Showing posts with label Breast Cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breast Cancer. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Call #WriteBravely #Day5

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Catherine knew she had to make the call. As soon as she opened her eyes the thought pierced her brain. The surgery would be open at 8.30 so she could get it out of the way. She was due at her Weight Watchers meeting at 10. It was just a formality. She was sure it was nothing.

"This won't kill you," her GP had said. Dr  Fiona McAllister had a forthright but reassuring manner. She had guided Catherine's hand to her right breast where she'd found the small lump. Catherine had felt an odd sense of detachment as she lay there for the exam.

Slowly she got up, put her bra and top on, smoothed her crumpled hair. Maybe if she focused on these simple tasks she could pretend this wasn't happening.

"I don't think it's cancer," Fiona was saying. Her actions belied her words. She picked up the phone to book Catherine in for a mammogram. She'd only come in for a routine check up. There had been no inkling of any worrying lumps or symptoms. Besides, she was young, fit and healthy. Wasn't she? Her hard work at Weight Watchers had paid off. She'd never felt better.

"How's tomorrow?"
"Fine," Catherine's voice seemed to be coming from far away. If she doesn't think it's cancer, why the hurry? Another voice whispered ominously in the back of her mind.

Common sense clicked back into place the following morning. She remained calm as the imposing machine crushed her flesh. The imaging staff were encouraging. It seemed almost certain that it was something small and benign. The results confirmed it. There was no need for alarm.

Fiona insisted on sending Catherine for a biopsy anyway. That's the kind of doctor she was. Thorough, as well as kind. It was one of the reasons Catherine never put off her appointments. Checking in with Fiona was almost like chatting with a good friend.

Catherine uncurled her legs from the bed and padded to the bathroom. She went through her morning ritual as she reflected on the past few weeks. She brushed her teeth, put the coffee on. Carefully chose her clothes.

Soon she was dressed and caffeinated. Time to make the call. To cross it off her to-do list. It was just a formality. Then the eerie voice surfaced again.

"They don't send you for a biopsy unless they're worried there's a chance of finding something."

She placed the call with shaky hands and a thundering heart. A rush of dread threatened to engulf her. Fiona was with a patient but would ring her back immediately. Catherine waited for the phone to ring and her heart to slow.

Danny had taken the girls to school en route  to his office. They hadn't been expecting bad news. She picked up her mobile phone and began scrolling through social media to distract herself. Seconds later, the landline blared.

"Hello," she said.. Her equilibrium had returned. Soon she could get on with her day.

"Hi Catherine, it's Fiona," the doctor was her usual warm but professional self. She didn't waste any time.

"I'm sorry, but they did find something."

"Fuck," Catherine blurted.

Fiona didn't blanch.  "That was my reaction, too when I read it."

Catherine was instructed to get a pen. Writing the words would make it real. This can't be happening.

Infiltrating carcinoma insitzu.

Infiltrating? She didn't like the sound of this. Why?

She thought of Danny and the girls going about their day. Blissfully unaware that their whole world was currently being turned upside down. Fiona wanted them to come to the surgery as soon as possible to make a plan.

She called Danny and got his voice mail. She left a croaky message. The words couldn't quite come out. He called back five minutes later. Her panic had clearly been discernible through the croakyness.

"They found something," she told him.

"Shit. I'm sorry," She knew he would want to be as positive and proactive as possible.

"I'm going to call Fiona and then I'll be home to go with you," her husband said. 

She hung up and immediately picked up the phone again to call her mother.

The conversation was brief. Audrey drove straight over.  The two women embraced. Her mother was always a tower of strength, but this would be so difficult for her. She always hated to see Catherine suffer.

"I'm going to phone Penny," she said.

Catherine paced while her mother placed the call. Penny was a good friend of her parents who was in the medical field. She would be able to recommend a good surgeon.

Audrey passed her the phone, but Catherine wasn't capable of small talk at the best of times.

"Look, it's a journey," Penny told her. It wouldn't be the first time she would hear that word.

But she would face the journey and the fear. She knew she would.

"She's stronger than she thinks," Fiona remarked later, as they sat in her office preparing referrals and appointments. The first of many more to come.

Catherine was slowly accepting her new reality. Later, when she reflected upon her "journey", as she was loathe call it, she realised something. Fiona's words that day had been true.

Somehow she had made it through the long road of surgery, chemo and radiation.  She'd faced up to something she'd never believed she could.

"I don't run from anything anymore," she thought.

The End.

But only the beginning...

Side note: This is a fictionalised version of my own breast cancer diagnosis, with names and some other details changed. Inspired by the following quote:

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all.” – Mulan

Linking up with Write Tribe for Festival Of Words. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

An Enemy Named Agnes

Today I was determined to move my body. Thirty minutes into my workout, my arch nemesis arrives. Agnes taps on my shoulder, snarling. I call her that only because it's a name that starts with an A and ends with an S (although Y would work here too). And it's not one of my favourite names, to be honest. Apologies to any Agnes's out there. I'm sure you're lovely.

My Agnes isn't. I don't really like her at all, but I've more or less accepted her presence in my life. I knew she'd turn up.

For the past week I've marvelled at my equilibrium. It felt so good not to have Agnes around. But she's a sneaky one. It's like she just has to remind you of her evil existence.

"Don't get too contented!" she will snap. I never try to reason with Agnes these days. I just wait her out. Eventually she lopes away, tail between her legs.

I was able to get on with my day. Later, I turned on the television (apparently I'm a masochist - daytime TV SUCKS), to be greeted with the news that actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been diagnosed with breast cancer. My heart sank.

