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    If you have popped over here from my facebook page could you please add comments in the blog rather than on the link on facebook itself. I dont want to worry YD unnecessarily Thanks. You can now use your facebook log in so you dont need to enter extra details if you like
  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

being honest and authentic.

Just Enjoy Him on her blog “blogging is powerful” wrote some word that exactly mirrored what I wanted to say this week to and as she expressed better than I could, I have quoted her here –

My latest favorite quote is this one:

If you ask me what I came to life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.
~ Emile Zola

Blogging is, in a sense, living out loud. Being honest about ourselves — our strengths and flaws — is living out loud. Being open to the ideas of others is, I think, living out loud. Stating who we are, even if it’s only at that moment in time, is living out loud.

Living out loud is sometimes scary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s the only way I know to live an honest, authentic life which is the only way that I know to get some peace in my life.

I find I’m also drawn to people who live out loud, who are honest and authentic and allow themselves to be vulnerable, no matter what others might think of them. I’ve met some of the biggest Live Out Loud people via blogging.

Yes, blogging is powerful. It’s a life — or, part of a life, anyways — lived out loud, the only way I know how to live anymore.

She is another woman who like me has had to face IBC – and there is something about facing one’s own mortality that wakes you up to the fact that you need to live life more authentically.

This blog started as purely a way to let people know what was happening with me and my treatments –  ‘My battle with Gertrude’ but along the way it has become also a way of me being more honest and open about how dealing with ‘Gertrude’ has made me think and feel.

It may surprise some of you to know that at high school I was very quiet, shy and reserved.  I felt very much an outsider – that I didnt fit the mold of all the other girls.  Some people thought I was aloof or a bit stand-offish but in reality it was because I didnt think I fitted in… and I spent a lot of years beating myself up for being ‘different’.  My family tagged me the emotional/temperamental one and so for many years I was very wary about letting my feelings out.  It took a long time for me to realise that by talking about my feelings and acknowledging them instead of bottling them up was the way to live a better life.

Two things happened since I last wrote a post that very much validated this new view of life I have.  One of them is  the very strange coincidence that one of the people I was quoting for one of my University assignments turned out to be one of my first boyfriends -as I explained to him “it was all a bit of innocent fun – procrastinating over doing my assignment and having seen your name in the text book – thinking to myself “wouldn’t it be hilarious if it was the same  person  I knew” – oh just for shits and giggles I’ll type in “____  _____ health social work” and see what happens – oh my god it is the one I know!!”   This guy I “went round” with when I was 14 – it was all very sweet and innocent but I felt like we had had a real connection.  I wouldn’t necessarily say he was my first love but he was someone really special to me, but all of a sudden he didn’t want to hang out with me anymore and I never knew why.  We became friends ‘sort of’ again when we were in our last year of school (when I was 17 – by then I had had other boyfriends and was with what could be termed my first more serious one). Now I hadn’t seen him for approximately 30 years when I made contact with him last week by email.  I had debated whether or not to email him because I would have to explain why I starting to do a Bachelor of Social Work at this stage of my life – i.e “oh by the way my youngest daughters got special needs and I’ve just been dealing with breast cancer” is not something you want to write in an initial email.  Oh and just in case you are wondering OH knows all about this correspondence.  Anyway he wrote back so I bit the bullet and told him why I was doing social work and what had been going on in my life and I admitted that I had thought about not telling him or not emailing him because I knew I would have to tell him – anyway the upshot of the fact that I had been honest with him was that he was honest with me back and said “oh by the way this is what was happening with me in highschool”.  So its a bit weird but I’ve got closure on something that happened over 30 years ago and I have my friend again.  The old me would never have been bold enough to email him but I am so glad I did. Thank you D!

The other thing that happened was that Bro was up visiting this weekend.  We had gone out to dinner with him and his wife, SisM and SisMOH, and niece S and her partner J, OD and her R and over dinner I had a conversation with SisMOH about how sometimes he has read my blog and thought that I have been very honest and authentic and at times he’s thought “hey yeah she’s right about that” and it is stuff people dont tend to say out loud too often.  The honesty theme carried over into today when we went out for a coffee/lunch with Bro and wife R.  We started talking about family and we got onto the subject of how we got on with our father (who died in 2001).  I loved my dad but I didn’t like/respect  him very much and for the first time today I actually said to one of the family how much I resented being labelled the temperamental one etc growing up when Dad had more problems than I did.  Its the first time I have said that out loud to someone other than OH .

Its really is liberating living a more honest, authentic life – I just wish I hadn’t needed Gertrude to come into it to fully realise it.

Leave a comment


  1. Cheryl

     /  June 6, 2010

    Hey Jenny,
    It is so true about the honesty thing. Being honest about your feelings makes you vulnerable and most people are happy to build a protective shell around them and don’t share because of it. Although sometimes I believe we are not honest about our real feelings with family members is also to protect them from the negative feelings we have built up about them. I too was labelled the emotional one and my father believed that it was not good to be emotional because it makes you irrational (His words). The sad thing is that because of my brothers cancer my dad has become softer and more vulnerable and the shell has cracked although he is trying to shore it up to keep being hard and unemotional. He would rather forget. It brings me to the point. We are all vulnerable and but some do a bloody good job of holding the shell in place. It does make you realise that we all view life from different perspectives and the way we are brought up and the way we view the world is what makes us who we are. Siblings develop different views on their families often because of where they are in the pecking order. Some rise above it and some remain the victims and some are just plain oblivius to what goes on. I believe they are just all coping mechanisms and makes the family dynamics more interesting. I am trying to learn to let go of those negative feelings to develop the more positive attitude to people and the way they deal with life. Sometimes the Big C is what makes people be more honest with others but more importantly with themselves.
    Whew a whole lot of ramblings. You go girl. You are an insppiration and so are the others who blog about their experiences.

    • jaydub26

       /  June 6, 2010

      I totally agree Cheryl. I know that some of my siblings have a different view than I do. There are/were 7 of us spread over a 17 year age range and we have all had both different experiences within our family growing up and different distinct personalities growing up. I am being honest and authentic about purely what my reality was growing up which is not any more or any less valid than their experiences. I dont percieve myself as a victim but the whole emotional = irrational viewpoint took me a long time to overcome, it wasnt until after I had YD that I had the strength to assert that just because I get emotional doesnt mean I don’t have a valid point of view.


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