Five Year Mark

It has been a long time since I have posted anything on my Breast Cancer Blog, so I thought I had better let readers know that I am still alive and kicking and have just passed the five year mark since my whole journey started.  I presume I am ok, I went for a mammogram in November, and I haven’t heard from the hospital.  I will get an appointment in due course probably February and will find out then if I am all clear.  That sounds bad, but the truth is the further you go along the further you get pushed back, and I don’t mind,.  There are people in the first stages of treatment whose need is urgent, so folk like me who are five years in aren’t such a rush.  Don’t worry, if there is anything wrong on the scan they flag it for the Doctor and they would have contacted me straight away to come back.  So it is a case of no news, is good news.

running clockrunning clockrunning clock

Statistically with triple negative, very aggressive tumours like I had they told me can come back quickly,  if you don’t hear from it again within five years, more than likely you never will.  Ah! statistics, when you are first diagnosed you tend to read everything you can on doctor google along with any other information you can find about your diagnosis.  While this is good to know it can also be a bit negative.  Try to avoid negative as much as possible.  When I was first diagnosed the Oncologist said if you don’t have Chemo you have a 50 percent chance of the cancer coming back, with Chemo 30 percent chance of it returning, instead of being more positive and saying  70 percent chance of cancer not coming back, which sounds much better.  I would rather be a glass half full person, not a glass half empty.

Christmas 2014 was a weird time, we had the whole family for Christmas lunch, apart from Sarah and jarrad who were still living in Sydney with their children.  I was Christmas shopping in between Oncology, Radiology and blood test appointments, and looking forward to having surgery on the 30th December, to have my cancerous tumour removed.  Happy New Year to me!

Like my blog name, Cancer comes ready or not, a young friend of my daughters (follow her journey on her Facebook page ‘kick it in the tits’ ), just started Chemo to shrink the tumour she has in her breast before surgery Neo Adjuvant therapy. They do this for many reasons, sometimes to shrink the tumour so that they can preserve the breast with a lumpectomy instead of a full breast removal, or to get rid of anything in the lymph nodes quickly.  The medical people don’t think Gee! its Christmas let’s wait till after, no Cancer is serious and needs to be addressed straight away, and the sooner the better.  Cancer is not an automatic death sentence, so don’t think it is.  The Chemo treatment ward at Fiona Stanley was always full when I went for appointments, and my Oncologist said that is because people that previously wouldn’t have had such a good prognosis are now kept going for years and years with new treatments that are constantly being developed to fight this sod of a disease.

Christmas is a day we have chosen in the Christian world to celebrate the birth of Christ, it is just one day of the year.  We have a whole 365 days in a year to cope with everything life throws at us.  Car accidents happen, heart attacks happen, stuff happens, there is never a right time to be hit by a curve ball.  Life doesn’t seem to care that it is Christmas.   I know for me the secret to staying strong during hard times is to lean on my faith in God. I never felt like I would die any time soon, even though there is a darkness that happens while going through life threatening illness, even though death is a possibility for everyone who walks the earth, death becomes more of a reality when you are faced with a life threatening illness, and along with that there is a darkness that seems to overshadow life.  Time passes and the darkness becomes a distant memory, enthusiasm for living life returns, plans to pack my bags and travel, to finish decorating the house and more importantly be a blessing to my family and  friends and to encourage if I can anyone who needs encouraging.

car

Life is happening now, not next week, and should be enjoyed.  Someone famous whose name escapes me said ‘A life lived in fear, is a life half lived’ worrying about the ‘what ifs’ takes up precious life moments, wasting time that we could spend enjoying family or friends and the special experiences today has to offer.

When I was young our family travelled across the Nullabor Dessert in an old beat up car that shook and vibrated for the few hundred miles of corrugated dirt road full of pot holes.  By the end the car was literally held together with elastic bands and clips, but, we made it, and you will too.  So if your road is bumpy at the moment, hang on tight, and ride it out, the road ahead will eventually get smooth again.

Blessings from our house to yours for the whole 365 days ahead.

Check us out on Facebook Breast Cancer Ready or not

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day 2016

Mother’s Day yesterday, was a bit different to last year.  2015 I was right in the thick of Chemo, and it’s side effects which were not very nice.  This year is different.  Chemo seems a life time ago.  My hair and nails have grown back, and we have owner built our house since October and moved in back in March.  IMG_3584Here I am with new great baby grandson Lucas, and my hair.  He is just the most darling little boy and number two grandy for Allan and I.  We are so proud of Bianca and Daniel they have taken to parenthood like ducks to water.

