One Year Later

Posted by belmckenna on 13 Dec 2013, 09:40AM

A year has passed since my operations, my chemotherapy and radiation, and my hair is growing back.  I am a lucky person, although a Triple Negative BC member, who still gets her portal flushed every 6 weeks, I have survived so far.  I had a year off work, and I had the time to think, a time to assess, and bond with family, make beautiful new friends, and time to appreciate a brand new place I call home.  I was lucky because I found out I had BC after just moving to Launceston, and found that they had just built a brand new Cancer Council  full of great staff and volunteers, and all of my surgeons and Doctors did the right thing, and "fixed me".  I was lucky because it brought my husband closer to me, and for the first time he had some counselling.  I was lucky because my brother paid for me to fly to S.A. to see my family and we rebonded after not having much to do with each other for years.

 I was lucky because I got to go on lots of walks, and see lots of birds and wild life.

The year I had BC I discovered after only 5 months at working for the  Pharmacy that my employer and the staff would be supportive and wait for me to come back.  I also am lucky because I am settling back into my 20 hours of work per week.

My parents flew here and  nursed me for 2 months, whilst my husband continued to earn the money.  

I was lucky, because we just had enough money to get through.

 The support from my Breast Care Nurse, Susan Schwabe was remarkable, and the compassion from Di Green my Chemo nurse -just wonderful.

The staff from Launceston General Hospital in the Radiation Ward hillarious, friendly and kind.

 I met the fabulous Burnie Bus crew who made Radiation fun.  I was lucky to have had a free day at a Beauty Spa, and also loved the Look Good Feel Good Day............etc

I hope Im that lucky from now on.......

This Christmas, I am Cancer Free

Merry Christmas

2 members recommend this post


Happy for you, Bel

Hazel M's picture

Hi Bel, I'm sure you will have a great xmas this year, and it's good to see that you are obviously looking at all the bright things in your life. I am constantly on the lookout for silver linings when things seem dark, and you have found lot of them. Well done to you, best wishes for the future, take care,

Hazel xx 

thank you for your message

belmckenna's picture

Best of luck to you too!   BCNA is a bit of a revolving door, but the nice thing is, its nice to have people's support from the start to finish, and I have always appreciated that. X Bel

Merry Christmas

Bearteggie's picture

Hi Bel,  Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story.  I love that you have discovered so many people and things in your life to be grateful for.  Congratulations for being Cancer Free and a big hug from me to you for a wonderful and happy Christmas.

Joy xx


belmckenna's picture

Hope is something that I am fortunate enough to be in a position to have.  I hope I continue to be Cancer free from now on.  Thank you for your message. X Bel

Hi Bel

TonyaM's picture

What a year! You have come through it all with an attitude of gratitude.Out of a horrible breast cancer journey you have managed to find the good things in your life as a result.I hope you have a lovely Christmas and continue to stay cancer free. love,Tonya xx

Merry Christmas Tonya

belmckenna's picture

You have been out there for me all the way through and I really have valued that.  This time last year it was just plain crazy, scarey, and alcohol free!!  (smile).  Yesterday I went walking at The Gorge here in Launceston with my 4 new friends I met thanks to The Northern Cancer Support Centre.  We discussed how Cancer brought us together, and how we still need each other through each new challenge, and no matter what, this thing in common has given us all a huge bond.  They are all from different walks of life, and different ages, amazing how things turn out isnt it!  XX Bel

Merry Christmas Bel

mgndam1603's picture

What a year hey, all those ups and downs, those moments of laughter and tears and what the hell is happening to me are all gone thank goodness.

I am so pleased that work is happening and going well for you. This is my 1st week of full time and I can assure you its a challenge. I did the slow return (well over a 6 week period) and this week I had a huge business trip so am exhausted.

But its great to have our lives back, to reclaim what was taken from us and to embrace the wonderful new friends we made over the last 12 months.

I wish you guys an extremely happy christmas may it be so much better than last years and that 2014 just keeps on improving the quality of your life.

Love and kisses


Looking forward to 2014

belmckenna's picture

Donna, lets face it, its one hell ride no one ever expects to go through.  I got out of it lightly (so far), as I only had a lumpectomy, so it helped me bounce back better.  I still have 2 breasts and minimal scaring, and I know I am a lucky person to have found that lump early.  I now check my breasts every day, with moisturiser, so I know them better than before.  

