Everyone has a junk draw in their house, don’t they?  Hiding all the odds and sods you can’t be bothered giving a proper home to. I’m amazed by the amount of intricate little things you’ll find deep within. Much like the human body.  Except within us, everything has a correct anatomical place to function. Things aren’t jammed and crushed in to fit.

We began draw hoarding with just one draw in the kitchen. When that filled up and started overflowing, we started using the one above it. Then chose another set of draws in a different kitchen cabinet. We then migrated our increasing collection of small artifacts to the computer room desk draws, below the phone table in the hall. Then crammed heaps of ‘stuff’ into the desk draws in the formal lounge.  Having children just seemed to exacerbate the problem.

These draws are filled with all manner of crap; old dog tags and pool memberships, toaster and kettle warranties, broken pens, dog toenail clippers, knitting needles. There are picture hanging hooks, long lost allen keys, old batteries, cable ties, old bills, the broken bit off the back of the remote, loom bands, music cassettes (remember those!), decks of cards,  my old hair clips, broken jewelry and some teeny tiny bits of Lego. There is one casino chip from that time I went to a casino in 1995.

On Thursday night, I came home from my late oncology appointment and rummaged through one of these draws and found what I was after first go.  It wasn’t supposed to be that easy, but I’ll celebrate the win.

Lise 1 – Junk stash 281

“What are you looking for?” Mr Cool called from the bedroom.

“I’m looking for the model of my boobs.”

“Sure you are!”.  Mr Cool has heard it all in the last two and a half years. There are no surprises.

I was searching for the make and model of these ghastly Tupperware tissue expanders. Somewhere in these draws laid the magnetic port finder that belongs to each side of my “Mentor Siltex 6200 Contour tissue expandered” chest.

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Introducing the Contour Profile Expanders that occupy my chest, and a magnetic port finder. Except I have two not three. That would be totes freaky.
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Apparently, success has a shape. Who knew?!!
I needed to confirm with my oncologist and the MRI department at my local hospital if I can have an MRI or not. An MRI would provide a lot more detail as to the origin of my acute neck and shoulder pain that is keeping me awake and is only okay with heavy duty analgesics.

In the back of my mind I recall my surgeon stating an MRI was not possible while these plastic and metal lumps resided in my chest. Turns out it’s not as simple as if they are in or not.

It also depends on the type of expander, and whether the magnetic ports (which the plastic surgeon uses these as a guide as where to inject when filling the expander up with saline) are still in my chest.  It also involves consideration as to the strength of various MRI machines. With these different factors, I was mildly hopeful.

My first tissue expander was inserted into the space of the removed cancer boob two and a half years ago. The good boob was removed six months later and the second one went in.

These expanders never got much expanding.  A mere sixty millilitres was injected one time, and that was enough for me.  The breast surgeon made it clear that I would “only need Asian sized implants”. Turns out, my breast tissue was just the volume of a tea cup. I’d heard of A cup, B cup and C cup, but never tea cup!  Unfortunately my breast contained half a cup of cancer! Eeeek!

The next morning, my hospital rang to confirm the model and make with me , assuring me they will ring me back with an answer. 

An hour later the phone rings. After contacting the maker of the expanders it is confirmed that I cannot have an MRI based on the magnets in my chest and the strength of the machines they use.

Until the big smoke hospital completes the recon phase and takes these puppies out and replaces them with silicone implants I’m in the MRI no go zone.  So we’ll stick with CT scans, bone scans, and ultrasounds of my shoulder to try and rule out mets, and I’ll keep on the heavy duty pain meds so that I can function.

Good God this pain is so bad I’m losing the will to live!
“Can you show me where the pain is?”
If only seeing what lies within was this simple.
My Dread Dragon is back!
My Dread Dragon is back! Paintings by Fernando Vicente, from his collection titled “Varitas” Retrieved from http://www.fernandovicente.es/en/fine-art/vanitas 2/8/15
This has thrust me back into the land of “scanxiety” with two weeks of testing including a CT of my neck, an ultrasound of my shoulder and a full bone scan. My Dread Dragon has landed in our backyard after a long absence.

The toughest part is the waiting for results and trying to keep my shit together and reassure my kids that I’m okay. Any time I have hospital appointments it is very unsettling for them. This is difficult to manage when I myself am constantly swinging between “It will just be a pulled muscle, I’m going to look so silly when it comes back clear”, to “Oh My God it might be mets!” all within several minutes. But I must try and keep the farm calm.

So, why didn’t I just go and see my chiro or physio or a remedial masseur as that would cost a shit load less and there is probably a very simple explanation, like a torn trapezius, trapped nerve, misaligned spine.  (Remember this all started when I pulled up my pants).

Well, the pain I’ve had for two weeks now is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. Pain sends cancer survivors into a spin and the greater the pain the more intense the fear.

In addition, once you’ve had cancer you don’t want to spend four months having physical therapy to find out you do in fact have metastatic cancer. The internet is littered with stories of people who this in fact happened to. They all lamented, “If only we had run the scans sooner?”.

Once all this calms down and life rolls onward, I’m going to send a thank-you card and a bottle of red wine to my oncologist for being the most thorough and sincere medical practitioner I’ve come across on this two and a half year cancer chapter. A professional who genuinely seems to care for his patients and takes the time to answer their questions. He goes above and beyond what you would expect someone to do and has a great support team who also facilitate this quality care. I could not ask for better oncologist or oncology department.

The next job will be to clean out those ridiculous junk draws when my arm starts working again. Who lives like that anyway? I’m glad visitors to our house can’t see what lies within.


These amazing paintings are the work of Spanish based artist Fernando Vicente. They come from his collection titled “Varitas” Retrieved from his own website http://www.fernandovicente.es/en/fine-art/vanitas 2/8/15. You can purchase his book on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Fernando-Vicente/dp/190939937X