Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Destination - Joyville


A few weeks ago we witnessed spectacle the Joyville steam train decked in Cadbury’s colours rolling through Sydney’s Central, Redfern and Sydenham railway lines .

They also filmed the next stage of Joyville campaign presenting unsuspecting commuters with free chocolate at each stop. It was so much fun - I got to ride the Joyville Train ,while the Drummer Boys & Daddy were filmed in the waiting crowd.

Ps Next week I've got a NEW Cadbury Giveaway

Friday, 27 July 2012

Plant a tree on National Tree Day + {Bunnings $100 Giveaway}

Sunday 29th July, is National Tree Day. As a family we are going to plant a few native and fruit (maybe two apple varieties and orange) trees on our farm. It is heavily scrub tree'd across most of our property but not so much around our little home on the hill and the nearby paddocks.

Most importantly ;-) , fortunately, we already have a few shady gum trees (for the hammocks) and a few unknown ones.(My Hammock & I - photos to follow when we get home)

Toyota is celebrating their 13th year of support in Australia’s largest annual tree planting and nature care event, National Tree Day. When my eldest son was a Cub/Scout we joined in a few National tree planting days in our local area.

Toyota Ambassadors encourage communities to help preserve the environment for our future generations.  In attendance this year will be :

Adam Goodes – Captain of the Sydney Swans (AFL)
Bob Corbett – Country musician and 2012 Toyota Star Maker
Brad McEwan – Sports presenter and media personality
Johnathan Thurston – Captain of the North Queensland Cowboys (NRL) and Origin Star
Jonathan Brown – Captain of the Brisbane Lions (AFL)

Kerri-Anne Kennerley – Media personality

Lee Kernaghan – Country music legend Luke Hodge – Captain of the Hawthorn Hawks (AFL)
The McClymonts (Brooke, Sam and Mollie) – Country musicians
Tim Webster – Sports presenter and broadcaster

The sponsorship of National Tree Day sees Toyota’s entire network of more than 200 dealers across the country mobilised to support, participate in, and lead planting activity in their local area. Last year, thousands of Australians planted over 1 million native trees, shrubs and grasses.

Toyota Manager Events, Promotions & Sponsorships, Andrew Wearing says:

Toyota has proudly sponsored National Tree Day since 2000 as part of its global commitment to sustainability. Our successful, long-standing partnership with Planet Ark can be attributed to our unique grassroots approach; enabling dealerships across Australia to make a real difference in their own community.”
Spokesperson for Planet Ark, Rebecca Gilling adds:

“Toyota has helped Planet Ark build on National Tree Day’s success year-on-year. Its ongoing commitment to the cause and leading community involvement gives individuals, families and local groups the opportunity to do their bit for the environment.”
National Tree Day (Sunday, 29 July) and Schools Tree Day (Friday, 27 July) have been responsible for the planting of more than 17 million native trees and shrubs by approximately 2.5 million volunteers over the years.

I received no financial payment for sharing about National Tree Day - I was happy to be involved in spreading the word but the best news is I have one $100 Bunnings Warehouse gift voucher for one reader to purchase and plant native trees, shrubs and grasses in their local area. 
To enter ...

Leave me a comment and tell me what you would plant , where and /or  why !

Australian Entries Only
Entries close 11.59pm 10th August 2012.
The most creative comment wins - Judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Prize is not transferable, changeable or redeemable for cash and prize sent out will not be replaced in the event that it is stolen, lost or damaged in transit.

Winner is Pixie - I would plant some more fruit trees so I can feed my family some great organic food

Game on, the countdown has run down

So my countdown has finally run down and I am due to face my first chemotherapy infusion today at 1.30pm. As the days ticked by, anxiety has grown. I am most worried about the unknown.

I have a one hour appointment with the Breast Cancer Nurse at 12.30pm , she gives me the run down on what side effects to expect (I think) .

Intuitively, and through lots of reading, (and talking to a few people in real life) I know my life is about to change dramatically. I have almost 17 months of treatment , I know the first 3 months is allegedly the worse of it .