This week, I worked 20 hours, plus did 6 hours of gardening.  I am slimmer, and fitter than before, 

Last New Years Eve, I sat at home with my parents, and watched the fireworks on TV.  This year, I am going to the Concert and Fireworks, and that year, wow was it fast!

I appreciated all your support throughout, and you great words of encouragement.  Wishing you a better year ahead.  May a win lotto come our way!  X Bel

Good for you!

jandy23's picture

Great post Bel. Glad to read that you are doing so well and so many positive things have come out of a difficult year. Best wishes for Christamas etc. Janet.

Thanks Janet

belmckenna's picture

For all your encouragement, and kindness.  I hope you get to enjoy your Christmas and New Years too!  X Bel

Merry Xmas Bel

Robyn W's picture

I just want to wish you the happiest of Christmas's.Your blog was the one that helped me so much when I first joined this network.May you continue to be lucky:) Love from Robyn xoxo

Thank you Robyn

belmckenna's picture

I hope that my blogs have helped every one as much as they helped me.  I felt that paying it forward was important, because all of you were vital in my mental positiveness, and facing fears and moving through them.  There was a time, around now last year, when I went for a walk, holding an umbrella, with a scalp infection and now hair.  A time when I walked around my garden for 5 minutes, and a time when I sat down to dry myself after a shower.  I wont every forget what Ive been through, however, I do choose to think of now.......its a better time...good luck to you too Robyn.  Have a healthy New Year! X Bel

Feel lucky too!

Deanne's picture

Happy Christmas Bel, and I hope you have a lucky 2014 and beyond!

I was only just thinking that I have had it all wrong. I have been thinking and saying what an awful year 2013 has been but it has actually been a good year, it was 2012 that was full of crap. I believe the stress and not looking after myself in 2012 resulted in my BC. This time last year I felt run down, unfit and I had cancer but just didn't know it! This year I have discovered and treated the cancer, met some wonderful people along the way and grown closer to family and friends. I am fitter and healthier than I was this time last year and I have learnt a lot about myself and have become a more appreciative person. Looking forward to Cristmas and life beyond BC.
Wishing everyone a lot of good luck for 2014. Deanne xxxxoooo

You have been there all the way

belmckenna's picture

Thank you Deanne for your lovely words over the last year, and for making me feel appreciated along the way with my "words of wisdom", Bel style!  I am still working through each day to be back to my ol self, and regaining confidence back in a job I had been away from for a year.  I still miss my long hair, but am rapt with the 6 kilo's I lost, thanks to giving up sugar (most of it), and thanks to being consistant with exercise.  Tis a shame we now have to rebuild our bank account now it all went to my treatment, but this year will be a new year of hard work, determination, and quality time with my husband.  We are looking forward to a week touring South Tas in Feb, a mini break, and happy to be alive!  Good luck and wishing you the best of life, X Belxxxxxxoooo

Merry Christmas Bel

Janey235's picture

Good for you Bel to see the positives out of this year. My 'one year' is coming soon and I'm also starting to reflect on this year. Not quite sure how I'm feeling yet though. I think Deanne has hit the nail on the head that 2012 was actually the bad year. The stress from work definitely contributed I think to my diagnosis as well.
Have a great Christmas Bel and thank you for always being optimistic and cheerful.
Love Janey xxx

Pushed myself to the limit

belmckenna's picture

They can never give us a clear cut reason, however, I felt I had been pushing myself to the limit for the last 8 years.  We shifted 9 times in the last 8 years, each shift meant starting all over again, new jobs, new people, and financial set backs.  We had one thing go wrong for us after another, and I can say that most of our time since we got together has been tough.  But, my husband and I are still standing, and we hope that we are now given time to rebuild our strength and to enjoy our lives.  I feel, I hope we can relax a little and stay in one place, and flourish together in lovely Launceston.  I feel personally the anxiety, stress and constant struggles certainly havent helped.  But, they cant change me, I have a sense of humour, and I have never given up hope for happiness and peace!  Love to you too Janey xxx


fungooleyruley's picture

Luvin hearing all your positive news Bel!

