About Me

My name is Yvette.  I was a 39 year old successfully single woman living in Sydney Australia when I got the shock of my life (September 2010) – a breast cancer diagnosis.

I wrote this blog very actively during the first 12 months of treatment. It’s now a few years on and my posts are sporadic at best. But I’m still here and always willing to answer questions or offer support.

My stats:

  • diagnosed with widespread DCIS in the right breast
  • opted for double mastectomy and reconstruction (using expanders) in the one operation
  • advised a week after operation that 2.3mm of invasive cancer was found in the breast tissue, pagets disease in the nipple and 2.6mm invasion in the sentinel node (booooooo)
  • had second operation, an axillary node semi clearance (they took around 10 nodes, all were clear)
  • invasive cancer was too small to establish the stage, however, tested positive for ER and HER2
  • due to hormonal positive tests, aggressive form of chemotherapy was recommended
  • treatment plan is; 4 x AC chemotherapy 3 weekly, 12 x Taxol weekly, 12 months of Herceptin 3 weekly starting when Taxol begins

Written September 2010:

As I begin this journey, I don’t know where it will take me.  I’m hopeful and optimistic that my experience with breast cancer will teach me valuable life lessons along the way.  And that of course I will emerge healthier and stronger than ever before.

Updated January 2015:

I can tell you now that this journey has taken me on a wild ride. Sometimes thrilling, other times devestating. What is for sure and certain is that I have learned many valuable life lessons along the way. I have moved from Sydney to New York City. Travelled exhaustively. Lost my beautiful friend to breast cancer. Embarked on the beginnings of a new career – in health coaching. Dealt with a new tumor diagnosis (a desmoid tumor, diagnosed Oct 2014).

Most importantly developed a strong appreciation for my perfectly imperfect life.

19 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I just wanted to say that I think you’re a really brave and a great person for doing this 🙂 I think that you give a lot of people hope.
    My mother has been diagnosed for the second time this year with breast cancer, and your blog has helped me heaps- lets me see fun times can still be had.
    Thankyou heaps!

  2. Sharing..diagnosised Sept 2010, Nov. 8th Bilateral total mastectomy and 3-4 postive nodes. Her 2 postive. Started my first AC treatment 4 days ago. I’m to have 8 AC every 2 weeks, 8 Taxol every 2 weeks after that. And herceptin for 1 year. My muga scan was low and am having to take steriods following treatment for 2 days. I feel confused by the different treatments and length of treatment. I hate to complain on such a positive page….Questions…I just still feel so sore from surgery, my chest, arms, neck and shoulders. Is this unusual to feel so painful still?

    • I’m trying to think back to how long the pain lasted for me. Maybe 10 weeks all up? I can tell you this much, I have no pain now and am very glad I took an aggressive approach with surgery as time has now passed and it is already a distant memory. I started swimming and running around the 8 or 9 week mark, I do remember my chest still feeling a little odd then, but I think the exercise helped the recovery process so I would recommend it.

      It is a scary time that’s for sure, I am jealous of others having less treatment than me, but realise that it’s best to have faith in the Doctors, they know what they are doing and every body’s treatment is tailored just right for them. Good luck with everything, and if you have more questions feel free to keep in touch 🙂

  3. Your post is so informative and inspiring. I am a 34 year old with 2 babies, on my 3rd AC treatment for aggressive IDC. I found your blog so helpyful! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. your pics are beautiful and I hope you are doing as well as you sound.

  4. hello
    I would like to know how you are going and also if you are continuing with all the amino acid powders from healthyliving lifestyle products.Did they work and are you still taking them
    Angela

    • I took the amino acids for the entire time I was on chemotherapy (which was around 5 months). I did think they helped but I also haven’t done chemo without them so it’s pretty hard to be certain. There were times when I was low on one powder or another when I actually craved this missing one, that made me think my body was telling me something. I probably wouldn’t have stopped taking them if they were cheaper! Good luck with everything 🙂

  5. Hi Yvette! Did the Pink Pockets arrive yet! I had another international order from Alberta, CA last week and I thought of you. I was reading one of your earlier posts about the possibility of you becoming one of ‘those’ people that have found a small positive outcome of having cancer. I confess I am one of those people too. Here is a link to me reading a blog post I wrote that originally was posted on the New York Times parenting blog, Motherlode. It’s called Gifts in Unexpected Packaging. Cheers to you! Let me know how the Pink Pockets work out for your friend! I expect more shipping to come for Australia orders! Best wishes to you!!