Recently I received the all clear for the second year, which is a huge relief. But whenever these things happen - Olivia Newton John's recent recurrence after 25 years, for example - I am reminded of all the uncertainty I am left with.

No matter how many years go by with the all clear I can never truly be at ease and think I am untouchable and immune. Of course Agnes simply loves to crow about this.

I remind myself that my cancer was found 'early'. But then I wonder... Is the whole 'early detection' thing somewhat flawed? I say this because it was completely random that mine was found when it was. I went to the doctor for another reason (my smear), and luckily my GP is very thorough so she always does a breast exam as well. But what if my smear hadn't been due then, or I put it off the way so many women do? 

How long would it have taken for me to notice there were any changes, that I had a lump? By the time I did notice I'm sure it wouldn't have been 'early'. I am just not sure that 'early detection' is as easy and straight forward as we think. 

Having said that, I urge every one of you to have a good look and feel of your girls. At the moment it seems that early detection is all we've got until a cure is found. 

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to stay in the present moment and tell myself I am OK. I am a survivor. That I was lucky in an odd sort of way. 

No matter what Agnes thinks. 

Do you have a visitor like Agnes? 

Do you have your regular check-ups? Do it! 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Do You Eat Your Feelings?

Hello there, strangers! Yes, it's little 'ole me, back to entertain you after a bit of a break that went on longer than the school holidays. But you get that. Things to do. Places to go. People to see. That sort of thing. Except there wasn't. Unless my family, grocery shopping and scrolling mindlessly through Facebook count. See? I told you. All such important things. Yes, indeed. Such a fascinating and action-packed life I lead.

Anyway, I lied. I'm not so little. Oops. This is likely due to the fact that, in addition to all of the above, I have also been busily eating all of my  feelings. Every single one of them. They all taste suspiciously like cakies. Sadness = cakies.  Happiness = cakies. Boredom = cakies. Joy = cakies. Stressed? Eat a cakie. Relaxing? Best way to do so is with enough sugary carbs to induce a diabetic coma... You get the picture. 

Which segues neatly to this week's Life This Week prompt:

My favourite junk food. 

I bet you can't guess. Drum roll, please...


Haha! Tricked you! 

Chocolate AND cake. What a surprise. With an honourable mention of hot chips. Because who doesn 't love hot chips with chicken salt and/or gravy? Shut up, all you low carb/no carb fanatics. No one wants to hear about it. Just go and eat your salad and be sad. Or smug and energetic and glowing. I'm not jealous AT ALL.

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Yep, basically I am addicted to sugar and all carbs. 

Needless to say, my trysts with the dietition are going splendidly well. Using 'splendidly well' in the sense of  are a complete and utter charade.

At my last visit I had managed to lose a whopping one kilo, but heavens knows how many more I have since put on. Sigh.

Don't you just hate people who whinge about being fat while they shovel anything that isn't nailed down into their gobs? Just quietly, people who whinge about being fat while being nothing of the kind are worse. This was also me some years ago. DOH.

It occurs to me that I never had significant issues with food when I when I was younger. Especially when I was still living with my parents. However, these days I am the person who is primarily responsible for everything food related. I have to do the grocery shopping, cook the meals and feed a family. 

This means that it often feels like all I ever think about is food. I don't find this very helpful. It appears that I have no impulse control when it comes to my eating habits. Additionally, I am now the mother of teenage boys. They constantly eat. They also never put on weight. I seem to have some sort of delusion that I'm also a gangly teenage boy, instead of an overweight middle aged woman. 

Yeah, I know. I need a gigantic kick up the you know what. It's quite obvious from what I have told you that I am the one who buys or bakes the cakies (except when my mum does...),  and I don't want to confront my addiction. I'd rather act like a petulant three year old, sulking in the corner because she can't have cake for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. And snacks...

Plus, most of the stuff that I like to do, such as reading or writing, is quite sedentary. Why couldn't I have been one of these sporty types? 

Oh, well. Enough of my whinging. I'll plod back to the dietitian and see what happens. She also suggested counselling and I was a bit meh about it. I've been backwards and forwards to shrinks and counselors for years and then basically had to figure out I'm autistic myself! But maybe it's not such a bad idea.

It's either that or wiring my jaw shut. Too extreme? 

Of course I could decide to hell with it, who cares what size I am. I certainly could not care less about anyone else's weight or size, so why torture myself? The thing is, though, I've had breast cancer, am on medication for high cholesterol and have a family history of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, keeping my weight within a reasonable range is actually rather important. DAMMIT. 

So I guess my food/weight issues are not going anywhere... Well, except for my waist, thighs etc... Eventually I may have the maturity and emotional intelligence to realise that I can just FEEL my feelings and leave the cakies the hell out of it. Hopefully before I'm around 75 years old and morbidly obese.  More sighs.

But I suspect cakies will always remain my favourite junk food.

What's yours? 

Are you an emotional eater? 

Linking up for Life This Week. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

So long and thanks for all the confessions...

It's hard to believe that I started this blog all the way back in 2012. For those of you who may remember, those were my good old Ness of Boganville days, before I became all classy and elegant. Shut up. 

I started blogging not knowing what I was doing. Clearly nothing has changed in that regard. I was quite clueless about the whole big blogosphere out there. Then somehow I stumbled upon another blog called My Home Truths by Kirsty Russell. 

Kirsty hosted a link up every Monday called I Must Confess. I began joining in with the confessions most weeks. I must admit, being the kind of ad hoc, lazy, disorganised type of person and blogger that I am, the link up motivated me to keep going and also gave me a prompt to write about it.  So it's thanks to Kirsty that I'm here so many years later still boring entertaining you with my shit wit. Sadly, Kirsty has decided to retire the link up after an amazing five-year run, so today is the very last I Must Confess. Sigh. Sad face. 

