Day 31! The last day of Frocktober 2017! It was a sunny but cold day, and decided I needed to go all out to celebrate the end, so I wore this Hell Bunny frock with a big pouffy pink petticoat, maroon tights and blue shoes. Need a closer look at the petticoat, tights and shoes? Sure:

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This was the frock I attempted to wear on Day 2 and the zip broke on my way to work, so I was taking a risk trying it again on Day 31. Even though it was the last day and I was already proud of how much we’d managed to raise, before I knew it MORE donations rolled in! I was floating on air!

img_4442Big thanks to Ken and Orla, Fiona, Troy, Ayan, Carol & Greg, GA Gregory, Dan and Mel for helping me to fight cancer.

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My fighting stance

Also, in a lovely turn of events, the teachers at my old school Kilbreda (led by my good friend Adrienne) all frocked up this week and raised another $100 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. I wish I’d been there to see it! Did Mr Gallo frock up, I wonder?

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OK, before we finish up this month, I need to sit you down and have some real talk with you. As I continually focused on the awful disease that is ovarian cancer this month, urging women to tune into their bodies, notice vague symptoms and prioritise their reproductive health, it dawned on me that I really needed to practice what I preached. I had a very vague symptom, and I also knew that I was years overdue for my pap smear.

Now we all know, don’t we, that a pap smear doesn’t detect ovarian cancer? That’s why we’re doing this fundraising – to help scientists come up with a screening test as effective as the pap smear is for cervical cancer, that can detect ovarian cancer much earlier. So I’m not suggesting for a moment that I went and had a pap smear for ovarian cancer, but I went because it is important for women to take care of their health and not allow ourselves to just feel “run down” without paying proper attention to what’s going on.

Good news! My pap smear was all clear! Bad news (but nowhere near as bad as it could be)! The doctor found a cyst that needs removal and I’m off to hospital soon for a minor procedure to deal with that, to prevent it becoming a bigger problem. It’s not cancer, and for that I’m immensely grateful, but it does need dealing with and could have become a big pain the (front) bottom. I’m sorry if you’re having a TMI moment, and like you didn’t need to read about my pap smear over breakfast, but I’m sharing this with you as a reminder that women’s health is easy to deprioritise in our busy daily lives as mums, workers, volunteers, students, sportspeople. And we have a stigma about talking about it, even though we have no problem detailing our hayfever symptoms and our trials and tribulations with sports (and home improvement) injuries. We don’t talk enough about women’s health because we find it a bit icky. And if we deprioritise it for too long, it could be too late.

So I’m asking you, if you have ovaries and associated bits, read this list of symptoms and risks, have a good think about them, and go and discuss them with your doctor if they ring bells with you. If your doctor dismisses your symptoms as just being worn down, but your gut tells you there’s more to it, seek a second opinion. And if you’ve been putting off your next pap smear, bite the bullet and go and have it, and have a general chat about your health while you’re there. Just prioritise you and your health for the time it takes to visit a GP – better safe than sorry.

And people who don’t have ovaries, but have ovaried loved ones, please put aside the ickiness and be prepared to have a chat about women’s reproductive health and encourage the women in your life to tune in and get checked out.

img_4450OK, serious talk over! Back to fundraising! I’m off on a short holiday tonight, and my fundraising ebay sale will finish while I’m away, so I’ll be back in about a week to give you a round-up post and share our final fundraising total, so it’s not too late to drop a donation at my page.

Until then, thanks so much for reading every day and for indulging my ridiculous wardrobe. It’s going to be bathers and shorts weather for me for the next week, but right now it’s tracky dacks!

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