On the eve of the 1st anniversary


I sit here on the eve of the 1st anniversary of my Nan’s death, and the tears are finally coming.

I’ve always been a crier, and I’ve always been in tune with my emotions (sometimes too much), but since Nan passed I suddenly developed a tougher exterior, and I lost my ability to cry.

I admit, I actually did a lot of my mourning before she passed, as the cancer took hold of her and dragged her down so fast. It was shocking to see the effects on her body and her mind. It was scary watching her sitting there scared. It was hard seeing her make the decision to go nil by mouth – even though I totally supported and agreed with the decision. And then – sitting there by her bedside holding her hand, watching her as she slept. Her body wracked by spasms of pain, her mind running wild with dreams, her lungs struggling to breath, every now and then waking up and saying my name and slipping back into sleep.

By this stage she had moved home, and rested on a hospital bed looking out into the bush as the horses in the paddock next door ran back and forth, the birds sang, and the wind blew, rattling the branches of the tall gum trees outside. It was here that she passed, with my Uncle sitting next to her. I believe she uttered Grandads name as she went. I’m no spiritual person, but I like to believe that they are now reunited, and that she is driving him bonkers!

As I write this the tears are flowing, and I am happy for the release. I haven’t allowed myself much time at all to think about Nan since the funeral, and that is a real disservice, as she was the most amazing and special person.

I miss you Nan.

Love,

Your Granddaughter.

Let’s Get Serious – YOU and Your Skin


Title: Pathology: Patient: Melanoma Descriptio...

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I finally bit the bullet and got my skin checked yesterday for skin cancer. I’d been putting it off for a while, and have secretly been worried about a large freckle on my nose (of all places!).

I’m a pale red-head, with lots of freckles, who has probably been burnt too many times in her life. It doesn’t help that I live in Western Australia, where the ozone layer is incredibly damaged, and the sun can be incredibly harsh. You can actually burn after just 10 minutes in the sun here. That is not good at all. I used to try and stay inside all of the time – but I became a bit of a hermit, so I now live my life more, but admit that I need to be more ‘sun smart’.

Lucky for me, the new place I work had arranged for a specialist to visit to check us all out – if we wanted to – free of charge. Fabulous idea, and it possibly pushed a few of us to confront our fears.

With great relief I can announce that I have no worrisome freckles or moles. If only I had gotten my freckles checked sooner, I wouldn’t have spent all this time worrying. And realistically, I should have got checked earlier, as if any of them had been cancerous – that would have been even worse.

In reading one of the pamphlets I got with the ‘goody bag’ I was given after my skin check (don’t you just love goody bags!), it’s terrifying to read the statistics:

Australia has THE highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Every yeah over 440,000 Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer and over 1,700 people will die from the disease. Western Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in Australia.’

I encourage you all to go and get your freckles and moles checked, even if you think you are okay, for you never know what is lying there under the surface.

For more information visit www.cancerwa.asn.au

My baby went to hospital today


Man its been a stressful day! And this time it’s not work related.

It’s because my baby (the white fluff-ball called Kahlua) underwent an operation.

I played it cool, calm and collected after seeing the vet yesterday afternoon – being told that they would need to operate to remove some ‘fatty lumps’. ‘We are 90% sure it’s not cancerous‘.  Heartening, yes. But I’ve heard that line before – and they always ended up cancerous.

I slept so badly last night – probably subconsciously worrying about her being cut open today. I can’t help it. She’s my baby girl. We’ve been together for nearly 10 years, and she’s been with me through it all. The highs and lows of relationships, break-ups, happiness, stress, depression and death. She is the most important thing in my life. It’s natural.

I’ve been told a few times lately, by a few people, that she’s ‘getting on now and you should really prepare yourself that she is not going to be around forever.’  I know. I’m not stupid. And I know I will be an absolute mess when it happens, but I’ll cross that path when I get to it.

Anyway, she’s okay. The ‘fatty lumps’ were just that. It’s something dogs get when they age. It was just unfortunate where they were located on her little body – if she was a human it would be under the arm pit. She woke up from the anaesthetic well, and I was allowed to bring her home this afternoon. She has a whole load of stitches in her side and a drainage tube – which is a bit freaky. Plus she has the bucket on her head. She’s really a pretty healthy dog ‘for her age’ – thank goodness.

She’s the one who’s distressed now. She’s sitting right by my side at the moment, snuggled into my leg. I’m sitting on the floor boards typing this, in an effort to keep her calm. At  least her breathing has settled and she’s lying down on her cushion now. It’s got to feel so weird when you have no concept of what has happened, why you are in pain or why you have a stupid bucket around your head.