Four chemotherapy cycles each 3 weeks apart. ie The IV infusion today is the start and then I go home to let it work. I come back again in 3 weeks to start it all again.

It isn't just today it is over the next week or two that the side effects last, then I have a week to recover before the next dose.

I am in Sydney 4-5 hrs, from home for 1st treatment. All going well we will travel back home tomorrow afternoon. My husband has been working flat out to make one large room more comfortable for me. We currently live in a fitted out shed/cabin on our farm . We only moved from our large, comfortable 4 bedroom home in Sydney, 6 months ago. (It is still rented out.). I love our farm.

This week I've spoken to a few survivors and I know it's doable. It's rugged and will knock me around but I'm taking one or a dozen side effects  moment , one day, one week, one treatment  at a time.

Most of all , you can be assured today, that I know I am being upheld by God’s peace and the thoughts and prayers of many friends and family. I appreciate we are surrounded by God’s peace, and His care and protection for us.
I am so touched by the messages of support from real life friends, URL friends and even strangers xoxo

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I am One in 14,000 + {Bakers Delight Giveaway}

This is one post I never expected to write.

I am writing this in support of the 14,000 women expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 alone. I certainly never expected to be 1 in that 14,000.

Please read on I'll get to the point and the giveaway.

Everybody knows Bakers Delight  , distinctive in their appearance, branding and product quality. I love Bakers Delight bread and I was so excited when I won a year’s supply (supplied weekly). It is always fresh, they have a great variety and most importantly it all tastes really great.

I was invited to experience a Bakers Delight baking demonstration first hand. To see what it is like to bake from scratch - fresh bread , rolls and show you how it is done!

I arrived at 7.30am (A late start for a Baker) and put on my ‘uniform’, an apron and beret supplied by Greg, the store franchisee (he owns 3 Bakers Delight stores). It was June 12th - the apron given to me was the 'Hot Pink' Pink Lady apron – emblazoned with “Proudly Supporting BCNA”*

I briefly thought about my mammogram and Ultrasound booked the next day. I dismissed the uneasiness and fear.

Greg walked, talked me and showed me through the process of fresh bread crafting from the beginning to the end ... when within minutes it travels from oven to the store front display racks. I love that there are No preservatives in their bread.

After proving in the warmer – from this to this they get baked to perfection.
Into a huge big mixing bowl went measured (by weight  / scales) amounts of flour, yeast, salt and water and oil. It gets mixed, kneaded by machine, then the temperature is checked before it gets machine cut/shaped into loaves or bread rolls by another machine (one nifty machine shapes the rolls  in the perfect round shape) or rolling pin rolled into scrolls by hand. All from the same dough recipe. They even grate their own real block cheese.

(The sourdough and Pane di casa processes are slightly different).

Sam and Joel got a little 'Bakers delight experience too – who doesn’t love pink icing hundreds & thousands and coconut.

Thank you to Greg and Bakers Delight for enlightening me , first hand how your fresh baked breads and rolls are made. From early morning the customers are lining up before the shop assistants begin serving , so the 'Bakers' step up to counter ensure the hungry customers don’t miss out !

Most importantly , I hope everybody knows about the Bakers Delight Pink Bun campaign!

Overall 615 Bakers Delight bakeries raised $1,065,000 for Breast Cancer Network Australia during their 2012 Pink Bun campaign. In the last 12 years they have raised over $6.5 million for BCNA.

My local Bakers Delight store - Dubbo, Orana Mall raised $2,775 during this year’s Pink Bun campaign May 3-23rd . I know I purchased a few and the money went straight into the BCNA tins - 100% of the sale of pink buns and pink lady cut-outs goes directly to BCNA.

This featured in our local Daily Liberal

The money raised by Bakers Delight customers supports BCNA's information resources provided to Australians affected by breast cancer such as the My Journey Kit, a free resource for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

This year, the campaign will also fund a new booklet for women on how exercise can benefit them after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The booklet will offer practical tips about keeping active from women within the BCNA network. Clinical experts will also contribute to ensure the information is appropriate for women with a breast cancer diagnosis.