The hair is very soft and I am planning to have a trim and foils done this week.  They recommend you wait six months before colouring as it is so fragile, it could snap off, not for health reasons, for the few people who have said ‘ooh are you allowed to have it coloured yet’.  My nails are long and normal, and apart from some tiredness still, I feel good.  It turns out my Thyroid is not functioning properly, and my iron stores were low, so this is the cause of the tiredness.  Thyroid, can be from poor nutrition, which could be the case, since I have lost fifteen kilos since finishing Chemo, and really just because I hardly ate, which is not the best diet.

IMG_3659Meal prep for Mother’s Day.  The Muffins are vegan, sweet potato and coconut milk from ‘Hell yeah it’s vegan’ site.  We have some vegans in our family now, so I made chick pea curry for them, and lamb for the carnivores.  These muffins are so moist and delicious and I posted them last year on my blog.  Even if you are not vegan once you try them, you will more than likely make them again and again.

IMG_3663

IMG_3664

IMG_3662

I felt so spoilt, as I am sure many of you other Mums were by your families.  Beautiful flowers and cosy PJ’S and Boot slippers.  I have always told my kids, don’t buy me slippers, I hate them.  But, this year, I changed my mind, being in the new house with concrete floors, till the garden is done, it is freezing, so I was very excited to have slippers for Mother’s Day.  It is Daughter-in-Law Lesa’s birthday today so we will see Troy’s family tonight.  It is also the anniversary of my Mum passing away twenty two years ago the day after Mother’s day that year.  I can’t believe it has been that long; The time has gone fast.

I always feel for the girls who are dealing with the struggle to get pregnant and those that have lost children or estranged from them at this time of the year.  Last year I mentioned Mother Teresa who never gave birth herself but, was a mother to thousands, so don’t undervalue the impact you can have on others.  One beautiful lady Rose, who turned eighty while we knew her, and had been a spinster all her life, yet, she took it on herself to encourage Allan.  She would always praise him up after he had played his guitar or led the worship at our Church. His Mum while we love her dearly, had never been that encourager, so it was like God put Rose in his life, to be a surrogate Mum and take up the mothering slack.

 

IMG_3661I had a wedding on Saturday afternoon at King’s Park.  This is the view from the Jarrah Pavillion near the War Memorial.  What a beautiful City we live in, and it is such a wonderful view.  It was freezing cold and windy, but, at least it didn’t rain on them during the festivities.  I always like to arrive early in case the traffic is bad on the freeway, so I sat in the car park with my little flask of coffee, and one of the delicious muffins and read my book.  Delightful!

Merry Christmas

IMG_3448
Merry Christmas. I trust you all had a wonderful time with family and friends. I know some don’t have the blessing of mobs of family around them, so, I really appreciate the luxury of a large family. I must say that this time last year things were not as merry. I was very tired due to being sick, and was looking forward to having my breast cancer removed a few days after Christmas, so couldn’t focus on the festivities. I feel very happy to be celebrating Christmas a year later surrounded by most of my family, we even Skyped Sarah and just left it going so we felt like we were all together as she chopped and prepared for their Christmas dinner in Sydney, and we cooked for our brunch here in Perth. Modern technology is amazing. It must have been hard if you lived centuries ago, as you said goodbye to family who moved miles away, often never to be seen again. Mail took ages, and to travel on long train or coach rides to get to visit would have been a major even. Now we just jump on Skype or a plane and in a few hours, we our hugging the little people we are missing.
IMG_3445
Meanwhile, our roof is on our house. Things are going very quickly, so we should be able to lock things up in a couple of weeks. It is much more exciting thinking about tiles and decorating instead of brickwork and gutters.
We had great fish and chips down on Rockingham foreshore, catching up with our good friends Chris and Marcia, who moved from Perth to Kangaroo Island a couple of years back. They are in the west to spend time with the grandees before heading back to the peace and quiet of life on the Island. It is like living in an animal sanctuary, Koalas and wild life everywhere you go, just lovely!
The New Year is approaching. and with it all the resolutions, which we genuinely mean to keep but, often don’t. The thing is if you really want to do something, you usually will. We make room for what is important to us. Can I just encourage you to do like Isaiah said ‘forget the former things’ don’t look back, at past mistakes, just because you failed before, doesn’t mean you will fail this time. The year ahead is new, with no footprints on it as yet.
It is never to late to start fresh!
IMG_3449
I made this yummy Nut Loaf so that the Vegetarians in the family would feel like it was Christmas. I just pulsed
Nut Loaf
1 onion
3 spring onions
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1/2 zucchini
pop this in a large bowl and add
2/3 cup chopped apricots
1 red capsicum diced
300 grms mixed nuts (whatever you have) pulsed gently so they are still chunky
1 cup flour (I used white S/R, but, any would work)
2 eggs
1 heaped teaspoon sage and oregano
1 tspn garlic powder
salt and pepper
cover with foil and bake in a loaf tin lined with baking paper for 50 mins – 1 hour
180 c
Serve with gravy and cranberry sauce, or cold with salad.
delicious!
I’ve got to say, I don’t particularly like mushrooms, and you can’t even taste them, they just blend in.
I have several friends going through Chemo Therapy at the moment, which sucks. Unfortunately, life throws us curves at very inconvenient times, and we just have to cope. You are in my thoughts, and for others that have unpleasant things going on in their family lives, try to steal moments of enjoyment in amongst the dramas, so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.
Merry Christmas from our house to yours xx
Check us out on Facebook: Breast Cancer Ready or Not

