Although it was a bit shorter than we had planned, and meant driving 843 km in one day so we could return in time to start my chemo on Monday, it was worth it. (Important note: such a drive can be challenging when one's son says 'Are we nearly home' after 5 minutes in the car but I was sensibly advised us to buy little portable DVD players - they are cheap now - and this fixed the problem and produced silence for most of the journey).
It was worth spending a week gazing at this view:
To sit on this beach (more of Jane on The Beach below) and watch my daughter, far braver than I, master the art of the boogie board, and my son, previously with a visceral fear of the sea, master that fear and begin to love the water, was worth it. There is something so fundamentally pure about the feel of sand under our feet, and the warm wind in our faces. It is truly medicine for one's soul.
I may have mentioned here before that I have pale burny skin. Skin which burns even after SPF30 cream is slathered all over it. I have spent many summers in my childhood sitting on a beach covered in towels to mask my bad sunburn of the day before. Now of course, every child, including ours, wears a Lycra top thingy (called a rashie I think) to prevent that.
The upside of my pale burny skin is that I might have fewer wrinkles than I otherwise theoretically might have had if I had spent the last 25 years in the sun. The downside is the sitting on the beach thing. Which I did during this holiday, sitting fully clothed, like a strange Edwardian person possibly transplanted in a time machine who doesn't understand she is at the beach in 2011. It was however worth it, again, to watch the children frolic and scream with delight.
I had to include a picture of this hilarious sign which is still making me laugh as I type this:
If you click on the picture you can see that this pleasant flat beach with reasonably low key surf is in fact a Den of Danger, potentially filled with neck breaking hazards, sharks, jellyfish and extreme wave action. Oh and there may even be a giant exclamation mark out there waiting to trip you up. This is what we lawyers call a disclaimer. It did not of course put anyone off going into the sea. I wonder if other countries have things like this? I have only ever seen them in New South Wales.
Today I started my first round of 'dense dose' chemotherapy. I sat in a lovely comfortable chair in the lovely comfortable oncology suite listening to Boz Scaggs on the piped music and received my dose of bright red and clear poisons plus enough follow up anti nausea drugs to stock a pharmacy. This first round goes for 6 or 8 weeks (can't remember at this point in time) and is the worst in terms of side effects. Second round
It is quite surreal sitting here waiting for those endlessly explained side effects to kick in. But I have been doing some reading. Quite a lot actually.
I have been given a lot of wise counsel, as you would expect. And it is a bit repetitive I know but I thank you all. I am slowly working my way through emails....... still...
In terms of advice, simple is good, I think, and as a kind man said to me in an email last week: 'Jane, be calm and strong'. And that works for me.