You can find more info at http://www.bcna.org.au/

One day after my Bakers Delight experience - I was diagnosed with breast cancer and within a few days I received one of the very resourceful My Journey Kits.

I am so grateful that Bakers Delight bakeries partner with the with their local communities to raise this money. So thank you to everyone who joined forces !

Bakers Delight has sent me 3 x $10 vouchers for my readers to win. Leave a comment and tell me what product you like most and why ?

Australia entries only
Closes August 3rd

(*Breast cancer network Australia) .
Order your kit online now or phone 1800 500 258

Disclaimer: . No financial payment was received to write this post - all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Strike me Pink

Monday, 23 July 2012

Look Good Feel Better

Today I had the special privilege of attending a Look Good Feel Better program. It helped me feel not so alone, as I shared 2 hrs with some beautiful , mostly bald women who recently embarked on the cancer steamroller roller-coaster ....

I start my chemotherapy Friday . It helped me to see life can go on normally albeit with some ruggedness.
It reminded me of how fragile I am feeling, listening to them 'briefly' talk about their current chemo treatment and side effects. On the positive side I still came away feeling better about managing some of the side-effects and ways to help me maintain my self image. It was also fun.

LGFB is a Cosmetic industry community initiative.

 Look Good…Feel Better is a free national community service program dedicated to teaching cancer patients – through hands on experience – techniques to help restore their appearance and self image during chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The program was founded and developed by the Australian cosmetic industry in May 1990 and continues to be a wonderful community initiative to this day.  The program is administered through the registered charitable organisation, the Cancer Patients Foundation Ltd.

It begs belief I was just newly married when this program began and I had never heard of it till recently.

We each took home our set of products and many of us tried on and borrowed wigs from the wig library. The coloured wigs were modeled just for fun. I have borrowed a wig too in preparation. I could begin losing my hair as early as 10 days after starting chemo , so in 2 weeks...scary. I 'll show you my wig another day.

Last year Look Good Feel Better ran over 1000 workshops , across Australia in 170 locations. The Cosmetic Industry donated 128,000 products, brand neutral. ie Many different companies contributed $ 3.2 million products. Though targeted at women , they also run workshops for teenagers and men.

Incredibly, over 90,000 women living with cancer have been helped by Look Good Feel Better. My local program has volunteers from local businesses , beauty and hair dressing salons. They gave us practical tips and advice. The website has more practical tips too to help us keep a sense of control over this horrid disease.

Their Patron Kerri-Anne Kennerley, of 3yrs recently embarked on her own cancer journey. If you know someone, chances are you do, please make sure they know about Look Good Feel Better. Watch her talk about it more here.

Support  Look Good Feel Better on Facebook !

Watch Kerri-Anne Kennerley talk about LGFB here

Friday, 20 July 2012

Things I know ...

This post - the Loneliness of the dying* by Kim resonated with me and everyone would benefit by reading it . I already have absent and hiding friends. A loss I feel immensely but I know and understand it not just about me. Other people, a few unexpectedly, have embraced me in their absence.

The cat always claims knows the warmest spot.

Sometimes a teacher makes STUPID mistakes  ...who flys a KNIFE when the wind blows ? Kite was right !!
See kite corrected to KNIFE !

I am beyond excited my drain was removed today after one month , which means it is also one month since my surgery. It feels like a long time ago and yesterday; at the same time.

I love this piece of inspiration and it is going to be central to my vision board.
I just wonder how many times I'll have to listen to actually believe it ?

In less than one week I will begin the next stage of treatment ...which is described by Barbara as being doomed to months of chemotherapy, an intervention that is on a par with using a sledge hammer to swat mosquitoes. The next 16-17 months are mapped out for me and I guess I should be grateful.

Her whole article was very enlightening .

Tuesday, I'll have a heart echo to see if my heart is strong enough to withstand chemotherapy and thereafter every 3 months.

What things do you know ? 

Things I Know 150x150

*Just to clarify - I am not dying anytime soon !

