1 Year On…

12 11 2015

It’s been roughly one year since my cancer journey began.

This time, a year ago, I was laid up in bed, in excruciating pain recovering from my full hysterectomy – and the future looked pretty grim… Let’s look over my year in pictures:

Me & Jen just before diagnosis

My best friend and I a week or so before I found out I had cancer.

Me & Jen just before chemo

My bestie and I again – this was after my two surgeries just before I started chemo.

My 28th bithday - had most all my hair

With my fav girls on my 28th birthday – I had lost all my hair at this point.

Out at a party with my wigMe wearing my NHS wig and penciled in eyebrows at a friend’s bbq.

My hair re-growth since May last year to October 20156 months of hair growth…

So – what’s happened since I last blogged?

  • I’ve had chemo (sucked ass)
  • I’ve had radiotherapy (also sucked ass)
  • I’m still coming to terms with having lost the ability to bare children
  • Menopause has taken full swing and I have become a raving lunatic
  • I got a dog (Buttonz)
  • Changed career paths
  • I’m still single and fear I may actually die alone

I don’t really need to explain how awful chemo and radiotherapy is, do I?

Ok, very quickly – chemo sucked. It’s literally poison that they give you in the hopes of it ‘hitting the right spot’ – needless to say, it kills and damages all cells it comes into contact with. They have no way of directing it, so essentially it causes horrible side effects – some of which are still with me (and I am told, may be with me for years).

Radiotherapy sucked. It was everyday for 6 weeks. It’s a very strange thing to have technicians who are wearing lead aprons and protective gear ask you to remove your clothing in order to be fried by a machine that is no-doubt dangerous. At first I felt like James Bond being ready to have a lazer beam cut him half… except I didn’t escape my fate as he does – and towards the end I started to feel like an alien being experimented on.

On that note – I truly commend those who offer themselves to medical studies post-cancer survival… You are real warriors!

I’m not doing well adjusting to my new status as barren… And it only irks me further when I try to express my emotional distress and am met with “but you can always adopt”… I am well aware I can adopt – have a surrogacy – become a crazy cat lady – but I just need to mourn this massive loss and I really wish people understood that, rather than trying to ‘fix it’.

Guide to Why I Have Become a Raving Lunatic:

  1. Menopause (resulting from the hysterectomy and therefore a loss of regulatory hormones)
  2. At 27 I lost the ability to bare children
  3. I still have symptoms from chemo and radiotherapy
  4. I have very little energy and am basically a young woman trapped in a body I don’t recognise and can’t control
  5. My emotions are all over the place – I can switch from happy and relaxed to spewing molten lava in 5 seconds flat (not as great of a party trick as you’d imagine – especially when pre-cancer one of my most noticeable traits was my patience)
  6. I had a seemingly undetectable cancer (that’s a pretty basic one, right?)
  7. My life long dream career made me miserable (teaching)

All the above is bound to make you a cranky-snappy-ass-bitch; or more commonly know as a Raving Lunatic.

I whole-heartily apologise to anyone who my anger lands on – it’s not you, it’s me… but can you blame me?

World, meet Buttonz (yes, I am one of those dog owners who dress their dog up… I have no shame).


He’s a year old now and he’s my bae!

I’m exploring a new career path in Wedding & Event Planning. I’m very excited to focus my attentions on something new!

And, finally – I joke about being single, but right now that works just fine for me. I need to focus on myself, come to terms with my losses and re-write my 5 year plan. Besides I don’t even want to think about how to approach that difficult conversation about what has happened, what could happen and what I can’t offer… Plus, the single and dying alone part is kind of countered by Buttonz…

Me & Buttonz


Update: Round 1 of Chemo (Taxol & Carbo)

28 01 2015

On the 15th January I had my first round of chemo.



I have joined a group of women on Facebook who have/are working through cancer survival and they have provided tremendous support (the group was created, and is run by cancer survivor and author Maureen Miles Bucci – who’s book I will be reviewing soon!).


The link to the group is here: Snobbies

The group is for anyone who has gone through cancer treatment, is going through cancer treatment or knows someone who has/is. It’s a great place to read and write about worries, fears, stories (good, bad and hilarious!) The women in the group have provided me with much love and support and I feel strangely akin to them considering I have never actually met any of them and they live on different continents! (I suppose the battle against cancer is enough to bring us together).

