My Breast Cancer Journey/Blog

Friday 13th September, 2019

Of COURSE I would have to find 2012out on Fri 13th, lol.  I found out I had breast cancer on my birthday, so why not?  As I told you all on my social media pages – I had suddenly lost my eye sight after surgery.  After about a million tests – we’ve found my eyes can’t co-ordinate due to a serious muscle problem called PSP.   Gotta say – it does hurt.  But, thank God for Australian medicine – I can see a specialist that can help & support!

One day at a time…

21 April, 2019.  EASTER!

I think, with age, and especially when you’ve suffered big losses, like my losing my entire family, while fighting breast cancer myself, you start to appreciate the big days more and more.

I am so grateful to still have one elderly Uncle, Peter, my father’s brother here, and, frail as he is, he still came to mass with me on today, the most miraculous day of the year.

No matter what you think happened today – you’ve got to agree – it’s one of two events: Christmas and Easter that brings the world together.  Fancy one man having that effect on the planet.

Happy Easter to my friends, family, and fans out there – thank you for your thousands of emails , facebook and youtube likes – it means a lot to me on days when I’m not so well. And on days, like today, when I’m feeling great – it gives me the opportunity to sit, and think, and be grateful for everyone.  Thank you, and Happy Easter! Colleen xx

17 March, 2019 – St. Patrick’s Day

With a name like Colleen Kelly – it’s obvious my heritage!

Today is the first day in years I was able to stand up long enough to actually go to a bar and have a drink on this great day – in true Irish/Australian tradition.

There were so many times I wanted to give up.  Actually I did give up.  I think only the Good Lord himself saw me through those nights (actually mornings, lol).

So, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my friends, family and fans out there!

16 March, 2019 – My Birthday & Breast Cancer Anniversary

It’s six years today I’ve been battling this mess.  Lost my cousin, lost my Grandmother, my mother, my sister.  My entire family’s now gone, and so today is my birthday, and all I can remember today is the phone call, 6 years ago today, from the doctor “Yess Colleen – it’s breast cancer”.

And, of all things, it’s not really the cancer that caused most of my problems, it was the treatment!  I was allergic to the MRI dye, and got hyper-tyroidism, which caused angina, high blood pressure, and lots of days in bed.  But it’s the walking I miss the most.  I’ve been on crutches on some days.

But…who cares about the liver, today, a glass of champagne never hurt anyone on their birthday!  Happy birthday me!

Christmas Day 2018

What a lovely Christmas – again with my Uncle Peter Kelly.  It’s just the two of us left up here now of the family.  I’ve lost all my immediate family now, but it was a wonderful day full of lovely food, and of course a glass of champagne!

October 11, 2018 – Pneumonia

Was home for a couple of days, then back in with pneumonia, and they’re keeping me in this time.  I really appreciate your prayers and visits, and especially for the flowers and messages of support.  In God’s hands.

September 20, 2018 – Pneumonia

Message from Colleen:

“Hi everyone, on Wednesday, after the surgery, I could not stop coughing up massive blood clots – only to find I have pneumonia.  I want to let you know that I am comfortable, I’m not in too much pain, and I am OK – but your prayers are ALWAYS welcome”

March 16, 2018 – Happy Birthday to me!

ERGH!  Seriously!  On my birthday – AGAIN!

It was four years ago TODAY (on my birthday) I got the first phone call telling me I had breast cancer….and now, four years later, on the very same day I find I have liver disease.  I knew something was terribly wrong.  So much pain and nausea all the time.  Feeling absolutely TERRIBLE.  Nothing can be done except total change of diet – no more fats. No more alcohol (I haven’t felt well enough to drink anyway, so that’s easy), no dairy, no butter, no salt or sugar.

THANK GOD I researched it and there is ONE THING ONLY that just might save me….coffee apparently is good for the liver!!!!   YIPPEE I might just be saved. LOL (got to keep that humor!).

Yes, it is sad, and ironic that my father was a long-term alcoholic, bit it’s ME who gets the liver disease, but if I can survive everything I have talked about below…this shouldn’t be that hard.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

January 11, 2018

Good days and bad days.  The medicines sometimes are hideous, but I’m alive I’m well.  Sadly my hearing that got screwed up from the thyroid toxicosis has gone from “severe” to “profound”.  My ears hurt so badly…who would have thought that being allergic to the MRI dye would call so many problems.  I’ve got the “woo woo’s” Shauna and Mum used to call them before they passed and has the same thing.  It’s this kind of woosh over you, ears hurting and popping, and the room kind of moving in a vertigo wave.  It sure isn’t fun.

I’m having my new EEG, but I’m forfeiting my driver’s licence due to the absence seizures/petit mals.

Amber, my service dog is still in America.  I truly am devastated that they think she’s not good enough to be a service dog…after all the demos and training she’s done.  Keep me in your prayers, and pray for her home-coming soon!

November 23, 2017

Appointment coming up at GC University Hospital.  I am feeling well, and I haven’t had the terrible “morning sickness” I’ve been having from the breast cancer medicine, just odd flashes of nausea here and there, but not the way it was before.

So, let’s see what they say this time!  Prayers please!

15 October, 2017 – Dad Passed Away Today

Vale: Frank Kelly

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my last family member, my father, early this morning, just after midnight in Robina Hospital.  He was very peaceful in the end, and after a long history with cancer and personal battles, he is now in heaven, and no longer in the pain that tormented him his whole life.

Funny I was having treatment in the same hospital at the same time.

13 October, 2017

I am terribly sorry to advise those who know my father that he has taken a downturn in Robina Hospital.  Please do not bring children to visit, and you must contact the family prior to visiting, as he is in a high dementia ward.  You can contact Colleen me through Facebook, but please know as we’re facing these difficult weeks to come that I will be out of contact a lot of the time.  I ask, again, for prayers.

