Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Solomon Islands blog

Hi All,

I have another blog....... my adventures in the Solomon Islands...... I have had to make it 'private' though, so if anyone wants access to it (there are much more regular posts on it than on this one) please say..... give me your email address and I'll send you an invite..

Life is great!


Monday, October 25, 2010

While you're probably being bombarded with pink ribbons there in Aus....

......spare a thought for the Solomon Islanders ...... RAMSI introduced Pink Ribbon Day to the Solomon Islands 3 or 4 years ago. It's very low key. I heard there was something happening in the city centre today for 2 hours, so I went on down there to buy a t-shirt etc. I ended up being roped into speaking on the loudspeaker to the gathered crowd! I also got to meet the 'first lady'.

Anyway, it broke my heart when I heard what happens here. They have no screening equipment ...... that is, no availability of mammograms for women. Then, when they do find someone has breast cancer, there is no chemotherapy or radiotherapy available. It is only a tiny few who can afford to go to Australia and pay huge dollars for their treatment. The others go home and prepare to die.

The charity that is trying to get screening equipment has about SBD$6,000 in the bank, and need well over a million. If anyone feels they'd like to donate anything to them please email me and we'll figure out a way to do it. Sorry for the 'begging' email, but I had to write it while it was fresh in my mind.

Katrina xx

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My breast cancer "going away" forum post

Hi All,

Just a quick post to say "I'm off"!! (Things are getting a bit chaotic here and the last few days are going to be so busy I don't know if I'll get a chance to do a goodbye post on the day I leave). As a lot of you already know, I applied for (and got) an 18 month post with Australian Volunteers International to Honiara in the Solomon Islands. I leave Adelaide on Sunday, and Australia (from Brisbane) on Monday morning. I'll have a couple of weeks orientation when I get there, then start work in a Primary School as an "Admin/Accountant Trainer". That means I'll be helping them put financial processes and controls into the school, and helping their Admin Manager build up their financial skills.

I'm so excited! I applied for this back in January, so it's been a long time coming. Am really annoyed that I now have a nasty cold for my last few days of getting prepared to leave. I had a farewell party on Saturday night and kissed too many people I think! :pmsl:

To all of you newbies that have just been diagnosed, or are going through treatment at the moment, and you have doubts about your future - you WILL be able to follow your dreams when you've got through your treatment. I probably wouldn't be doing this if I hadn't got breast cancer. 3 years ago there was no way I believed I would be able to do anything like this. If I hadn't got breast cancer I probably would have just talked about doing something like this, and not actually done it.... just put it off until I was too old to do it! Now, well I may have horrible joint pain (but it's controlled fairly well) and hot flushes (that is going to be a real challenge in the Solomon Islands climate), but I'm just going to go along for the ride anyway! All I know is a few months ago I thought "I don't want to by lying on my death bed sometime in the future thinking 'I wish I went to the Solomon Islands'"!

I will have internet there, but not as reliable and good as I have here. I will still keep in touch. I have a blog I've started if anyone wants to read and see photos. It is here . A number of you are also already my friend on Facebook, but if you aren't and would like to add me I am here...!/katrina.potter (I think that will get you to me, or if not just search on Katrina Potter). I will be back in Aus for a visit every 6 months for visits with my Oncologist and Surgeon. That means I'll be back for Christmas.

I'm renting my house to my 18 year old son and a couple of his friends...... everybody says "well good luck with that" when I tell them :pmsl: Who knows what I'll come back to! I've promised him I'll stay home tonight (have been going out to farewells etc. a bit the last week or 2) because I think he's starting to stress about everything he doesn't know. I need to spend some time reassuring him that he will be fine, and that he's not alone. His Dad is nearby and my sister is close by too. Up until now he's just been looking forward to me going, but now I think he's starting to realise it's really happening. I assure him I'll still be able to nag him from the Solomon Islands :pmsl: He'll probably come over for a visit next year (along with my sister and Dad).

Anyway, that's about it. I'll keep in touch. Take care all of you lovely ladies and keep being there for each other :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mammogram day

Had a mammogram today - brought forward because of my impending departure to the Solomon Islands. Am pleased to say, it was all good! That's about it for pre-departure Doctor's visits for me now (dentist and optician excepted)!! Yee Haa!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The elusive Vitamin D

It seems I'm Vitamin D deficient..... and I believe that Vit D deficiency can be linked to breast cancer. Anyway, off to the chemist I went and now taking supplements. I did think that in some ways I'm lucky. Most people wouldn't even know if they're Vit D deficient. I get tested for it every 6 months as part of my blood tests.... so I'm glad about that!

I read a very interesting story from Catalyst on the ABC. They say that it's possible that 25% of breast cancer deaths could be avoided if the woman had maintained adequate Vit D levels throughout their life! An interesting interview/story...

Didn't hear any scan results, so it must be good. I'll go into the Oncologists rooms soon and pick up the scan so that I can take it away with me.... when I do that I'll try and make some sense of the report that'll come with it!!

Less than 7 weeks until I leave for the Solomon Islands. One more medical 'thingy' before I go, and that is a mammogram early in August. I just want to get on that plane on August 30!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No news is good news I guess

I had the CT scan a week and a half ago and have heard nothing from my Oncologist. I guess that's good! I could have rung her, but I was too chicken last week, and this week have decided I don't need to!

3 years tomorrow since I had the mastectomy. I can't believe I haven't had a reconstruction. When I was first diagnosed I definitely wanted one as soon as I could. Now I'm going to the Solomons instead! Who wants more surgery and medical stuff? Not me that's for sure...

Less than 9 weeks until I leave for the Solomon Islands ... yippee!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Scared sh*%less!

Funny, on Thursday I was happy that my Oncologist is sending me for a CT scan tomorrow, because I thought it would help me go off to the Solomon Islands knowing absolutely that I was heading off cancer free. Now though, as tomorrow looms, I'm scared sh*%less about it! Absolutely terrified that they'll find something. It's stupid..... there is no good reason to think this...... it's just the bloody mind games the mind plays with us now and then.