Bricks Arrived

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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.
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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.
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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

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

Phase Two Radiation

This week is phase two of my Radiation treatment, so they are just zapping me along the line of my surgery, where the tumour was.  Meanwhile, my poor boob is almost cooked and needs to be dressed continually where the skin is breaking down. FullSizeRender-42 Meanwhile, I am continuing to shed nails, although the numbness in my feet and fingers is starting to go away.  I was having coffee with my sister last night, and looked at my feet which were lounging on the coffee table, it dawned on me that my big toe was not pink, as I glanced at the floor beneath, sure enough there was a pink nail sitting on the floor.IMG_2824 I made my own dog biscuits for poppy this week.  I got the recipe from Rhonda Hetzels down to Earth Blog.  Poppy loves them. IMG_2825 Homemade Dog Biscuits 2 cups water mixed with 1 tablespoons Vegemite, 1 tablespoon beef or chicken stock. 1 cup bread or plain/all-purpose flour 2 cups wholemeal 1 cup rolled oats or instant oats ½ cup powdered milk 1 teaspoon yeast Bake at 170 c for 1 hour.  Cool and place in air tight jar. 20150703_141143 We baby sit Beau on a Friday so take him with us to Radiation.  Allan entertains by going up and down in the lift, and checking out the pond with the fountain.  My appointment was at 11.30 so we promised Beau Hungry Jacks for lunch and some time in the playground.  When we arrived at the hospital, Beau announced he was hungry, so to keep him going till I was finished I handed Allan the tiny mint lollies I had in my bag, to keep his hunger pangs at bay.  We finally, headed out of the car park anticipating hamburgers at Hungry Jacks when I saw Beau picking at his nose, assuming he had boogers I handed him a tissue and he blew his nose, then he immediately started crying and yelled, ‘it hurts, I put the mint up my nose’  We pulled over and I tried to get him to blow it out and couldn’t actually see anything, but we decided since we were at the hospital we may as well go round to emergency and get it dealt with.  I jumped out at Children’s emergency and went to get Beau out, when I saw a wet little mint on his leg with a tiny bit of blood on it.  I went to pick it up as Beau swooped in and grabbing the mint, popped it in his mouth.  Too late, to do anything but, laugh at how funny little people are.  It reminded me of my Cousin Valerie who was at the beach with her family.  One of her girls bit into a piece of Southend Rock (a long stick of hard candy) and pulled it out with one of her teeth stuck in the end.  She ran to show her Dad who was sun- baking.  Dad thinks, thanks, takes a bite and not noticing the shocked look on his children’s faces, proceeds to chomp down the candy, plus the tooth. Last day of Radiation tomorrow Yeh!!! Check us out on Facebook: Breast Cancer Ready or Not

Radiation Week Five

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Even though they say your skin does not get hot during Radiation Therapy, this is what happens.  It gets quite sore and itchy at the same time, like sunburn and drives you a bit nuts.  It still isn’t as bad as Chemo Therapy though, so I shouldn’t complain, only three more days after this of the all over burn, then next week they target just the spot where the tumour was, so that should settle down the burn up near my neck.

Apparently, all those freckles are here to stay, the radiation has just darkened pale ones that were already there. The girls in radiation sent me off to the nurses yesterday, a patch of skin underneath my boob had broken down.  I had not worried about it even though it was sore as I just thought everything happening was normal.  Turns out they make a big fuss which was nice, put saline soaks on it then slippery, shiny, Dermese gel to sooth it all.  The nurse made a crop top out of some disposable knickers to hold the bandages in place and sent me off home.  You really do get well looked after by everyone at Fiona Stanley, the staff have been lovely.

I don't think she trusts me now!

I don’t think she trusts me now!

They say that Chemo does effect your brain and I am sure this is true.  I let the dog back in last night after her pre-bed toilet visit, and wondered why she didn’t follow me to the bedroom.  I couldn’t sleep so after fidgeting about for a few hours, I got back up and headed out to the family room, made a drink and sat down with a book.  It was quarter to two in the morning, and very cold outside, I suddenly heard a bark at the back door.  Sure enough Poppy, who is an inside dog and not used to the elements was still out there.  She dashed in and snuggled up next to me once rescued and no doubt tried to get warm.  I don’t know what happened she must have hesitated at the doorway, while I was looking at the stars, and I  obviously shut the door in her face and proceeded to lock up and close the curtains.  Hopefully, she has learned that she needs to hurry up, or get left out in the cold.

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At least I have a bit more energy lately, and have been baking bread  regularly. These rolls are very quick to make: I adapted the Baps recipe from Rhonda Hetzel’s Down to Earth blog.

