Month: November 2014

Guest Post: The Boob

Finally, after naming this whole blog after me, and sharing really personal stories about how we met, and showing pictures of me on the internet without my express permission, she has handed over writing duties to me for the day.

Firstly, a disclaimer. I’m a prosthetic boob, so if there are any typos or spelling errors, I’m really not interested to know about them. Typing with a silicone nipple is not what you’d call easy.

So, today, we’re off on holidays. Some people called house-sitters are coming in to look after things while we’re gone, so she’s put away my box in a cupboard so that they don’t get freaked out. Normally my box sits on top of the chest of drawers, because I need to be ready for action at any time of the day or night. On weekends at home she sometimes gets around without me (it’s ok, I have good self-esteem and know that even the closest couples benefit from some time apart) but as soon as there’s a ding-dong from the doorbell or she realises she needs to do a chocolate run to the IGA, I’m straight out of my box and into action. I suggested that we could advertise my box on Airbnb to see if any interstate or international travellers might want to rent it out for the duration, and I even prepared the ad. She wasn’t keen.

boob on hols 5

I’ll admit that packing for a beach holiday with me is not easy. I can’t swim, but I get a bit excited in the water and am pretty keen on diving out of her togs whenever the moment presents itself, so she has to keep me safe for fear that I’ll flop out into the pool and have to be fished out by some poor, unsuspecting Thai pool boy who absolutely does not get paid enough for that sort of thing. Because of me, here’s the decision-making process regarding swimwear:

boob on hols 4

Ultra high neckline with thick straps or … ultra high neckline with thick straps. Choices, choices.

I did suggest to her that I could learn to swim and hang out in the kids pool with Hugh and his friends, and I even found this perfect little monokini in his toy box that I think would render me socially acceptable. She didn’t seem to think it was a good idea. She might have mentioned something about children and nightmares and scarred for life.

boob on hols

Anyway, I’m as keen as mustard to get out of here and get on that plane, so was waiting excitedly to get my tropical gear on and get out of here. Then she brings out the bog-standard beige bra. Aged care home for the terminally bland, we’re ready whenever you are.

boob on hols 3

Oh my god, she seems to be putting on some sort of hideous, beiger than beige arm sleeve thingy now. This is getting worse by the minute. How can I be a cool international jet-setter with her looking like this?! Lymphoedema? Never fucking heard of it, love. Same as you’ve apparently never heard of tropical holiday style.


Although, now that I get a good look at it, I’m thinking that this, combined with a bit of a subtle lean forward so that I peep out the top of her shirt at the check-in counter, and maybe an off-hand mention of the big C word, might just get us the upgrade I so richly deserve.

boob in first class

Me in my natural habitat.

I’ll keep you posted.

The Not Shit List

Today I am tired, sore and a bit over it all. I will very soon be ensconced on a tropical island, cocktail in one hand whilst the other is resting on my belly full of Thai food, but I need a kick up my substantial arse to help me do all of the things that need to be done between now and then.

One of the ways I got myself through cancer treatment, was to create mental lists of things that made me laugh, things that were good and right about the world, or that made me feel warm and fuzzy. Let me tell you that the warm part was easy – hello early menopause – but the fuzzy was a bit more difficult, thanks to the all-over medical Brazilian that results from chemo.  I christened my mental recipes for positivity the Not Shit List, and there were many late nights and early mornings, where I was unable to sleep because of a range of crazy drug interactions, where coming up with a Not Shit List served to calm my mind, focus my energies and prove to me that everything I was going through was going to ultimately be worth it.

So, in an attempt to lift myself out of my Turd-day funk, I present to you my Not Shit List for 20 November 2014:

1. The whole tropical island holiday thing.

One day in July, I sat at my computer, hovering my finger over the publish button of a post I’d had drafted for a while. Once again, I couldn’t bring myself to press that bloody button, so instead I went online and booked a holiday to Thailand for the end of the year. The act of doing that – of feeling confident that I would be alive and well enough to go on a holiday in five months’ time – gave me the courage to then go and push publish on that post. Turns out that people liked that post, and they shared it with others who shared it some more, and suddenly my blog, and a photo of me without a top on, was getting traffic from all over the world. Sure, those who arrived at the blog via a search for ‘naked tits’ would have been fairly disappointed, but all the amazing, positive comments made it so worthwhile.