1 October, 2017

Me and my big mouth.  One test hadn’t come back when I got all excited and only one month later here we are getting treatment again week after next.

Those of you who know my father Frank Kelly would be sad to hear that he is in a very bad state in Robina Hospital, same place I’m going as an outpatient.  Weird…same hospital.

Please keep us both in your prayers at this difficult time.

1 September, 2017

First of spring, and here I am alive and well.  The tests are AWESOME!  No cancer found! Again, God bless the Australian system.  Us scientists and teachers aren’t the richest people in the world….I don’t know how they manage in the USA without free medical.

Thank you whoever invented Medicare.  Scans done, bloods done, the works!   It’s a BIG RELIEF! Got all the first results, and everything is looking great.  Thank you for your prayers and support everyone.  It’s been a long long road!

11 June, 2017

OK guys, here I am back in Australia.  And, I’m having all my tests done.  Thank God for the Australian system.  I have already been offered free xrays, scans, tests, counselling, even a dietician/diet advice.

I’m taking the rest, and I’m really so very happy to be home.  I only have to arrange to get doggie home.  I didn’t realize I’m actually nervous without her.  I haven’t been without Amber the Service dog since my hearing first went.  As soon as they said my hearing loss was permanent, I think I got a puppy within a week or so.  And OF COURSE it had to be an Aussie cattle dog.

Little did I know I’d have to move back to Australia.  Mostly because of my father being elderly, but also for my health as well.  God bless the Australian system!

16 March 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday dear breast cancer
You did not get me!

It’s  not the phone call you want on your birthday, but that’s what I got four years ago TODAY.  Yep!  On my birthday.  I’m not known for having good birthdays, but, OK this one was a doozey.  But…hey   f* you breast cancer.  Here I am still here.  Here I am stil trying to change the world, teach as many students as I can before I retire.  Finish my lecturing at the University Programs, and get to sitting on my back porch finishing my book.  I’m hoping the USA farm is selling soon.  I need to move home to Aus for my medical, and for my father is getting old.

But I’m still here…Happy birthday.  Four years on.  (and I’m even a little OVERweight now!  Not that’s a good thing, but it does make me smile!).

Christmas 2016

Christmas Miracle!

My father called, and he has apologized for years of drinking and violence, and asked me to come home as he is getting frail and weak and needs my help.  So, I’m packing up and moving back to Australia folks.

I’m here, alone, at the farm, giving me time to really contemplate and think about life.  Sad day Christmas.  I guess it will always be a sad day from now on, but at least I’m alive, pushing through, and still here fighting.  Alone.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Still alive!  Still single.  Still pushing on.  Still having a ball.  Boy how my life changed with breast cancer.  I’m now less tolerant of selfish people, more tolerant of people with problems in their lives. I’m a nicer person, a healthier person, more fun, and hopefully giving more back to the world now than ever.

Today I’m in my dream spot: Myrtle Beach. I am with my assistant, Tay Harriett, on a world tour of Aus, NZ, UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa & Brazil…that should keep us busy!!

I still have Black Pearl farm, but it is for rent/sale.  So hopefully that will be off my responsibility list very soon!

Breast cancer wise…doing GREAT.  It’s just the stupid thyroid that they wrecked when they gave me 2 x MRI’s in a row with contrast dye, and I’m allergic to contrast dye.  So the left overs are:  hot and VERY cold flashes, massive afternoon headaches nearly every day and HORRIFIC restless legs and high blood pressure.

CURRENT MEDICINE: I’m on high blood pressure meds, and thyroid meds, cups of tea, gin and tonic, honey bun donuts and lots and lots of Law & Order (Special Victims/Mariska of course!) and Criminal Minds, walks on the beach every day I can, and WORK WORK WORK!!!

I’m super happy, and glad I have no boobs.  I never did have the reconstruction.  Not just because it’s another hideous operation and months off, but I wanted to make a stand…who the hell decided I was less of a person with no chest?  How dare Society make me have an operation SOLELY for beauty.  There is no earthly reason for fake boobs.  At $30,000 that could sponsor FIVE CHILDREN with World Vision for their entire childhood through college!  FIVE CHILDREN for their entire young lives…

That choice is easy!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  Thank you for your continued support.

16 March 2015 Happy Birthday to me!

Two years since “THE PHONE CALL” telling me I had breast cancer.  Yes, the worst two years of my life what with the wrong operation, the horrible results of the scaring, and of course now on medicines for the rest of my life for the thyroid problems caused by mistakingly having two MRI’s in a row.

I’m on my own today in Florida, staying at good friends in St. Augustine. Yes, I’ve been stuck here since December when our truck died, however considering Paris Kentucky was COLDER THAN THE NORTH POLE (seriuosly -22F degrees – that’s MINUS THIRTY IN AUSTRALIA AAAAHHHH!) then I sure as heck wasn’t missing much.  Florida weather was AMAZING this whole winter.

So, although it’s the saddest birthday ever, alone on the other side of the world.  I’m tough.  I’m safe.  I have food.  I have a safe place to stay, and albeit the day from hell…I am grateful.

11 January 2015

Those of you who know my dearest Nick will also know that during this time he has been the most incredible human being to me throughout all this horrible breast cancer stuff….sadly Nick has left me in the USA, in Florida, with the entire trailer (which I can’t drive) and I believe has gone to his homeland, Greece. Quite honestly, you’ve all seen the change in me, and breast cancer is of such a deep personal nature that even (or perhaps especially because of) the closest relationships often fail.

Nick is truly a kind human being, and I ask that you give me a little breathing space in the next few weeks to help heal grieve my loss, and this horrible emotional time.

