Noosa Getaway!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sand between my toes and salt in my hair! May be a year late in going on this holiday but Luke and I finally got here. Loving life and little hats!

Luke and I had planned to go to Noosa in January of 2017, but instead I was having surgery for a biopsy of my tumour - not ideal! After a lot of effort with the airline we finally were able to get a refund for our flights. Our hotel was really helpful and just postponed our trip until we were ready to take it. A year later I was able to go on this little getaway and enjoyed it even more so. 

One year on...

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Last year I had a very different start to the new year. Today marks exactly one year since I was diagnosed, after going to the doctors for a pesky cold! I couldn't have asked for a better start to 2018 by hearing 'all is well' for my oncologist. Cheers to health, happiness and my 'Mario'!

New Year - Same scans!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Kicking off 18' with a PET scan. It was made all the better with fate giving me the 'Bambi' room. Here's hoping and praying for good results. It truly is mind over matter in these situations. I had a bit of a cold and therefore had a 'slightly' tight chest - of course because of this I catastrophised thinking of the worst possible outcome.

It's just a check up to see how everything is going - I was given fantastic news late last year that all the tumour and cancer was gone - Yay! But I have a lot of scar tissue left behind (from my type of lymphoma). Due to this they wanted to check everything was a' okay.

It's quite a time consuming process with the whole thing taking about three hours. I first have to have a blood/urine test and then get a canular put in. After this I have to drink a sugary substance and finally get injected with a contrast dye. The actual scan lasts for about 30 minutes with around 12 minutes of this being a CT scan first. I love the fact that they have the radio playing in the room, serves as a great distraction to my anxious thoughts!

UPDATE: Results came back clear - Apparently the scar tissue in my chest has been described as looking like a deflated balloon! 

Light the Night 17'

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A big thank you to everyone who joined me or donated to my mini Light the Night 2017. It was a very special Spring evening spent with lovely people. I was proud to light up the night's sky with my white lantern - symbolising I am a survivor. With family and friends by my side, we walked all together shining light on Blood cancer. Truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

We ended up raising $1000 for the Leukemia Foundation. Yay!

18 weeks on

Thursday, 19 October 2017

It's crazy to think that I'm 18 weeks post chemo. I have been finished for the same amount of time that my six cycles of chemo went for. Can't believe how quickly it's gone by - funny how times flies when you're actually living. Here's my hair and eyebrow progress over the last 18 weeks!

To all those going through your journey now. Take each day, hour or even minute sometimes as it comes. Let yourself have those bad days, but also celebrate those good days too, no matter how small your gain may be. Just being able to see the day through is often enough. My anxiety levels were often the lowest at night time as I knew I had made it through just one more day. In the morning though it was a different story, with my anxiety being at its peak. I constantly suffered from panic attacks or became completely overwhelmed when doing the simplest tasks such as getting changed, going upstairs or having a shower. Towards the end of my fifth and sixth cycles I think I cried almost every day. My anxiety was sky high due to the obscene amount of steroids I was taking, as well as being mentally and physically exhausted from the torment from chemo. My emotions were completely wired. Plus I was so bored! I couldn't stand being at home yet couldn't do anything else but rest!

I found the online community of survivors, fighters and supporters truly so helpful in my journey. Being able to connect with others that have been through something similar made me realise I'm not alone in this.
This photo featured on We Are Survivors Instagram where you can see lots of stories from others for inspiration as well as to offer  hope.

Out of this world - Officially deported

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Today was a very exciting today - I got my port-a-cath out. During chemo this little guy was the best thing ever! Saved me from so many (more) needles and canulars, but I still was pretty happy to be waving goodbye to it.

Marvellous MooGoo

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Magical moogoo! I'm a long time user of the awesome Aussie brand 'Moogoo' - even prior to my chemo days. Naturally I thought I'd try using their products during my treatment too. To my surprise there were samples of their products given to me as a 'starter pack' from the hospital. Moogoo were kind enough to also send me out a thoughtful pack filled with goodies to help me through, even warm cow socks! If you are looking for a natural, simple skin and hair/scalp care routine Moogoo are fantastic. They even have an Oncology care pack! I still use their products now as they are super gentle on your skin.