    • Hi there! I just watched your video, and it made me cry….but in a good way. You are an excellent public speaker and I really appreciate where you are coming from. Can’t say I’m on the other side of the darkness yet but I am seeing some light in the distance and it’s shiny and bright. Now the Pink Pockets haven’t arrived. Really not sure why. How big is the packaging? Just thinking maybe they are sitting at the post office. Will let you know when they arrive. Best wishes to you as well 🙂

  6. My hope for you is that you will soon no longer have to think about BC. I will – but in a good way – because I have a product that will help other women recovering from surgery – but that you can put this behind you. My twin sister is a 8 year survivor – and other than the times I force her to help me ‘focus group’ my new product packaging or brochure, she has thankfully moved on from her experience. She is doing great and you are going to not just endure – but PREVAIL!!! I’ll look into the delivery date. I know it is a slow boat moving to AUS. I would love to someday visit your beautiful and hospitable country. If at any time the opportunity avails itself, can I count on you for travel tips?

    • I have no idea why I didn’t write back to you sooner – I am terribly sorry, let’s blame chemo brain! Anyway, of course you can count on me for travel tips. And I hope in 7 years time I will be exactly like your sister. x

  7. Hey Yvette,

    I am 38 years old and have been through the same thing. I live in Sydney as well. I am so lucky to have found your blog! I had my exchange surgery a week ago. I am not sure what to think yet. I am not thrilled wth the results but I am thinking that there is no way that they would be perfect looking natural breasts!!! But we always hope…

    Anyway, I wish u all the best and I will keep reading your blog….

    • Hi Patricia, thanks for getting in touch. At least you had low expectations, I on the other hand originally thought my foobs would be better than the real deal. Ummmmm, no not at all! I’m sure like me you look aok in clothes, is just the warts and all version that’s not so amazing. I’m not too sure what size my implants are. I am searching my memory right now though and what I recall is that I had expanded up to something like 475 and then when they did the exchange they dropped me down to 425. Does that make sense? I am now a C cup in a bra, am around 170cm and quite broad shouldered to add some context. At least we are extremely lucky to live in today’s world when this is even possible, more pore grandmother wore a prosthetic breast for 30 years! All the best to you too, hope you are enjoying getting back to a more normal place x

      • Hi Yvette

        I got a bit smaller than u but I will also end up a C cup! I got 410.

        Do u mind me asking who is your oncologist? I am not very happy wth my oncologist. He is at st Vincents. He said that he doesn’t do any scans or anything like that so how will I find out if I have an recurrence??? As u said, there is always a fear… Any pain… We are always thinking…. I tried to get another oncologist but the silly thing is some oncologists dont take u after u have started wth someone else. Anyway…I guess I will have to do scans through my GP.

        Your blog is fantastic!!!! It is very entertaining !!!!

        XX

  8. I was first referred to dr Friedlander, but he only could see me in like 2 months time and for me i felt that it was too late cos i had already waited for 5 months to start worry about it. At the beginning, i am only had a diagnosis of DCis and the surgeon goes like DONT WORRY, IT IS ONLY DCIS!!!! Anyway, it turned out to be worse than that. i tried again to make an app with dr friedlander pos chemo at St Vincents but the secretary said that my actual oncologist had to call Dr Friedlander first. thats bizzarre cos how i am going to explain to the other doctor that i dont want to see him anymore. I also feel like i dont want to hurt his feelings! but now i am thinking: WHAT THE HELL!!! It is my life! I was talking to the breast nurse ate POW, Gill, and she said to me back then…to try to make an app with doctor friedlander but not mentioning to the secretary that I already habe been trhough chemo somewhere else. Maybe i should do that even though I wouldnt like to have to do that..

    Cheers

  9. Pingback: Today is scan-day | My Pink Ribbon Journey

  10. I am Trish (46), my story is similar to yours triple+ just started first cycle AC yesterday, my chemo regime in same as yours was. My double mastectomy was 20th June.
    Though I wish you never had breast cancer I’m glad to have stumbled on your blog. It is fantastic and you are a warrior.
    I just moved from Sydney to Central west NSW 6 months ago. Had my surgery in Sydney, starting chemo here and hopefully transferring locally.

  11. Wow! Similar to me, same age at diagnosis and everything the same except I’m HER2 neg. Started treatment in Melbourne. Wouldn’t give me a double in one shot as have young children and would have been a bit to much. So the other will be dealt with post chemo. Tissue expanders are nice aren’t they? Lol

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