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.

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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

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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.
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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!
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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
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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

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

So we will start with the Ugly – so far I have lost four fingernails. which looks really gross, I will have to think about stick on ones for the wedding I am doing on Monday.  Apparently it is called Onycholysis and none of the things I have read have said whether they grow back or not, just depressing things like your nails might not grow as long as they used to.

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The Good – This beautiful gift arrived from Comfort Quilts today, they make these lovely packs for Cancer patients containing a quilt, a beanie, and a knitted scarf and mine came in the mail today.  It just blows me away that there are such unselfish people out there that give up their time and resources to bless those of us that are going through a Cancer journey.  Really it is all anonymous, so they are just doing it to be a blessing not for the glory.  It really brightened up my day.

Also good, I had a gardening lady from ‘Phone a Mum’ to come and weed for me today.  The neighbours all around us are very garden proud so I am sure have been disappointed with we rental people next door to them.  While you are on Chemo Therapy you are not allowed to garden – too bugsy so it has gone to rack and ruin over the past months. We came back from Radiation to find some really lovely looking garden beds.  I will need to have her come again next week to get the lot done, it is a big job.

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I have disobeyed the rules and done a tiny bit of potting in my kitchen, to utilise the beautiful aqua crate which was part of my birthday present from Hayley and Ben. The window sill is really sunny and my Basil and Parsley should grow there nicely although they need a bigger pot.

The Bad – The cough I have had for the last week and a half, finally culminated in me having a temperature and shivering on Sunday night,  because chemo patients are a high Neutropenia risk we are told to go straight to hospital if our temp reaches 38 degrees, it crept up to 38.2 and I thought oh! no, if I go up there they will keep me in then it will mess up Radiation, and anyway, it is pouring with rain and I feel too sick to get ready to go.  I took some panadol and drank some fluids, prayed for myself and went to bed.  My temperature came down overnight and woke up this morning feeling much better and wondering what it was all about.  I did go to my doctor and get some antibiotics so things should pick up in the next few days.

It is hard to slow down, when life is so busy.

FullSizeRender-39                                                    grass clippings for sure

Meanwhile, Allan went to the Chemist to get my pills and was talking to the lady in the health food shop who gave him some delicious tea for men to drink. If this isn’t grass clipping I don’t know what is!!

Eight Radiation sessions down seventeen to go.

Have a great week everyone.

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Chemo Round 6

 

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Whooo Hoo!! Last round of Chemo yesterday, and my nurse was the lovely Danielle, who was also the nurse I had on my first round at Royal Perth Hospital back in February.  So it was kind of nice to have her again for my final round.  I know the next week I will feel a bit off, but then as my white blood count starts to pick up next week,it will be a great feeling to know that I will just get better, and I will continue to get better and not have to go back for anymore Chemo rounds.  I do have Radiation Oncology next which starts in three weeks, but, I know I will be fine with that, maybe just need a nanna nap some days.

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While we were in the waiting room, I showed Allan this picture and said I may go for this look next Summer, he said I would need some work.  I thought why is it that the bulges at the top are attractive, but a big bump sticking out of the triangle at the bottom isn’t.  I guess it is the same reason that bobbly chubby little thighs on a baby are adorable, but, bobbly chubby thighs on grown women make people queasy.  I don’t think it is fair, the world has fat phobia.

maybe I should have tried a long one

maybe I should have tried a long one

I thought I would use my wig voucher from the Cancer Council, so on Thursday, the lady from Wigs on Wheels arrived pulling her suitcase behind her.  Beau asked her if she was going on a plane, which made us laugh.  Hayley and I had fun trying on her wigs, and I picked a red one for a change, although maybe I should have gone with a long one, and some makeup wouldn’t have gone a miss. Also turns out I have a petite head, which is weird, but at least I have something about me that is petite.

Meanwhile, I will be having a restful weekend, sleeping and watching You Tube.  I’m off to give myself the Philgrastim injection now.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Thank you so much for all your love and support.

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Thank goodness for Dishwashers

All I can say is thank goodness for dishwashers.  I am sorry about the environment and all, but, while I am on chemo I use my dishwasher, my dryer for all the small things, anything to make my life easier. Previously, I would rinse dishes, even give them a rub over with the brush before loading them into the machine, now I just shove everything in with stuck on food from last night when I was too tired to bother and they all come out sparkling clean. So that is good news for the future.

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My first three rounds of Chemo were fine.  I managed to ignore the whole thing as much as possible.  I had my treatment, rested up a bit, and tried to carry on like normal.  I went to everything rushed about and gave as little allowance to my body as I could.  The next half is proving to be different. Docetaxel will not be ignored, and over the last week when I have been so weak and tired I have had no option but to except the fact that I am a Chemo patient and will have to behave accordingly, resting a lot, not doing much and learning that I will just have to make the best of it.

Women tend to be the hub of the home. Even if there are only two of you.  I know a lot of men do an amazing job, but generally, Women are the nurturers, we look after our sick little ones, bring husbands chicken soup when they have the flu, and make a meal for sick friends.  We usually potter around even when we are not well ourselves and still throw a load of washing on, or a meal into the crock pot then stagger back to bed.  If Mum is laid up with a headache, the whole house is gloomy.  This is why it is so unnatural for me to lie down and give in.