2. Books

I used to be a voracious reader, but these days I read so much for my day job that I don’t have much appetite for reading for pleasure. But each time we go on holidays, Dave and I get a couple of books each, which we usually end up sharing over the course of a couple of weeks’ break. This year I ordered them online, and when they arrived in the mail, the feel of their shiny new covers smell of the fresh paper made me more than a little excited. This holiday Dave and I will be sharing The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan,  Love Your Sister by Samuel Johnson, Here Come the Dogs by Omar Musa, and Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Durham. We will intersperse these with other assorted short works of non-fiction, including my long-time favourite:


Sex on the Beach, otherwise known as Sand in the Clacker

3. Random weirdness.

I arrived home yesterday to find this message from my husband which had been carved into the dirt on our driveway with a high pressure cleaning hose.


4. Cooking.

Speaking of pies and all things food, you know, when I was single and share-house dwelling in my 20s, grocery shopping consisted of gathering up an arm-load of those packets of dry pasta and sauce mix that you add water to, some tinned corn and a bag of grated cheese. Oh yes, I was quite the gourmand in those days, preferring to spend my hard-earned on clothes, shoes and cans of pre-mix vodka and orange. These days, I am somewhat of a food snob, which I believe stems from my twelve months maternity leave, most of which was spent parked in front of the Lifestyle Food channel with a baby who took 115 minutes to feed and fed every two hours.

These days, I love cooking – it is a passion, a hobby, a distraction and a creative release. I love searching for new recipes, working out how I can convert them to gluten-free (Dave has coeliac disease), and then presenting them to family and friends for their enjoyment. As for those pies? Mea culpa, friends, mea culpa.

4. Shopping.

It may be shallow to admit that one of the things that brings me pleasure is looking at and sometimes buying stuff, but hey, I’ve had cancer so nobody’s going to call me shallow to my face, are they? Through my random trawling both online and in actual shops (old-fashioned gal that I am), I develop regular obsessions with certain items that I usually can’t afford. At the moment it’s these sunglasses:

prada glasses

Yes, totally Dame Edna but I reckon I could totally rock them with my un-ironed cargo pants and manky t-shirt whilst watching Hugh’s Saturday morning swimming lessons.

5. 30 Better Options Than Tony Abbott

It’s funny, but it’s also true – 30 Better Options Than Tony Abbott.

Not Shit List complete, and you know what? I really do feel better. Care to share your Not Shit List?

In Synch

Yesterday, my computer finally got sick of me and my email hoarding ways, and refused to let me send or receive any more until I cleaned out my inbox. I went into sent items, and found I had not deleted anything from there since August 2012. I started merrily deleting messages in big chunks without opening them, until the subject line of one, dated 5/10/2012  caught my eye.

My results.

At 10:53 am on 5/10/2012, I emailed my friends, and said:

I’ve just been told that I have breast cancer. Will be seeing my GP at 12:30 to get a referral to a surgeon. Sorry to tell you this so impersonally but it’s all I can manage right now

I have no recall of writing or sending that email, with its bizarrely unnecessary specifics (what the fuck does it matter what time the appointment is?), people-pleaser’s ultimate apology for not doing an individual ring around about my diagnosis (sorry? I mean, seriously?) and that missing final full stop which just leaves my words out there, trailing and flailing …

I’ve come a long way since then. Sure, I haven’t deleted a single email in the entire 769 days, but I’ve done a whole bunch of other stuff that I never imagined I would have to do, or be able to do, or live to tell about doing.

Other people’s lives also get fucked over by dreadful things. Some people get their share of fucking over, and then a bunch more just to be sure. One of them is the phenomenal Eden Riley, who at 2:16pm on 15/10/2013 texted her brother Cameron, and said:

Hey Cam, how are you going today? Xx

Cam never responded to that text, because he had died.

Over the past year, Eden has been trying to deal with the suicide of her beloved baby brother. Because grief (and life) is boundless and boundary-less, Eden is raising awareness about suicide by running  The First International Lip Synch Awards.

The Awards are Eden’s ode (one of many) to her brother. They are also an ode to all of us. To me, and you. Here’s to being 45 and sitting at your dining room table using your kid’s iPad to video yourself lip synching to Madonna, watching it back and cringing at your bizarre hand gestures and weird right eye twitches, and then publishing it on the Internet anyway. Here’s to living life in whatever way makes sense to you. Here’s to being stupid idiots and not caring.