Neutropenia strikes! - Hospital Stays

Friday, 2 June 2017

It's a weird feeling waiting for your body to crash - knowing that you are going to get really sick, really soon, but have absolutely no control over this. As the days approach the teen numbers in my cycle,  I know my white cell count and neutrophils are going to crash rapidly. Even though I have nightly injections during my second week of chemo it doesn't stop the immense impact on my immune system.

I was very lucky to get through to my fifth cycle before having any hospital stays. I had been neutropenic in previous cycles but I had never spiked a temperature. In those final two cycles though my body began to really feel the affects of accumulated chemotherapy as well as higher doses with each cycle.

I suffered from mucositis during my hospital stays and those that have experienced this know the absolute nightmare it is! It causes your digestive tract to become severely inflamed, affecting your mouth and tummy. I had mouth ulcers so severe that I couldn't even speak or drink water. Just moving my tongue ever so slightly would cause terrible pain.

I guess the 'good' thing about being a cancer patient when going through to emergency is that you flash your neutropenic card in the hospital waiting room and you pretty much get wheeled on in - none of this waiting for hours to be admitted type business. I felt pretty important! hahah

In my ward, I was surrounded by people wearing plastic gowns, layers of gloves, double doors and hand wash stations everywhere - although I still didn't consider myself to be that sick. I'd look at others in the haematology ward and think they looked really unwell. When in reality so many people I knew were thinking the same about me.


Luckily with lots of antibiotics as a precaution (to avoid deadly sepsis), my neutrophils and white blood cells began to climb over a few days. It's amazing how you really notice your body getting better as my mouth ulcers started disappear over night and within five days I was back home! I was able to have just close family and friends as visitors, they all had to wear plastic gowns each time they entered or exited the room.

For my second hospital visit, I got to share my journey with another beautiful soul, Salina. We bonded very quickly and spoke about our different types of lymphoma, Indian cooking and school teaching over the days we were in hospital. We even got discharged on the same day. It's amazing how many silver linings you can have in one crazy storm!


Cycle Six - The final countdown...

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Walking into the Day Suite to start my final round of chemo, total excitement would be an understatement to describe how I felt. I stayed up the night before, (what a chemo rebel I am) and made a celebratory sign to bring with me into the chemo ward - clearly the primary school teacher in me was bursting to get out! I brought along my nurses teddy bear that other special people I'd met had signed along the way.  My regular nurses Sandra and Anna celebrated with mum, Luke and I, where we cut a small cake on the Saturday of my final infusion. I felt elated that I had finished but knew I still had to make it through the massive side effects of this round hitting my body - which would probably send me to hospital again. For now though I felt content in reaching this milestone and take each day as they come.

Sunshine Session # 5

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

For this Sunshine Session I was gifted a beautiful dress by my lovely cousin Belinda and her family from the Aussie Label LeSalty.

Unfortunately I didn't get to take too many photos in the dress as I ended up having my first stint in hospital following treatment. I did get to wear it to chemo of course and a day at the beach before I got neutropenic.

The Sunshine Six # Session 4

Friday, 14 April 2017

For my forth cycle of Chemo I got to wear something really special from the beautiful shop Hope25. The lovely owner Melissa creates t-shirts with inspiring messages for those under going chemo and other cancer treatments. 

Had fun mixing it up wearing my lilac wig and flower crown, because...why not!

Cycles 4 and 5 - Adjusting to my not so normal routine

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Here we go again! Getting used the this crazy routine that's become my life for the time being. We've stopped rushing to chemo on the early Tuesday mornings now as we've realised the nurses don't mind us being a little late...well that's what we have assumed anyway!

Same thing - check my weight, check my bloods, obvs and give me my anti-nausea tablets and we get going. Everything seems to go a little quicker now as I know what I'm expecting - no more imaginary trip to Western Australia, I'd be lucky to to reach Canberra in this time! I even know the routine of how the sterilise everything! Perhaps a nurse in training? haha

During these two cycles I get lots of visitors as well as others taking me to my appointments. I get to show them around my hood - the good coffee place,  'my chair', and my nurses!

Chemo buddies!

I also got to meet someone very special - Rebecca. She was diagnosed with the exact lymphoma as me, three months earlier. I can't tell you how good it was to talk to someone the same age going through the same challenges.

Shift work -

 My family and friends are a great help, with almost a different person each time taking me to my appointments.

Chemo crocheting with the Smalleys :) 

Does it look like I know what I'm doing - as I really have no idea! (even though I was shown numerous times) I blame my numb fingertips but I don't even think that was the issue!

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs