2017 – looking back

Reflecting on 2017

2017, what a year hey? At the start of this year, I had a job and two businesses. 2 cats and a fresh husband. Said husband and I were planning on starting a family, but not before a quick trip to Europe (I wanna drink that wine in the south of France before kids thank you.) I was always busy and had a million things planned for the week/day.

What has changed?

I have 2 fewer friends

A week before I started chemo I heard from 2 people that I had been friends for over 4 years with for the last time. The reason? Hard to tell, but going through tough times shows you who is really by your side, even when you are going through Cancer treatment and have an off day. I almost never spoke about what I was going through because mostly I don’t like to think about it. And if I did, I would cry in the shower listening to ‘only the good die young’ by Billy Joel.

The flip side though is that I have become closer to 3 other friends who have different forms of cancers and illness. I deeply value these friendships and the ability to talk to them about weird body things like going to the toilet and what anti nausea they are on.

A quarter less of a brain

While having most of my right frontal lobe taken out, I haven’t noticed much of a change except for my memory. Apparently, the empty space makes you an ‘air head’ until it fills up with liquid.

Much less hair

My hair used to be my thing, it was really thick and I loved styling it. But let’s be honest, most of the time it was in a bun because I couldn’t be fucked washing it and hate it around my face when I am eating main meals. That’s 3 times a day! Those who know me or follow my Instagram would see that it has pretty much all grown back. There is just one small section that is not filled in completely yet. I can get around this with a handy tin of brown spray that is meant for covering greys. I am keeping it short for now, the front and back half of my hair grow at very different rates. If I tried to grow it out I would basically have a mullet.

 

Making friends at Edgars Mission
Making friends at Edgars Mission

Memory

I used to have the best memory going around, I could keep basically a few peoples diaries in my brain at any one time. All that has changed now! I can’t even remember what I am saying mid-sentence sometimes. The docs have chocked it up to delayed effects of radiation. Which “could get worse or could get better” Yeah… Cool.

One time I pulled something out of the fridge, I can’t remember what it was right now so lets say it was a bag of spinach (classic), and then looked everywhere for this bag of spinach in the fridge for about 5 minutes, accused Simon of throwing it out and he then pointed out it was sitting on the bench.

One time I pulled something out of the fridge, I can’t remember what it was right now so let’s say it was a bag of spinach…. haha got you!

Business

I finished working the start of March. I can’t do what I used to be able to do and I am going to be taking a step back from the business that I built up from scratch with Nicole so that I can focus on our digital marketing business. Speaking of business, Simon quit his job mid-year so that he could be home with me and run Popsicle Designs on a day to day basis. I was literally just lying in bed and sleeping every day until he started being at home with me. PLUS he/we started a vegan magazine. Phoooaarrr. We have met so many cool people that are doing amazing things!

Jaime & Simon in Sydney
Sydney trip, eating all the food, seeing family and friends.

Water

The other thing that has changed this year is that because I had 2 seizures, which I have been on daily medication for since March, I am no longer allowed to have a bath or swim alone. Even though I haven’t had another seizure there is always the risk that it could happen again with the scar tissue still being in my brain from the surgery.

The good news is, I don’t have a bath. And I am scared of swimming in a pool alone because I watched a show when I was a kid about pool monsters that attack people when they are alone.

Babies

Even though I wasn’t allowed to have babies this year, there has still been an amazing little one in our lives. My sister gave birth to my first niece Lilah and she is the happiest, cutest baby you have ever met. Don’t believe me? Check out her Instagram.

FriYAY #carriesbeanies4braincancer

A post shared by The Life of Lilah Mae 🌸 (@life.of.lilahmae) on


Other things that happened this year:

  • I finished 30 rounds of radiation therapy
  • 6 months of chemotherapy
  • Did my first public speaking event on the subject of Domestic Violence and Cancer. You can read it here
  • Enjoyed all the little things
  • Realised I can rock a bald head
  • Started taking up yoga
  • Met my uncle Gary in Sydney
  • Moved house to a brand new community where we have more room and a shared park.
  • We celebrated our first wedding anniversary which was amazing.
  • Same-sex marriage is now legal in Australia! Yassss Queen.
Jaime Bald, brain cancer. Ben McIntyre photography
Who even is this bald person now? Image by Ben McIntyre

So where does all this leave my poor noggin? Apart from some cool scars, my recent MRI scans are all clear. A lot of people ask me if that means I am in remission, the basic answer is no. Brain cancer is different from other cancers, these things tend to come back at some stage. So people track how many years/months/days that they have been without a recurrence. I will be having 3 monthly MRI’s to start with to keep an eye on it.

At the end of the day, I think that I am super lucky, there are so many people out there who have it worse than me. I didn’t lose any of my motor functions, and I am alive (Self-high-five).

Here’s to 2018!

 

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