Seeing as though it's the last confession, Kirsty has asked us to go out with a bang and reveal our biggest confession EVER.

Look, there are some things that I will never divulge even if you tied me up and tortured me. Well, maybe if the torture was being denied cake, I'd probably give in. But that's just me. 

What I'm getting at is, I don't have any huge, monumental, shocking thing to tell. 

But the link up ending makes me think about my resistance to change.

I must confess I often feel sheepish and redundant. As if everyone else is moving on with their lives: making decisions and doing all the things and all I seem to do is struggle with illness. 

I set up my life in such a way; being a stay at home mother, because I was certain that it was the right thing for me in order to protect my mental and physical health. Being an introvert and also on the spectrum the whole multi-tasking, working, soccer mum thing is overwhelming to me. Then I ended up struggling with anxiety anyway and ultimately getting breast cancer. Yeah, my plan worked out well.  

You can probably hear violin music swelling right about now. I promise I'll only indulge in my pity party for another paragraph (or two) and then mention cake again. Cake fixes everything. 

And here's another thing: sometimes it seems like getting my ASD diagnonsense wasn't exactly what it was cracked up to be. To be blunt it kind of felt like: Yes, you have ASD. FUCK YOU. Apart from understanding myself better, there wasn't much to be gained from it. Five years down the track, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It's a huge, revealing thing to discover about yourself, but a gigantic yawn to everyone else. Furthermore, it probably just comes across as something to use to make excuses for things. Only others who are also on the spectrum can understand. And even then, all of us are different. 

Anyway, not sure where I'm going with this. I guess I just wanted to have my little whinge. Most likely because I've been through a prolonged period of stress. A breast cancer diagnonsense will do that to you. Funny that. When this happens, you have no choice but to get on with things and do what you have to do to get through treatment. Some months later it hits you and you have all the feels. So I just allow myself to have my sooky la la moments and then snap myself out of it and move on. After all, I saw my doctor last Friday and she was very happy with my outcome. She wants to see me again in twelve months time. Yay! Anyway, enough about that.

Now let's move onto the cake! 

It's been fun making these confessions every Monday. I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing them. 

Over the years I've revealed so many underwhelming fascinating things: 

From the things I don't get about sport to what's in my handbag, 
to my worst habit. And I'm sure you slept better after reading all of those posts. You're welcome.

Therefore, you'll be pleased to know I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be blogging away about nothing. It's a gift, so I can't waste it. Duh. 

And the other good news is that the I Must Confess community isn't totally kaput. Kirsty also has an amazing Facebook group
where we can all vent our spleen (terrific expression, that), have a little whinge or rant and share our triumphs and joy. The great thing about it is, you don't even have to be a blogger to join in! So pop over and join us here!

Plus, the other great news is there will be a brand new, shiny Monday link-up starting over at  Denyse Whelan Blogs. 
You'll be able to find me joining in the fun over there! 

Finally, thanks a million to Kirsty and I wish her all the great things in moving her blog forward. And now let's have some celebratory cake!  Of course they are virtual cakies, so we have to imagine them or go and buy or bake our own. I think wine is needed as well, even though it's Monday morning. Details! 

And for some reason I feel the need for the final ever I Must Confess to fade out while serenading Kirsty with an 80s power ballad. Because I'm pretty sure that as a dedicated Eurovision fan, she's quite partial to a good old 80s power ballad. Take it away, Taylor Dayne! 

Saying goodbye
Is never an easy thing
But you  never said
You'd stay forever
So if you must go
Well darlin' I'll set you free
But I know in time
We'll be together

I won't try
To stop you now from leaving
'Cause in my heart I know

Love will lead you back
Someday I just know that
Love will lead you back to my arms
Where you belong

I'm sure, sure as stars are shining
One day you will find me again
And it won't be long
One of these days 
Our love will lead you back

One of these nights
I'll hear your voice again
You're gonna say 
How much you miss me
You'll walk out that door
But someday you'll walk back in
Darlin' I know, I know this will be

Sometimes it takes
Some time out on your own now
To find your way back home

Love will lead you back
Someday I just know that
Love will lead you back to my arms
Where you belong

I'm sure, sure as stars are shining

One day you will find me again
And it won't be long
One of these days
Our love will lead you back

Written by Diane Eve Warren • Copyright © RealSongs

What is your biggest confession EVER?

Do you cope with change?

Which 80s power ballad would you serenade Kirsty with? 

Linking up for the last ever I Must Confess. 

Friday, 2 September 2016

The Month That Was August

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Another month has breezed by. Farewell August, you contradictory creature! You provided us with lovely days, then changed your mind and brought out blustery, bitterly cold days. There were days suffused with sunshine, interspersed with days spent with feet and hands like blocks of ice. I'm glad the latter is over. 

Reflecting upon the month of August makes me realise something: I need to get out more. I certainly don't have an action packed schedule to report.

However, one very exciting and fabulous thing happened. I had my tits crushed. Also known as a mammogram. Okay, so that part wasn't exactly fabulous. The results were! It was all completely normal! I am totally cancer free! YAY! Happy dance. 

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I reckon the only times I left the house during August were to go to grocery shopping, do the school pick up, go to a Weight Witches meeting or to have my tits crushed. Additionally, I went to the library. I like to be cutting edge.