And, please, put me on your prayer list. I need it!

Christmas Day 2014

Daytona Beach Florida.  Here I am with Nick and darling Amber Doggie in the Hilton Hotel for Christmas…it’s FANTASTIC.

Honestly if you ever get to Florida…this hotel is a MUST (make sure you get a beach view room).

I miss my father terribly on Christmas Day, as he’s my only family member, but unfortunately he was unable to speak to me today at length, and I told him I would call back when he was “feeling better”.

It should be a day of happiness and joy, but still this horrible sadness and loss of self esteem hangs over me like a big huge black cloud.

Christmas Prayer: Please God…make it better.

November 16, 2014

Three years since Shauna’s passing.  In one way it’s a blessing.  Shauna was such a deeply personal and private person that this BUTCHERING this surgeon did to me…she would have never handled it.

Plus, now on thyroid medication for the rest of my life, and high blood pressure meds caused by the two MRI’s in a row and too much contrast dye from the “double dose”…that would have sent her quite literally nuts.

I have tinnitis but Shauna had meniere’s disorder she suffered a million times more.  The constant screaming headaches..the thump thump thump of the heart in your ears is more than I can stand mentally sometimes.

May 19, 2014

My heart is thumping in my chest SO BAD. It’s from the dye in the MRI from my breast cancer sent me into thyroid-toxicosis (not to mention the stress caused by ROTTEN ROTTEN INSURANCE COMPANY New Era Life (Philadelphia American) who WOULD NOT PAY FOR MY MASTECTOMY.

So with my heart THUMPING in my ears…I ring the emergency department here in London Canada ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for a visit – and only accept CASH UP FRONT – that’s just to walk in the door before the blood tests, heart tests and x-rays, lady said probably about $5,000 for one visit…Just rang a 2nd walk in clinic. About the same price, but she said the heart test I needed more in the vicinity of $15K. Dear Lord, let my heart just keep beating until June when I can get to the doctor in Australia where they won’t let you die in the car park.

March 16, 2014.  Happy Birthday to me

One year ago I was told – over the phone – I had breast cancer.  I should be thrilled I’m alive. I should be partying on my birthday, but here I am, no presents, no going out, no party, no champagne…NOTHING.  I’ve never been more down in my entire life.  I can’t believe that I have lost my self esteem like this…a YEAR later…I should be over it.  I should have gotten counselling…but with the medical costs…forget it.

Please, if you go through this…make COUNSELLING a top priority.  As you can see – I don’t perform on stage any more, and doubt I ever will….that was taken from me forever by the “Butcher of Melbourne” as I now call her.

Let’s just get through today.

March 6, 2014

A year ago today I had my FIRST of my two surgeries. I should be thanking God for giving me another year…but when I look back on how hard the last year was, and how much I have been butchered, the self esteem I have lost, the self confidence that has gone out the window…Plus the horrendous horrendous cost crippling me….

I can’t understand the lack of care after the operation.  I’ve been totally butchered, wrong operation, and ABSOLUTELY NO COUNSELLING, no offer of a psychologist, or mental help with depression.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH SURGEONS?  Money money money…next patient…oh their dead….NEXT…..

Friday Feb 14, 2014 – Valentine’s Day

2 doz red rozes, another bunch of cute flowers, not one, not two but THREE days of boxes of chocolates, one each day for the past three days, and a glorious dinner last night in Louisville with Mary Midkiff and Fernanda Carmargo planning our International Symposium for September…great people is what valentine’s is about.

Sunday February 9, 2014 – I’m back performing!

One of my fun friends might recognize him from my 2nd DVD has a bit of fun on stage!
One of my fun friends Michael…you might recognize him from my 2nd DVD …has a bit of fun on stage! WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND!  I’M BACK!!! Crowds were pretty big it’s a HUGE HUGE stadium.

I’d really like to thank the retail staff, and the ground staff at the Lexington VA Tour Stop.  Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, and I didn’t feel so bad about my “new body shape” after the double mastectomy.

It is truly hard some times – yes I cry – when I think So….I don’t think!!!

Just work work work is the only way back.  Here I am working my first show. My feet are KILLING me, but hey at least it’s not my surgery pain in the chest, arms, back and anywhere else I could think of. I got through the show well, only thing was a young man came up and hugged me and literally picked me up. I thought my breast bone was going to snap in two! But cancer wise, I have an appointment on Tues 11th with the oncologist back in Lexington KY. After the butcher job I talked about on December 21 below…I need to know if they even did the oncology part well now, as my confidence in the Australian surgeon is in the gutter. But I feel well, I got through the show less emotionally than I thought.

I cannot think AT ALL.  If I do, I cry…so as I said…I don’t think.  I must say the crowd were so lovely, standing ovation and the people that came to the trade-stand were so supportive, as was all the road crew and retail people…just the best bunch in the world!

Sunday Dec 22, 2013

You might wonder why, after the last entry, I am so open with you. The reason, as stated way earlier on, is that my sister died only 2 years ago of this same hideous disease. Same age, same disease, same family full of cancer sufferers, same city, same hospital, same doctors, same breast surgeon. But she kept silent. So silent that only her best friend knew.

I was off overseas getting upset she wasn’t ringing me for my birthday, only to find she upside down in hospital with breast cancer, silently. It wasn’t until the very last that I was told. And I was the very last to hear. I didn’t make it home for her passing. Shauna Kelly died peacefully, on her own terms, in hospital, just as she had hoped.

