Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter the fair way and keeping calm.

It's been a very stressful week and I am taking heart eating relaxing this weekend with family and friends. Honestly, it's been very difficult to not let things get to me while being challenged on many health levels.

Notwithstanding I feel well apart from the usual aches and pains

 I am firm supporter of  Fairtrade and as a family we try to celebrate Easter delicious Fairtrade Certified chocolate eggs and bunnies. There is something for everyone (if they enjoy chocolate). I was sent a few samples of Fairtrade ...who would refuse an offer of free chocolate ?




Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson said “By buying Fairtrade certified chocolates, you can make a difference to the working and living standards for cocoa farmers, their families and communities.

2014 Fairtrade Certified Easter treats include (left to right, top then bottom):

Heart of Chocolate has a range of Fairtrade Certified Easter products, including 55g milk, dark and white Divine Chocolate eggs, and mini Divine Chocolate egg packs. Look out for these products on the Heart of Chocolate website or via one of their stockists.

Xocolatl, a small boutique chocolatier in Melbourne, have created a range of Fairtrade chocolate Easter eggs inspired by artists such as Miro, Picasso and and Mondrian (pictured). Visit one of their two shops in Melbourne.

Cadbury's 65g Fairtrade Certified milk chocolate egg, available from national retailers, independent supermarkets, and selected convenience stores.

The boutique range of handmade chocolates by Lindsay & Edmunds are organic and Fairtrade Certified. In addition to their milk and dark chocolate eggs, this year’s range includes individually designed and showpiece Easter eggs. Click here for stockists.

Heart of Chocolate are also offering Dubble egg carton hunting packs. Look out for these products at these stockists and on the Heart of Chocolate website.

Coles private label 70g Milk Chocolate Bunny, under the Fairtrade Cocoa Program, is available in Coles stores nationally.

Chocolatier Australia has beautifully boxed Fairtrade Certified milk and dark eggs, as well as packs of three mini milk chocolate bunnies and eggs. Look out for their products in major supermarkets, Oxfam Shops, newsagents, pharmacies, Myer and David Jones.

Oxfam are selling a range of paper mache keepsake boxes which come with Fairtrade chocolate buttons inside, as well as offerings from Divine and Chocolatier. All products are available from Oxfam Shops nationally, online or on 1800 088 455 


I love a good cup of Fairtrade tea too.
A cup of tea calms me and Harry found the [tea]... seemed to burn away a little of the fear fluttering in his chest. ~J.K. Rowling. 

I need a lot more tea than I could possibly drink ...


What is Fairtrade

...is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. 


Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, by requiring companies to pay sustainable prices ,which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives and their community through better schooling and improved health services.

Some of the things that I was “meant” to get done, haven’t got done and I'm letting go of it this next week. Although sharing this Fairtrade message was a little late - there is still time to go shopping today.

I'm curious - what is your favourite chocolate or means to keep calm ?

PS- I was only sent a small sample of the above.You should be able to find the eggs in Woolworths, Coles, IGA and 7Eleven.
  

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Blanket of Care


Friendship wraps itself around the heart like a warm blanket of care. 

A lovely friend hand-made me this pink and dark blue (almost purple) blanket and gave it to me yesterday. It is to take with me while I am away having Radiotherapy. Orange is very cold in May ( lows of 1 ° with daytime temps 10- 15 °) and June too.

Today is the BIG planning appointment in Orange - fingers crossed it all goes to plan.


Photo by Sam (7)
.

Monday, 14 April 2014

I Touch Myself Project

I started to see news of this project featuring Chrissy Amphlett's “I Touch Myself” filtering through my Facebook feed last night.
It is too close to my heart. It stopped me in my tracks.


  • Talking to strangers or people in my real life about my boobs or lack there of. I feel a bit creeped out weird about what I overshare ; things I wouldn't have dare previously said out loud  to people about in real life .
Right now I have a pain in heart and a tear in my eye. I'm living in fear.

As Chrissie rode out on a horse called Music , she left us this legacy (sorry Willie) when she passed away almost a year ago

Early detection is vital.
My friend the dear Mrs Woog is an ambassador for

I Touch Myself Project.