Oh, and I got jabbed the other day. Meaning I had a blood test. While we're on that subject, it's pretty disconcerting to realise that I'm 45 years old, I've given birth four times and beaten cancer, but I still get freaked out and nervy having a blood test. What the...? Of course this phenomenon is now multiplied by a billion, because I'm even more paranoid about test results now. Brilliant.

The blood test is simply a routine thing to check my cholesterol, thyroid, sugar and hormones. Because I now have menopause thrown into the mix. Fun times. I see my GP next Wednesday to get the results. In the meantime I haven't had any urgent phone calls, so I hope that's a good sign. 

Meanwhile, today I am back to see my specialist/surgeon. My GP already informed me that my mammogram was all good. It's hard to believe that I'm already having my first six-monthly check up since my diagnonsense. So basically that is the highlight of my very ordinary August. 

I also became quite wistful and reflective. On the 24th it was the ninth anniversary of the day I gave birth to my deceased baby boy, Daniel. It's weird. These days I don't always think about him on the exact day, but at other random times. It's been nine years, which seems bizarre. On the one hand it seems like yesterday, but on the other, a billion years ago. So much has happened since then. Anyway, I can think of him with a smile and only a hint of sadness now. I imagine what he might have been like, and wonder if he'd be as cheeky and gorgeous as his brothers. I wonder how he would be different from them, too. My boys are all different. 

Oh yes! I finally got my very own laptop. As a result I think I've blogged a bit more consistently throughout August. Well, for me anyway. I'm always so ad hoc here.  

In other news, I now possess a full head of curly hair. Consequently, I finally understand curly hair problems. Related: I am going to be the whitest woman ever with a 'fro.  Except it doesn't look cool and cutting edge. I just look like a Nanna with a bad perm. Sigh. Well, my GP reckons I have a young face. So ner! A young face with Nanna hair and a double chin. Different. 

What else can I tell you about August? I could report that Weight Witches isn't going well. Oops. In fact, I am going to retire my broomstick. It isn't working out for me. Even though I admit some of it is my own fault due to lack of commitment, it also irks me somewhat that they keep changing it. Just when you have become used to one way, it's all changed. This means you have to purchase a lot of stuff all over again. I find this rather annoying. I don't cope with change. But that's a whole other post. I'm still aware that I need to shift some weight and stay healthy, so I'm going to discuss some other possible options with my GP. Wish me luck! 

So that concludes my rather lacklustre August. But if there's one thing I've learnt in the past year it's this: boring is GOOD.

Bring on a boring September!

And I can't resist going out with yet another happy dance!

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Linking up with Sanch for 

The Month That Was and Grace for FYBF. 

How was your August? Any happy dance worthy moments? 

Monday, 29 August 2016

When I'm Sad I...

It happens to everyone. The blues. The 'blahs'. I'm not talking about clinical depression. Just the ordinary ups and downs that everyone has from time to time.

I must confess it's been a bit of a hard old slog for the last year. Cancer and chemotherapy and radiation will do that to a person, strangely enough. I know! I'm supposed to be positive all the time! What am I like? 

When I'm busy being a sooky la la I do the following things:

General moping, pouting and sighing and 'blahing'. Yes, blahing is totally a verb. I do it all the time. Well, not all the time. Just every 28 days or so for a number of years, for some strange reason. 

There is a tendency for me to lose interest in stuff  that I like, such as blogging. It would be preferable if I lost interest in eating. This always seems to happen to characters in books and movies. They go through heartbreak or misfortune and are totally uninterested in food. Never happens to me. Which leads me to my next point...

I eat all my feelings. They taste suspiciously like cake. When they don't taste like cake, they taste like chocolate. Weird. 

As I have mentioned before, I'm not the world's greatest talker. Not even when I'm in a quite jovial mood. I know what you're thinking. But yes, it does happen. Its just that you might not notice due to my resting bitch face. 

So you can imagine my aversion to being verbal when I'm all morose and moody. Therefore if I don't answer the phone, or frantically indicate to Mickey Blue Eyes that I'm not here if he happens to answer the phone, don't take it personally. 

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All of social media and the entire world seems to be mocking me. The sensible thing to do would be to back away from the internet, but apparently I'm a masochist. 

However, I always manage to get myself out of my little rut. 

Here are some strategies I use:

  • Watching stand up comedy on Youtube. 

  • Watching my favourite feel good TV shows. I'm partial to a bit of Miranda at the moment. I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I quite like the goofiness. SUCH FUN! 

  • Listening to music. A lot of people think that most Carpenters music is a bit sappy and miserable: "I'll say goodbye to love, no one ever cared if I should live or die..." and all that. Well, I guess they're right. But I'm weird, so it's still my happy place. Whatever works, I say. 

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! I haven't been as diligent with this one lately. A kick up the arse is desperately needed. Oftentimes it's hard to get motivated when I'm in the doldrums. Plus, I don't feel like leaving the house, because then I might have to actually talk or smile at people *shudders*. My strategy for this is to make myself exercise to a quick Youtube video for ten or fifteen minutes. 

  • Write/scribble in journals (but offline because no one needs to read my moaning). In fact I'm kind of addicted to notebooks and journals. This is my most recent one: 

  • Patting my dog. I don't know why, but whenever I'm feeling sulky sensitive or need to unwind, some time with our resident pooch Cookie, always puts me in a better mood. This also works for my boys (except Mr 15, who isn't as much of a dog person). Apparently studies show that having a pet is good for your mental health. I'm far too lazy to go and do the actual research, but I'm pretty sure I've heard this. Look, just google it yourself, OKAY? HMPH.

