Ten years ago I was lucky enough not to get breast cancer… I got butt cancer instead, but given there isn’t a Butt Cancer Awareness month, we went with supporting Breast Cancer Awareness instead. This here’s my almost true story, alongside the before and after pics. You might want to stop reading if you’re easily offended and don’t want to see a picture of my right butt cheek, or, conversely, if you’re a bit of a perv, read on and enjoy!
Feb 2008, met fella, moved to Brisbane. Two weeks later started year-long Diploma in Fitness course. May 2008 friend from course and I go to Sushi bar and I bend over to get my purse out of my bag. Friend says something along the lines of, “My, what a big arse cheek you have.” Now, when someone who doesn’t know you that well spots the enormous lump poking out the back of your leggings then it’s about time you did something about it.
Doc: “It’s probably nothing, but I wouldn’t leave it and if you want to get it sorted via the Australia version of the NHS, then you’ll probably have to wait a year and it’s probably nothing but I really wouldn’t wait that long and here’s the number for a private consultant and of course it’s probably nothing, but I’d suggest getting booked in with him as soon as humanly possible.”
Consultant: “It’s probably nothing, but I don’t want to wait, just in case, so we’ll do a little operation and then see what’s what.”
Mum: “YOU’RE GONNA DIE. I KNEW I SHOULD NEVER HAVE LET YOU LEAVE THE COUNTRY. I’LL START PLANNING THE FUNERAL.” She didn’t actually say that, but I know that’s what she was thinking.
Surgery – pretty horrendous. They hoiked an enormous lumpy bit out of my bottom, sewed me up and sent me home… Yep, SENT ME HOME! The same day. With a drain, attached to a little plastic pouch for all the goo to drain into… and blood pressure that was hovering around my feet somewhere. Following morning, fella wakes me up – I couldn’t wake up – he insists and pulls the covers back to find me floating around in all the goo (bedding destroyed). He carries me to the car because I can’t walk or even stand really and takes me back to the clinic. I collapse. Apparently I shouldn’t have gone home and my blood pressure is pretty much non-existent. However, they persevere these good old private nurses and docs, they tell me I’ll be fine, unceremoniously bend me over, pull out the drain and send me on my way.
Consultant: “I’m going skiing. If I call you with the results it’s bad news because I wouldn’t interrupt my skiing holiday otherwise.”
Me, “I’m trying not to faint or be sick on your floor right now, thanks for your time and for taking seven grand off me for the privilege. And by the way when you sewed me up, did it occur to you to aim for a straight line or were you teaching your four year old blanket stitching at the time because my arse looks like one of them there sharks off the Gold Coast has been nibbling on it.”
Consultant refrains from responding, straps on his skis and buggers off.
I go home and spend two weeks in bed. Then the phone rings… now bearing in mind we’ve only been in Australia for three months, ain’t nobody else calling me except Dr Great White himself.
Dr Great White, “Bad news I’m afraid, old girl, it was a very rare, very nasty, very aggressive tumour and unfortunately we didn’t get it all,” … by we I’m assuming he actually meant I, as he was the one ferreting about in there. He wasn’t British, but I don’t know how to type an Aussie accent… oh hang on, yes I do, you just put a question mark at the end of everything… “So we’ll have to do it all over again, just to clear the margins, but I know you have no money left because I used it all to take my family skiing for a month, so this time we’d be very glad to do it on the Aussie NHS for you?”
Fast forward two weeks, and I’m back in hospital, trying not to cry with panic whilst they’re anaesthetising me… I did cry… I cried a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frightened. I mean Christ, Dr Great White Private doctor had pretty much destroyed my faith in their medical profession I wasn’t overly excited about going through it again with their NHS option.
Bless em, they did such a good job. They kept me in overnight, although the bloody nurse kept coming round every 15 minutes to make sure I wasn’t dying with blood pressure that refused to be pressurised. But the highlight of this five star accommodation was sleeping on a special blow up bed that rolled me about every now and again, presumably for circulatory reasons. All was fine until it deflated and I woke up lying on a flat hard surface, looking up very high rubbery canyon-like walls to the ceiling far, far above me. I was that far down, I was expecting a helicopter rescue, but alas no, just four nurses who I couldn’t see over the top of the rubber walls trying desperately to pin it all down by sitting on the edges, like some weird hospital dinghy, so I didn’t suffocate, whilst shouting reinflation instructions to the junior doc who drew short straw for the night shift with me.
Silver lining: straight line incision, sewn up neatly, and no longer looking like I’d done the surgery myself with a sharpened shiv-like spoon! Now I have a neat white scar and a very flat butt cheek. They did offer me a chicken fillet (breast implant) to fill the space, but I said no thank you very much – no way were they getting their hands back on my bottom. They also said I have to survive for 12 years and then I’ll live forever… So two years to go and then it’s party time in 2020.
Epilogue. A couple of weeks after the last surgery I hobbled to the gym and got the owner to train me, and a month after that I was back to Crossfit… performing badly I hasten to add 😊
So that all happened half way during the course that I’d gone to Oz to study. The transcript for that course is on the wall at the studio. No one will have seen it, or wondered why I’ve stuck a transcript in amongst the many certificates, but I see it and every time I walk past it’s a reminder to pat myself on the head for sticking it out, surviving and getting on with life.
This story is also how I came to Pilates, but that’s another post…
To see pics from our Teasers for Tatas day at the studio click here.