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Getting Plastered Before Surgery

Nikki is a 44-year-old (in body only) breast cancer warrior, bikini competitor and lawyer. She was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in March 2018 (lymph nodes clear). She had a double mastectomy and reconstruction in 2018 with AC/T chemo following shortly after. She finished chemo in Dec 2018.

Fast forward to the year of COVID, 2020 -- as our country went into full scale lockdown in March, I started to feel ill. Nothing particularly bad, in fact I put it down to mild acid reflux: mild nausea and a constant cough. My standard three-month blood test showed otherwise.

My tumour markers were significantly raised and the PET scan, which followed a couple of days later, showed active disease in my liver, lungs and bones. I had somehow graduated from a stage 1 BC survivor, to stage 4 in the space of 18 months. A massive shock to receive the news, but I now realize that those pesky cancer cells were probably travelling in my blood before I had even had my mastectomy and now is the time to really fight, to break records and be awesome. And while I know not everyone in the cancer world appreciates my positivity, it keeps me going. Life is more fun for me being grateful, loving the people who love me and looking to life and living than the alternative.

As for funny stories from my cancer journey: just before my double mastectony I got this idea to immortalize my poor A cups before they were lopped off by a surgeon. So I went into the local pharmacy and wandered around the aisles looking for some Plaster of Paris. Eventually the manager of the store asked if he could help.  I asked where I could find the Plaster of Paris. He guided me to the relevant aisle and asked with a very concerned voice: "What did you break?" "Do you know how to set a broken bone?"

"Oh no," I replied. I'm just going plaster paris my boobs before I lose them tomorrow. The poor man's eyes before he rushed away with a very red face.

I think I managed to destroy my kitchen that night. Plaster of Paris is very messy (thanks to my husband who helped clean up after my hurricane of plaster that I managed to spray around the kitchen) -- and hopefully I didn't traumatize that poor pharmacy manager too much.

Side note: Here's a headshot. A moment in time when I was messing around with hair chalk (note to self, it doesn't "wash out" like the box says.) I saw a few clients with purple hair for weeks after that. Fine if I was in graphic design. But, I'm a lawyer.

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