Archive | September, 2009

Tulips!

30 Sep

I’ve got a lot to say about our camping trip, but not much time. So for now I will share a few quick pics from our day out yesterday. I will be back with camping stories tomorrow!

tulips

We had a wonderful day out at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in the Dandenong Ranges yesterday where we caught up with some lovely friends that I’ve met online through a CP support network. It was great to meet in person and at such a beautiful location.

Lots of other people had taken advantage of the good weather to head out for the day, so we kept very much to our own little spot for most of the time (and yes, Belinda, I know I can get a little overprotective of having space, LOL!) until the crowds had mostly gone and we spent a good hour wandering through the tulips.

IMG_5200The boys had a great time. Bean was very busy racing through the tulips, chased by his ever-energetic Aunty J (thanks Aunty J!). He came home with a big tear in his jeans and brown dirt all over his body, but a very big grin.

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BC also loved wandering through the tulips, and he had some fun joining some other kids rolling down the grass slopes. He also sat up on stage and played along on a shaker with popular children’s entertainer Paul Jamieson.

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And of course we couldn’t leave without buying a tulip for the boys to take home and watch grow (I will post some pics later when it goes into flower).

Now BC is determined that we’ll go to the Netherlands to see a REAL windmill ;-).

windmill

It was a very special day out with a great group of friends! Lovely to see you Bron, Belinda, M, your lovely kids and  ‘support teams’!! ;-)

Thinking Back Thursday….

24 Sep

I know last week I said I was going to start using Thursday blog posts to ‘think back’ about life BEFORE motherhood.

However, given that today is BC’s 5th birthday, I have been reflecting a lot this week about life in those  very early days AFTER becoming a mum.

I’ve reflected enough here on what happened when BC entered the world without needing to go into much detail again. But, every year around this time I find myself thinking a lot about those early days. Every year it can still bring me to tears, but every year it gets a little bit easier to think about.

This year has been interesting because it’s been the first year that I’ve had quite a few long conversations with BC about his start to life and time in hospital.

He’s been fascinated to hear about the ambulance, the nurses, the machines that beeped and zinged and especially all the tubes and wires that were all over his body helping him stay alive. We looked at some photos and he insisted on me telling him what each wire and tube was doing (I had to wing it a bit ;-)). He was particularly amazed when I showed him the tiny little scar on his foot associated with one of these tubes.

He’s spent a lot of timemarvelling at that little scar since I showed it to him. I won’t tell him that I remember vividly the two doctors trying to find a vein they could use in his tiny foot. How much he screamed and cried and how desperately I wanted to push the doctors away and rip all the wires and tubes from his body and hold him to my chest. Thinking about that is bringing me to tears, even now. Like I said, it gets easier, but it still hurts.

It’s been healing talking to BC about his time in hospital. I am really hoping that next year, his birthday will just be about celebrating. We’ve come a long way together and like that little scar that will just keep fading, so I hope will the memories of those scary early days.

Today we celebrated BC’s birthday with a small group of family and friends (was great to see you Bron!). We had a wonderful time.

And tomorrow we are off on a family camping trip – our first (BC’s birthday wish). The weather forecast is not promising, but I am sure we’ll have a great time (gumboots are packed)!

Happy Birthday BC. You’re a beautiful boy!!! I love you so much ;-).

happy birthday bc

The Show.

23 Sep

Every year at this time, there is a large annual show in our city – the Royal Melbourne Show.

We went 2 years ago after I won tickets to a special Bananas In Pyjamas Birthday party. The boys got to dance, wriggle and shake with B1, B2, the teddies and Rat-in-a-hat. They even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to BC once they learnt it was his birthday. It was a special day out.

The Melbourne Show has special place for me because I worked there, selling junk food for about 8 years, through high school and Uni. It was always a full on, but very fun 10 days.

This year, however, I just couldn’t quite come at the expense of the Show. It’s a lot of money to get in and then once you’re in everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is expensive.

Keen to find an alternative, I discovered The Doveton Show, held at Myuna Farm – a farm at the edge of the city where you can go to feed, pet and learn more about farm animals.

We’d never been there before and my expectations of the Show itself weren’t particularly high, I was just hoping that it would at least get BC off my back about ‘going to the Show’.

BUT it turned out to be a fabulous, fabulous afternoon out!

