If There is Anything Good

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

The World is not always a nice place.  Sure it is beautiful just look at the scenery, the wonderful buildings and bridges, a tiny child’s smile.  Sometimes though it can be all tragedy and drama, especially if you watch a lot of news and violent movies.  It can feel like everything is dark.

This video of baby piper seeing things clearly for the first time is precious.

Cancer seems to be epidemic, we have recently lost a friend to Kidney cancer, another has been going through treatment for Testicular cancer, my sisters best friend Breast cancer treatment and another dear friend Ovarian Cancer.  One could start to feel that life is falling apart.  Two weeks ago, I was sitting with some ladies at the Australian Darts Championships in Rockingham, Allan was taking photos for the Web site; one girl had survived bowl cancer, another ovarian cancer twenty years ago and me finishing up treatment after Breast Cancer.  About ten years ago, I was at a 40th birthday party and was chatting to the wives either side of me.  Within six months both of them had died, one at thirty six in a terrible car accident and the other at fifty from a sudden aneurism.  Stuff happens on a daily basis, we are exposed very quickly to news as it happens even though it is in Europe or the Arctic, it gets to us fast, so the information can be overwhelming.  What can we do.  Help others materially, physically or financially when and if we can, while realising that not everything is happening to us personally, or will it. One of my favourite Bible verses is in Phillipians and to paraphrase it says ‘if there is anything beautiful, lovely or of good report then think about these things’  If we dwell on the sad, the bad, and the ugly of life, we will all curl up in the foetal position and never leave the house.

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The specialists keep saying to me, live a good life style and be happy.  I am sure happy has a lot to do with it, stress is definitely not good for us.  Most of you would have heard the famous verse ‘a merry heart does good like a medicine’ and even though that was written thousands of years ago, medically it is proven to be correct.  I have shared before that there are laugh therapy classes.  You can save money though just by laughing where you are, go on I dare you, just start laughing, that’s right at nothing, your body doesn’t know the difference between real and pretend laughter and releases, endorphins or something good. If you do this on the bus make sure you have a book in your hand or they may drag you off to be assessed.

Even though I am doing well and have finished treatment, I am left feeling very, very, tired.  Apparently, post Chemo and Radiation tiredness CRF can last for a very long time, so I will just have to be kind to myself and not overdo it on the days when I do get waves of energy.

Beau mistook poppy for a Christmas tree

Beau mistook poppy for a Christmas tree

Meanwhile, life is to be lived, and we should embrace it with all the gusto, that our age and health will allow.  Change things that can be changed, drink water, even when you don’t feel thirsty, eat well and selectively, especially as we get older and don’t need as much food, be choosy, get some exercise.  If you lose the use of your legs you know what will happen, you join the ranks of Grannies parked outside the dress shops, while your daughters go try stuff on.

Good To Be Home

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We had a wonderful time in Sydney with Sarah, Jarrad and the grandchildren.  Sarah has made a lovely guest bedroom in her home as they often have people staying, and we were very comfortable, but, there is nothing like the feeling of coming home, having a shower, putting on clean PJ”s and sleeping in your own bed.  Spending time with family is a different kind of holiday.  We are really only there to hug the little darlings in person.

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There was a bit of time to do some sight-seeing, in between, School runs and meals etc. as their life goes on while we are there, so we did the Harbour Bridge, Opera House run one of the days and also  managed to do one of the things on my bucket list.  Years ago I saw the road that runs around the mountain on the coast in an advertisement (I think it was in one of the earlier Mission Impossible Movies as well) and always wanted to drive on it.  I thought it was on the way to Melbourne, turns out it is twenty minutes from Sarah and Jarrad’s house in Bangor, heading towards Wollongong.

I can't believe this is the baby of our family

I can’t believe this is the baby of our family

We arrived back from Sydney on Wednesday night and picked up our dog Poppy from her baby sitters, our dear friends who spoilt her while we were gone.  We had a quick cuppa with them, then headed home to Mandurah.  I thought I had better unpack straight away as the next day was Hayley’s Birthday and we were planning a family dinner to celebrate.  I didn’t fancy suitcases cluttering up the place to add to my stress levels.  I should have taken a picture for you of our cases, Everything goes into packing cubes, which were so good when we were travelling years ago and only in one place for a a day or two at a time before moving to the next city. You can find items easily as they become like little drawers, and keep everything in order. I had washed the day before we left Sydney, so most of our clothes were clean.  Cubes make unpacking really easy.  ie. One cube had all Allan’s T Shirts, short and long-sleeved, so you just take a cube over to the walk in and hang them all up.  Undies are all neatly in their cube and so quickly transferred to their rightful drawers.  Much easier than years ago, when I would be faced with a pile of rolled or folded clothes that needed to be gone through one by one.  Unpacking was super fast, and I was in bed by midnight (two am Sydney time). Who needs sleep?