But I won’t.  Stuff that. Before I go they’re going to have to drag me screaming and yelling down the road. And after that they’ll have to screw that lid on tight…just in case. No, I’m the MASSIVE Irish wake kinda girl (would you have guessed). And low and behold anyone who is not hysterically crying with grief (regularly interuppted by the inevitable trip to the bar). That’s why I’m so open, so no one misses anything from word go, and none of this “oh he knows that, and she doesn’t know, so don’t tell this person and that person” kind of non-sense & garbage.

Open and free and truthfully as can be. And if you’re reading the next entry…it’s actually WORSE than I make it sound…


In never thought I’d feel so low as the sudden “twig” when I realised I how bad things really are.

I cried and cried and cried today when it finally hit home…I cried so much I actually sat on the bathroom floor and threw up….The honest to God truth is I am BUTCHERED. I have the worst scaring, with the Breast Nurse (finally I get to a BN 3 weeks after operation with infected wounds and and and) saying “this is the worst mastectomy ever”.  OMG REALLY!

The “Butcher of Melbourne” as I now call her ABSOLUTELY INSISTED that I go to her “friend” to have a reconstruction. I told her I wasn’t having a reconstruction under any circumstances…BUT SHE GAVE ME THE PARTIAL SKIN SAVING MASTECTOMY INSTEAD OF THE MASTECTOMY I SIGNED OFF ON.

Are you CRAZY?  I’m a horse rider…the ONLY good thing to come out of this was I was told I would have two small straight scars and be “totally flat”…BRILLIANT!  Full mastectomy, great by me…I’m a horse rider, I won’t look pretty any more, but at least my sitting trot will be great!

I told her I didn’t want a reconstruction, fake boobs on a horse rider, are you kidding? And… secondly they take all your stomach muscles, gosh that would be the end of my sitting trot for sure…those muscles are vital…Plus…three operations in a row…no way!

I signed off on a MASTECTOMY…only to find now I have had the WRONG OPERATION.  Truly, can anything else go wrong. The operation I should have had…plain mastectomy with incisions across so you can still wear a cute little padded bra around your “bra line”. What I got…a preparation of poorly stitched together flaps and massive holes awaiting the INEVITABLE reconstruction.

As a reconstruction removes your stomach muscles. I cannot afford to be without them. That’s my CORE that’s my riding. That’s my life. Not just for vanity. But I didn’t expect to be left with a scar where I can NEVER wear a bra at all, and left with these weird “boob like flaps” with massive scars nearly 1.4 inch wide.  One inch wide at the T intersections. I’m butchered.

Wed Dec 11 – back in loads of pain – Hate lazy companies – but love UNITED AIRLINES

Had lots of pain today. The double mastectomy site (from my side round my front to my side) isn’t nearly as painful as my “on fire armpits”.   I still haven’t really seen my wounds yet.

ERgh)*$#&%)&@#$)% tough day. Loads of pain, and loads of pain killers. I just gave up trying to fight it and thought there’s no reason to be in this much pain. Actually that’s probably an exaggeration. At the time I was in so much pain I couldn’t care less. I had to drive all the way to Bacchus Marsh, but my GP is worth it. She’s just the most amazingly caring lady and seems to know more stuff than any doc I’ve ever met.

They dressed the wounds, it’s all infected due to lack of care from the surgeon.  My GP was HORRIFIED!!!!  She’s incredibly knowledgable about vitamins and minerals, and many times recommended many “off the wall” things with valid science backing it up…which of course my little ol left brain loves LOL. Well yes I am laughing, and then crying, and then sulking, and then looking in the mirror and seeing the shape of an old man, a VERY old man, and realise there’s lots of work to do. But I’m trying. I cannot tell you how many people have “pushed me green”, but I’m drinking so much green stuff I’ll look like a frog sooner or later…still they have plenty of jump! And vit & min & oils and candles and of course…prayer.

Sat Dec 7, 2013 – having a rough day

Well it hasn’t been easy I tell you. I wrote this the other night when life felt as grim as it could be, awake all night praying and singing to myself, rocking myself back and forth in pain, and then the first birds started still in the pitch black dark, so I wrote this poem: “The Bird’s Song” to have a record of how bad it’s been so that when the sun shines again, I can remember the bad times – to enjoy the good times.  Hope you read and share!

Wed Dec 3, 2013 – pathology back

Well it has been 1 week since my double mastectomy. I’m still mostly in bed, get up for a tippy toe to the front gate, and back to bed again. Typing I find really hard, but I’m trying!

I had to go back to hospital twice – both by ambulance. Both unable to stop the vomiting. But oh well…

The surgeon said she was so lucky that she did the operation that it was the pre-cursor to really bad cancer,

But…they’ve gotten it so early that it would seem there is no need for more treatment. But I tell you, it isn’t easy and I’m going to write some “tips for surviving mastectomy pain” later on – when I figure out how to survive myself! I’m still in horrendous pain, losing half your chest isn’t really recommended!  But it’s the armpits that hurt the most, they’re horrendous pain. So please don’t forget me on your prayer lists!

I have to tell you the truth, and I’m very upset that my chest is far more “sunken” than I thought and I look like my grandpa.  I hope it’s just swelling in my belly that makes it look so terrible.

Sunday Nov 24, 2014 – In hospital again

Never rains but it pours. We had to call the ambulance. Overnight in hospital with a BP of 60 and oxygen of 81. Not good. But today feeling good enough to type this at least, and then my buddie Dr. Fernanda Carmago sends me this link. You just HAVE to watch it….

Friday November 22, 2014 – Cancer worse than we thought.

I’m pretty sure this will be the last entry before the surgery. And, honestly…I’m scared. The surgeon said it is a bit worse than first thought. They will be removing both breasts and lymph nodes. Yep…sound hideous?  The surgery is at:  Epworth Hospital, 89 Bridge Road, Richmond Vic 3121 Australia.  And if you’d like to send me a card I’ll be admitted Tuesday 26th November for about a week. It sure would cheer me up! And, if I could ask another favor…keep me on your prayer list, it’s all I’ve got left right now.