  • Cuddle my boys. Well, it's mainly the 7 year old who'll cuddle and occasionally Mr 12.  I better enjoy those cuddles because I don't know how much longer they'll last. Sigh. 

  • Talk to someone. Yes, this is totally contradictory. I don't like talking. But sometimes even I have to force myself. It can be hard to find the right shrink (I always say shrink because I forget how to spell the proper word) or counselor that you feel comfortable with, but when you do it's helpful. As long as I don't have to do so (talk) all the time. 

  • Wait it out. Remind yourself that it's just one of those days and it will pass. A 'blah' day.

Blah, blah, blah, blah. And even more blah.

Because BLAH.

Double blah.

Triple blah. 

Quadruple blah.

A billion blahs.


Karen Carpenter summed it up:

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothing is really wrong
Feeling like I don't belong

Blah, blah, blah something about rainy days (which DON'T get me down, oddly enough)

What I feel has come and gone before 
No need to talk it out
We know what it's all about...

Yep, It does come and go. Just like all moods.

Me being awesome! 

  • And when it does pass I put on some smart clothes and a bit of lippy and decide to be awesome. Because I am. So ner! 

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Right, that's it from me. I'm off to be awesome and listen Carpenters music. Nope. I don't have the blahs. That's just what I do in any mood. You know, just for something different! Later!

Linking up for I Must Confess. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

What I'm Most Proud Of

Last week I detailed my worst habits. This week, it's time to tell you what I'm most proud of. It's interesting to note how easy it is to list all my shortcomings, but when it's time to be proud I struggle.  

I'm not sure why, but whenever I try to find things about myself to be proud of or brag about, I feel like a tremendous wanker. This is why I end up being self-deprecating all the time. Sigh.

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There's nothing tangible that I've achieved that I can say that I'm proud of, like a shiny car, or a McMansion or an illustrious career.

Overall this blog is pretty pointless. But considering that many people start blogs and abandon them, the fact that I've kept a completely pointless, nicheless, personal blog about nothing, ticking over for several years is a small thing to be proud of. It's certainly nothing monumental, but at least I've made people smile or chuckle from time to time. Yes, I'm not exactly curing cancer, but with the over saturation of awful in our faces all the time, there's nothing wrong with it either. When I consider that I've done this without even having my own computer or laptop and amidst total chaos; the chaos that is my brain and the chaos that is this house and my family, it's actually not that easy.

It's a bit sort of obvious or predictable to say I'm proud of my family. My boys. But I really am. It's not that I think 'breeding', as I often hear it disparagingly called, is the epitome of achievement for anyone, particularly a woman. I don't.

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But at the same time, it often seems like something to be almost apologetic about. The old I'm 'just' a mother. Why shouldn't I be proud of being a mother? I'm a keenly aware that there are many people who desperately yearn to be a parent and can't for a myriad of reasons, so I'm grateful.

Some people could argue that almost anyone can make human beings, so it's not an achievement. That may be true, but bringing them up to be decent human beings is a whole other thing. And I may be a tad biased here, but I think my boys are turning out to be pretty decent human beings. So I'm proud. I don't claim to be a perfect mother, far from it, but I must have done something right.

I'm proud of the fact that I stumbled through life not even knowing I was on the spectrum until I was 40.

I'm proud of the fact that I never give up even if I've struggled a lot over the years with my anxiety.  I try to see the funny, silly side of things even when things are a tiny bit shit. I don't see that as being negative. Quite the opposite. My philosophy is, that while my life may not always be perfect, I still haven't lost my sense of humour.

I'm proud of coping much better with things that scared me than I thought I would. Related: I was TERRIFIED of child birth. But I birthed four babies. One of them didn't survive. RIP my little angel baby 'Daniel'.

Without a doubt, I'm proud of beating cancer. I won't lie. Having seen many family members go through cancer, most of them sadly no longer with us, it's always been my deepest, darkest fear. Even a few years ago I could  never have even dealt with the thought of a cancer diagnosis. But I did. And I guess I was 'lucky'. It seems that it was found relatively early and the overall prognosis is good. But even so, the fears still linger in the back of your mind. I'm coping with this the best I can. It's not easy, so I definitely deserve to be proud.

And I deserve that McMansion. Anyone have a spare one? No? How rude. HMPH.

So that was my attempt at being a tremendous wanker. Winning!

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Linking up for I Must Confess.
What are you a tremendous wanker about? Oops, I mean what are you most proud of?

Monday, 4 July 2016

My only goal for 2016

2016 has been a challenging year. I kicked off the year with a lovely little trip down chemotherapy lane. I'm sure most of you know that I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in December 2015. So the first few months of this year were dedicated to getting through treatment. My only goal was to get to the end with my sanity (relatively) in check. Mission accomplished! Well, I do have moments of madness, but mostly everything is fine now.  

Setting goals

But here's a shocking confession: I've never been a person who sets goals and ticks off lists. I've just kind of drifted through life.

I know that probably comes as a huge surprise. OK, not really. It's totally obvious. This blog alone is a dead giveaway. If I didn't have the prompt and link-up every week I'd probably never update this blog. Even so it's ad hoc and all over the place.

I don't have any grand plan for this space, either to monetise or have x amount of readers by December. I just plan to plod on talking to myself and writing and confessing whatever I like, whenever I like. You're welcome.

Connecting to goals or values

This is a confronting or kind of interesting topic for me. I don't really know how to explain it. I don't seem to even know my own mind. That doesn't even make sense. For instance, we know that we eventually want to move, but even if the time was right and we could start making plans and taking action to do exactly that, I have no idea in hell where I want to move to or live.