I did pull myself together on Friday and made a very easy cake from Rhonda Hetzel’s blog Down to Earth

It is a Date and Walnut cake, I call it the Frizby Cake due to the events that followed. Because of my Chemo brain I had not clipped the spring form pan, so as I pulled my Golden beauty from the oven, the bottom disk complete with the cake flew across the kitchen, coming to land with two thirds of its contents in tact.  While I ran to salvage it, Poppy who couldn’t believe her good luck, ran to gobble up the other third that had scattered across the floor.  Having a dog, really saves on vacuuming.

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Place in a bowl 1 cup chopped walnuts, l cup chopped pitted dates, 1 cup brown sugar, 80 grams butter, 1 tspns bicarb soda, slirp of vanilla.  Cover with l cup boiling water.  Make sure the butter is dissolved, then mix in 1 1/2 cups S/R Flour, or all purpose flour with 1 1/2 tsp’s baking powder added.   Bake at 175c/350F till golden or when you insert a toothpick it comes out clean.  Lovely buttered with a cuppa.

embarrassing selfie

embarrassing selfie

Even though I appreciate my wig, I am missing my hair, and looking forward to seeing it grow back.  The Docetaxel doesn’t attack the hair like the first rounds, and although I have lost half an eyebrow lately, there is some regrowth of fluff on my head.  I am a little worried that it is going to be white like Allan’s.  I haven’t seen my real hair colour for years and have managed to ignore the fact that I have gotten older since I last looked. The truth may be a shock and I have to wait until I get the ok from the doctor before it gets dyed.

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Brave

Well i am a bit pooped.  We have little Beau on a Friday, and now that he is three, doesn’t really want to have a sleep, which is a bit of a bummer for Grandma, who would like to have a nap.  Saturday I had the last of my weddings for a couple of months, which just turned out to be the same day as our Church Women’s Conference.  I really didn’t want to miss the guest speaker, or our Pastor Alison Mullany, who is always funny but very relevant.  However, I needed to pace myself so I could make it through the day.  Allan was up at 6.45 am to go to darts, so I managed to get a bit more sleep in after he left.  I seem to take a bit longer to pull up as the Chemo is going along.  I don’t get sick or nauseas, just tired, and do a bit less than I did at the beginning. I arrived at the conference, just in time to hear Ps Donna speak for the second time, and Ps Alison for the first, so felt like I hadn’t missed too much.

My friend Glenys who has just qualified as a Marriage Celebrant, came with me to the Wedding, which I really appreciated, as I needed the company to keep me awake.  It was a lovely country themed setting, with a guy playing his Acoustic guitar. It was very windy and gave my wig a run for its money.  It didn’t budge which I am really glad about.  I have said before, I really don’t want to be on Australias funniest home videos as ‘The Celebrant whose Wig flew off during the Ceremony’. I did however, wear myself out and spent the day in bed on Sunday recuperating.

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Our oldest daughter Sarah just came back from ‘Colour Conference’ at Hills Christian Centre Sydney, which sees thousands of women from all over Australia, gathering to hear wonderful speakers.  It has been going for twenty years and I still haven’t been.  Next year, is going to be my year.  The Theme for the Conference was ‘Brave’, so here is Sarah and our granddaughter Halle rocking there Brave T Shirts.  What Sarah wrote on instagram really touched me and  made me cry, so I asked her if it was alright to share it with you.

‘Well the start of this year has been unexpected..My Mum diagnosed with Breast Cancer before Christmas last year and now, only a few months later, my sister has gone through the process of having a suspicious lump looked at, which thankfully we found out today is non cancerous.

Being on the other side of the Country away from two of the dearest people in your life is at times, heart wrenching especially with what they are both going through.  I am doing this public post to say how proud I am to be related to such bravery.  I wish I could hear the roar of applause from the crowd of witnesses in heaven every time you choose to see Him instead of the situation, no matter how small that choice may feel at times. 

Breast Cancer is straight from the pit of Hell and that is exactly where it will return.  Halle and I are wearing our ‘Brave’ T Shirts not just physically but wear bravery on our Hearts and in our Spirits as we stand in prayer for other women going through this.. BRAVE WOMEN REALLY DO RUN IN MY FAMILY  Love you Mumsy and Sweets..

Sarah is one of the bravest women I know.  We were so excited when she and son-in-law Jarrad announced they were expecting their first child.  Around nine weeks, happiness turned to sadness when the ultra sound showed no heart beat.  They were gutted.  It knocks the wind out of your sails.  All the plans and dreams for that child gone.  Most of us could cope with that once, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and try again.  But, when it happens a second and then a third time, it attacks your hope of ever having a healthy baby.    Sarah and Jarrad never lost faith in God through all this.  One Sunday night conference I was looking up at the stage where my girl, who had just had a miscarriage a couple of days before, was leading the singing and worshipping God with her whole heart.  I couldn’t believe her strength.

Not long after they delivered a healthy baby girl who they called ‘Halle’ which means ‘unexpected gift’, followed by another miscarriage and then two beautiful boys. The oldest Jonas has ‘Autism’ so Sarah’s life is full but challenging, I am always amazed at the calm and serene way she handles the busyness.  I often feel a bit guilty when I hang up after a phone call into their hectic life, as I settle back in my quiet two person home.

Here is the thing.  When tough things happen we have a choice.  Run to God, or get mad and run away.  I have always found the best place to be is close to Him during the hard times, as well as the good.