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Someone asked me if I was in remission today and it made me think.  I feel like I had a cancerous tumour, my Breast Surgeon took it out with clear margins (they got it all) and I have had follow-up treatment.  The word remission, conjures up thoughts that you are just having a reprieve until it comes back again.  I feel like cancer is behind me and just want to get on with my life.  Having said that, I am off to Fiona Stanley Hospital on Tuesday for my check up, as it is already three months since my last Chemo Round.  Gosh time flies!

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Talk about time flying these Grandchildren our growing fast.  Our son Troy believes in starting them young, here are Granddaughters Chelsea and Mia on their Dad’s boat trying to catch something for dinner.

Now that things are saner and I am getting a bit of energy back, we will hopefully get started with building our Golden Bay house.  It won’t happen overnight, but, it will happen!

The Truth Is

I was reading another girls blog about her journey so far with first a lumpectomy and then down the track when some lumps resurfaced her having a full mastectomy. I experienced what some of you must feel as you read my blog.   She made jokes and lightheartedly told how her whole breast was taken and her subsequent follow-up Chemo then Radiation.  I thought, it isn’t funny why do we joke about something so awful.  The seriousness of her situation screamed louder at me than her funny stories.  I felt shocked as I read, and felt so sorry that she had to be going through something so tough.  The truth is that any brush with Cancer is serious, and there is also a chance that whatever we had could come back and that the result may be no laughing matter.  The opposite is also true, many people go through an ordeal and many years later are cancer free and living a full and healthy life.   It is not that we are in denial and putting on a brave face,  we can’t afford to let our mind go down the what if trail.  Dwelling on a worse case scenario that may never happen is a waste of precious time that could be used more productively.  It is what it is, there is no use saying, ‘why me’ and crying in our soup, none of us knows how long we are going to be here and while we are worrying that every twinge we feel is something life threatening we could be run over by a bus. I chose to give sickness as little of my time as possible, especially this bout with Cancer, which out of over 700 months in my life has only been a part of 10 of them.  Why should I allow the minority to rule.  Life is too short I have things to do and if I feel ok, I am going to do them. Meanwhile, some people (Poppy the dog) don’t have anything to worry about.  Lazy bones here heard a dog barking on television and couldn’t be bothered getting up so she just barked where she was lying without moving from her sleeping position on the lounge. FullSizeRender-50 The past eight months since I had my biopsy have been surreal.  A bit like I was in a cocoon, dropping out of the rat race into a world of Chemo and appointments, then Radiation and more appointments.  Sometimes I would feel quite tired and unwell, and although my brain was thinking of stuff I should be getting done, I would  have to think, well I just can’t do that right now, I am too tired.  That is a very weird feeling as I would normally if I had the slightest bit of energy, force myself to go on, so this was a valuable learning thing for me, letting go of my expectations on myself and just resting when I needed to.   Having gotten off  the merry-go-round  I am hesitant to get back on.  In a way I will miss having the time to sort lip glosses and other frivolous things one does while recuperating from illness, and I can feel life sucking me back in already, as those things I left undone while I had no energy to do them are starting to catch up with me. FullSizeRender-49 Spending time with grandchildren always makes me happy.  They are just so darling and do the cutest things.  Beau wanted to help me make our scrambled eggs for breakfast, and did a good job not touching the hot pan. FullSizeRender-54 FullSizeRender-53   Meanwhile, I woke up this morning feeling better than I have for ages, so started sorting out the pantry cupboard and got some baking going.  Pizza for lunch, some no-knead bread which I had been proofing over night, and easy muffins which I bake all the time and varying the fruit and nuts I put in.   We had muffins for brunch with Plum and Ginger jam which Hayley bought from Frans Jams at the Markets where she was selling her Sweet Esscentials candles, which are divine. FullSizeRender-52 Muffins : melt 50 grams butter, then add 1/2 cup milk (you may need a little more later), vanilla, 1 egg, and two mashed bananas, stir into dry ingredients till just combined. Dry ingredients: 2 cups flour any combination (I usually use 3/4 cup white, 3/4 cup wholemeal, 1/2 cup oats) 1 tsp baking powder, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup walnuts chopped. 2 tsp’s cinnamon.  I sprinkled mine with some pumpkin seeds. Makes 12 muffins, bake in moderate oven till golden. FullSizeRender-51   Allan and I visited his Mum today, who is in an aged care facility.  She needs to be turned every few hours and is unable to do a lot for herself.  It is so frustrating for her.  The days are very long for someone whose brain is still in top form, to sit in a chair gazing out the window, having very little interaction with other people.  Her very plain and boring room is off a storage area, and even with her hearing aid in, conversations are very hard.  It made me think we need to enjoy life while we can, if you can’t walk about and enjoy a chat and cup of tea, there is not a lot to live for. We are off to Sydney in a couple of days, so I don’t know why I am sorting the Pantry out instead of packing. Check us out on Facebook:  Breast Cancer Ready or Not