Love you all xxxx

Tuesday November 19, 2014 – Argh! Doctors…

I’m not one to moan publicly but my goodness why are these doctors so RUDE and so MEAN.  I just got seven – repeat – SEVEN brochures on how to pay the doctor’s surgery bills, and ONE brochure on the details of the mastectomy. I don’t know how I’ll wake up, where I’ll wake up, what kind of incision, if there will be drains, what happens after, how much pain, when can I get back to work, what happens if it’s spread more than we think. If they do find more, what do they do then…the surgeon  didn’t tell me ANYTHING…but I did get SEVEN brochures on how to pay the bill.  UNBELIEVABLE! Only on Friday was the doctor saying  “ah well, we’re not sure”, and we need to do this test and that.

She has decided to do the surgery WITHOUT THE BIOPSY???  (kinda happy because it’s HIDEOUS, but now kinda scared…should I have had another biopsy again?.  When they said you have to fight cancer, it isn’t the cancer you have to fight the system. And too bad if you don’t have the energy to fight any more!  Then, this morning “well it’s cancer” is all she said.  I was in the doctors for MAXIMUM ten minutes.  (this of course after she yelled at me the other day for having a mammogram in the USA instead of Australia). Only a few days ago I had a full blood test, but she made me have another one this morning because it wasn’t done at HER OFFICE….are you kidding????

Talk about double-dealing, double-dipping.  And who pays? YOU and ME! So the same Doctor my sister died under yells at me not once but twice, lies directly to my face not once but twice…and how do I react? I couldn’t challenge her, couldn’t say “hey how dare you be that rude to me when I’ve got a life-threatening illness”…what do I do? Sit in the corner, suck my thumb, and sign the papers for the surgery that will change my life forever. I figure this….these “brainy types” were always unpopular at school, normally loser “no friend” types, so they get stuck in the books, get great marks, get accepted into Uni.  Rarely would they have to get another job because their parents would have to be rich to go in the first place…so without ever having had any kind of job to teach them not to be rude – they NEVER learn manners, NEVER learn compassion, NEVER learn empathy. They might be good with a scalpel, but geez that is only a small part of patient care. Surely kindness and empathy are part of it? So my oncology surgeon rings my plastic surgeon and basically fired her.

They were going to “work together”…now the cancer surgeon is doing it on her own.  So now (having seen the photos on the internet) I’m going to be totally flat with two straight scars…not to bad (especially for a horse rider!).

I won’t have a reconstruction because the surgery is so invasive, losing belly muscle isn’t on my list for riding well…and sadly that decision will be in my face for the rest of my life.  Every time I see someone, they’ll think “I wonder what’s under there”. Is she wearing fakies, does she look like a boy?  Well, here’s the truth…NOTHING! I am very upset typing this. This isn’t the best day of my life I can tell you. But to put everyone’s mind’s to rest, I just want to put it down for all to see. I didn’t have a reconstruction. Yes I’ll look like boy, but I’m alive. And, if I’m alive I can still do something worthwhile with my life. I want to look back and see that I’ve made the right choices in my life. Look back and see that I have been a role model, see that I’ve made someone’s life better just by being alive. The purpose of life is to serve. So I guess sulky posts like this won’t be my proudest moment…but who cares.  I am what I am, and I want people going through the same thing to know it IS hard, and it ISN’T EASY and there are sh*t days and I don’t apologize for how I feel (or for my typical Aussie language)! I will be back. I will kick butt again. I’ve been given a second chance. Now it’s up to me to decide what to do with that gift.

Fri November 15, 2013 – Core Biopsy????

They want to do a core biopsy again.

But…the weird thing….the doctor said I need a mastectomy, no matter what the result…so I don’t understand why the test – when it is so HORRIBLE and INVASIVE and HORRENDOUSLY PAINFUL.

When she said to my sister the same thing, she made her suffer and indure horrible pain…but now I wonder WHY?

a) if it’s benign they want to do a double mastectomy, or

b) if it’s positive, they want to do a double mastectomy

Am I the only one thinking that’s WEIRD??? So, on Monday the surgeon decides what she wants to do with me.  I have 2 options:
a) return to USA where they just do the operation – no problem – except….we just have to hope like hell  the surgery doesn’t bankrupt us – because even insured we’d probably be bankrupt if something went wrong
b) have this stupid biopsy – but on MY TERMS – under general anesthetic  (I betcha if they were taking a hunk of flesh out of their boob “all of a sudden” sedation would be a good idea…wonder why that is!

Thursday November 14, 2013 – Cancer is back!

Had my first round of appointments in Australia. I got the call today to say that the yes it is cancer and there is a tumor is in the LEFT breast, so it’s not “come back”, it’s BRAND NEW!  Ergh! So, if you can add me to your prayer list, that would be great, and come on medical people, let’s pull this together like last time!

Thursday 7 November 2013 – Australia again for surgery

Just had the first of many appointments to come I guess.  This is so weird, my sister Shauna and I HAVE THE SAME BREAST SURGEON.  She’s pretty rude, but Shauna said she was.  World’s MESSIEST office.  World’s stupidest high heels that she has to take off constantly because she can’t walk in them….Hope that’s a sign of a “brilliant mind”.This…my friends…is where prayer comes in, and I hope in reading this you’ll think of me, and add me tonight in your prayers!

