My absurd journey beyond breast cancer at 37 years young

About Me & STBB in the Media

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.


My Stats:

  • 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.

Finding The Colour Again, A Head of Our Time, November 24th, 2015

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

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

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.

Useful Resources

Breast Cancer Network of Australia

Cancer Council of Australia             

The Otis Foundation Breast Cancer Retreats

Pink Hope

The Forgotten Cancers Project       

Ahead Of Our Time (Taxotears Support Group for chemo induced permanent alopecia sufferers)



20 thoughts on “About Me & STBB in the Media

  1. Keep inspiring everyone around you and may you always be strong and courageous. Every thought and wish from me will be coming your way. Let me know if there is anything I can. Glenn x


  2. Love reading this lisa you are a very special person. Thanks for sharing your adventure with breast cancer. I will be thinking of you, sending positive thoughts. Love and hugs, stay strong my beautiful friend xxxx ❤ ❤


  3. Hi Lisey, it’s Gabby Walsh from running club. I have recently started following your blog. I didn’t know of your diagnosis until Laura Terry told me. You are truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way. I haven’t been to running club this year yet but hope to see you there one day soon. Keep fighting x


  4. Hi Lisey, Shared a great morning with you and a few others at the look good, feel better session, so enjoyed you popping on every wig in the room and felt your blog is surely one to follow, courage with a good dose of humour something I can never have enough of, cheers Barb Metelmann xx


  5. Thanks so much for following my blog! I’m so glad it led me to yours. I just read your Wig post and was cracking up! I sense this is an indication of how funny you are and not just a fluke. 😉 I hope so! You have a new follower in me…
    And on a more serious note, I’d just like to say that I’m sorry you understand what it’s like to be on the shitty cancer train. Looking forward to reading more of your story!


  6. Hi Lisey, thanks so much gor your funny, beautiful and hopeful blog. I’m 46, recently diagnosed BC, 2 lumpectomies down. Radiation, poss chemo and hormone therapy to come. I was training for my first full IM, would love to follow your blog and are you on strava? Cheers nicky. Ps live in Cairns.


    1. Thanks Nicola for reading and sorry to hear you have joined the club. You will breeze through treatment and shouldn’t be set back too much in your IM quest. My third surgery post chemo just nailed me, and it’s taken two years to be running very slowly again, in a different body from what I had before. Will just keep ticking away and hopefully see some progress. I think I found you on Strava. Hopefully it’s you! lol


  7. Lisey
    I just started reading your blog, and am immensely impressed by your talent, productivity, and candor during your treatment. My fiancee is in the beginning stages of her treatment for breast cancer, and in my efforts to support her and understand what she will be going through, your writing has been very helpful. I want to also give a shout out to your husband and kiddos as they support you and take and give strength and energy.


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