It’s in this searing Australian heat that I am taken back to three years ago when I had just completed my radiation treatment. I remember thinking to myself how horrible it was to be so hot and to have these burning wounds that just had to be given time to heal. They definitely did get worse after the treatment finished (as I was warned) but I was amazed how quickly they did end up healing after they’d reached their peak. Thinking back on that time, there were some pretty special medical staff who looked after me when I was sick and these people have really stuck with me.
The first one that springs to mind is Lesley, the amazing breast care nurse at John Flynn Hospital at Tugun. She was calm and reassuring and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t say to her or ask her. Come to think of it, she would have a pretty hard job seeing so many women’s lives changing right before her eyes. It was her who was responsible for removing both of my dressings and I’d imagine it would pull many of her heart strings each time she has to see the different way women react to such a personal body loss. She kept asking me if I was okay throughout the process and even though a few moments during that time I wanted to cry but didn’t, I know she would have known the right thing to say and she would definitely have been a wonderful, supportive shoulder to cry on had I needed to break down.
But not only the medical side of things, she was always so genuinely interested in my life, my family and my children. She talked about the normal stuff in life with me also and it was honestly like making a new friend. I think having someone like her is so necessary at such a tumultuous time. I often think about Lesley and hope she is well (so if anyone reading this knows her – please pass on my love). She got me through a tough time by just being so comfortable with all the hard stuff and that sort of support will never be forgotten. People like her are very special and even though she may not think of it as anything but her job, the impact she made on my healing will be appreciated forever.
Then there was Greg, the ever so funny, kind-hearted and caring radiation therapist. He made every visit to boring old radiation a pleasure and entertaining. There were jokes, laughs and banter. He made every effort to adjust appointment times to fit into my work and family life and nothing was a hassle. It’s all those small things that make a difference when you are going to something every day for 6 weeks.
But every step of the way, I had super kind, caring people trying to make me well again. From the people who took my initial biopsies to the nurses in the hospital (I still feel so bad for the very pregnant one who had to deal with me vomiting everywhere after my surgery – sorry!). I really can’t recall a bad experience with the people who cared for me and I am so grateful for their help when I need it. These wonderful people chose a career to care for sick people and that wouldn’t always be easy.
It has made me stop and think that whatever you do in life, you can and will make an impact either positively or negatively on the lives you touch. Every word and action should reflect how you would like to be treated. Kindness is powerful and it’s something that everyone should incorporate more of in their day to day lives. Wouldn’t you like to make someone’s day by being a kind person?
During the week we saw the ‘Pink Cricket Test’supporting the McGrath foundation raise over $500,000. The importance of this fundraising is to support the many women who live in remote areas receive the care of a breast care nurse during their cancer journey – just like my Lesley. I was lucky enough to live close to a hospital so I had the luxury of staying at home and making daily trips to the hospital for my treatments. Living remotely however adds another element of stress to what you are going through and the importance of a breast care nurse in this situation should not be undervalued.
Today I’m excited to show you some beautiful jewellery from Australian company ELK. ELK designs statement accessories and fashion that is easy to wear, comfortable and affordable with the added benefit of sitting beautifully on the breastless chest. Necklaces that sit on the chest area are a great alternative to a busy or patterned top. They take the eye away from the chest area and focus on the beautiful piece of jewellery.
Provided they are not too heavy, I love wearing a beautiful necklace and feel secure that my chest will be less noticeable. If you haven’t tried a necklace yet, try something lightweight (you don’t want anything too heavy on the chest area) and striking to grab people’s attention to the jewellery and not the chest.
Even if you weren’t a big necklace wearer before, you body is different now so it’s important to be open to new options. Don’t be afraid to try something new! I would highly recommend visiting the ELK website and checking out their fabulous accessories for breastless women. I would love you to share any fabulous jewellery options you find this week on my Leave Me Breastless facebook page.
Have a wonderful week.
I am breastless and beautiful.