Girl Talk

I think it’s time for some girl talk. Real talk. Talk that doesn’t happen enough. We need some honesty up in here!

I have been dealing with something scary for the past few weeks, and while I haven’t been quiet about it, I haven’t been screaming it from the roof tops either. Half because I don’t like broadcasting every bit of my life and half because I guess part of me was doing it because men don’t exactly like reading it? But then I thought, who cares what makes them uncomfortable? If this saves the life of someone they care about, I don’t actually care if the thought of a woman’s cervix makes them squirm. This is real life and if we aren’t sharing real experiences to help others, what are we even doing?

I was a few months overdue for my pap smear, because life, so I didn’t think anything of it when I went in for my appointment. Then a few days later I got that call. The call that you don’t want because you know that if it is all clear that they usually don’t call you. I got that call. I happened to be paying for my petrol at the time so I heard bits and pieces.

Abnormal cells. Level 3. Pre cancerous. Cervical cone biopsy. Hospital. Surgery. Anaesthetic.  

My heart stopped. I felt sick. Was this really happening?

I wasn’t thrilled to be having a cone biopsy, as I have a friend who had it before so I had a bit of an idea. The good thing about this procedure is that it shows the depth of the lesions and how advanced it is. It is a lot more reliable than the pap smear.

So I went in last Monday for my surgery. Must say I was more scared for my results than the actual surgery. It’s the waiting that is the killer! Even now, I’m sitting here waiting and not knowing and it is the worst feeling ever. Followed closely by wearing pads and feeling like you’re in a nappy 24/7. Not cool! I’m all about NOT knowing what is going to happen step by step. The anaesthetist is the opposite. “So you’re going to be given some oxygen, then we will put the IV in and you’ll start to go to sleep quite quickly. Then we will put the tube down your throat because you won’t be breathing but the ventilator will breathe for you, so when you wake up your throat might be a little scratchy. We will keep you under with gas and then turn it down for you to wake up.” Ummm thanks that wasn’t scary at all! Even though you know you’re assisted whilst under, the really raw and real imagery is not needed 5 minutes before going into theatre thanks. I came out of it ok, but he greatly under exaggerated the “scratchy throat” part. It was more like, you might wake up with your throat feeling like you’ve had a throat infection for a week with infected tonsils. Not cute. Not fun.

I was in the ward for the rest of the day and finally got home that afternoon. I crawled into bed with my new nappies and slept for hours. When doctors prescribe medication I don’t question it. Two ultraset 3x a day? Thanks! Nick thought it was a lot but who am I to disagree with the doctor? Also, who wants to be in pain? Lets just say I slept well every night.

 

Girl Talk

Best company! Isn’t it funny how they always know when you’re not well?

 

Here’s what they do for a cone biopsy:

A cone biopsy is done to determine how deeply cancer cells have spread into tissue beneath the surface of the cervix. It is also used to treat very small, early-stage tumours. It is called cone biopsy because a cone-shaped piece of tissue is removed from the cervix.
The cone biopsy is usually done under a general anaesthetic and involves a day or overnight stay in hospital. Results are usually available in a week.

There are different levels for the cells. Mine was the CIN3 level, which they found from the pap smear so we will see if it matches from the biopsy. This is basically two levels below cancer! This can grow from a level one to level 3 in a few years. That’s why it is SO important to get your pap smear every year, so they can prevent it. My biopsy was 2cm wide and 1.5cm deep and the good news was that they got the whole lesion and abnormal cells out for the biopsy. Now its just a waiting game to find out if its worse than they expected or not.

Different levels
CIN 1: Slightly abnormal cells are found on the surface of the cervix. CIN 1 is not cancer and usually goes away on its own without treatment. Sometimes it becomes cancer and spreads to nearby normal tissue. CIN 1 is sometimes called low-grade or mild dysplasia. Also called cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia 1.

CIN 2: Moderately abnormal cells are found on the surface of the cervix.  CIN 2 is not cancer, but may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue if not treated. Treatment for CIN 2 may include cryotherapy, laser therapy, loop electrosurgical procedure (LEEP), or cone biopsy to remove or destroy the abnormal tissue. CIN 2 is sometimes called high-grade or moderate dysplasia. Also called cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia 2.

CIN 3: Severely abnormal cells are found on the surface of the cervix.  If not treated, these abnormal cells may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue. Treatment for CIN 3 may include cryotherapy, laser therapy, loop electrosurgical procedure (LEEP), or cone biopsy to remove or destroy the abnormal tissue. CIN 3 is sometimes called high-grade or severe dysplasia. Also called cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia 3 and stage 0 cervical carcinoma in situ.
Side effects of a cone biopsy: You may have some light bleeding or cramping for a few days after the cone biopsy. You have to avoid doing anything strenuous for a few weeks, as this could cause the bleeding to become heavier or start again. Basically you need scar tissue to form where the cone was cut out, so the more still you are the better. You can imagine how hard this is for me, but who wants to be walking around feeling like a marshmallow for longer than need be?