I was very apprehensive although I had done a lot of research on what to expect.

A good friend of mine (Vicky) came with me and kept me as distracted and upbeat as she could. She is a star!

Me & Vicky

They had a lot of trouble finding a vein and when they did it would collapse after a while. It took 3 nurses and 11 stabs before they found a vein that would stick…  I also tend to be very difficult to get blood from, so we have decided that I should be fitted with a PIC line. What should have taken 5/6 hours took 9 hours :/

A PIC line (for those of you who don’t know) is a port that leads directly to my vein and it sits under my skin. It should make it much easier to access my vein for blood test, blood infusions (should I need one) and for the chemo drugs. I am scheduled to go and have it put in on the 2nd February.

I’m just under two weeks from my first treatment and so far I have experienced the following side-effects:

-Weird metallic taste in mouth

-Ravenous hunger that is never satisfied (due to everything tasting like cardboard)


-Dry skin

-Muscle pain

-Joint pain

-Scalp pain

So far, my hair hasn’t started to drop, but I’m told that will happen soon :(

My friends have been very supportive and all around awesome but I find myself not really wanting to hang out or see people. I know it’s going to get worse before it gets better so I’m trying to force myself to be social while I still can.


That’s all for now…

Tara xoxo

EDIT: it’s 19:11 and my hair just started falling out… :(

What would you change?

6 11 2014

This video has been circulating on the internet for a while.

Adults and children were asked “if you could change one thing about your body, what would you change?

The answers from the adults mirrored my own and will probably mirror yours and those you know, but the answers from the children… were beautiful and inspiring.

It’s amazing how children see the world.

Enjoy xoxo

Update: Operation 2 – Done

6 11 2014


On the 28th of October I had the second surgery, which was a hysterectomy.

The hospital sent me home to recoup on the 31st October.

I was a lot more emotional this time around, mainly because;

  1. I had two weeks to stew over it (compared to the 3 days I had for the first surgery).


  1. This surgery is was so final. I was losing my ability to carry a child – permanently. Forever.


I tried to prepare myself and told myself that the surgery couldn’t be that different from the first one since they were going back in through the same scar. I tried to think positively “at least I’ll know what to expect”.

Boy was I wrong.

Although my body was more compliant this time (I was a bit more prepared to push myself to walk etc. because I knew where my pain threshold was – unlike before), the pain itself was much worse. My tummy feels like it’s filled with water and its stretched so much in swollenness that it hurts. I have clips in this time (as apposed to stitches which I had last time) and they add a whole new dimension of discomfort.

I truly feel sympathy for women over 40/50 years old who go through this. I’m told that I’m healing much faster and doing much better than most because of my young age (silver lining?).

It doesn’t feel like I’m doing great.

My tummy was painful to the touch and up until yesterday even when I was sitting or lying absolutely still, my whole abdominal area seemed to throb like a stubbed toe or hammered thumbnail.

I also have this sharp pain on the inside of tummy, which feels like someone has stitched together all my organs and when I move I’m pulling them apart.

After the first operation they had me on a wicked cocktail of drugs for the pain that made me throw up, feel dizzy, foggy and drowsy. Felt like I was in Pans Labyrinth with David Bowie.

Thankfully, this time I was able to decline the drugs that wreaked such havoc last time and they gave me a much more simplified drug régime to manage my pain.

You really take things for granted until you can’t do them anymore. While waiting for the cab to pick us up from the hospital, I found myself admiring young women as they walked by.

What was I admiring?

Their clothes?

Their hair?

Their slim figures?


I admired their postures.

Their ability to walk and stand straight, without the grimace I had developed when attempting such tasks.

Oh, I thought to myself – don’t take it for granted young ladies!

Anyway, I am healing (slow and steady wins the race – or so I’m told) and I’m very excited to be getting the clips out tomorrow. I’m hoping that after the initial discomfort of actually having them removed, my overall comfort will be much better.



Update: PET CT Scan

23 10 2014

I went to get the results of my PET CT Scan yesterday, which would let them know if cancer had spread anywhere else through my body before the operation on the 28th…


It hasn’t!

The scan only confirmed what we already knew and all systems are go to get this shit out of my body!

Fight Like A Girl!

It’s a good day!