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Thankful for Wintry days

Today I thankful for Wintry days for

staying inside wearing PJ's all day (I have a good excuse)
curling up with my iPad ...ahem Facebook & twitter
wearing a different scarf every day
wood fires 

snuggling in bed with the ones I love
sipping hot cups of tea 
guzzling hot chocolate

soaking up winter sunshine 
reading in bed
cooking a variety Belly warming soups ...this week pumpkin, carrot and celery & Cauliflower & celery ...today I'm making Tom Yam
roast lamb dinners

what are you thankful most for wintry days ?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ iSleepy

iSleepy iGen - iPod and iPad

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Good, the bad , the ugly

I lied - there is no good ?

Well , actually it is good ...
  1. to be home in tree change.
  2. Mia, the cat is happy to be home.
  3. Dashi is happy to have a canine buddy - Obi (My 19 yr old's puppy ...who is probably not going to be happy tomorrow when he gets neutered).
  4. to see hubby starting on a little project to make our shed more comfortable - a lounging room for me ( 'cause my Internet wifi won't work in the bedroom and our kitchen/family area is too small)
  5. the noisy little drummers go back to school tomorrow (after a month off) and that makes ME them happy. They were so excited when we bumped into their teacher Ms W at the shops on Saturday.
The Bad -
  1. It has taken me five days to post again, everything feels so different.
  2. I have so much to catch up on and giveaway winners to draw and notify ...
  3. I have many people to thank ; for sending cards, gifts and good wishes. I will  if I haven't yet !
  4. It is harder than I thought I was going to be ...yes I still have my pain in asside drain.
  5. I have so many inappropriate thoughts right now I can't begin to write them down.
    The Ugly -
    1. I feel melodramatic me writing this post.
    2. I know Chemotherapy will save my life , in the long term , but that doesn't mean I like it.
    3. I wasn't expecting the treatment , a poisonous cocktail of 3 (4) intravenous treatment regimes to last for a minimum of  15 -16 months ...so most of way through 2013. (Then another oral medication for 5 years.). I'll write more about this later, maybe.
    4. I feel like I am heading into dangerous territory with no comfortable place to be.
    5. I am not looking forward to being BALD , it will totally announce to everyone I have cancer ! I feel most for the impact on my little boys, at school, and the changes it will bring.
    A lovely blogging friend, Lilly, sent me this quote today , by Jai Pausch - Lilly said she hangs onto this when times are tough.

    - "Even though I may not know what the future holds, I should not give in to the fear of the unknown. I have to trust, I have to have faith."  Jai Pausch
    In other news, I started my vision board today ...

    Wednesday, 11 July 2012

    Today - the wall !

    I know I don't have to be cheerful and positive all the time.
    Honestly, it's really sucking at the moment.

    Today is 5 weeks since I saw my GP about my suspicious symptoms.
    Today is 4 weeks since I had my mammogram and U/S - when I knew positively that the news would not be good.

    The staff were too nice, too apologetic and over explaining the need for extra images, different position and long time waiting for the Dr to review them -in case I needed more. Explaining gently - I may get called back for a biopsy ...telling me not to worry it is normal ...Well - no I didn't doubt for a minute it was !

    Today is 3 weeks since a double mastectomy and axillary (armpit lymph nodes) clearance (Left). I still have my drain three weeks post op. It is annoying and painful at times mostly just uncomfortable ; finally bearable enough not to need as much pain relief. I've swallowed a gutful.

    Today is 2 weeks since I cut my hair quite short. I am okay with that and the prospect of going bald I've yet to get my head around ...pun not really intended.

    Today, I had a port a cath implanted, beneath the skin in my chest wall and below my right collarbone - which is the start of phase two in the breast cancer marathon . It is going to provide long term intravenous access for the chemotherapy and much longer targeted therapy. It is the right my choice but it hurts.

    Later, in between infusions I hopefully won't know the port a cath is there, except for a raised bump.

    The local anaesthetic has worn off - the pain, right now, is far worse than I expected. In both my neck and upper chest - they cut , poked , prodded it into position - it will ease up in time. Woe is me.

