Friday, March 30, 2012


Have you seen this UK magazine?  It is difficult to track down here in Australia but it is worth it. 

There are only two editions a year, and it is heavy and thick and glossy and decadent like an Italian Vogue, and packed full of fantastic interviews, great fashion, amazing photography and lots of dreamy things.   To me, it is exactly what a magazine should be.   I am off to Amazon to try to find a cheap subscription. 

On the cover is Christy Turlington my favourite secret crush supermodel.  I loved her in the 80s, I love her doing her yoga thing and I love her being a mother.     To me, she has always seemed very unaggressive and gentle.  No tantrums, no odd surgery. 

(by Peter Lindbergh)

(by Sofa and Mauro)

It was my birthday this week and I received yesterday a lovely little package in the post which looked like this:

It was from Jane, fellow lawyer and blogger, of Planet Baby.  So thoughtful in this day and age to take the time to make a gift, wrap it, write a card and post it all.  Just blows my mind really.  Thank you dear Jane it is much appreciated (and you have a lot of challenges at the moment) and here is the gift, a divine Liberty heart, sitting for moment against a bronze Buddha we bought in northern Thailand a lifetime ago. 

I am becoming scarily addicted to Instagram. I know I am hardly cutting edge in this, but I do love it so. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

At last

This morning I had my final Herceptin treatment.

As much as I love the ladies in the oncology suite I fervently hope I never have to set foot there again until the day I die of natural causes at the age of 84.  I made them a plate of chocolate gingerbread which somehow seemed inadequate (not to say unhealthy) for all the great care they had provided to me.

I feel like I have run a particularly gruelling torturous marathon. I sat down the other day and did my 'out of pocket' medical expenses table for the accountant (thank you, evil Medicare and health insurer for not paying me for any of my Chinese medical expenses and no it is NOT a lifestyle choice).

It made me feel quite unwell to revisit all I have been through.    It was almost like going through it again.  And of course I felt relieved that I was even around to be doing an Excel spreadsheet of medical costs. Because that is what people say don't they?  That we should be thinking 'well at least I'm not dead'.  But really you could say that about any crap experience. It doesn't make it any less horrendous.

A particularly satisfying rainbow down at the beach

When I look at my treatment course I find it hard to believe I found the time to keep working.  And cooking. And being a wife.  And raising two occasionally temperamental children who have been through something no child should have to (as much as I tried to keep on an even keel and keep it hidden, they knew, as all children do, that things were not quite right last year).  

I certainly didn't have the time to write here as much as I could have or should have.

You see, it's not just the chemo which is distracting.  It is all the miscellanea, or paraphernalia which comes with a cancer diagnosis.

As a test, I thought I would see if I can remember what has in fact been keeping me busy since 20 December 2010. And lo and behold, I could.  Engraved on my soul, I guess you could say:
  • two major operations
  • two breast biopsies
  • one MRI
  • 2 CT scans
  • 2 bone scans
  • one liver ultrasound.
  • two mammograms
  • two breast ultrasounds
  • 4 x fortnightly AC chemotherapy (average length - four to 5 hours)
  • 12 x weekly Taxol chemo (average length 3 hours)
  • 12 x weekly Herceptin infusion (with Taxol)
  • 15 x 3 weekly Herceptin infusion (average 2 hours).
  • 5 heart scans (MUGA and EKG)
  • 1 stereoscopic biopsy.
  • 4 self injections of Neulastin (for blood count)
  • 6 x injections of Zolodex (don't ask)
  • 11 surgical consultations
  • similar number oncology consultations
  • monthly acupuncture and Chinese herbal consultation with the Professor.
  • countless, and I do mean too many to count, blood tests. 
And I hasten to point out my treatment was relatively straightforward with very few complications.

It's a full time job, having cancer.   These things take time.  Getting the referral, booking appointments, sitting around waiting waiting.  Drinking something awful or having blood taken and waiting a bit more.   Trying not to stare too much at the other people.  Burying my nose in a book or my IPhone.   Waiting a bit more. 

I have sat in many waiting rooms.  Waiting rooms with nothing but four year old golf magazines. Waiting rooms with ugly flower paintings.  With silly background musak. With morning TV.   With people sitting staring at the wall trying to come to terms with unspeakable news.  With people crying. 

But I have also made wonderful friends, and shared many many jokes with all kinds of people, because when things are black one can often still find a reason to smile.  

THANK YOU ALL for your words of encouragement, support and friendship.  What I would have done without you all, I do not know. 

In a horrible kind of symmetry, last week a lovely fellow blogger, Annie, who is from Queensland was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Please visit her here and give her lots of support.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nautical Shelves

So long since I posted! I have been shaken out of my reverie by a kindly follower who emailed to see if I was okay.  Thank you.  

The truth is, I have been enjoying life with a minimum of injections and doctors appointments, so much so I have slipped away from here a bit.   Only one more treatment to go.  I am counting down the days till the 26th of March.  Yes it's true, I have been having intravenous treatment for that long - 15 months.  

But I do realise that if I tell people about the cancer and then don't blog, it may make people think the worst. 

Fear not, dear readers.   Am feeling fantastic.  But am sorry for lack of comments.  Really I Must Do Better. 

I have been doing a little project at the beach which took longer than it should due to delays with the wallpaper samples arriving. 

It is very simple, but makes my son's very plain little room a bit more perky.

Here is his little bed:

Longtime readers will remember I made the boat pillow during a Sunday afternoon burst of creativity.

I have found Pottery Barn and the Land of Nod to be invaluable online resources.  These places probably seem basic to readers from the US but for mine simple reasonable quality children's linen which is not festooned with superheroes or Thomas the Tank Engine is not easy to come by here in Australia.  This cover is an all in one padded doona.  Really easy to clean, and lies flat. 

There are some shelves in this room where we keep books and clothes.

I got some sample wallpaper online and lined the shelves like this:

It doesn't intrude into the zen whiteness of the room, but it really make the shelves a focus point. The wallpaper is by Thibaut and Ralph Lauren.   UK wallpaper sites are happy to send lots of samples to you, sometimes for free, sometimes for a small fee. 

In other news, I have joined Twitter.  Not 100% sure why, as I always said I have nothing interesting to say in less than a short paragraph.  But we shall see.  It does allow me to spy on people I have long been a little bit secretly obsessed with like Anthony Bourdain and Bret Easton Ellis.  Feel free to follow me.  I will not be bombarding you with tweets, I can assure you.  

Next on the list, Pinterest. 


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