Sunday, June 17 2018
Calling all young females (u/55) living on the Mid North Coast or Coffs Coast with a stoma, check out this exciting and new FREE event happening in August!
My stoma nurse has been excitedly organising this event and I was honoured to have been asked to design the flyer, but I was even more honoured to be asked to speak on the night as one of the speakers.
☞ The event is FREE and is open to all women with a stoma and under 55 from the area, if you're willing to travel you can come along, just make sure you RSVP.
☞ If you have any dietry requirements aside from the stoma, let the stoma nurses know and call 0266567804, that way everyone is catered to.
☞ The night is going to be a fun night with the chance to get to meet other young ostomates under 55's and the hopes of connecting each other to form friendships as ostomy life can be rather lonely for some.
☞ There will be a fun activity for all to join in and will also have reps from different ostomy companies there with samples or to speak more. Guest speakers will include Allied health professionals as well as myself.
☞ This event wouldn't be at all possible without the fundraising done by the Coffs Coast Crafty Crew (scrapbookers) in April 2016, as well as the hard work from the organising team of stoma nurses.
I am really looking forward to the night, and looking forward to meeting others from the area. Whether you're from Port, Grafton or in between this event is open to anyone who would like to come, has a stoma and is under 55 and a female.
Did I mention it is FREE and catered?
Can't wait and I will see you there!
Thursday, December 14 2017
If you have just read part 1, You will have learned: how heat can affect those who are vulnerable or sick or with an ostomy; what are the different heat related illnesses to look out for; what are the symptoms of the heat illnesses; and lastly, how/what to do under each situation.
NB: It is important to remember that this is just an informative guide only and I am not a nurse or doctor, and any individual circumstances or advisement is based on each person's own circumstances. If you have questions to follow it up with your team.
So in this Part 2, I will be sharing tips to help you be more prepared for the weekend
But just in case you haven't read part 1 yet, basically here in Australia we are preparing for an extreme heat wave which will occur over the weekend and most of Australia will be experiencing temps of 35'c-45'c+.
I have an ostomy, ileostomy to be exact, I also have other chronic co-morbid health issues/illnesses and take various medications which put me at higher risk of sun related illnesses.
I started writing this post a couple of years ago but never finished it in time for it to be relevant, so I am finishing it ahead of this weekend, I only hope it might help someone to be more informed of their own circumstances and to know what to do.
Also keep in mind anyone you know who might be at a higher risk of suffering with the heat, it could be a neighbour who is elderly and lives alone, or it could be checking in on a friend, just to make sure they are doing okay - as the heat can affect many in different ways.
Part 2: Being prepared and tips to surviving the heatwave
I thought it might just be helpful to share different tips to help you get through the heatwave, if you have your own be sure to comment.
Tip #1: Never leave kids or pets alone in a car
Even on a "cool day" this is a no-no. While the temp outside might only be 25'c the temps inside that car can be 55-70'c! It can rise 40 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, so imagine how hot it would be on a day during a heatwave.... scary to think. The damage it can do is increase a child's body temperature, which could lead to brain damage... not to mention what it does to pets too.
I have seen videos and experiements where a chef has cooked a lamb while inside a car, to a vet documenting what it is like in a car. I do not suggest trying it out yourself, there are plenty of videos and information out on the interwebs about the consequences to leaving pets or kids in cars, which can be deadly.
A child left in a parked car under those conditions for even a few minutes can very quickly become distressed, dehydrated and can die from organ failure. If you see anything, you need to act quickly. If you wait, it can be too late.
What to do if you see a child or pet in the car?
You don't have to be an NRMA member to call for roadside assistance if it is in less urgent circumstances. Because of the grave danger involved, the NRMA drops everything to respond immediately to calls where a child is locked in a car.
For pets: Visit Just 6 minutes, a site by the RSPCA which outlines that it takes only 6 minutes of a dog left in a car to die. Here is a factsheet of pet first aid if you can rescue the pet from the car and can wait until the owner arrives. Call 000 immediately and ask what you're legalities are if you can smash the window. But some states you can receive a $200k fine and imprisonment for leaving a pet in the car.