Easy Bread Rolls: mix 2 tablespoons yeast powder with 1 1/2 cups warm water and allow that to sit for a few minutes while you get the dry ingredients together.  3 cups bread flour, l teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons milk powder.  I mixed mine in my kitchen aid with the dough hook, once the dry ingredients are combined with the wet, allow the dough to knead for 5 minutes.  I shaped the dough into a round and left it covered with a tea towel for about 45 minutes.  Bang down, and roll into a sausage, cut the sausage into 8 equal pieces, then roll into eight balls and place on a tray covered with baking paper, cover with the towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes,  then bake at 220 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes.  These are nice soft rolls, great for kids lunches.

A big hello to Julie, who finished Radiation last week.  Well done!  Time to party and throw away the scarves.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Check us out on Facebook:  Breast Cancer Ready or Not

 

Radiation Week Four

Not much has been happening in my world lately so I haven’t had much to blog about.  Most of my days are taken up with going up and down to Fiona Stanley Hospital for Radiation appointments.

I saw my Radiation Oncologist on Thursday, and was really pleased because I thought I only had two more weeks to go.  Wrong!  Apparently, I have twenty-five sessions of Radiation to the whole breast area, then five sessions of targeting the spot where they removed the tumour, which I suppose is good because it is meant to lessen the chance of a recurrence at that site.

Meanwhile, another two fingernails fell off as well as a toenail.  It is so strange to see what is going on under your nail.  Presumably new ones will grow in due course.

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I feel pretty well back to my old self this week, and wore high heels all day for the first time in months. It seems like ages, but, it was only a short while ago that my legs were still hurting from bone pain caused by the last round of Chemo, and I was doomed to flat shoes.

Why we torture ourselves in high heels though is beyond me.  They kill our feet, throw out our posture and can be dangerous.  I was reading an Agatha Raisin novel and Agatha is tottering across an icy car park in ridiculously high-heeled boots, slips on the ice and slides right under a car with her head poking out.  An old man watching asks her cheekily if she is checking the engine before he helps her out.

My love affair with shoes started when I was very young I crashed into a lamp-post when I was about eight years old when I was looking down at my new sandals instead of where I was going.  My first pair of heels (1 inch) were black patent with a bow on the toe, and they lived on the end of my bed for some time so I could admire them in the night,  I kept them shined to a mirror finish with vaseline.

Gorgeous Sophia Vergara who wears very high sexy heels to do her household chores in TV series Modern Family says in one episode where she is forced to dress in flat shoes ‘How can anyone walk in these’.

My excuse for heels was always to create a weight loss illusion, apparently each inch you go up, you look slimmer.  So I am on the lookout for 30 cm platforms.

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Hayley and I did take Beau to the Winter Wonderland at Fremantle this afternoon, and he was looking forward to turn on the giant slide.  However, it would have been an hour and a half wait, so he was a bit disappointed but, was consoled with watching the ice skaters on the outside rink and a promise of a trip to Chipmunks through the week (they have a slide) and an ice-cream before he went home.

Have a great weekend.

Week Three of Radiation

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Well I have completed two weeks radiation and have three to go.  I thought I would show you these masks that are for patients who have radiation up near there head area.  My friend had a Basal cell carcinoma on hear ear and had to have radiation.  They make a mask especially for you and it is bolted onto the table to keep you still while you have treatment.  I am only glad I don’t have to have that, cause even though they have holes all over and you can see out, I am sure I would feel claustrophobic.  Our neighbour at our previous house, had throat cancer and had a mask for radiation, when we went to his fiftieth birthday party, they had made his mask into a garden light.

When I came out of my session of Radiation, which only takes ten minutes, most of this time is taken up by them adjusting and moving you to align your measurements up with what is on the computer.  I am lying there with my arms above my head and can see fluorescent numbers and lines on my chest, with nurses calling measurements to each other.  It must be like being on a submarine and I expect one of them to shout, ‘Fire number one torpedo’ any second.

On Friday I came out of the Radiation room and headed for the cubicle to get changed the lady waiting to go next turned out to be Julie a fellow Breast Cancer Patient from Secret Harbour who I have chatted to through my blog.  It was lovely to put a face to a name and we had a quick chat before she had to dash off to be zapped.

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Every few weeks I give my wig a wash.  It is really simple, you just use a small amount of special synthetic wig shampoo in cold water, being very gentle as if you were washing lingerie, then rinse thoroughly and spray with the leave in conditioner.  I heard you could use baby shampoo and fabric softener, but, that didn’t work as well.  The good stuff brings it up beautifully and after a couple of washes it isn’t all shiny any more and looks much more natural.  Anyway, hold it upside down while it is wet and give it a couple of flicks, then hang it upside down once again on a hanger by the thin wire hook, and let it dry overnight.  In the morning you have a nice clean wig.

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I had a small wedding on the beach this morning for Stevhnie and Martin who came down from Christmas Island.  Their guests were family who flew in from South Africa, and of course Perth put on a beautiful sunny day for them.  It was just perfect.

Check us out on Facebook:  Breast Cancer Ready or Not