Life is always a series of highs and low. This week, I experienced an unusual high. After being told I had pre-diabetes a little while ago, my latest blood tests revealed that my blood sugar levels are normal. I was rapt; I have lost a kilo and am watching my eating more than usual. I had hoped that the pre-diabetes was a blip and perhaps it is. My GP though still wants me to lose more weight and to take the diabetes medication to do that. I do feel a lot better with less weight.
This week, I also saw a gynaecologist as follow up for the post-menopausal bleeding. She has scheduled a surgery for 8 May to do a D and C, hysteroscopy and another procedure. Basically, the procedures involve taking tissue from the uterus – to rule out uterine cancer. Mainly the thinking is still that this is a side effect of taking tamoxifen. I am really fortunate to have medical insurance for this as it has been scheduled quickly and easily. My gut feeling is that there is no uterine cancer but as we know, it’s good to cross the ts and dot the is.
Then, I had a migraine mid week…I think just too much going on all at once. That is a lot of medical stuff.
Meanwhile, I do feel quite healthy and have a parallel life, at work. I am feeling more and more in my stride at work, gaining back all the confidence that I had before and starting to think about what I want to achieve career wise.
This week, I was called by a journalist from Radio New Zealand to be interviewed on the topic of an increase in the amount of Pacific Island women taking up breast screening which is great. I was sitting in the waiting room to see the gynaecologist and did the interview on my cell phone. I am starting to feel more comfortable in doing these kinds of things. I also had an interview with the Kapiti Observer. I am starting to see that there is quite a need for advocacy to help reduce Pacific Island breast cancer statistics.
Other than that, normal life stuff.
What has been working well for me:
- Having weekly acupuncture with Todd Stewart from Harmonious health. Todd combines the acupuncture with visualisation and breath and I am learning new ways to breath
- Eating really well – lots of protein and veges – and exercise daily. I am doing more yoga especially when it is too cold to get outside.
- Being at work and connecting with colleagues though the week.
The Kapiti Observer article:
Cancer survivor’s website wins unsung heroes prize
Web master: Andrea Fairbairn has created a website offering support to those with breast cancer.Enrolling in a websitedesign course gave her something to do – and, she realised, there was no shortage of content for the site she planned to create.
Last week Ms Fairbairn spoke to the Kapiti Observer about her website offering support for people with breast cancer, created while she confronted the disease for the second time in four years.
Ms Fairbairn, who grew up in Kapiti, said she was first diagnosed in 2007 on her 39th birthday, an announcement that came out of the blue.
‘‘It was a real shock. You know you get an intuition about things sometime? I had no intuition at all about it.’’
After surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and drug treatment with Herceptin, she was declared cancerfree.
Her website launched last year as she pushed through treatment for a second bout of the disease, diagnosed in 2011.
The website, breastcancernirvana.co.nz, was part of a different approach to the experience for Ms Fairbairn.
During her first cancer she kept working at her job with Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
This time she stopped work, and decided she would help others with what she had learned.
‘‘Because after the first one I thought ‘I’ll just move on, get on with my life and forget about it’.’’
Ms Fairbairn blogged her experiences which included a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
It was around the time she found out she would need chemotherapy again that she read about the website course.
‘‘I thought maybe I’ll do that and that will give me a bit of a hobby, something different to do . . . by the second week we’d set up a website, and then it was just doing all the content.’’
The website shares the stories of breast cancer survivors, and offers practical advice and resources.
It won Ms Fairbairn an award for unsung heroes from international group Five Point Five, dedicated to boosting community leadership and travel.
Meanwhile she has been diagnosed as cancer-free again and returned to work in December.
She will continue running the website, which she hopes will be part of an important network for people with breast cancer.
‘‘One of the things that I learnt from my reading is that . . . the more support, and quality relationships a person has, the higher the survival rates.’’