So I really hope that we can all talk more openly about all things cervical, because I didn’t know this was as common as it is. I only knew of one person before I had this cone biopsy, but now I’ve heard of so many other people since I’ve been talking about it.

Real talk? Book that pap smear you haven’t had for two years, or nine or fourteen —> You know who you are! It’s really not that big a deal, it is so much quicker than a mammogram and way less painful! Look after your health now. Look after YOURSELF now! Prevent it rather than cure it.

If you’re in Durban and you’re looking for an affordable option let me know as I have two options for different budgets thanks to Jenna and Delia for sharing!

 

Have you had this procedure? How was it for you?

 

If you want to get social you can say hi on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

If you’re a girl, come join our girl’s Facebook group: Gi Jane Girls

 

**** UPDATE ****

My results came back and they are CLEAR! He confirmed that it was CIN3 and that he had to take out the abnormal cells to the size of 2cm x 1.5cm. That to me is still quite big in the cervix scheme of things. I now have to go every 3 months for a pap smear to check that the cells didn’t spread and that they don’t come back. So it will be a very paranoid week every 3 months!

Tell your friends to get checked and to put it in their diary every year. Don’t put it off!

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Getting to know Gordon Reid 

Lucky Gord is a name you should know from Twitter. If you don’t know it, you’ve probably seen a guy running or cycling or swimming in a cow suit for CHOC. That would be him! He is funny, outgoing, generous and someone you want on your side.

Lets get to know Gords Reid:

 

What does healthy mean to you?
Being a self-confessed #beerslut makes it a little difficult to answer this but here goes. Health to me means keeping my cholesterol, blood pressure, waist line etc. under control with exercise and not pills. Healthy also means surrounding myself with positive people who help keep me an eternal optimist. Ice cream anyone?

 

What is your chosen form of exercise?
Swim/Bike/Run is my latest passion but Squash has always been the best way for me to keep fit and healthy. Squash also helps me maintain a base fitness for all the other things that I do.

 

What does your way of healthy eating look like?
Healthy eating to me means juicing celery and carrots in the morning to get my body ph balanced, then small, low fat, low sugar meals for the rest of the day.

 

What is your passion project?
www.thecows.co.za We Support Kids with Cancer. All of the proceeds of our fund raising goes to CHOC (Children’s Haematology Oncology Clinics)

Since I became a Cow 22 months ago I’ve done over 1500km or races (runs, triathlons, swims, MTB, road cycing) in cow print for Kids with cancer and raised over R170K. I know where the money is going and I know I’m making a difference.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?
Up early, my wife and I fight over who’s turn it is to exercise in the mornings but we have a roster. At work by 7:30. E-mails, quotes, production meetings, manipulating artwork, proofing, persuading clients their deadlines are unreasonable, convincing staff that my clients’ deadlines are reasonable, meetings. Family time, kids homework and then collapse in a heap on the couch.

 

What would you like people to know about you?
Eternal optimist, fun loving, passionate about life, ADD, fiercely loyal, travel and adrenalin junky. Oooh look a squirrel. Luckiest guy in the world.

 

What would you like people to know about your work/business?
Print is thriving, it’s a tough industry to be in but it’s vast and fascinating. From digital to litho, flexo to gravure. The technology is mind boggling.

 

Favourite workout song?
Sun Goes Down – Robin Schulz seems to get me up the hills best at the moment.

 

Favourite exercise and why?
Squash – chasing a little black ball around the court is way easier than bashing it out on a treadmill.

 

Favourite quote/advice?
“Stop searching for the light and become it instead.” It’s a spin on one od Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes.

 

Go follow this crazy fun guy on Twitter and Instagram

Get in touch to sponsor him for C.H.O.C!

  

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Getting to know… Liesl de Bruin 

Another beauty that I get to call a friend, this girl is one tough cookie! She’s smart, sassy and her determination will inspire you. If you haven’t read about her journey through breast cancer, you really need to click the link at the end and read EVERYTHING on her blog. 

Let’s get to know LIESL DE BRUIN:

 

What does healthy mean to you?     

I think I always took healthy so for granted. For me it was always training 6 days a week and being in the best shape. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, I realised that healthy wasn’t just physical. It meant looking after your inner and your outer. Today, healthy for me means being cancer free and having a happy heart.

 

What is your chosen form of exercise?

I prefer to train in the gym. It’s easier to plan your training sessions. I also get motivated when I look around and see that everyone in the gym is working towards the same goals. My training is a combination of cardio and weight training even though I’ve had to start with a lot lighter training regiment after my surgery. 

 

What does your way of healthy eating look like?

am very aware of what I eat and to the most extent I’ve tried to cut out any sugar from my eating plan – even though on a bad day I can’t help but find myself melting a chocolate bar in my mouth.

I have even elected to remove fruits and replaced it with a higher intake of vegetables due to the sugar.

