of armour. Now is the time for the digging and with my shovel in hand I need to search for that courage, calmly and with a sense of control. I am not going to wait for cancer and like a fireman I am going to hose down the wall of fire so that it may not wipe me out and infest my body.

I can take my head back to that genetics room and look at my genetics doctor as she told me I had the gene. I can rewind the last 13 months and flick through the images since. The tears, my family, my darling friends, my determination, this blog and now it is finally time for the sacrifice. 

For that is what it feels like. I will sacrifice my breasts up onto the alter now and make a pact with cancer. You can take them from me but then you are to leave me well alone. You may not take the rest of me and you may not visit my body at all. Take them and run. That is the deal. 

My eyes are swollen and I now have to wash my face and put on some make up to hide behind. It will soon be time to dress the children and to take them to their daycare. I have hidden fear from them and I do not want my face to betray me. I can barely write this but if, god forbid I don’t make it back to this dining room table, then know my little ones that they could have taken all my limbs if it meant that I could bring you up and shelter you. This is all for you and actually I would do it every day without hesitation. I love you and mummy will see you in a few days. xxxx

Thursday, 1 August 2013

My Little Prince Charming

Happy Thursday Folks!

I hope you're having a very relaxed evening, feet up, tv, a book maybe? I'm sat on the edge of my little sofa, listening to my two little terrors over their monitors. One is singing "Spongebob Squarepants" at the top of her lungs, the other is crying/whinging, trying to put his over-tiredness to bed, literally. Our little man has had one big day and he obviously does not want it to end.

Today was very emotional for me as a mum, for two reasons. One I am emotional anyway but two, it was Ben's last day at his wonderful nursery... and at the end of the day, as he held my hand and walked towards the door, he turned and waved. It was like a scene from a film and as I looked up with tears in my eyes, 3 remarkable ladies waved back at him with tears in their eyes.

In early 2012 I was fortunate to land an amazing job, which enabled me to still do what I love and visit the environments I love, with the added benefit of being "9-5". The job came along in the February when Ben was only 5 months old. I felt he was very young to be going into nursery as we waited until Elle was 2 before placing her with a childminder, but after considering all the pros and cons, we decided he would go. So I took the job and worked 3 days a week. After a few weeks, I noticed little things did not feel right with the nursery. Ben was always hungry when I picked him up, he was always dirty (to extremes) and always had a very full wet and or dirty nappy. I started to get concerned and we raised our concerns with the manager. Everything was great until the following week when I collected him and he was sat outside in the cold with no socks on. He shivered and cried for at least an hour when I got him home. I was mortified. We made the decision that night that he was not going back. Of course then we had the dilemma of either finding him a new placement or me leaving my job.

We are blessed with wonderful parents who helped out for a few weeks whilst we saw various childminders. In the end, we went to visit another local nursery, Andy Pandy's. I instantly liked it. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted by the most wonderful woman. Such a kind, smiling face, I literally wanted to just hug her there and then. The nursery was made out of an end terrace house and you could tell there had been a great many happy children walking around over the years, the place just oozed happiness.

This wonderful lady, Roz, explained to me that because they were a small nursery, there might not be a place for Ben straight away. They currently had no children under the age of 14 months and there would be no staff member to be his key worker. She did however mention that she had just interviewed a young girl who had just qualified and she was going to consider taking her on, just for Ben. A week later we got a call and we were thrilled. The new girl, Naz, would be starting and Andy Pandy's would happily take Ben into its care.

Naturally, we were very cautious to begin with. Leaving your child who you have carried in your womb, the little being that you loved from the second you "just knew" you were pregnant, smothered with love, cuddled from the day it was born and watched fall asleep every night, is so terribly difficult. But we soon had our nursery demons put far behind us as Ben thrived in his new atmosphere and with Naz especially.

Today, was Ben's last day at Andy Pandy's. (I'm welling up just thinking about it). I sent Ben in with a "Thank You" card and a huge chocolate cake this morning, kissed him on the head and wished him the best day of his little life so far. Roz told me she was planning a little teddy bears picnic for him and all of his friends. During the day I kept wondering how he was getting on, if he knew it was to be his last day. Then the moment I was dreading... the pick up and the good-bye's.

I rang the doorbell, from inside, "Clare, it's Benji's mum". Roz answered, I handed her an orchid for them to pop in the kitchen to remember little Benji Gould and she gave me the hug that I had envisaged over 12 months before. Ben came running to me and after him all of his little friends. He kissed and hugged them all. Naz stood quiet for a few minutes, I think, trying to compose herself. She then gave me Ben's development folder with all of his developmental milestone dates. The most beautiful thing was, in this folder, Naz had been taking photos of Ben over that last 12 months, doing the most wonderful little things. She'd made a scrap book. Then at the back were the pictures of today. Pictures of Ben's last day. Pictures of him with his crown on, sitting with his friends, laughing, smiling and loving every second of his last day. I was speechless (I was also crying)...

The abundance of time and love those ladies gave to our little boy, can not be described in words. I feel it only in my heart and it just amazes me. I feel so blessed to have known them and will make sure that Ben sees his wonderful scrap book when he grows up.

I am so thankful for so many things in my life, I can not begin to list them and every little life moment makes me more and more thankful. There truly are amazing people in this world and I know that my life will be fuller for knowing them.

And I am truly overwhelmed that Ben, at such a young age, has had such an impact on those ladies. I'm very proud and happy to call him my little boy.

Thank you Andy Pandy's. Thank you Roz, Liz, Clare and especially Naz.

I promise we'll pop in now and again.

I love you

Bex xxx