It's quite strange. Most people would know where their dream address would be. Even it was unattainable unless they won the lottery or robbed a bank or something, they would still have somewhere in mind. I have no idea. Perhaps I just don't cope with change so I'm resisting it? It's just another strange insight to the nutty old world of Ness.

It's the same as connecting to your values. What do I truly value? I would say that I value health and family, yet I still struggle to live in accordance with those values all the time. I'm supposed to be a Weight Witches life time member, but I must confess I've been a very bad witch recently. Oops.

I still keep coming back to this value (health) or goal, so that's the main thing.

A light bulb moment or epiphany

You'd expect that having had a cancer diagnosis would lead to some sort of illuminating moment of utter clarity. I'd know exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life. I'd sit down and write a list of goals and get on with ticking them off like a boss.

No such thing has happened for me. It's weird. It's more a feeling of just wanting more of the mundane. When you have to spend months schlepping off to doctor's appointments all you want is to get back to 'normal'. Suddenly the idea of just doing the grocery shopping or school pick up seems appealing. I didn't want to be a cancer patient, I just wanted to be normal again. And I wouldn't mind having a full head of hair. Related: it is growing back. It's all grey and curly. I look like a lovely, placid sheep. Nice.

A new kind of normal

So here I am, finished with treatment. Now I go on to six-monthly check-ups. The first of which is coming up very quickly in late August/early September. It's a new kind of normal.

And that is my only big goal for 2016 and every other year. Staying boring and normal. You can never under estimate how wonderful 'boring' is. 

The only other goal I had was to go on a holiday with my family. Related: we will be headed to the sunny Gold Coast (via Coffs Harbour) by the time you're reading this! Hopefully we can relax and thaw out for a bit. 

So here's to a boring rest of 2016! Cheers! 

Linking up for I Must Confess

What are your goals for 2016?

Monday, 16 May 2016

Back Again Plus Letters To My Enemies

Hello there. Here I am. I expect this post will be a bit clunky and all over the place. I seem to have lost the ability to string a sentence together. Oh wait. I never really had that ability. I just ramble on. All good, then. 

I actually wrote a poem about my blogging 'journey'. Here it is:

Sometimes I wonder why I don't delete my blog
When updating it seems such a pointless old slog
At first I enjoyed it and had so much fun
I just couldn't wait to get another post done

Did I care about followers or stats? Not a bit!
I just wanted to share my thoughts and my wit
I tried to be humorous, entertaining, sincere
I didn't know anything about the wide blogosphere

I was bamboozled by something called Twitter
But still I decided I wasn't a blog quitter
I started joining blog link-ups tentatively
Reading all the other blogs unrepentantly

There were blogs that were sarcastic, sassy and smart
While others were useful or straight from the heart
Suddenly my boring old blog seemed stale and trite
I didn't know how to improve it, try as I might

My enthusiasm for blogging would wax and wane
I'd take bloggy breaks and come back again
My blog is all over the place, totally ad hoc
And sometimes I think it's an absolute croc

But I aim it towards my family and friends
Not for countless clicks or the current blog trends
I treat it as if I am writing a friend a letter
Look, I know it's lame and others do better

Then someone will say: but it shows who you are
And I don't want to be a big blogging star
I'm a quiet person in real life and online
For me I think this is perfectly fine

I just wanted a hobby and creative expression
And sometimes to share a candid confession
To do this, I link-up for I must confess
Whenever I want to, so there's no stress

Then sometimes life and all it's stuff will intrude
I abandon my blog, I'm not in the mood
As a child I was told I had a writing gift
But I tend to procrastinate, to daydream and drift

Whenever I do write I seem to feel better
Even if it's just an online journal 'letter'
So here I am sitting scribbling away

And I will be back with my blog any day!

So here I am! Now onto my cancer 'journey'. 

Well, what can I say about the last four months? I know. I'm glad they're over! Yep, I've finished my cancer treatment. For those of you wondering what the hell I'm talking about, you can read about my breast cancer diagnonsense here

I finished radiation therapy on April 19. The treatment was daily for four weeks. I had to lie very still on this contraption thingy that circled over me and fried my tit and chest area. For some reason this completely freaked me out, even though you can't feel anything at the time. You would think that lying very still would be the easiest thing in the world to do, but I'm weird. Anyway, the staff asked me what music I liked. So just be to completely different I said Carpenters. I figured if they were going to torture me, I should torture them. It's only fair. So I had Carpenters music on while they zapped me. Towards the end, we mixed it up with a bit of Adele as well. 

I eventually got past my fear of the unknown and it turned into a sort of Groundhog Day drudgery schlepping to the hospital every day. But I got to the finish line, triumphant and tired. SO. FUCKING. TIRED. Radiation causes fatigue. Overall it wasn't as bad as the chemo. I had a red boob and chest with a chronic fatigue chaser. 

Meanwhile, my hair has started to grow back. Looks like it will be ash blonde. NOT grey. Nope. No way. Meh, who cares? I'll take grey hair. Bring. It. On. It's a tiny bit cold having a bald melon now. Luckily I have some quite fetching beanies in the meantime. 

I saw my oncologist last Friday and he said they were very happy with my results. It was an early cancer and I had all the right treatment and tolerated it well. I am officially finished all treatment and now go onto six monthly check-ups, the first of which will be in early September. But to be honest, I'm really trying to not project much into the future. In the July school holidays we are heading to the Gold Coast. I'm not thinking beyond that at the moment. We do have our passports all in order and the possibility of an overseas jaunt at the end of the year is an option. Watch this space. Stay tuned and all that. If it doesn't pan out, we'll just take the Manly ferry and call it the same thing. Winning! 