At the moment I am also allowing myself only 5200KJ a day. This has forced me to eat more clever. I check labels and ensure I am making wise choices when taking food off the shelves. 

What is your passion project?
Last year we stared filming a behind the scenes look of cancer and chemotherapy. Due to life being a little topsy as of late, the filming was temporarily put on hold. 

My objective with the documentary is to educate people on the disease, what happens when you go in for treatment and how you can be there for a friend or family member during such a difficult time.

Outside of the video, I use my blog as a personal diary to remind me of all the lessons I have learnt and for me to use as a measure stick for progress 

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

My alarm goes off at 5:30am and I proceed to fight the winter chill before dashing out of bed to get ready for work. I usually leave home around 6:15 to miss the Jozi Rush and then it’s work work work all the way.

We’ve been interviewing to grow the digital team. I am excited to leave behind the 50hr weeks – thank goodness I love what I do! 

I also try balance out all the work with a lot of personal fun too. Wednesday evenings are reserved for quiz nights and there is nothing quite as rewarding as a good glass of red wine after a long day at the office. 

 

What would you like people to know about you?

Most people judge me by my outer exterior. I tend to come across very harsh and forward. 

I actually just believe in being truthful. I feel like we need more honesty in this world and move on from walking on eggshells 

 

What do you want people to know about your work/business?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that going into social media means. Loads of people are under the impression that it means you sit on Facebook and Twitter watching videos and reading posts. There is so much more that happens on the back end. Strategy, creative concepts, reporting. I think if someone had told me many years ago that social media meant more admin than anything else, I may have chosen a different path!

 

Favourite work out song?

I love putting on Armin van Buuren when I am working out. I have a few favourites from all his track listings; Alone, Fine Without You and Burned With Desire but to mention a few. 

 

Favourite exercise and why?

The plank. It’s awesome to see that the stronger you get, the longer you can hold the position and my stomach has always been a problem area for me, this position does great wonders for your abdominals.

 

Favourite quote/advice?

This has to be a quote that was sent to me a few years ago by a co-worker. It still resonates with me today. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – CS Lewis. 

 

You can follow this beauty on Twitter and Instagram

You should also go read her blog and all about her cancer journey Here!

 


  

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#CutForACause

I love my long hair. It’s the longest it’s ever been by about 20cm. I have grown it this length over 3 years.
It’s not this length anymore. It’s short. Why? Because I made it my mission to grown it to donate my ponytail to CANSA. I donated it so that they can make a wig for someone going through chemo. Imagine a little girl, at the peak of her princess obsession having to shave her hair? How would you feel? Exactly. I felt the same. So I did something about it. And you know what? I FEEL FANTASTIC!!!!

My goal is for 50 women/girls to donate their ponytails by the end of the year. I’ve done mine and so have 4 of my friends. So 5 down and 45 to go!
Don’t you want to join our #KindestCutArmy

Get in touch and let’s change some lives!!
xxx

Please go read all about how you can get involved HERE

I am still raising funds for the making of the wigs if you can’t donate your hair but would like to help please visit my fundraising page and check it out
HERE!

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Who inspires you?

There are quite a few people that I could mention here, but I wanted to focus on a group of people that don’t always get thought of, and not in the way they should. Cancer sufferers and survivors.
Yes, we support our friends and family when they are going through it, but it takes so much strength to get up and fight another day.

I was reminded of this today when a friend of mine updated her blog about her journey. She puts it in perspective. It is so repetitive for her/them. Every day you basically have the same thoughts, feelings and hopes. Having to keep yourself positive and pepped up must be exhausting, never mind the actual treatment you are going for. I have so much respect for YOU ALL!
Literally fighting to live another day.

I am inspired by your fight
I am inspired by your positivity
I am inspired by your smiling faces
I am inspired by your work ethic, every day
I am inspired by your openness
I am inspired by your confidence
I am inspired by you being healthy
I am inspired by YOU!

To all of the girls (I was guilty once too), that keep complaining that their hair is too long/too short/too hot/too cold/too thick/too thin/too boring perhaps it is time to stop complaining about all of these properties that these girls would LOVE to have.

To have to go through losing your hair, must be one of the most difficult things in the world for a woman. It is something that you identify with, and what makes you feel girly. So spare a thought for those around you when you post on social media OMG my hair is like totally annoying me.It is just SO straight. Shut up! And sit down. Someone reading that is FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIFE! Go suck a lollipop and rather keep quiet.

To my amazing friends and family that are currently fighting it, I am watching proudly at the incredible people that you are! To the two that we have lost, I miss you every single day.

Thanks to Liesl and Andrea for reminding me what a survivor looks like.

Love & Light
xxx

Please do yourself a favour and go read Liesl’s blog about her journey with cancer.

Also, since you’re complaining about your TOO LONG HAIR, why don’t you change a child’s life and donate your ponytail so they can have a wig while they are going through chemo? I have pledged to grow my hair to donate my ponytail next year, you should too! Click Here for all the details!

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