    On a scale of 1to10 - maybe 8-9 . I am so glad I still have the oral Endone to give me some relief. It really hasn't eased it completely. I am trying to distract myself.

    Sometimes I feel ok , others not - about this major interruption to our life. I look down where my breasts used to be and I honestly can't remember what they looked like ...well I barely managed a B cup. I don't feel too affected by this itty bitty bit.

    Tomorrow, is the BIG day when I meet the Medical oncologist at the Cancer care centre - find out when I start chemotherapy , the details and the long list of side effects  that already terrify me and the big picture. It seems crazy to say I'm both looking forward to it and wishing it NEVER comes.

    It will bring a sense of order and maybe control but today is not a good day.

    I found out recently another mum from our former playgroup , a similar age to me, was diagnosed with Breast cancer a month prior to me. She has just started Chemo (1st dose) and is having a rough time.

    Yesterday, at a 6th birthday party - other former playgroup friends in common , commented how odd is was that there were 2 of us in a group of maybe 20. It really isn't that odd because 1 in 8 will be diagnosed with Breast cancer.

    Someone else, close to me, told they think her mother has breast cancer . Her mother lives 4000Km+ away. Tomorrow - her mother will find out more exactly the details. My eyes started to tear up upon hearing this news too.

    Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a better one.

    JulEYE ~ don't take your vision for granted

    Last week Sam , six , had a followup appointment and vision check at the Children's hospital eye clinic. Sam has worn prescription glasses, fulltime, since he was 20 months old.

    Sam is currently having his eye patched 2hrs each day to improve the strength in his weaker eye. Much to his dislike.This visit his prescription was changed by the Specialist Paediatric Ophthalmologist  , only five months after new glasses *$igh* but I know it is for his benefit.

    We didn't detect his vision problem apart from the white eye reflection which I picked up in photos when he was 11 months old. I was terrified *.

    Sam has a genetic disease "Neurofibromatosis 1" - which can result in an optic glioma, his eyes were being already being checked (initially every 3-4 months) to detect any issues - early- if they occurred.

    Fortunately while he hasn't had an Optic glioma , he does have myelinated retinal nerve fibres plus myopia (causing nearsightedness). He still has photos with a white eye reflection - potentially a serious symptom of some eye diseases.

    I know what Sam's white eye reflection is - myelinated retinal nerve fibres plus myopia - white fibres cover his lens. It has affected his vision though wearing glasses helps corrects this.

    I just hope he doesn't end up with a turned eye ('cross eyes' -like me) because when a child has vision issues that go undetected it can cause the brain to switch off that eye (like lazy eye).It was only on subsequent visits they found he was longsighted in his other eye. I am glad we were having his eyes checked.

    When I received another email asking me to mention about JulEYE I agreed to mention the campaign.

    Why ?

    Every 65 minutes, an Australian loses part or all of their vision – this may explain why one third of Australians list blindness as their most feared health condition alongside cancer. Yet the majority of Australians do not get their eyes tested regularly, despite the fact that 75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable. The Eye Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, is once again encouraging all Australians to get their eyes tested in July as part of its annual ‘JulEYE’ campaign, kicked off on July 1st.

    Week 2 of the campaign focuses on diabetes and eye health - and urges people with diabetes - no matter their age - to make regular eye checks part of their diabetes management plan

    Don' forget your children’s eye health . They are also encouraging parents to have their children’s eyes tested and be aware that vision problems are not exclusive to the elderly only and can affect babies and young children.

    As a mother, who has faced such issues I wanted to share this.I am aware that is quite widespread in Australia.Undetected vision problems are estimated to affect one in four Australian children. Parents need to be aware of the importance of children’s eye health and that regular eye checks are just as important to a young child’s overall health and well being as other regular health checks, therefore, good eye health begins with testing from birth.

    The Eye Foundation is asking all Australians - no matter their age - to get their eyes tested this julEYE, and place eye tests every two years on their family’s calendar of regular medical checks.

    AS parents we need to protect our children’s vision and our own.The eye foundation would love others to mention this and help spread the word about this great cause!