And so it begins… The Big C

20 10 2014

Hello Everyone,

My last entry was way back in March and I’ve fallen off the radar a bit. I started dating a friend’s brother and quickly gained a complicatedly extended family and a new group of friends. My weekends were busy with visits and juggling my time between the various people in my life, and balancing work with the hopes of some, me-time was difficult to negotiate – so this blog took the hit… which is why I haven’t written a thing since January.

Birthday Dinner

But now, things are… different. A LOT has changed.

I started dating Paul* in January and after 8 months of consideration and deliberation I decided it wasn’t working between us. On the 1st of September I decided to end it (I’ll go into the ins-and-outs of it all one day).


That night I got painful abdominal cramping. I took some Advil and tried to go to sleep, telling myself that it was the guilt of the days events or maybe that dodgy sandwich I’d had for dinner, but the pain persisted all night.

In the morning I took more Advil but the pain remained and at about 10am I asked my Mum to come with me to the doctors surgery to get checked out (by the way, generally speaking, I’m not an alarmist – and the doctors surgery is always my last resort, so the fact that I wanted to go, gives you some idea of the pain I was in).

The doctor asked some questions and gave me physical exam. He sent me straight to the Accident & Emergency Department fearing it was a appendicitis or an ectopic pregnancy. I was admitted to Queens Hospital for 10 days while they ran various tests. My pain was managed well with oral morphine, oxycontin and paracetamol. They ran blood tests and did an MRI scan.

I was told (upon discharge) that a mass was found on my ovary and that it was a staggering 8 cms. The registrar informed me that I would receive a letter about scheduling a check up and then a surgery date to remove the mass (the letter came but was scheduled for mid December – I was furious and in a lot of pain. How could they expect me to deal with that pain for months?!).

On the 22nd of September I got a call from the hospital informing me that an emergency appointment had been made with the gynological team at Queens for me to attend for blood tests on the 24th of September.

When I went on the 24th of September I went through the blood tests and my consultant told me that the MRI team had rushed my scans to her desk because what they saw had concerned them. She told me to keep my mobile on because she was going to rush the results and get them to me that night. At about 8:30 pm she called.

It was bad news.

The ovary and my blood tests showed elements of malignancy. She scheduled me for a CT scan and blood test on 25th September and a removal of the cancerous ovary on the 26th September. See diagram below of what was going on:

Ovarian Cancer

The results of the CT scan showed that I had some dodgy looking lymph nodes, which they would also remove, during my surgery. They also said they would biopsy surrounding areas including my other ovary and womb.

The surgery happened, and it sucked (the mass on my ovary had grown to 12 cms – that’s about the size of an iPhone). I was in so much pain and I look like I’ve been cut in half… scars are sexy, right..?)

– Below is Elly Mayday, she manages to rock her scar and look sexy! My scar goes right up about an inch below my bra, but she is so inspirational!

Elly Mayday, Maybe I can Be Sexy Again too

We went for the results of the biopsy on the 15th October (last Wednesday).

It wasn’t good.

In fact it was awful.


The biopsies returned positive for an aggressive stage 3 cancer which had originated in my womb and had spread to my ovary.

The only form of treatment is to remove my womb and other ovary.

At age 27 and childless, I have to have a hysterectomy




I have cancer.

I spoke to them about possibly removing my eggs and freezing them but the surgeon expressed an urgency with time and that their priority was me and my health and that they weren’t willing to advise me to wait in order to have my eggs removed.

I was devastated.

I am devastated.

We are all devastated.

The operation to remove my womb and good ovary is scheduled for the 28th of October. They plan on going back in through my previous scar and they may have to extend the length a little. After that, chemo and/or radiation will be my treatment until I am given the all-clear.

I don’t really know what is left to say.

I’m not really sure why I’m even writing about this.

Maybe for completeness…

Maybe over the years I have come to feel like I owe you. Like you deserve for me to have accountability and transparency with you.

I have talked to you at length about my hopes and dreams and aspirations and stresses and irritations… so why not this..?

I would ask you all for one thing: Please send me your positivity and supportive thoughts. This is a time when I really need all the good vibe-i-ness I can handle.

Thank you.

Tara xoxox

P.S. Not sure how long it will take me to recover after the next surgery, and not sure if I’ll be up for blogging, so you may not hear from me for a while, but I will be back eventually… I will however, try to keep you updated on progress.

Happy Friday!

21 03 2014

This ad makes me happy every time I watch it! Happy Friday all! xoxo


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