Go ahead and check it out , then check yourself I'll wait.

Not sure how ?

One of the reasons I am blogging about my breast cancer journey is to raise and spread awareness. I know that reminding people to check their breasts could save their life.



Right now - I have a tortuous and terrifying 8wks wait (for a PET SCAN to see if the nodules found recently on my lungs are something to worry about - related to Breast cancer (or my MPNST Sarcoma) or nothing. They are too small right now to biopsy . The fear is crippling me. I wouldn't wish it on anyone - so please take note and touch yourself.


Touching yourself is healthy habit that should be as much a part of your daily routine, like showering, dressing and looking in the mirror. 

You don't need to wait for a special day, check your breasts wherever and whenever works for you but do it regularly. A minimum of monthly is recommended.


I was always a little Breast Aware but even so I was slack and hap hazard about checking.
I wasn't aware of all the changes to look for ...it isn't just a lump.


Most breast changes aren’t due to cancer - but if you find a change that is unusual for you, see your GP to make sure.

I had 2-3 symptoms at diagnosis - though my breasts were always lumpy. I found this website which tell you what to look for

 

cheeky check-up A new lump or lumpiness, especially if it's only in one breast.
cheeky check-up
cheeky check-up A change in the size or shape of your breast.
cheeky check-up
cheeky check-up A change to the nipple such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion.
cheeky check-up
cheeky check-up A nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
cheeky check-up
cheeky check-up A change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling.
cheeky check-up
cheeky check-up An unusual pain that doesn't go away.
cheeky check-up

I had 2-3 symptoms at diagnosis - pain, discharge on squeezing (because I had pain) and my breasts were always kind of lumpy. I did see my GP immediately, both times I had nipple discharge. May 2011 it wasn't breast cancer (that I know).

How do you reduce your risks ? 

How do you calculate your risk based on evidence ?
Calculator

 I didn't know that an inherited faulty gene only accounts for 5% of all breast cancers. Even then breast cancer is so common that it need not be a faulty inherited gene that causes BC within the same family.

I thought it couldn't happen to me , though I've had several mammograms and ultrasounds despite that misguided belief...just for reassurance.


So have you felt yourself today ...you can never be too busy !


 I'm sorry if this makes your uncomfortable !

Watch the video and share it with all the women (and men) you know.

Thanks to Allie's suggestion - yes there is an app for that .

a fun one - Your man reminder

http://www.ibreastcheck.com/  in App store and Android.


 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Sarcoma Update ~ There was a knock at the door - Aye Aye

Youtube and Facebook have been keeping me amused when I wasn't having my leg drained x 3 times x 70+mls each time.

There wasn't a knock at the door ; actually , the phone (twice) rang after a 10 day wait.
First , at 12.09pm I  received a call from local, gangbusting Cancer Care Nurse who said the Radiation Co-ordinator/Planning lady will call me either later today or tomorrow - once she tee'd up a DR to be at the Radiation Planning appointment...

At 12.46pm  Sitting on top of the phone Feeling glad I wasn't forgotten and practicing patience; She CALLED ME ; JOY. She was stellar.

My planning appointment is next Wednesday and I'll start radiotherapy 28th April; 30 treatments over 6-7 weeks. 
While I'm still feeling a bit overwhelmed (or I also prefer dazzled as does my dear friend Kelley)  and tested on many levels , I'm beyond relieved we have a plan.

I haven't been running because don't want to stir up my leg - it seems to be settling with tight compression. NO more weekday paddling *sob* with the change from daylight savings

Now, I have to get our tax finished and get everything in order.

"I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realise you're capable of so much more than you thought." – Arthur Blank

I am so thankful for the local Cancer Nurse who was liaising for me and my 'crackerjack' Breast Cancer Support Nurse still advocating for me. She is a dragon boat paddler too.

I'm immensely thankful for the team who will be doing the planning and for people praying for me and those sending me emails and messages saying they had been following my blog and I have been in their thoughts.

It’s really hard to put into words how grateful I really am.