Year One Milestone

Well I had my first yearly Mammogram last week and saw the Oncologist a few days later, for an examination and results of Mammogram. It officially isn’t a year till the 30th November, since my biopsy and subsequent breast cancer diagnosis, but, close enough. It is a bit weird, I was expecting everything to be ok, however, there is a feeling of relief when you are told, ‘Well that is all good’.
IMG_3358
We hadn’t had breakfast and it was nearly 12 o’clock so we stopped in at the Whistling Kite Secret Harbour to celebrate with a beautiful lunch of lamb and potato and goats cheese gratin, ‘Yum!’
IMG_3368
Made carrot cup cakes out of these beautiful homegrown eggs that my friend Rosealie. Isn’t the blue one gorgeous, birds are made amazingly, they have a built-in little spray painter. They never cease to fascinate me.
IMG_3366
Meanwhile, our house walls are up. This is the view from our living room to the kitchen. Very exciting, we may even have the roof on by Christmas.
IMG_3377

The Library, Picnics and a bit of a Rant

IMG_3340
Can’t wait to have heaps more of these in our new garden, I want it to look like a house in the Hamptons.

IMG_3342
Our house is progressing quickly, however, a slight hitch happened when the custom front and french door frames didn’t arrive on Tuesday when they were meant to, so the brickie went ahead and bricked the crappy little wooden frame for our laundry into the front door position, and now has to pull half of it down again and redo it. EEK! poor guy, he most likely was not very happy, but, was quite gracious about it, and is fixing it.

We were having a picnic down on Rockingham foreshore yesterday when a young lady from the local paper came and asked us whether the proposal to give 16 year olds the vote was a good idea. I am always suspicious when politicians want to do something like this. Firstly most 16 year olds are still at school, since they raised the school leaving age so all students stay till year 12 even if they have no interest in academic pursuits; if you think this was out of concern for our children you would be wrong, it more than likely was so that the unemployment rate didn’t look so bad, since teenagers were no longer unemployed but students. This would cut down the unemployment benefit bill, but I doubt that this was the motivation since depending on their circumstances they would still be able to receive Austudy allowance or something similar.

Maybe if the younger generation really want to vote we should let them, but, only if they have applied to do so off their own bat. My guess is if they made it compulsory for 16 year olds to vote, most of them would not even bother and since the average income for 15-17 year olds in this country is $16 a week, then the fine for not voting would need to be paid by their parents. Maybe, it is just a scam to get some revenue from all the fines, there are probably at least 1 million in that age group, multiplied by a $10 fine, wow! an extra 10,000 million for the government, give or take since a few conscientious young people would vote.
IMG_3337
Anyway, on another note, I have been taking our grandson Beau to the Library on Friday mornings when we are on baby sitting duty for story time. Funnily enough many of the children that come along are with their Grandparent, or from the day care next door.
The first week he found it boring and lay on his back with his feet over his head annoying the boy next to him. This week was different, they were all engrossed as they were read the ‘Book with no Pictures’, Beau laughed the loudest. See you have to say every word the book says, things like ‘I have a monkeys head’ ‘No I don’t have a monkey’s head’. It made me think that Grandad Allan should write a children’s book. We have thirteen grandchildren, and they and their parents before them have all been entertained with imaginary ‘Snipper Snapper’ (his hand which bites them quite often) or been told your a good girl, returned with ‘Im not a girl grandad, I’m a boy’. Yesterday, Allan had Beau in stitches while we were driving with ‘There is Granny’, ‘no! that’s not Granny’ I was in the horse float, or up in the sky like a cloud or driving in the car next to us. Kids love it. Its funny me who always thinks that I am the writer, would rather have peace and quiet while I drive along.
Funnily enough many of the children that come along to story time at our library are with their Grandparent, or from the day care centre next door. I used to love taking my girls to the library for story time when they were little. Back then there wasn’t a Grandparent in sight. I would ride my bike with a baby seat on the back. It’s such a shame that the cost of living has become so great that many Mum’s are having to work outside the home. Many rents are around $400 – $700 a week which is most of a one income wage, making it very hard to manage.
Following the story, instead of gluing and colouring as an activity like usual, they all got to make paper planes then had competitions to see whose plane went further. The kids made so much noise, we got told off. I thought the story teller did a great job, most kids find it unnatural to sit quietly for long lengths of time. Give them a paper plane race any day.