May the breast man win.

Special K

I have always been lucky to know really great women. I was raised by a woman who worked her arse off in low-paid,blue-collar jobs to put my brother and I through university. Her mother raised six children single-handedly in the 1930s and 40s because her husband was killed in a mining accident when she was pregnant with her youngest. My father’s mother outlived her husband and four of her five children, stoically continuing to live a fulfilling life into old age, despite losing her loved ones to unimaginable tragedies like cot death, drowning and a car accident.

I don’t have any sisters, but have been blessed throughout my life with an array of amazing female friends. During the months of my diagnosis, surgery and treatment, my friends provided a steady lifeline that helped me stay afloat whenever I felt like I was sinking. I relied so much on my husband during that time for both practical and emotional support, but with the pressure of working in a new job and caring for our son, he too benefitted from the care that my friends provided to me and our family.

There’s an odd little link between some of my closest friends that has always intrigued me – their names all start with a K. Apparently the letter K originated from the Egyptian symbol for the hand, so it seems very appropriate that all the women who have helped me so much and offered me so much love and  friendships all have names which begin with this letter. I haven’t asked any of them if they are ok with me writing about them – I’m too scared they’ll say no and then I’ll have to come up with something else to write about today – so I will use their initials for privacy. Of course, once I become rich and famous off the back of this blog, they’ll be out and proud, Entourage style.

picture of a bowl of cereal

None of my friends are flaky or cover themselves with strategically placed strawberries, but they are very special.

First up of the Ks is KW, also known as The Wind Beneath My Wings. We became friends in the first days of high school, and that was it really. My friendship with KW has shaped the person I am today. She is the only child of immigrant parents, who lost her dad in a tragic accident when she was very young, and was brought up by a strong, smart and vibrant single mother. The first time I was invited to her house for dinner, all of the food was completely unrecognisable to me. Pea soup, croutons, and little sausages called chevapcici. Coming from your typical working class Australian family where chops and mashed potato were on high rotation, it was so exotic and interesting to me, and I’m pretty sure the part of me that loves the preparation of food was awakened on that day. In 33 years of friendship, there are so many stories and none of them alone can exemplify how lucky I am to have this K in my life.

Next, let me introduce you to KM. Oh man, my amazing friend KM. We also met at school, and spent a lot of time together as single girls in our 20s. Then she moved nearly 1000 kms away to make it in the big city (which she did), but she remains one of the dearest people in my life. When I had Hugh, she flew interstate and then via bus for two hours to see us, arriving at the hospital unannounced, with such a lack of fanfare that it took me a little while to realise that she was actually there and not just a figment of my sleep-deprived imagination.  When I was going through chemo, she asked me what I’d like for Christmas. Flippantly, I said I’d like her to come home, and you know what – she did. She came to my home and she wrapped all my Christmas presents while I lay on my bed, bald and exhausted. And on Christmas Day, she and KW and I sat and chatted like we have done for years, and rather than feeling like someone with breast cancer, I felt like the luckiest person in the world.

KM and my baby.

KM and my baby.

KB, who I actually call KB in real life – well she is a force of nature. A more engaging, warm and just bloody totally likeable person you will never meet. She took time off work to come with me to chemo and read to me from the Wayne’s World catalogue – she made chemo fun! KB unintentionally became a mum for the first time at the ripe old age of 17, and has produced two of the most capable and wonderful young women who are kicking goals personally and professionally, just like their amazing mother. KB is unflinching in her loyalty and never judges anyone (unless they deserve a thorough judging). Seriously, when life hands her lemons, she says ‘I fucking love lemons!’ and just gets on with it. Her only downfall is that she hates photos of herself, even though she is drop-dead gorgeous. These are her progeny – they will give you an idea of just how beautiful their mum is.

These girls aren't just my friends, they're my friends kids who are also my friends!

These girls aren’t just my friends, they’re my friends kids who are also my friends!

To add to my blessings are many other friends – more Ks, some Rs and Ts, some Js and a couple of Ss. I’ve already written about some of them, and I’m sure there’ll be more stories to come. The alphabet has been very kind to me.