What are you thankful for today ?
Thankful Thursday with A Parenting Life


 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ The Lego Movie ; Everything is awesome

Highlight of a very difficult and draining (pun intended) week - the boys got to play the new Lego Movie Game.
Wyldstyle is sassy and Emmet is the Hero
I love Emmet - (please ignore my ridiculously filthy screen because my kids use my laptop like a touch screen).
We went to see the Lego Movie on Sunday and it really is AWESOME - Be a Fun Mum has written an awesome review.

Definitely a must see, I am going again it was so fast paced and funny - (as well as nodding off from lack of sleep)



 

Friday, 4 April 2014

The C word and marking time.

My life is marked with big medical events on the calendar ...but at the same time not.

The perils of being at the mercy of public health system. (I might add a great system when it works in your favour. The local base hospital were prompt to treat and drain my haematoma , by ultrasound -twice this week.I am very grateful)


Yesterday, one Sydney hospital called to organise my PET scan - first I needed the dates for when my radiation would be starting and finishing. The PET scan needs to be 12wks after I finish radiotherapy - though the Radiation oncologist wanted me to have it in 2.5 months time ???

Um *$#@ !

I called the Radiation unit where I have radiation [2hrs away] - no dates yet, no deal and instead of 4wks I was told - it might actually be 

6wks before I start, 
+ 6-7wks of radiation - 

add 12wks recommended wait after I finish radiation (due to inflammation)
 =25wks
They weren't able to give me much information , too early in the process.
 
So ? almost 6 months before I can get the PET scan.
Um *$#@ ! , *$#@ !, *$#@ !

It will be eight months since I was diagnosed, 7 months since the Chest CT showed things we weren't expecting ...the nodules on my lungs and lesion in my neck ? maybe my liver. 

The PET is supposed to monitor them and check for growth or NOT; it probably can't tell if Breast cancer or Sarcoma related ?

I re-called the PET suite, while I was on hold they rang one doctor (Not THE Dr I saw 2 weeks ago-she is away) and he said they could do it 6wks after I finish radiation.The lovely lady was 'confused' and is going to follow it up further.

Still till long.
Still too scary.
In six months a lot can happen.
I don't even want to think about it.


Today's quote

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Enjoy each day and dwell not so much on tomorrow -
because if I worry think too far ahead my heart will break. !

So I am taking things one day at a time, it is the logical thing to do and worrying isn't going to hasten the process.

Cancer is a process, like all disease and illnesses.

In cancer we're always marking time , making decisions or being subject to decisions.
There are choices to be made, different treatments, many impossible possible options, with breast cancer and especially now with sarcomas. Different doctors have their own demarcation lines. It sucks they can't agree.

Waiting is *$#@ !* it is difficult to not let things get to me. 
Cancer (twice in 21 months) is a haunting situation; it feels like I will never ever relax again.

In happier news in the last few days many kind words have uplifted me, the Nurses at oncology, a few friends and church acquaintances, receiving in the mail :a daily devotional book from my SIL, several card (from the same friend) and a little peaceful thoughts kit and purple butterfly ring from a lovely blogging friend.

 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mothers Day gift guide ~ Care, Celebrate and Campaign to make a difference.

I support blogging for social good, this is in no way a sponsored post. 

The McGrath Foundation is one of Australia’s leading breast cancer charities raising funds to place McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia, and increasing breast awareness in Australian women. I am so thankful for

So far the 90 McGrath Breast Care Nurses have supported 25,000 families working in every state in Australia in rural, regional and metro areas. Including my own local country town ! 

Our nurse is lovely, she attends our bi monthly dinner meetings and the daytime Breast Cancer support groups too...maybe it's for the cake ?

To celebrate Mother’s Day 2014, the McGrath Foundation has created a Mother’s Day Gift Guide with a variety of beautiful gifts that support the McGrath Foundation in their mission to support families experiencing breast cancer in Australia. 





Along with the gift guide, the McGrath Foundation is launching a campaign encouraging people to celebrate those who inspire them, the unsung heroes. 

The McGrath Breast Care Nurses are inspirational to all of us their efforts, along with all mums, should be celebrated this Mother’s Day.




Please share the gift guide via with your friends and family - there are some fabulous items - see them all on Pinterest or shop here. They have something for every Mum, Nana or Granny.



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