This is a strange story for me to write. It will at times be a sad story, in many ways it will be happy and perhaps even funny. It will be an adventure that entails anxiety, flirting with danger, fortitude in the face of adversity and many attempts to look on the bright side. There will also no doubt be moments of anguish and despair, and a lot of uncertainty. It's a story that will hopefully be cathartic for me, but also interesting and perhaps informative or even entertaining for others.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.
-Author unknown

Light the Night

On September 15th I'm taking part in a fundraiser called Light the Night, to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation, an organisation dedicated the care and cure of leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders.

It's a stroll through the city carrying coloured balloons with lights inside; gold to remember a loved one, white to celebrate being a blood cancer survivor or blue to give hope and show your support.

I'm hoping that everyone I know will show their support by coming along or if they can't make it on the night sponsoring our team. I think it will be an amazing night and I'm going to be very proud to carry a white balloon!

Here's the link if anyone would like to sponsor me (you'll have to copy and paste the address as the hyperlink won't work)®istrationID=349897

or follow this link to join our team (The Lymphomaniacs)

Thank you to Daniel, Leah, Mel, Damien, Andrea, Dani, Ben, Rhona, Tim, Abby, Dave, Eloise and Lisa for joining the team, and to everyone that has sponsored us! xx

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chemo brain is preventing me from thinking of a title for this post!

I'm now about five weeks out from my last radiation treatment. It feels so good to be done with this crap. I had an appointment with my oncologist on Wednesday and I had a great realisation in that appointments are a rarity now. I don't have to go all the time anymore. It's no longer a regular part of my life. Even more importantly these appointments don't result in treatment anymore. I can walk in, have a quick chat and check up and then walk out.

Many cancer patients talk of 'chemo brain'. It's been three months since I finished chemo and I still can’t remember things very well. Apparently it's a common, long-term side-effect. Unfortunately even prior to my treatment, I wasn't great at remembering things I was supposed to do, so it's like a double edged sword for me. When I did my psychology degree I remember learning about retrospective and prospective memory. That is, whether the information to be remembered is something from the past or is to be remembered in the future. I have always had a great retrospective memory. I can remember names, places and events from my past in great detail. However my prospective memory has always been very poor! I never remember to do the things I'm supposed to. I've even tried making 'to do lists' or leaving myself notes, but I forget to look at them!

The problem I'm facing at the moment is that the chemo seems to have messed with my retrospective memory, the one that had always worked well. I can't remember where I parked my car, whether I've already told things to people, and I'm becoming terrible with names. I just can't remember the things I used to have no trouble with. The most frustrating thing though, is that I constantly find myself standing in a room, wondering what I'm doing there or what I was going to say to someone. I'm even forgetting mid-conversation what I'm talking about. Sometimes I just want to sit down in the middle of the room and cry about how frustrating it is.

On Wednesday my oncologist ordered a PET scan for me in a few weeks. I now feel incredibly anxious. I so desperately want them to look at the scans and tell me officially that I'm fine. I want to be cancer free for obvious reasons (to survive!), but really, I've just had enough of the whole thing. I’ve had enough of living with it, and I've had enough of talking about it. I’m ready to just put the whole thing behind me and look ahead. When people ask me how things are going, I'm ready to talk about my life, not cancer. I’m ready to just become me again.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A nice bit of closure

On Thursday night I went to the awards night for the Leukemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave. Our fabulous little school raised $16,216.35 and were the 11th highest fundraisers in Victoria/Tasmania!

The awards night coincided well with the end of my treatment and I feel like it was a fabulous way to close that chapter of my life and start moving forward.

It was a great event and was of course very emotional. I'd like to thank Daniel and Dave for coming with me, it was great to have you both there.

It's Finally All Done!

A bit of catching up is needed again in regards to my blogging.

My last post was about my first radiation session, so I’ll pick up from there. Wearing the mask for the first few treatments was pretty awful. There were little lines in the wood on the roof, so I would focus on counting those to take my mind of the feeling that I was suffocating. Thankfully the treatments were very short, as were the waiting times. Most days it’d be about 10 -15 mins from parking my car to getting back in it to go home!

I think after the first week I had gotten used to the mask and it didn’t really bother me any more. About 7 or 8 treatments in I started to get a very red chest and my throat started hurting a bit. It didn’t really make me tired, but it was very draining to have to go every day.

After that my chest got redder and drier as the treatments progressed, thankfully my throat never got any worse. I did get a dry mouth that was particularly bad during the night. As my chest got drier it began to really itch and it was so difficult not to scratch it. I’d often have to sit on my hands so I wouldn’t touch it.

It’s now been just over 2 weeks since I finished (yes, FINISHED!!!) my treatment. Still feeling fine! The redness is going away and it’s nowhere near as itchy.

I’m now well and truly ready for things to go back to normal for me! I feel like in a lot of ways my mind has already moved on and now I’m eager for my body to follow.

Anyway, I’m done, I’m done, I’m done! No more treatment!