You go gal, and have the time of your life!

Sending you best wishes for Christmas and a wonderful New Year!



Hugs and Merry Xmas

belmckenna's picture

Good luck Vicki, may life be kind to all of us from now on... X take care Bel

mandycoop's picture

Congratulations, I can't wait until this is me!!! Here's to many morexxx


adean's picture

Hey bel , and we were lucky for you to blog and enjoy the chit chats, love and hugs to you bel adean xx

I will be thinking of all of you

belmckenna's picture

 A week ago, I got up on a jumping castle and jumped up and down with 2 children.  I am a better person, and value each opportunity to share other peoples lives in a positive way, more now than before.  This - for me, drew focus to being more in the moment.  Thank you again Adean for always being there this year!  Good luck to you for the next one! X Bel

One Year On

HelenJill's picture

Hi Bel and all the lovely ladies out there. I am not a regular blogger, however, I did follow Bel's blog throughout the year.

Bel, you and I must have had surgery around the same time, followed by chemo at the same time. It is a year today since I had a bi-lateral mastectomy. I had my first chemo on 28 December, 2012. As I am HER2+ I am also having Herceptin and will be having my final treatment on Friday 20 December.

I like Bel see the many positives that have come out of my BC journey. Don't get me wrong it has been tough, but I have been tougher than what the BC has thrown at me.

It may sound like a cliche but I am a much better person for having been on this journey and appreciate my new perspective on life.

My priorities in life are exercise and nutrition. I am now into green juices and concentrate on an alkaline diet. I do a 30km bicycle ride each morning and an hours walk in the afternoons, more recently up a mountain.

To celebrate my final treatment, I am off to climb Mt Kosciusko late December. As last New Year's Eve was the crappiest ever (my worst day of my first chemo cycle) this New Year's Eve I am off to Sydney to see the New Year in and the wonderful fireworks. (Both these activities are on my 'bucket list'.)

I look forward with excitement to my new future.

Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year to you all.



belmckenna's picture

Well done Helen, it certainly has given you drive and determination.  It is great that you are climbing mountains, and achieving those things on your bucket list.  I have fallen a bit back into my norm, will wait until we have more money before I hope to do the big stuff.  But you go girl, if you can, bloody do it, I say!  Health and happiness. X Bel

dmed's picture

Merry Christmas glad all going well. My journey started in April 2012 so I am feeling like I have my new life back. Still have some days but the wonderful people that I have meet inspire me. Have a wonderful Christmas Bel xx Deb

Deb, Merry christmas

belmckenna's picture

Wishing you a fabulous Christmas and New Year Deb.  After looking at all the support I have had over the last year, and talking yesterday to a friend I met at the Cancer Council, we all agreed that it was the luxury of having FREE COUNSELLING, that has helped us in many ways.  This friend had worked through a lot of personal stuff with these Counsellors, and I could see how valueable it has been for us all in our group.  All of us had reached out to get emotional support for the first time for most of us, some real help.  I had a fleeting thought as I do, how I wish there were free counsellors for all the other mistakes I had made in my 20's.  (smile)  It makes a huge difference to have real help when we are in a mess I thingk!  Hip hip hooray to all the wonderful Counsellors who stopped us from being terrorfied, and putting up back on track!  XX Bel

Cherylek's picture

Hi Bel, have a Merry Christmas and a great new year, regards, Cheryle :)

Cheers Cheryle

belmckenna's picture

I will have a glass of champagne on your behalf, and wish you a safe, healthy and happy year to come, and forever! X  Bel



  • Name:  Mrs Belinda McKenna
  • Gender:  Female
  • Marital status:  Married
  • About:  20 years of hairdressing, then 5 years as a Pharmacy Assistant. Married for 7 years. Now Cancer Free. Moving to Sydney Jan 2015

My diagnosis

  • Breast cancer experience: 
    I have been diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Diagnosis type: 
    Early Breast Cancer
  • Diagnosis date:  15/10/2012


  • Hobbies: 
    Craft activities, Fitness and sports, Reading
  • Breast cancer-related interests: 
    Workplace and career, Medical research

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