Sunday 3rd Nov 2013 – Urgent change of plans

Nothing like changing things quickly.  We’re going home.  We’ve decided to hop a flight to Australia tomorrow because, honestly, I love America, but I can’t trust the American medial system.  Only one little thing would have to go wrong with the surgery, and we could be backrupt.  As it is the insurance history is terrible.  $6,000 costs for an injury last year, they paid $700.  Quoted $6,000 for specialist MRI, they pay $1,000.  This is a CRAZY system…so we’re going home.  At least there we can’t go backrupt just because I’ve been sent an illness.

It really is true…

a country can be judged by the way they treat their lowest member” (Ghandi)

Wed 23rd Nov 2013 – Lexington KY

Thanks to the good (expensive!) care at Lexington Clinic, I’ve seen GP, oncologist, thyroid specialist already. I’m off to teach the teacher training in Virginia, and seeing a surgeon as soon as we come back.

Fri 11 October – Maryland Tour Stop – Bad news

One of the bad things about touring is trying to get your mail.  So, my buddie brings me my mail about 10 minutes before rehearsal, and there’s the letter from Mercy Hospital Durango. “Suspicious” isn’t the word I like when I see results, but at any rate, sounds like we’re in trouble. Back to doctor soon. Should know more hopefully soon.

September 6, 2013 – Durango CO

I’ve been excused from part of the rehearsals for the Summit Show, and I’m on the way back from Mercy Hospital Durango CO.  Just had a mammogram.  They couldn’t do an ultrasound (some paperwork or something hitch).  Posting results.

May 1 – We’re in the USA

After a 3.5 stays in hospital (one was only overnight) I’ve had 2 week’s recovery and I’m back in the USA, ready to work on Friday for the CA Tour Stop. Yes, I’m going to “take it easy” whenever I can, but that isn’t easy at all! The house looked lovely when we were finished. My sister would have been very proud of her new place, what a pity she never lived to see it so nice! Again, amazing thanks to the nurses and staff at St. Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne. I can’t understand it…if you have no medical system (now which country could I be thinking of here), and you go bankrupt or die, that’s just dumb…can’t pay tax if you’re dead. Thank God for Australia or I would be bankrupt- or dead.

April 18 – House on the Market

We want to get into our new home ASAP.  Hospital yesterday, getting house ready for real estate agents today. That’s how these things go. The agent was very impressed. Very tired now and sleep the rest of the day.

April 16 – Hospital Again – allergic to contrast dye

Like a roundabaout….I try to get back, and I’m sick again and I try to get back and I’m sick again (wonder what Louise Hay would think of this?) At any rate…this time it was only short, and I’ll be out soon.  It was my thyroid again, my leg shakes were so bad I could barely walk at one stage. Cancelled 3 clinics. Breaks my heart, all those people all excited.

April 9, 2013 – In hospital again – 3rd time

Well, here I am again, needles, poking, more needles, more tests. A bit weepy I must say. Off to exploratory surgery this morning. Not too invasive I hope, but really need this done. Sadly had to cancel a bunch of clinic.  Working with my essential oils, red light, but more importantly…way more importantly…prayer. So keep me in yours.

March 26 – Some good news in hospital

The pancreatitis is a little bit better today, blood testing every 5 mins I swear! But better news…they scanned my breast (again!) and it’s fluid not blood, and although big and painful, it won’t need to be drained we hope.  They’re keeping an eye on it, but it’s better news than yesterday. Went for a couple of little walks today.


March 27 – Still in hospital – Allergic to contrast dye

Sadly, back in hospital again!  Can you believe it…now I have too high (by a LOT!) thyroid, and pretty bad pancreatitis. They’re also thinking they need to do my surgery on my breast to drain blood clots…oh boy. I must admit I feel crap (sorry my USA friends about my language…on well!)

March 26 – Back in hospital

Yes, sadly tonight I had to use it…and for like $100 bucks a year for a FAMILY, OMG what a relief it was to pick up the phone and know that ambulance was FREE! Not sure about what’s wrong, but it’s not good right now!

Tuesday March 19 – Asking for help

I hate asking for help, but today I did, and I feel so much better. It was stupid, it’s all about culmination of so many things coming together at once. Firstly it’s the breast reduction/removal, then cancer, then feeling worse and worse every day, right now I’ve been in bed for TWO WEEKS, and everyone knows how energetic I am, and that’s just impossible. I’m even watching COOKING SHOWS on TV…oh dear!

The problem is my thyroid. I had TWO MRI’s in a row, and I was not meant to…that is very dangerous!!!  THE DOUBLE DOSE of the dye contrast sent me into thyroid toxicosis.  It’s an auto-immune problem where my body is attacking my thyroid, and it’s overworking. One test was meant to be less than 60, and mine is 1,300. I shake, I have these horrible “irrits” I call them where I can’t sit still, especially my legs and I have to shake them. I can’t sleep, I faint, and the weirdest thing…my heart is THUMPING in my chest, I can now even hear it over my tinnitis!

But it all culminated in the tape on my surgery wounds. I was meant to change it last Saturday, now it’s Tuesday and I still haven’t done it, I’ve managed to get a little bit off, burst into weeping tears (very unlike me) and just stopped. So, I ring my surgeon today, which took so much courage to ask for help and I told her the situation. She was amazing. Answered the phone personally, and told me it will be OK, and she’ll do it Thursday. Sometimes asking for help does have a nice result at the end.

March 16, 2013 Happy Birthday – I’ve got breast cancer

Today my surgeon rang me with the news of the pathology.  Yes, it’s breast cancer.  But…good news is they got it all out in the surgery, and she thinks I might not need further treatment. Think positive! I find out next Wednesday when I meet with the oncology breast surgeon (also a woman – and also my sister Shauna’s old surgeon) if we need further treatment.

March 13 – Surgery went well

The surgery went well…my plastic surgeon Dr. Jane Patterson..WOW! Gorgeous offices, AMAZING treatment, truly a kind lady. And her receptionist even kinder!  OK I was a bit of a baby…they were SO NICE TO ME!!!!