Tip #2: Have plenty of water
You should drink two to three litres of water a day even if you don't feel thirsty.
Tip #3: Have electrolyte replacement on hand
Also important if you don't have an ostomy but have gastro or vomiting bugs during a heatwave too. Hydrolyte is an electrolyte drink which also comes in the form of icypoles too and can be found from most supermarkets or chemists.
Tip #4: Stay cool
If you are outdoors try and find a nice shaded tree and be sure to keep hydrated.
You could also use one of those battery operated hand held mist fans Kmart have them for $5-$10, or a spray bottle with water in it to help.
A cool tip, get it (lol) I have one of my heatpacks in a zip lock bag and in my freezer. This turns into a cold pack and means I have a cool option too. I get my heatpack/cold packs from Chatterbox City.
Tip #5: Keep plenty of drinks in the fridge prepared
Tip #6: Have ice packs or blocks in the freezer
Tip #7: Keep blinds drawn
Tip #8: Wear light summery clothing
Tip #9: Be sun smart and sun safe
Tip #10: Reapply sunscreen often
Tip #11: Don't lie in the sun exposed
Tip #12: in case of a blackout
Tip #13: Open the house at night or evening if a cool change is forecast
Tip #14: Pets or wildlife
Fill a kids clam pool sand pit thing with water and put in the shade and let your dog cool down when he needs to.
Tip #15: Keep your body cool but not freezing
Tip #16: Check in on those at risk
Tip #17: Watermelon
Tip #18: Foods
Tip #19: Wearing a stoma cover
Tip #20: Mashmallows
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I hope that you have found these 2 posts helpful on how to prepare for a heatwave with an ostomy, I know they have been long posts but there was a lot of information I needed to share with you. These posts do not replace the information of that of your nurse or doctors, it is a guide to help inform you of the risks and tips on getting through the heatwave safely.
Please be sure to seek medical attention if you require it and don't delay, heat related illnesses are deadly serious.
More Links through my research:
If you have another tip, be sure to let me know in the comments below. To read part 1, click here
Wednesday, October 04 2017
In Early December 2015, I was 2 months into my chemo plan of weekly treatments and was rather unwell with the chemo side of things and was in hospital rather ill with an infected and dying tumour that saw me in hospital for the weeks and months to come.
It was around this time that I learned of the Share the Dignity #itsinthebag campaign, I think I saw it on TV or on Facebook, I tried to organise what I could for a bag. I didn't have much time or energy, so I did the best I could and sent Russ to the shops with a shopping list of things to get for the bag.
I wished I had of known earlier about the campaign and I would have been super organised, so I vowed the next year to start early and shop throughout the year when things were on sale and hoped to try and do at least 2 bags by being organised and nabbing great deals.
So the new year came and true to my word, I started getting organised.
To give and receive a #itsinthebag gift is something that can help improve the lives of a woman who is doing it tough. I have heard stories of how they got a handbag and it helped them to look and feel more confident/professional when going for jobs, I heard from teenagers who escaped a violent home situation and are in the foster care system and a new backpack is a luxury and having someone believe in helping them through school made them feel loved and worthy.... each of the women who receive a bag from you have their own incredible stories, and sometimes they need to be reminded of how incredible they are.
Some tips before you start your bag:
Here is how I managed to organise a bag on a budget!
Best of all I were able to organise not just 1 but 2 bags filled with items following these methods.
#1. Write it all down:
I know it might sound over the top to do things this way, but this is how I have organised present buying for years and it also means I am accountable for my purchases.
You would be surprised how many times I have purchased something more than once because I forgot about it.... even though it has been a year since my chemo finished I still have a rather frazzled brain, so lists and spreadsheets helps me to feel in control of my memory.
#2. Go through your own cupboards:
I found some hair dye boxes left over from when I dyed Russ' hair, some perfume sets I never used, some makeup that were unopened, spare toothbrushes and I also divided the contents of the container of cosmetics I received from BellaBox into two piles.
Having a chunk of things already meant I could save costs and could instead buy something else.