For a start, they had allocated loads of disabled car park very close to the vBean on a fire truckenue, so BC was able to walk from the car to the farm. Yay!

And the activities were fab! BC and Bean got to climb up on a Fire Truck – BC even had a go of driving.

BC driving fire truck

There were side show games – the boys loved putting the balls in the clown’s mouths, and ‘catching’ a boat to win a prize. And there were rides. A wonderful car merry-go-round which they both adored and a great train ride around part of the farm.

Bean and BC drivingOn the train

And of course, the animals. The boys loved seeing all the animals and were lucky enough to even feed some baby goats.feeding baby goat 2

We bought show bags and a very fun bubble gun and had a great day out – and all for under $30!!!! We’ll definitely be going again next year.

Bean and the bubble gun

Book Sharing Monday

21 Sep

In honour of our camping trip to the beach later in the week, here’s three Aussie classics about the beach.

Firstly, ‘Magic Beach’ by one of my favourite Australian writers Alison Lester.

Magic Beach

It’s beautifully told with divine illustrations combining the most common and enjoyable beach activities with wonderful imaginings that thrill BC every time we read it.

At our beach, at our magic beach,

We play in the sand for hours.

Digging and building with buckets and spades,

Invincible Castles and Towers

Next up is ‘There’s a Sea in my Bedroom’  written by Margaret Wild and illutrated by Jane Tanner.

There's a Sea in my Bedroom

It was the first book that got BC excited about the idea of listening to shells and every now and then still has him ‘swimming’ around the loungeroom telling me it’s the ocean ;-). BC has never been afraid of the ocean, but this would be a great book if you have a little one who is. And the illustrations are lovely!

‘How could the big scary sea get inside a small shell?’ wondered David….

Then he heard the sea.It was soft and growly and friendly. David wasn’t scared of this sea. Not at all, not one bit.

Lastly,  ‘Looking for Crabs’ by Bruce Whatley.

Looking for Crabs

It’s a simple yet fun story of a family on a beach looking for crabs, but they cheekily hide from them all day long. We’ve been on beach crab hunts, and after reading this book BC doesn’t mind if we don’t see one because we can joke about all the ones who are hiding from us and imagine where they are.

I love going to the beach for holidays. Sometimes it’s too cold to swim, so we go looking for crabs.

Wow. I really can’t wait to get to the beach now. And yep, all three of these books will be packed in the car to read by torchlight at our campsite each night. Would also love any further beachy or camping book suggestions ;-).

BUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

20 Sep

Me – 22 weeks pregnant. Just thought I would share ;-)

22 weeks!

Happy Holidays!

19 Sep

September school holidays start in Victoria today – woohoo!

Enjoy the holidays to those who are starting them today!

We are looking forward to celebrating BC’s birthday this week, going on a family camping trip AND definitely looking forward to no therapy sessions or appointments (except for 2 appointments I had to schedule very early this the week).

To bring in the school hols, here’s some of BC’s kinder pics that were taken late this term. I am really happy with them!

BC Kinder 2009 002BC Kinder 2009 003BC Kinder 2009 004

Thinking Back Thursday

17 Sep

Thanks so much everyone for their comments on my last post. It’s lovely to have such cyber support ;-). I still haven’t heard from the hospital regarding my follow up appointment with the specialist, but I promise, promise, promise I will definitely keep the appointment and take whatever advice the doctor gives!

On a very different note; recently, I’ve been sorting through old photos, and it’s made me very nostalgic and thinking a lot about ‘the good old days’ – before motherhood. It’s been nice to remind myself of times when life was a lot less complicated and responsibilities were few. I wouldn’t for a minute want to swap where I am right now with my beautiful family, but I’ve decided I’d like to give myself a bit of a regular, self indulgent trip back in time so every Thursday I’m going to write a ‘Thinking Back Thursday’ post. Fellow bloggers, I’d love to learn a little more about you by reading similar blog posts if you’re game to share ;-).

Sth Africa 1995

Today I am taking myself back to Capetown, South Africa, January 2005.

This photo was taken at the end of a 2 month trip through southern Africa -a trip during which I white water rafted at the base of the magnificent Victoria Falls, parachuted (twice!) out of an airplane, cuddled up close to a 6 month old (but surprisingly big) lion cub – fortunately avoiding this recent experience of a journalist, camped in the Serengeti National Park (waking to find some  large animal footprints rather close to our tents), canoed in the Okavanga Delta, saw many amazing animals and met some incredible people. Africa really is an amazing continent.

