Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Time is priceless, but it’s Free.

"Time is priceless, but it’s Free. You can't own it, you can use it. You can spend it. But you can't keep it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back" - Audrey Niffenegger

Writing this on new years eve reflecting on the year that has been.


  • At the age of 26 (just before my 27th birthday), on the 24th of february, I made the choice after countless MRI's and ultrasounds, numerous biopsies and fine needle aspirations, after seeing a malignant appearing lesion on my breast ultrasound, after hundreds of trips to Caloundra and Buderim seeing specialists… that it was time to remove my breasts. I underwent a double mastectomy. 
  • Prior to this surgery however was of course naked photo shoot with a snake!! AS YOU DO apparently thank you amazing Bambi and Kimberly!
  • Fortnightly visits to the beautiful Lisa Creighton to have my expanders assessed and filled following the mastectomy.
  • In April I decided that we needed to fly to Adelaide. Graduating from my Masters of Sonography a definite highlight! Being able to share this with my proud mum and Dad, as well as Brindy and Rod made this perfect!
  • Beginning of June sometime….. Kicked in the mouth by horse. Lost 3 major teeth and chipped two others, busted lip, and torn lateral meniscus in right knee… Emergency dental work performed!!
  • June 18th was round two for breast surgery - transition from breast expanders to implants. A very welcome surgery that I coped with much better then the first! Although being swollen and bruised, I was enjoying the swap to the comfy non hard implants!
  • June 21st - Found out I was pregnant (a couple of days after last surgery) - confirmed on ultrasound. Panicked phone calls to anaesthetist, surgeons, obstetrician etc
  • July 16th - A very hard trip back to the operating theatres at Buderim Private as we said goodbye to our son who was not strong enough to hold on.
  • October 8th - Both ovaries and tube removed. Followed by starting the full blown HRT.
  • Beginning of November - New permanent teeth put in!

Lets face it…. what a shit year! A year that I am very glad to see the end of. With so many down points all I can honestly see is the good. 

I can see that my body, although very different to what it use to look like, does not have a looming scary very high percentage of breast and ovarian cancer lingering over it. My stats now are the same as yours… if not lower! (or non-existent when you count in that I don't have ovaries any more!). Although not an easy choice to make with many hours of counselling and self reflection, I stand by my choice. That is the biggest part of this though… MY CHOICE. I know that if faced with a similar situation others would react differently, however when it was time to say yes or no, a beautiful friend told me to close my eyes, and ask myself the question… and then listen to the answer. I knew when it was the right time.

I have updated now the photos for post op - as before I have put them into a separate linked page with the other surgery images. I have explained previously that I share these images for those who are contemplating this surgery. The images are confronting - some of them straight post op. When making an informed decision re surgery I felt comforted by seeing the results of others that had finished. Please respect the reasons why I am sharing them and do not follow the link if you do not wish to see surgical images of my boobs!

The hardest part of this journey was saying goodbye to Finley. Our littlest miracle who is now by far, the brightest star in the sky. We think of you everyday and it was unfair you were taken from us. You were just too beautiful for this world and we are thankful for the joy you bought us, even if it was only for a short time. 


I have been sitting here for a while now trying to find the words to express how I felt about this year and everything that we have been through… strangely though none of what is going through my head is what I have been through...

I am thinking about my patients… whom with the results of what I see on a screen can dramatically change their lives. There are numerous patients who I have had the pleasure of meeting this year, some have since passed, who I will never forget. Patients who prove that when faced with the worst situations, the best in them comes out. Patients who I get to share their exciting news with. The patients who always greet you with the warmest smile and hug you could imagine. Patients who speak their minds and are not afraid of what the people around them think. The most honest humans who are just magical to meet. Thank you for letting me be part of your lives! 

I am thinking about my surgeons… The amazing Dr Lisa who not only helped me through emotionally this year and has given me great boobs in the end! But she has / is looking after so many others in the same situation as me. A truly caring soul who goes out of her way to make sure you are ok! Even when I was in surgery under a different doctor she ran in to give me a hug! If you are reading this as one of Lisa's patients… you are in amazing hands. Trust her! 

My amazing Dr James… you have been there from before the start of this diagnosis and haven't left my side! How often do you walk into a consult, or into surgery, only to be meet with an enormous hug! Or similarly when I am sending PhD emails from my post op hospital bed and get a text message just saying "Go back to bed Tam!". The most amazing person and caring Dr. I am SO proud to call you a now supervisor for my PhD!

I am thinking about my work family…  both Cooloola Radiology in Gympie and QLD Vascular. You have all supported me so much this year and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We all have so much to look forward to in the coming months/years together. Better times are ahead for all (and more 30 second dance parties are required!).

I am am thinking about all the amazing times I have to look forward to with my family. I can't wait to cause mayhem with my sisters by my side, to have a rum with dad, to just cuddle with mum. I can't wait for overseas adventures with Rod and Brindy and simple moments of just being together as a family. 

I am thinking about my amazing and beautiful friends. You know who you are and how much you mean to me. Bring on exciting times ahead of weddings, horses, dancing, babies, love, magic and much drinking!! "Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?"

I am thinking about horses and competing, training dogs, and flying higher in the sky then ever before.

I am thinking about my floppy hat that will mean you will all have to call me Dr Tam!

So many things to look forward to… Why would I want to stop and think about the cancers that would have taken this from me? 

I was unlucky enough to be given this gene… I have done everything possible for it not to take me. I have too much stuff still to do here…

To a better and more amazing tomorrow…. Cancer Free… Take that BRCA1!!

BRING ON 2015!
Happy new year everyone. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.