Hello. I am an Australian, former teacher and lecturer, mother of two young beautiful children and married to a great man. I have a fantastic life. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 11th January 2013 when I was 37 years old. I started this blog as a form of therapy, stumbling my way through this breast cancer experience.
The name for the blog came to me after driving past a billboard on the freeway advertising the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stage show. I was driving to my first breast surgeons consult. The timing, impeccable. I thought it summed up my circumstances pretty well. All my life my breasts have given me trouble. Made fun of at school because they weren’t big enough, I had terrible trouble with breast feeding my children but I persisted for two years and then bang bang… breast cancer at thirty seven.
In the depths and despair of a cancer diagnosis, I started writing. Within weeks it appeared to take on a life of it’s own with characters emerging from each new phase. At times the process of writing was so enjoyable that I forget that the subject was and is still breast cancer.
This blog has felt like a Breast Cancer “Truman Show” of sorts.
Be breast-aware and be bodily aware. Listen to the whispers. Take action if something is not right and visit your doctor. Don’t put it off as early detection leads to better outcomes with most cancers.
- Found a lump early in December 2013, diagnosed a month later in Jan 2013.
- Lumpectomy with clear margins, but DCIS found. Left breast Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) Tumour 3cm, Grade 3, Strongly ER/ PR positive, HER2 negative, with additional Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) found. Sentinel node biopsy, 1/4 nodes found positive. Mastectomy recommended.
- Two weeks later left subcutaneous nipple sparing mastectomy, full axilla clearance, 1/21 nodes positive all up. Staged as 2B.
- Immediate reconstruction with tissue expander.
- Chemo 6 cycles of FEC -D or FEC -T (as known in northern hemisphere). Hair has not returned properly.
- Second mastectomy (prophylactic) post chemo with immediate tissue expander August 2013. Pathology showed breast as cancer free.
- September 2013 commenced Tamoxifen for 10 years.
- October 2013 five weeks of IMRT radiotherapy of chest and clavicle area.
- Jan 2013 started having pelvic pain and complex ovarian cysts thought to be a result of Tamoxifen.
- March 2014 started seeing a hair specialist about chemo induced permeant alopecia and taking medications for hair growth. December 2014 ceased this treatment as ineffective.
- April 2015 laparoscopic surgery to diagnose pelvic pain.
- May 2015, switching from Tamoxifen to Zolodex/Exemestane combo (aromatase inhibiter) as slightly higher disease free survival gain in pre menopausal women than Tamoxifen alone. (See SOFT Trial) And Tamoxifen did not agree with me.
- Tissue expander exchange surgery to implants sometime. Who knows when? Still waiting on a public list.
Shittyittiebangbang in the Media
The Travesty of Picoprep, Bowel Cancer Weekly, The Jodie Lee Foundation, December 15th, 2015. http://paper.li/JodiLeeFdn/1326955831?edition_id=61747620-a2b9-11e5-8c21-0cc47a0d15fd
Finding The Colour Again, A Head of Our Time, November 24th, 2015 http://aheadofourtime.org/lise-finding-the-colour-again
A Tale Of Teamwork, MiNDFOOD Magazine, November 2015 edition, page 47.
2015 Badass Blog Award Winners, The Indie Chicks, May. 18, 2015 Julie Zantopoulos
Soundfile from judges commentary, room two for “Moe” print by photographer Marina McDonald, 2015 Australian Professional Photography Awards ACT https://soundcloud.com/user684133699/aipp-nswact
Ironman Joins Cure Search, The Bendigo Advertiser, Madeline Wines, Mar. 17, 2015
Blogging through the bad, the bald and the bizarre of breast cancer, ABC Victoria, Corey Hague, Oct. 6, 2014 http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2014/10/06/4101118.htm
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ABC Central Victoria Breakfast Interview, Megan Spencer. Sound file.
Breast Cancer Aware Blog, ABC Central Victoria, Megan Spencer, Oct. 13, 2014
Mother is a Classic, The Bendigo Weekly, Steve Kendall, Apr. 30, 2014
The End Of A Journey, The Bendigo Advertiser, Nicole Ferrie, Feb. 25, 2014
Blue Dye, guest blogger at Pink Hope, Apr, 2013. http://pinkhope.org.au/blue-dye/#.Vf5FyXhW_48
Breast Cancer Network of Australia
Cancer Council of Australia
The Otis Foundation Breast Cancer Retreats
The Forgotten Cancers Project
Ahead Of Our Time (Taxotears Support Group for chemo induced permanent alopecia sufferers)