Oh yeah, apparently I've been to Jupiter anyway. When I was given my list of appointments for Radiation therapy it said the location was Jupiter. I don't recomend it. Try Mars instead. You heard it here first. 

Anyway, today's I Must Confess prompt is a letter to your enemy, so here goes:

Enemy number one:

Dear Cancer,

Fuck you. I have beaten you. One day you will just be a zodiac sign, but until that day can you kindly fuck off and leave me, my family, friends and everyone alone.



Enemy number two:

Dear Mind, 

Calm the fuck down. Stop pointlessly ruminating and pondering and allow coherent thoughts, creativity and ideas in. I would very much appreciate your cooperation with this matter. 



Linking up for I Must Confess

Do you have an enemy? What would your letter say. 

Monday, 29 February 2016

I Don't Understand...

This weeks prompt is: I don't understand... 

We could be here for a while. I don't understand SO many things. Like, for instance, people. What are they about? So weird.

Plus, I don't understand Twatter and I'm hopeless with technology, despite having a blog. It's pretty obvious, isn't it? Sigh.

One of the thing that I REALLY don't understand is why bad things always happen to good people while arseholes roam the Earth unscathed and blissfully unaware that they are, in fact, arseholes.

I also don't understand:

Small talk
My kids homework
Morning people. And basically just people, period, as I've already mentioned.
Almost anything that other people find entertaining and fun. Think sport, nightclubs, amusement park rides or taking drugs. Yep, I'm a real barrel of laughs!

But anyway, enough of the boring lists of things I don't understand. I didn't want to bang on about my cancer 'journey' all the time in this space, but last Friday I got THE BEST news!

The professor type lady from the Familial Cancer Service rang me to inform me that my test results came back clear! This means I don't have any mutant genes! There is no increased risk of it returning in the other breast, or of ovarian cancer and no need for any further surgery!!!!!! WOO HOO!! I'm slightly ecstatic right now!

This makes me realise that I really don't understand how or why life is such a random lottery.  I don't understand why one person has a cancer diagnosis, breast or otherwise, and they can be going strong decades later, while another person isn't. While I'm more positive that I'm going be the former, there is always that teensy bit of uncertainty.

I've never been good at embracing uncertainty or change, so this is going to be a big lesson at learning to live with something huge that I don't understand.

Which brings me to all the inspirational sayings and memes. This one popped up in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday.

But I'm starting to think it's more of a 50/50 proposition. Life is 50 percent what happens to you and 50 percent how you react. In fact, I wonder if we have less control than we think over both of these things. 

For instance, you may have a picture in your mind of you think you'd react to a specific situation, but you honestly have no idea how you'd really react unless it really happens. And if that reaction isn't always positive, it's not a sign of weakness. I may be straying off topic here a bit, but I thought this kind of ties in with how I don't understand the whole 'life is a random lottery' thing. 

Having said that, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket after my good news last week? Of course, that was actually a better feeling than winning the lottery! But then again, I've never won the lottery so how would I know? If some one could please arrange a lottery win for me, so I can test my theory? Thanks! 

What do you not understand? 

Linking up for I Must Confess, Open Slather and Mummy Mondays

Monday, 25 January 2016

Box Of Chocolates

Why hello there. I'm back, because I need a hobby that doesn't involve eating. At least while I'm typing I can't shove food in my gob. Besides, I have so much to tell you. 

Apparently life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Well frankly, I would have preferred to have gotten a paltry old box of Cadbury roses (see above). Instead, I got cancer. The cancery kind. It was there lurking in the lump in my boob. It was only small, or so I'm told and I got that fucker. Or, at least, the surgeon did. But she had to cut me in order to do so, and I do not particularly like being cut. I'm funny like that.

I don't like doctors, hospitals, surgery, blood or any of those things. I cannot watch medical programmes. I am well and truly out of my comfort zone.

It is really quite bizarre but at the same time boring. A familiar story. It happens all the time. So why not to me? It's felt like that ever since Mickey Blue Eyes had his cancer 'journey'.

It all began one balmy November day when I made my way to the doctor's to suffer the ignominy known to all women as a pap smear. My GP always does a breast exam during the same appointment, and she discovered the lump. I had no freaking idea it was even there. Scary shit. 

"I don't think it's Cancer," she said, then immediately booked me in for a mammogram the next day. My tits were dutifully crushed and the results were not alarming at this point. Nothing looked suspicious. But off for a biopsy I went. Those fuckers HURT. 

A few days later the dreaded news came. It was cancer. I've now become one of those people who says things like 'I'm on a 'journey', and I never wanted to say such skin-crawling things let alone go on one. But here I am. 

I was cut on the 10th of December and they got it all, as well as a few more spots lurking in the margins. The good news is, nothing had spread to the lymph nodes. The bad news is, it's something called triple negative. You just know that anything negative isn't good, let alone when you triple it. Sigh.

This means there is a slight chance of it being a genetic thing. In which case I would have to do the whole Angelina Jolie thing and have a bilateral mastectomy and removal of ovaries. I always knew Angie and I had so much more in common besides our striking resemblance and humanitarian efforts. She oozes sex appeal with those pouty lips of hers, while I'm also quite surly pouty at times. She adopted all of those children. I adopted a dog from a pet shelter. So... same thing, really. 

Anyway, back to this cancer shit. 

To cut a long, gruesome story short, I saw the Familial Cancer Service Professor type lady and she thinks that the chance of me having a mutant gene is unlikely. (But I still stick firmly to my theory that Ang and I are twins separated at birth. Shut up).