And…my boobs now look like a teenager! Woke up in a bit of pain, but one push of the button and it was GONE! (Love hospital drugs…yippee!). Home with only Panadol, and Panadeine at night (over the counter drugs). During the surgery they took samples of everything and the clip is gone…waiting results.

March 6, 2013 – First Mastectomy

So, I’m back in Australia again. Today’s the big day!

Instead of waiting around for more tests tests tests…I jumped the gun and I’m getting a breast reduction from a WONDERFUL plastic surgeon and at the same time get the metal clip out that they put in during the core biopsy to “mark the spot” where they think is trouble. By the way…what all started this is I felt a lump.  Turns out the lump was NOTHING.  But in the mammogram they found “calcifications”, and it’s that area they’re worried about.  Didn’t hurt. No symptoms. No pain. No lump. No NOTHING…that’s why it’s the SILENT KILLER! So, instead of them fiddling around, doing more biopsies, I’m going to “jump the gun” and go ahead and have the reduction and removal of this clip  in hopes to remove the part they’re worried about…even at this stage they’re only calling it “a possibility”, and “calification”….no one has said it’s actually cancer yet, but I’m not waiting around to find out! No defensive action here! It’s attack attack attack from me!

29 January – Core biopsy

The universe certainly has a way of making things happen! While I’m thinking, “this can wait”, “I’ll be back in Australia in July”…We arrive in the USA, and being held for FIVE HOURS in immigration, with threats not to let us back into the USA (although we have tax numbers, pay tax, have visas….anyway…) they are only giving us a FIVE DAY VISA, means we have to return to get a different kind of visa.

Mmm…maybe I do have time to look at this breast thing after all. Could the US Immigration System just have saved my life? Biopsy today. Waiting results. And a tip…if you ever have to have a biopsy…demand drugs. Needle biopsy doesn’t hurt, but core biopsy is HIDEOUS. My sister and my cousin Bev describe it as one of the worst experiences ever. And..come on medical fraternity…there’s NO NEED FOR THAT. My lovely doctor gave me some lovely little pills and I barely remember it at all, and ABSOLUTELY NO PAIN. It’s not fair Shauna and Bev had to suffer physical and emotional pain CAUSED BY DOCTORS…there was no need for this and it’s darned well not fair.  DEMAND DRUGS!!!  Or, refuse treatment (as soon as you say refuse treatment they get their knickers in a twist, and “bingo” the prescription pad suddenly comes out.

It’s’s like the doctors are paying for the drugs themselves…what the hell’s wrong with them?  Let’s see them have a core biopsy and see how they go…yeah right, bet that script pad would come out! What the hell is wrong with doctors! You’re just not treating your customers fairly. Why did I get such great treatment (WHEN I DEMANDED!) and Shauna and Bev (and I hope not Irene) had to go it “cold turkey” and no drugs. NOT FAIR!

4 January, 2013 – Phone call from doctor

Thinking this is the most beautiful place on earth, I get a phone call from the doctors back in Aus saying I need to return for more tests. I don’t have time for this. I’m busy. I’m off to the USA…I’ll just do this later. I’m too busy.

27 December 2012 – Breast biopsy

OK, let’s get this darned thing tested.  Off for biopsy. But not waiting for results, have to go on holidays in NZ. I’ve booked them, I’ve earned them and I’m taking them, sorry no time for this.

20 December 2012 – Lump in my breast

After coming and going to the USA, I’m now on a 3 year plan to go to the USA to lecture and teach.

We’re packing ready to go…the Wridgeway Removalists are here packing all the valuable glass wear. And…WHILE WE’RE PACKING…I find a lump. So, off to the hospital I go, leaving the removalists packing while I go and get it checked out.  Royal Women’s Melbourne have referred me next door to Melbourne Royal. They’re saying scary words like “biopsy”.  Sounds HIDEOUS. Mammogram done. Scan done. But we have holidays booked, I don’t have time for this crap (sorry to my USA friends who hate my language, oh well…sorry…). But I don’t have a choice. Madly rush around and figure out how I can get 2 biopsies done in a matter of days. Got one done, but dont’ have time for the other….off to Dad’s for Christmas – way more important than this mess.  PS.  BTW the “lump” turns out to be nothing, but in the mammogram we discover problems….

16 Nov 2011 – My only sibling Shauna passed away today

Shauna T. Kelly, passed away peacefully at 8.36am on Wednesday November 16 at the Royal Women’s Hospital. I was mean to have dinner with her Thursday. Sure enough, within 2 years, Mum’s “best buddie” Shauna is gone. She passed away when I was sitting at on a plane on the way home from the USA to see her.  I missed her by about 3 or 4 hours. That means I NEVER saw her sick…not one single day! I was due to have dinner with her the night after I arrived home from the USA, but we never made it. She died about 5 hours before I landed in Melbourne. Shauna’s best very long term friend from the Queensland Youth Orchestra, Music Teacher, Helen Holt and her amazing husband Lennox Holt were at the airport to meet me with the bad news.  All I could say was “what a bitch” (pardon language, but that’s what I said…sorry again my USA friends who hate my’s just “me”). Then I saw Helen and Lennox. I guess they’ll never forget that reaction! What I meant was, I knew exactly what had happened. Euthenasia is, as in most countries, illegal. But it happens anyway. Early on I guess they ascertain the legal standpoint “DNR” – the famous “do not resucitate”. But it’s more complicated than that. Would you chose tubing, would you chose to be fed, would you chose drips? Everyone was sure certain what Shauna wanted.  NOTHING!  She sure made that absolutely clear! But in the end she would have accepted pain killers finally. And we also know that pain relief is not monitored in palliative care. That morning she told staff that very morning…. “I can’t do this any more”, and when you read her last couple of weeks here: the last part didn’t sound like fun! Just hours later she was gone. Somehow, someway, she arranged for her to go on HER terms. Just as she always wanted. I can barely type her name without crying. She was everything to me. More than she’ll ever know now. She taught me everything. She was my protector in a tough childhood, she was my role model, she would tell me off (one of only two people in the world who can!!!  Dad wouldn’t come to the funeral. That made it a million times worse. She was being cremated and she had a boyfriend that was his “Catholic excuse” as that wasn’t on in his eyes, so he didn’t come, and held a fake pretend one for her himself.  OMG old men….why do they get like that?