Such is the power of travel (for me at least!) that by the time I reached Johannesburg, I felt pretty much invincible.

So much so that with absolutely no knowledge of the distance (or the danger!) I hitchhiked from Johannesburg to Capetown with a girl from New Zealand I had met on my travels. I’ve since learnt it’s a 1400 kms journey and a dangerous place to hitchhike (both because of muggings and bad road accidents).

We were probably lucky that we made the journey safely, but at the time, I didn’t really have any sense of danger. I was too full of passion for adventure. We hitched most of the way in a very large truck hauling whitegoods and made it to Cape Town within 24 hours.

The photo above was taken just a few days before I returned to Australia to finish my Uni studies. I was 24 years old and I didn’t have a care in the world. Looking at the photo, I can still remember the warm breeze on my skin and remember exactly how I felt – that the future was full of amazing possibilities.

A rather scary experience.

15 Sep

This post is all about me.

On Monday afternoon I had a regular pregnancy doctor’s appointment at the hospital. Since the ultrasound a few weeks back I have been feeling very chilled out and calm about the pregnancy and was expecting the appointment to be pretty uneventful (the only real question I had for her was if I could use ear drops to clear out my waxy ears ;-)),

But half way through a routine breast check, she said (with rather poor bedside manner I might add), “there’s definitely a lump there”.

It’s not the first time that same part of my left breast has been cause for concern. Twelve months ago, my regular GP noted that it was a particularly ‘dense’ area of breast and I had an ultrasound which gave me the all clear. I followed up once with a breast care doctor (not sure what their official title is???) but canceled a later appointment because I figured all was OK.

The memory of that cancelled appointment was haunting me as I wandered around to the medical imaging department at the hospital after my appointment. I was doing my best to stay calm, but only a few weeks back I’d read this article about breast cancer during pregnancy, and well, I wasn’t doing so well at staying calm.

The next available appointment for a breast ultrasound at the hospital was October 1. Too far away.

I got home and rang around a few other places nearby that do ultrasounds. I knew this meant I would have to pay (at least half) the cost of the scan, but I couldn’t have cared less.

I cope OK when someone around me is unwell or has a health scare, but when it’s me, I am a wreck.

I was able to schedule an ultrasound for Wednesday afternoon (today) at a nearby clinic.

But Monday night,  I couldn’t eat my dinner and I barely slept. It bothered me enormously that I couldn’t feel this lump (even after the dr showed me). I regularly check my breasts, but if I couldn’t even feel the lump after being shown where it was, how long might it have been there? Was it something missed a year ago? What would happen if it was cancer?

I wish I was like my husband. He’s one of the calmest people I know. He takes life as it comes and never does the ‘what if’ stress thing. I remember when BC was 2 days old and we were still playing a terrifying waiting game, I asked the doctors lots and lots of questions. My husband made me stop. ‘They don’t know yet’. He said. ‘They’ve already told you that. Just relax’. His whole life is based around the principle that ‘There’s no point worrying about what you don’t know and what might not happen’.

His calmness is amazing. I wish I shared it.

Unfortunately, I go the other way. I tend to imagine every possible terrible outcome and have it play over and over in my head and end up exhausted by anxiety and convinced of the worst. It’s not fun and I really wish I had strategies around it.

So, after my sleepless, fretful night first thing yesterday morning I rang the clinic to see if there had been any cancellations so I could have the ultrasound yesterday. And to my relief, they were able to fit me in at 2pm yesterday afternoon.

I had one of ‘those’ sonographers in the ultrasound who just won’t give anything away. She confirmed that there were 2 lumps (oh my God, not one but 2!!!!) but wouldn’t give me any further information.

She told me the results would be sent to the doctor in 2 days.

2 days sounded like a lifetime to me. The unknown is just so scary. I was already imagining some doctor looking at my scan (looking very much like a handsome doctor in a TV medical soap opera) shaking his head and saying ‘oh, what a shame’. I imagined myself having to make decisions about treatment that may/may not harm my unborn baby and wondered if you could breastfeed if you had one breast removed.

And that was just on the two minute journey back home from the clinic.

Really, I don’t cope with this sort of thing at all.