I had a blood test and will know for sure in 8 weeks. In the meantime, I started chemotherapy. Fun times. Using 'fun' in the sense of horrifying and craptastic. But you get that. I will lose my hair.

And I will now become a person who wears hats. At least I do look stunning in hats, that's one consolation. It may or may not be the good kind of stunning, but details. 

Chemotherapy involves going to hospital for a few hours, and having some nasty chemicals pumped into you via a drip while you munch on an icy pole or ice chips. This is to cool the mouth and therefore prevent mouth ulcers. I'm having four 'cycles' of this treatment every two weeks. Short and sweet. Or short and shit, in this case.

For the first two days after I had my first drip/cycle I didn't feel any different. Then, on the third day I got out of bed and immediately felt extremely strange. Nauseous, dizzy and bizarre. It's like the mother of all hangovers, multiplied by a bazillion without the fun of the booze. Not fair. 

It was particularly unfair because that was on my birthday. HMPH.
I did manage to have a cakie and a good lie down. There was no way I was staying vertical. 

Anyway, they give you a shit-tonne of anti-nausea meds and I took the extra ones and eventually felt much better. Meanwhile, when I had a rough night I could just visualise myself floating on a luxury yacht on the Mediterranean instead of feeling the effects of chemo. Totally works. Sort of. Kind of. Not really. 

On day 9 of the cycle I had a blood test. This is to check on my white blood cells, which can go a bit wonky and require some sort of injection to boost them.(I'm really up with all the medical terms, as you can see). Obviously the point of chemo is as an 'insurance policy' just in case there's any errant cancer cells. But it also effects your normal ones, hence the hair loss and nausea. Anyway, my bloods were all good and I didn't need the injection at that point. So that's chemo. My next cycle is this coming Wednesday. After which, I will be  half way finished. That's the best way to look at at it.  And I will definitely lose my hair at this point.

Luckily I have a collection of hats thanks to some clever ladies. Thanks Mum, Auntie Helen and my imaginary friend Posski. 

Folks, this is why I don't have an Instagram
account. My selfies (and all photos) are rubbish. 

I've been using this silly old chemo caper as an excuse to over-indulge during the Christmas period. Consequently I've gained a few kilos. For those of you who remember that I was attending Weight Witches and had received my broomstick. Well, I'm a very bad witch at the moment. Oops. 

Evidently, you're supposed to become a serene-and-calm-kale-and -quinoa-eating beacon of beaming positivity to conquer cancer. I guess I'm doomed. I don't wanted to be doomed. Not in any way. Not to a grisly early death or a joyless life of eating mung beans and organic lentils. I'm torn. On the one hand I want to be healthy (OF  COURSE!) and on the other hand life is too short to not enjoy that cakie and glass of wine. Do you know what I mean? Everything in moderation, as 'they' say! (Including moderation).

It's not like I intend to take up smoking and just give the fuck up. But seriously, can't we just agree that this cancer caper just fucking sucks, and I won't be feeling on freaking top of the god damn world every second no matter how much I love the Carpenters. (Some things never change).  The truth is, anybody who thinks you're going to be positive one hundred percent of the time after a cancer diagnosis is quite simply delusional and without a shred of empathy. There, I said it. 

Having said all that, it's certainly been a huge exercise in finally getting the hang of this mindfulness and gratefulness malarkey.

I force myself with extreme herculean effort to exist only in the current moment and not project too much into the future. I've even been quite successful in my endeavours and had several outings with minimal anxiety. Previously I would have become quite beside myself just THINKING about an outing, but it's just a total waste of energy now.

Furthermore, I've even started a whole 'happiness jar' thing.  This is some sort of Oprah-esque rah rah philosophy where you scribble down the highlight of your day and throw it in a jar. It doesn't haven't to be any big grandiose thing, it can be a particularly impressive cup of tea or coffee you had. The idea is that you go back to it in the future and remind yourself that there were happy moments amongst the crap. And that the small, mundane things in life are often the happiest. I know. I don't even know who I am anymore.

At this rate, if I keep up this stuff I might even become a vegan. 

NO wait...

BAHAHAHAAHAHA! Long way off that.

Anyway, today's confession was supposed to be about revealing my greatest strengths. Well, I think it's pretty obvious, isn't it?

Apart from my admirable ability to look stunning in hats, I now believe my greatest strength is my resilience. I never give up. Occasionally I do wallow for a time. But I always snap out of it and keep going.  I never totally give up my hope that things will improve. 

In addition to my balls of steel and iron-like resilience I have many other unique strengths. Such as:

  • I can eat my entire body weight in cake.
  • I'm a freaking ninja when it comes to avoiding small talk.
  • I'm a comedic genius. I mean, admit it, I even made cancer funny. That's a gift, people. 
  • I have a photographic memory. The fact that this skill only applies to remembering the words to every single Carpenters song is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.
  • I can juggle and tap dance simultaneously.
  • I can make things up. Like that last point.
  • I can stay silent for long periods of time. Say, about 45 years? Coincidentally, this is my age.
  • I am the only person I know who, when they are actually trying very hard to clean up, can end up making more mess in the process. I do this by dropping things, knocking things over and generally having no fucking clue what I'm doing. Winning!
  • I can communicate by telepathy. Not really, I just forget what I was going to say. Sigh. 
  • I can compile amazing bullshit point lists. I mean, BULLET point lists. Ahem. 

So as you can see, I have so many strengths. Now I'm off to kick cancer's butt and try on hats. 

What is your greatest strength?

Linking up for I Must Confess and Open Slather