#3. Sales, Sales, Sales:
I start my Xmas shopping usually just after Xmas and take advantage of Boxing Day/Stocktake sales. I did this too when it came to my #itsinthebag planning and by having the best part of a year to shop and know what I was looking for, it helped me to nab some great buys at times.
I also take advantage of Click Frenzy deals, if you haven't heard of click frenzy it is this one day where sites offer crazy sales that are known for crashing the internet, it really is a clicking frenzy. I regularly scope out sites/stores like catch.com.au (formerly catch of the day), ozsale, kmart, reject shops as well as google.
I purchased a Roxy wallet that normally cost $20 for $5, so I grabbed 2. I found the eye masks (Kmart now have a range for $2) at Typo (with the help of a 50% off coupon) for $1.50, the beanie was from cotton on for 50c, as well as the notebooks. The backpacks were half price too. I got quality pretty design umbrellas on sale from Umbrellas & Parosols for around $6.95 on clearance too one was a leopard print.
Catch.com.au have 'club catch' where you receive shipping discounts as well as member only offers, sometimes there is ridiculously cheap priced offers but I find grocery store items like toiletries are really cheap to buy from here and are often a bulk buy too.
#4. Bulk buys and value for your dollar:
Say a pack of Pads were 1/2 price, it means if you purchased 2 packs that it would have cost the same as 1 pack would have, therefore doubling your price. Currently on Catch, they have a 6 pack of mesh bath sponges for $4.98 so 83c each.
Just keep an eye out in catologues or online for good special buys, there really is great value to be found if you shop around and compare.
#5. Afterpay makes bigger cost items more affordable:
I chose to organise my gifts for teenage girls, girls who are doing it tough. I knew a backpack would be great for school use as well as if they worked.
I took advantage of click frenzy sales half price or even less and grabbed 2 backpacks and put them on afterpay, which meant that I could break the repayments up over 8 weeks, which made it a little more affordable as well as not missing out on the sale.
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I really hope that these tips help you when it comes to organising your bag for the #itsinthebag campaign, just over a month before the collection period starts. Don't stress too much about how much or how little you put in, it isn't a competition and as long as you include the essentials such as Pads/Tampons, toiletries and the bag - then you are on your way to giving a woman the greatest gift this Xmas.
Last year my husband and I collected bags in our area and delivered to local charities who distributed them. This was such a rewarding experience and at one point there were over 300 bags sitting in my house!! The emotions felt when seeing each bag that had so lovingly been put together was truly incredible. I wrote about this experience here.
Everyone deserves some magic and kindness at Xmas.
Do you have friends who are doing a bag this year too? Why not arrange a date where they bring their bags and contents and you all sit around together and complete the bags. You could have wine and nibbles too, I am sure it would be a lovely and rewarding experience when shared with your best mates too!
Or if you can't put together a whole bag yourself, ask a friend if they wanted to do a bag with you and you could share the costs of creating it. She might even have a bag for you to use too! It is a perfect experience to share.
Sunday, August 13 2017
It is hard to believe that it is almost 12 months since we have moved into our new house!
I have been so busy trying to live and love life, plus enjoying the good days, that we haven't yet completed unpacking our house and we have so much left to do. This has had me feeling rather disappointed in myself as I was really hoping to have had the house set up and finished by now. So while we have nothing planned for the next few months, I really want to focus on finishing the unpacking and working on styling the house.
Having a beautifully styled house that I am proud of is one of the things I wanted to tick off my bucket list!
The first room I want to finish is our master suite (bedroom and ensuite). I spend so much time in my bed, bedroom and ensuite, that for me it is my most used/lived in space. I really wanted the room to make me feel happy, safe, comfortable, relaxed and proud; but more importantly, I want others visiting me to feel the same sense of comfort.
I had hoped by now to be able to have afforded a full room makeover, or to be on our feet financially for that matter. We have been adding pieces to the room as our budget has allowed us over the last year, but we still have a way to go. I love a good bargain and hunting for things
Russ thought it would be a good idea to perhaps write a blog post as a wishlist of what we want to achieve so that in a way we can hold ourselves accountable for ticking off this goal of finishing the house, and especially our room.
So, this is the accountability post for completing my master bedroom and my wish list for the tropical styled things I want in it.