This turned out to be a bit of a rant day. Tune in next week I may be back to normal.

Check us out on Facebook: Breast Cancer Ready or Not

Bricks Arrived

20151013_173238
Here is Allan watering our pad a couple of weeks ago, to stop it curing too quickly. I wonder if he thought it might grow into a bigger house. Nah! It is perfect for two and can accommodate house guests and family dinners.
IMG_3334
The Bricks, Cement, Shed, and toilet all arrived yesterday. Our brickie is raring to go, so is already getting stuck in.
I made a mistake with the building insurance. Stupid me thought I was paying a premium for the term of our house build, wrong, they charge yearly just like anything else. Being a bit gung ho, I signed up immediately I read that we needed it on our owner builders course, this was last October, we didn’t even get approval for our plans from the council till December. Consequently, we are having to pay for an extension to our policy. You live and learn.
Also a word to Owner Builders, order your window frames early. Things moved very fast for us because our bricky is going on holiday for six weeks in December, so needs to be finished with our house. I found myself hurrying to try and get window quotes, and ended up paying $1300 more than our lowest quote which came in late, so I could get the frames delivered in two weeks. Most places take 3-4 weeks. Our lowest quote came in after I had ordered from the other glass place, and they only took 10 working days, I was a bit annoyed, but, too bad ‘there is no use crying over spilt milk’, my Mum always said.
For the most part, owner building you can save on all the little things. We have paid for some custom made wooden door frames for our French doors and Front door etc, but, most of the interior doors were purchased from Gumtree for $20 or $25. Even with our Powerpass from Bunnings standard door frames are $64 each, so all these little bits add up, and we generally have been able to source things that are not far from home, and usually with the occasional fish and chip stop on the way home for our trouble.
IMG_3324
Anyway, that is enough of house talk for now. Saturday night we celebrated with our good friends Dave and Denise as they celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary. We share our beautiful Granddaughter Hannah with them. Such a talented family, they all entertained us with their singing talents, we felt like we were at the Royal Command Performance.

Next Friday I go for my first Mammogram, I can’t believe it is nearly a year since I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Also, Wedding season is upon us, so my Celebrant life is getting very busy, so it is good that I don’t have to do much house stuff for a little while and can concentrate on other things.

Check us out on Facebook: Breast Cancer Ready or Not

Pad Party

IMG_3302
I have been meaning to post this for a week. Our house Pad is down at Che’ Summers. Whoo Hoo! Very exciting. Our tradies have been awesome so far, so helpful and organising things for us over and above the call of duty.
IMG_3303
Things are moving very fast, now I am trying to organise window frames, bricks and frames. Coordinating it all is like juggling. Everything needs to be on site for the brickie, a toilet, lock up shed, power box, lintels, door frames, window frames, scaffolding, cement, sand, mesh, insulation for the walls, brick ties, flashing for wooden doors. Hopefully, that is all. Once that is all done I can take a breath for a moment and get onto some other stuff. (hopefully decorating will come into it, brick ties and M4 cement are not that exciting to a girl).
Its raining here at the moment, but, we still need to go down and water the pad for a few days, to make sure it doesn’t cure too fast. The rain isn’t enough to count.
IMG_3321-2
Meanwhile, in Claremont today, grandson Beau was mesmerised by this man with a beautiful yellow and orange parrot on his shoulder, just sitting there in the street.