    For more information or to link to the Eye Foundation website please go to www.eyefoundation.org.au

    • Follow on Twitter- @EyeFoundation;

    • Like on Facebook- The-Eye-Foundation

    • Chat to them on their blog- EyeSiteBlog.com

    The amazing - Rachael Leahcar , 17, from Team Delta on Channel Nine's hit TV show.The Voice Australia suffers from a rare eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa.

    I can't stress enough how important sight is. I am partially blind in one eye for a completely different reason (head injury as a child at school with undiagnosed partially detached retina).I have some peripheral vision but a huge blind spot in my central vision.

    *Everyone please note - white eye reflection is not normal and you should get a referral to an Opthamologist asap if you see it in your photos. It could be life threatening if left unchecked.I still get hits on this topic every week.

    This is a non sponsored community announcement - because it is so important to me.

    Tuesday, 10 July 2012

    Wordless Wednesday ~ Keep Calm

    My Pandora Birthday - Hope &  Breast Cancer Awareness

    Monday, 9 July 2012

    The Pine o cleen kid dances too close to the fire


    Yesterday was my birthday and after a delicious home cooked  bacon and egg breakfast (by hubby), I was alerted to the fact Sammy had burnt his right buttock cheek on the slow combustion fire ...the night or day before or  ?

    I didn't see him do it and I have no idea when he did it.  Apparently, he said he was touching his toes at the time. Knowing this kid, who likes dancing, buck na ked, in front of the fire - it is likely how he did it. Surprisingly, he did not tell us, but I am sure it was hurting. The boys, both dry and dress themselves independently 90% of the time now.

    If I burn a fingertip, I'll moan all night. Initially, it didn't look too bad. I felt a mother load of guilt bad for him.

    Through the day, he played 'rough' outside with his brother and 2 cousins. It wasn't bothering him. DH, his cousin and uncle were finishing the backyard fence, so we can keep the dogs contained when we have to go to Sydney for my treatment. DH's nephew, and/or neighbours will be able to feed them.

    I noticed Sam preferred standing to being seated , his little seat was sore after all. After his bath about 5pm, I noticed it was looking mucky . I dressed it and decided even being Sunday evening we had better go to A & E for a check up.

    We had a quick dinner in town, for my birthday and because the boys were hungry and it wasn't so urgent. Hub waited in the car with Joel. The A & E wasn't too busy fortunately but we did need to wait our turn to see the Dr .

    Sam was already asleep with his head on my lap, at almost 11pm when we got called to the examination room. Once Dr Dee had a look , he decided antibiotics were needed and a new dressing. He took a swab and left the room to organise a nurse.

    Sam , still tired and grumbling was cuddling up to me whilst standing. I reminded him to be careful because I was still sore (especially where the drain is still in on L side). He asked to look and I showed him 'sparingly'. Neither boy has seen fully the scars crossing my chest, side to side.

    He asked why the Drs had to cut me. I explained the Drs had to cut the bad germs out , not going into many details. Sam interest was immediately piqued,
      "I know Mum" - he says smiling - launching into a spiel about the merits of Pine o cleen and it's germ fighting powers - "It gets rid of germs with one swipe".

    I had to laugh. He told me he saw it on TV. I can't even remember the last time I saw a Pine o cleen ad. Sam thinks it is this one.

    We rarely watch commercial TV so it must have been recently while we were in Sydney.
    Goes to show how much even 'boring' cleaning product advertising influences children...or just mine.

    A nurse came to dress his burn and antibiotics were given , plus some spare dressing changes. Though what was she thinking - as she demonstrated with her hands and explained  - to ME to hold his cheeks further apart while he did #2 's ??? - a dressing that covers most of his little butt. Hold and picture that image for a giggle (not that it really is a laughing matter). I think I'll change the dressing as required !

    It wasn't too bad.

    I did not like that she told him - 'they will take Mummy away if he didn't tell us when he hurts himself ...how would he like that ?'

    Just another day in tree change. What ad do you or your kids notice most ?