April 2011 – If in doubt…whip em out

OK doesn’t sound like a great heading, but I wanted this to be an honest account of what happened, and how I felt. With suspect genes with 2 of my cousins with breast cancer, darling Irene Manual (Riley) already passed, but dear sweet Beverly chugging on like me.  So, the doctors have recommended ovary removal. I went in with them all ready to explain “this and that, and every other darned thing”.  Not interested. I’m busy. If in doubt WHIP ‘EM OUT! I told that to the Doctor, and he really tried not to smile, but he laughed anyway. So, that’s done.  Wasn’t that bad.  Wasn’t that hard. I was back at work the next week teaching in Perth. Wasn’t meant to fly, did anyway. Wasn’t meant to be back at work, did anyway. Didn’t kill me! LOL I love living in the USA…but….thank you Australia, medical is FREE FREE FREE! What did Ghandi say? “You can judge a country by the way they treat their lowest member”.  I do love Aussie!  

January 2010 – Sister Shauna has Breast Cancer

I remember reading, I think in a Stephen Covey book about a paradigm shift.  It was the first time I’d head that term, and didn’t know what it meant. I’m pretty sure it was one of his books (I’m a self-help book NUTTER, so I read so many I forget) he then went on to give an example:

A father and children on a train. The children were really naughty, making noise and disturbing other people, while the father just sat there, doing nothing about it.  Finally a passenger had had enough…got up and told the Dad in no uncertain terms what they thought of his control of the kids. Then the father simply said, “I’m sorry I’m on the way home from my wife’s funeral, I guess they’re upset, and I just didn’t notice”.

OUCH! Paradigm shift. Instant Shift in beliefs, or change in what you though was true. As Tony Robbins would say “what else could this mean?” So, here’s my paradigm shift…I’ve been in the USA and I was getting a bit pissed off.  My sister Shauna couldn’t even be bothered to ring me for my birthday, pretty rude, I ALWAYS remember hers. Then at Christmas she didn’t ring either…so I rang her.  Pretty rude I thought. Then: Paradigm shift. She rings me to tell me that not only does she have cancer. Deadly cancer. 2 to 5 years to live she reckons.  But, she’s also already had massive surgery and many many rounds of chemo…she wasn’t ignoring me on my special days…she was suffering herself.  Eeek! paradigm shift. When Mum died, I knew statistically a partner would go within 2 years…funnily enough Shauna and Mum were always “partners” but I had no clue that it would be Shauna. I would never dream she would go first. Tragic, just tragic. She was a “tour de force”, huge in her game of WORD Microsoft Professoinals, and left a body of work some of which is still on line: and  Well my silent worry… all this time has been that we’d lose Dad within 2 years. Paradigm shift, and again, the two “party boys” live on in our family, and the good really do die young.

12 June 2008 – Mum passed away today

Dad has just  been given the “all clear”. After being given 4 weeks to live, he’s now FINE…Just one week after he’s declared “cancer free”…then this happens: 5 days after the all clear I get a phone call from him saying “Mum’s had a brain bleed”.

I knew straight away, at Mum’s advanced years they wouldn’t be operating, it was merely a “delay ploy” to keep her alive until we were by her side to say goodbye. Mum died that night: my sister Shauna holding one hand, me holding the other and Dad praying by her feet. Really what she’d always prayed for, the ultimate passing for a devoted Catholic. God I miss her.  But what scares me the most is that statistically her closest friend or partner is meant to die within 2 years.

I’m not sure I can handle another one of us going so soon!  Prayers…

2007 Dad: CANCER has 4 weeks to live

Mum and Dad are packed and ready to go to Africa and Dad thinks “I’ll just get this lump checked out”, and the Doctor gives him 4 weeks to live.  Lymphoma cancer. Dreaded chemo with a brand new experimental drug…and now…six year’s later he’s FINE! I’ve always wondered – from a big Irish Catholic family all the ones that didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, went to bed and never swore…they’re all dead.  And the two “party animals” (and they were…diving off the diving tower in our back yard into the pool, or riding my child’s scooter off the roof into the swimming pool at 3am in the middle of winter as a party trick!) are still with us…Uncle Peter (always my favorite Uncle) and Dad. The two bad boys are still with proof: only the good die young.  Mmmm….I’m going to live till over 100 then!

Cousin Bev Johnston (nee Manuel)- Breast Cancer

During my sister’s VERY INTENSE study of the genetics of my family, we found that all my cousins have breast cancer, including darling Bev Johnston (Manual is my mother’s name). I often feel, out on the road, on the other side of the world, alone….but, there’s something positive and good in everything…and that is: this wretched dammed disease has brought me closer to my family. They were always there, but now even more.

Cousin Irene Riley Passes

Irene was always the darling of the family. She really never was well, and had a lot of complicated issues, but one of them breast cancer. Poor darling really suffered trailing her oxygen tank with her everywhere. Ray Riley, her beloved husband, is one of my family’s stalwarts. He and cousin Ray Manuel and the two “patriachs” of my mother’s family.