Tag Archive | mastectomy

Set Them Free!!!



As I was scrolling down through Facebook this morning, this hit me in the face.   Is it just me, or does anyone else find this ad offensive?

Can anyone tell me how setting one’s ta-ta’s free by going bra-less is in any way “supporting breast cancer”?

And what’s up with trying  to make breast cancer look SEXY?

Here is a picture of me a few days after my mastectomy.

post mastectomy

Pale, skinny, and bald. Believe it or not, I was even wearing make-up here! (I can tell by my neatly drawn on eyebrows.)  Sexy? I think not. (Cute? Maybe.)

Or how about this?  (Taken from the Scar Project).  Folks, this is what breast cancer REALLY looks like.

scar project

So, needless to say, on October 13th I will not be setting my lone ta-ta free. It will be held snugly in place in my mastectomy bra, right next to the bag of rice that currently serves as my left ta-ta.

However,  since November is prostate cancer awareness month, I would like to issue  a challenge of my own: On November 13th, lets…..


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Click below to get your……

4-day button copy

My Photo Journal, 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, I would like to share with you some pictures, which show the highs and lows of the past year for me.

new year 1

2012 got off to a great start with a FREE trip to Florida (compliments of my sister, Lynette and hubbie Jeff).  Soaking up the sun for a couple of weeks, while recouping from my chemo, was definitely one of the perks of having cancer!

happy birthday

On January 28th, I celebrated my 45th birthday, just four day after undergoing a mastectomy.


In February it was off to St. John’s for me for five weeks of Radiation Treatments.  It was nice to spend time with Shawn, but I really missed my kiddies!

new year 2

I finished the last of my cancer treatments on March 30th, almost exactly one year from the time I was diagnosed.  I was home just in time to start my seeds with Ben!

New year 3

In April, Shawn and I traveled to Nova Scotia for my very first Breast Cancer Retreat.  It was a very “healing experience” for me.

new year 4

In May, I went to my second retreat, but this time was a little different:  I was guest speaker to an audience of more than 200 women! (Definitely a perk) I also met some great friends along the way.

New year 5

Shawn and I enjoyed lots of outdoor activities during the summer.  This photo was taken in June in Shoal Harbor.


In July, I experienced  a “little setback”, a lingering infection which put me in the hospital three times on I.V antibiotics.  (Definitely NOT a perk!)

new year 8

In August it was off to PEI with Shawn and the Williams family for some much needed R and R.


In September I went back to work as a School Counselor, after a 17 month break away from my work.  It was so great to connect with the kids again.

new year 12

For Halloween, 2012, I dressed as a Blue Butterfly; a symbol which held a lot of meaning for me during my cancer journey.

Me, Donovan and Kaitlyn in Times Square

Me, Donovan and Kaitlyn in Times Square

November found me in New York.  I had promised my kids when I was diagnosed that when I was well enough we would take a trip to the Big Apple….but if you were following my blog, you will know that it turned out to be the “Big Rotten Apple” for me.

CPG_9962In early December, I said good-bye to my beloved Patches, my constant companion through cancer.


But the year ended on a great note, surrounded by the ones I love.

Happy New Year!  May you be blessed with good health, good friends and a supportive family in 2013. (Those are the REAL perks!)

Perk # 74: An Excuse To Buy New Clothes

I  figured that by now, nine weeks post-mastectomy, I would have been fitted with a prosthetic breast.  Unfortunately, due to swelling in the incision area and burns from my radiation, it will likely be months before I get my fake boobie.  In the meantime, it is up to me to make peace with my new lop-sided physique.  As far as I am concerned, there is no better way to make peace with your bod than adorning it with new clothes!

Although my closet is bursting at the seams with clothing, I can honestly say, “I have nothing to wear.”   You see, all of THAT clothes was bought to fit the body of a woman with two breasts (what was the fashion world thinking????)   Take for example the little number I am wearing at the beach in the photo below.  I am pretty sure that if I put that on now, it would only be a matter of time before someone  noticed that I have  one breast.  Ya think?

Six months before mastectomy

So today, I dusted off the ole VISA and hit the mall in search of a new style.  My old motto: “If you got if, flaunt it”, is just not cutting it right now.  I therefore adopted a new motto: “If you got it, flaunt it.  If you ain’t got it, hide it.”  Hence the assortment of black, flowing tops.  So here I am, decked out in my new threads.  Whadda ya think?  (Stay posted for the Victoria’s Secret spread next year after my reconstruction).

Tip: Cancer will likely change your body.  You may lose or gain weight, lose your hair, or even lose a breast or two.   Make peace with your new body, and dress it in a way that makes you feel both beautiful and comfortable.

Perk # 56: Cancer Cured Me Of My Needle/Blood Phobia

Flo, Three days post-mastectomy

When it comes to medical procedures, I have always been a bit of a wimp.  In my early school days, I was renowned for my reaction to the public health nurse on “needle day”.   With a sense of shame, I recall actually biting a nurse and kicking a nun in the leg to escape my grade one vaccination (Sorry Nurse Pinksen and Sister Mary Kelly).   While I no longer get physically violent with medical personnel (well, hardly ever), I have been known to get weak at the sight of blood and needles.  As you can imagine, this has proven to be quite an inconvenience  during my cancer treatments.  I am happy to report however, that after being poked and prodded in places where no needle should ever venture, I have toughened up quite a bit, and can now profess that I am completely cured of my needle/blood phobia!

The true test of my new found toughness came with my recent mastectomy.  I had conjured up images of how it would be when I saw my new physique for the first time.  You know how it happens in the movies:  the woman gently caresses her flat chest, her lip quivers, and silent tears flow down her face while violin music plays softly in the background.  My experience was a little different.  My cousin/nurse, Lil was sitting in the room with me when I popped my head up and looked down at my green gown to check out my flat chest for the first time.  “Geeze”, I said, “He went and took off the two of ‘em !”   As it turns out, “rightie” had just slipped under my armpit, as is often the habit of saggy, middle aged breasts, but she was still fully intact.  Lil and I had a great giggle at my discovery.   I wasn’t sure if I was up to looking at the actual cut, but Lil is one of those old-school nurses, and she gave me little choice in the matter.   As she cleaned the incision, we counted the staples together.  One, two, three……twenty-nine.  “I guess I could round it up to thrity”, I said to Lil.  “Or you could be like a man and exaggerate it up to sixty,” she replied.  We howled with laughter!

Tip: If you can face cancer head on, nothing will ever have the power to scare you!

P.S.  A big thank you to Dr. Mathieson and his fabulous team!

Perk # 49: A Free Trip To Florida

I am posting this perk from sunny Florida, compliments of my sister, Lynette and her generous husband, Jeff.   This surprise vacation could not have come at a better time. It allows me to recoup after my chemo treatments, and prepare me both mentally and physically for my up-coming mastectomy.  While my colleagues in Canada are trudging to work through several feet of snow, I am lounging by the pool, soaking up the rays, with a warm breeze blowing through my stubble.  That is one of the perkiest  perks of having cancer!

Tip:  There is nothing like a good dose of sunshine to lift your spirits when you are undergoing cancer treatments.  If you are not able to fly off to a sunny destination, make like a cat and curl up in a sunny location in your house.