General Health

Heartbreaking: Double Mastectomy Surgery for Block Star, Sarah-Jane

If you thought having to sit through a live auction on Australia’s favourite renovating show, The Block, was enough to make you a ball of nerves, imagine being told the day BEFORE the auction you were approved for a double mastectomy. That was the terrifying reality for The Block contestant Sarah-Jane Calleja.

Sarah-Jane shares her news with fans

Block favourite Sarah-Jane Calleja has since shared with her Instagram followers that she underwent double mastectomy surgery last week. It’s surgery she knew she would one day have to have, but she had only been told it was approved the day before the biggest day on The Block – the finale – the much-anticipated auction day.

A judge and crowd favourite on the series, Sarah-Jane has decided to use her own personal Instagram account to document her journey and keep her flood of fans in the loop of her double mastectomy journey.

“I’ll be living in this bedroom and watching TV shows for a few weeks. Sorry! Everyone’s been so kind asking if I’m ok and I’ll be sharing more of my story… for educational purposes if anyone’s interested.

Essentially I had a double mastestomy on Thursday because I’m a BRCA1 gene carrier… it means that like, I have quite a high percentage, like 85% chance of developing breast cancer… a really high chance of getting it while I’m still quite young.

I’ve been able to have this preventative surgery and I’m feeling really good about my decision. It’s been a long time in the making, I’ve been on this waitlist for five+ years and then the day before The Block auction they called me and are like we’ve got a spot for you.”

Sarah-Jane has been amazing throughout her recovery, really raising awareness and delivering an honest account of her recovery. She also revealed that the surgery was preventative as she’s a BRCA1 gene carrier, her mother first being diagnosed with breast cancer at just 36 years old.

Celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate have also undergone mastectomies in recent years due to their genetic risk of breast cancer.

The Block double mastectomy
Sarah-Jane shows fans she’s doing fine, feeling grateful amid her drains. Source: Instagram

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out. I have had my inbox flooded with positivity, with breast cancer survivors and warriors, just like sharing their stories with me.

It’s been really touching and then so many people coming out to me saying I’ve had the BRCA1 gene as well or I have the BRCA2 gene and I have never met anyone that had the BRCA1 gene before sharing my story that wasn’t my sister or my mum.

So it’s like we’re in a club now, just going to call us the BRCA bitches, we’re just in our own little club – but it’s awesome that there’s a community out there!”

Sarah-Jane goes on to say she’s had all of her breast tissue removed and was grateful to not need expanders as her skin was in good enough condition to put implants straight in. And now she deals with drains (draining just fluid to avoid swelling) for a week which hubby Tom affectionally refers to as her ALDI bags.

“He says put your ALDI shopping bags on before you go to the toilet!”

mum central
Sarah-Jane with her ‘ALDI’ bags, post double mastectomy surgery.

Wearing a compression bra and her drain bags, Sarah-Jane shares with fans that her implants are the same size as she was previously, a full C cup – and SHE GOT TO KEEP HER NIPPLES.

The Block double mastectomy
Sarah-Jane shares that she has bruising yes, and nipples, also yes. Source: Instagram

“I do have nipples for people asking. They were able to save my nipples, not everybody’s nipples are salvageable!”

It’s hard to imagine going through such major surgery but to wake up in recovery to find you have implants and your own original nipples must be something to smile about under those circumstances.

Not all The Block dreams do come true

Sarah-Jane together with her husband Tom reportedly told Instagram fans they’d initially applied to take part in The Block in hopes of winning a “life-changing” amount of money, “but that didn’t really work out, did it” said Sarah-Jane.

The couple made a not-so-satisfying profit of just $20,000 for three months of hard work, blood, sweat, tears – and of course being separated from one-year-old daughter Cleo. It’s a profit that is small change compared to winning contestants, Omar and Oz who lined their pockets with nearly $1.7 million. It’s hardly fair at all, many would agree, us included!

The block double mastectomy
The Block strikes again: three months of blood, sweat and tears for not much profit at all. Source: Instagram

Sarah-Jane we wish you the most smooth sailing recovery, enjoy watching all of the trash TV and raising breast cancer awareness  – and preventative measures – as far and wide as you can. We’ll be following your journey through the ‘gram. Rest up!

If you have any breast concerns of your own, please speak to your doctor.

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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