However, one thing I have learnt very well to cope with is working the system. So the moment I got home, I rang the clinic, spoke to the receptionist and asked if there were any way the results could be fast tracked. I was pretty sure she’d tell me there was a procedure in place, it was impossible to do anything faster etc etc. I had a whole speech prepared and was even ready to shed a few tears for my cause.

But I didn’t need any of that. Straight away, she said ‘sure. We can fax the preliminary report to your GP within the next 2 hours’.

Yes!

So at 4pm, BC and I headed off to the doctor for my appointment. I’d invited him along for moral support. He’s very, very in tune with sensing when mum has lost the plot, and gave me lots of cuddles and 4 year old words of reassurance (eg ‘let’s have ice-cream tonight’).

As it was a last minute appointment, I’d just taken whichever doctor was available and I was relieved that she turned out to be very sweet and softly spoken and was patient enough to track down the fax that had somehow gone into the wrong pigeon hole and to talk me through the report.

The report states that there are 2 lumps but ‘they have a benign ultrasound appearance and most likely represent two small fibroadenomas’  – which I know now are the ‘good’ lumps and are sometimes known as ‘breast mice’ because they are smooth and move easily around the breast tissue.

She did say that there are rare cases of misdiagnosis and some doctors choose to order a biopsy to confirm, but reading the rest of the report she didn’t think that seemed necessary.

She gave me a referral to see the same breast specialist I mentioned earlier and I will hopefully go in to see him within the next few weeks to confirm whether he agrees with this or suggests the biopsy.

I am currently resisting all urges to consult doctor Google, as I know the web will be full mostly of stories of misdiagnosis and bad news. That doctor Google is one hell of a pessimist.

Instead, I am focusing on feeling incredibly relieved. It all looks good. Phew.

After the appointment, my appetite miraculously returned as I realised I had barely eaten in over 24 hours (poor little Ogol!).

BC and I stopped at the supermarket on the way home and I told him we could buy whatever he wanted. We left with a chocolate cake, a pack of neenish tarts (his favourite), 3 different boxes of ice-creams, 3 different kinds of yoghurt (the sort that I don’t usually buy because they are full of sugar) and quite a few other treats. It’s a rare occasion he gets a free run in the supermarket, so he was making the most of it ;-).

I feel so relieved today, but what I mostly feel is that I need to have better strategies for dealing with extreme stress. It’s a terrible, terrible feeling to be out of control of your emotions and to not be able to think at all clearly.

So, my newest goal is to find some strategies. Work on ways of dealing with those days when something really scary MIGHT happen and I MIGHT need to be super strong. How do you learn to not run through every dire possibility on the planet and instead focus on the positives?

It’s a beautiful sunny day out today and I know what I will be doing is enjoying the sunshine, enjoying my boys, enjoying the kicks from inside my tummy and remembering that life is a very, very precious gift indeed.Life is precious

Meg / My new scarf

13 Sep

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – we’ve met some amazing families and wonderful children since BC was born. They’re people who we would probably not have met under normal circumstances and people who I’m really grateful to know. Many of them are very inspiring.

One such family is that 0f Meg Casley. Meg’s family are currently fundraising for Meg’s therapies and equipment and in the hope of taking Meg to Germany for stem cell treatment.

They live in a small Australian town, and I love how this town seem to have banded together to help Meg and her family. AND I am in awe of her family for their fundraising efforts.

If you have a few cents to spare, it’s definitely a great cause. Here’s the link to her website: Meg Casley. I’m going to buy some tickets in their raffle for sure (not only is it a great cause, but first prize is a fab sounding holiday!).

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And this has absolutely nothing to do with the above, but I just had to share because it’s just happened and has made me laugh. As I have been typing this post, BC has just brought me over a ‘scarf’ that he’s spent the last 5 minutes ironing (with his toy iron) in the kitchen. The scarf is a long strip of toilet paper which I am now wearing around my neck. I am just a little scared to head into the kitchen to see what I might find has happened to the rest of the roll of toilet paper…. (I thought it had been a little too quiet in there ;-)).

Virgin Blue

12 Sep

Virgin Blue (a popular low cost Australian Airlines) has changed its discriminatory policy which meant that passengers with disabilities had previously been required to buy an additional ticket for a carer.

Yay to Virgin Blue for making the change, but it’s a shame they had the policy in the first place.

As Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities) says in this article:

“The good news is that Virgin Blue has given in on some issues and settled up with disability activists, the bad news is that it takes the threat of legal action to create change.”

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