I promise to do an 'after' or finished/completed type post, otherwise I will share the gradual progress on social media until then!
With spending so much of my time in bed, or unable to get out to shop in person, a lot of that time is spent just browsing sites to get a clearer picture of styling/product ideas. It is always nice when companies have a good online store with stock updates that are timely and reliable. If they have social media too you can see how other customers are using their products to style and get ideas from actual users of the products. I know I browse through Fantastic Furniture and Pillow Talk online all the time (as they are two stores close to where I live), always keeping an eye out for sales or new stock. I have a few other sites that I regularly do the rounds to check for the latest products, styling ideas or latest sales (I wish the reject shop had an online store), it really does help to pass the time when you are otherwise stuck in bed.
Another way to pass the time and find inspiration is Pinterest! I only hope I can create and style a Pinterest or Instagram worthy house on a budget!
I am hoping the quilt isn't the reason the styling of the room falls apart, so I am hoping I can make it work to pull it off! I really love this quilt especially as on the reverse side it has this nice aqua colour + it matches with my purple (fave colour) sheets, so not sure if I want to part with it. However, if necessary to better the room then I might, but it makes me feel so happy and that is my priority!
Were I to change quilt covers if I felt it (the above quilt) really wasn't a fit, I have found some others from Pillow Talk and Spotlight that I have pictured below. It is so hard to choose what one I like the most, so these are my top 10! Pics to the left are from Pillow talk and pics to the right are from spotlight respectively.
We purchased it back in 2012 from Beds R'Us and it was looking amazing until Dusty recently decided it was in fact his clawing post (I cried, it was heartbreaking to see/hear). I had thought about upgrading our bed but my heart is too set on it. It is a king size; it is leather which is easy to clean; it is white which means ANY quilt cover looks great and that it can be suited to any theme; it is the right height for me and doesn't hurt to get in and out of like our timber bed before; and besides, it looks so elegant too!
I know Russ has thought about upgrading our king bed maybe after I die, he feels it is too pretty for a guy and too hard to keep clean because it is white, not that he wants to remove my existence from our home- just he might feel like a change, who knows? If he/we did upgrade this is one that he has his heart set on.
Something to note is it is made from Acacia wood sourced from sustainably grown plantations (which is a tick from us as we try to be environmentally conscious), but the beauty of this timber is that it would beautifully match a tropical themed room! It is a bargain at $799 with 6 years warranty too (I think Russ is all for extending our warranties from his job as a salesman), as opposed to the $3500 we paid for our current bed, so if we/he upgraded it is a nice and affordable option indeed. Felt pretty solid too.
I have been wanting the TV set up in our room so that I could watch Netflix, a movie or catch up on missed TV shows. I'm not well enough to sit out of bed for long most days, so having the TV in the room would help. I am struggling typing or holding my phone and iPad the last few months, the nerve damage from chemo and the tumours are making it painful to touch things. I try to use my iPad but it is frustrating sometimes at how small the screen is or at the lack of sound (remembering I am deaf in one ear) so it makes sense to set up the TV where I can see it comfortably.
So Russ one afternoon last week told me to stay in the lounge room as he had a surprise planned... surprise (see picture below)! He had set the TV up on top of some cheap/flimsy bookshelf from the shed. Doofus! I loved the sentiment, but I am so worried as Dusty is a climber who likes jumping on shelves. But it has been great the past week enjoying TV from the comforts of my own bed!
We have been looking into options to put the TV on. It needs to be at a height of 900mm or higher due to laying in bed and not having a clear view if any lower.
So we have found two options: We thought that a chest of drawers would give the best height plus allow for additional storage. Russ wants the tall 4 drawer as it is 150mm taller than our current set up, but aesthetically I think the 6 draw would look and fit the space better - though it is 100mm less (but TV is awkwardly watchable). The two we like are in the Toronto range from Fantastic Furniture and there is only a $100 price difference. I can't decide, but once we do we will enquire into layby options to pay it off over a set period which makes it more affordable. I know $599 or $699 respectively might not seem like a lot - but it is for us when there isn't a lot in the bank.
We needed to get a cupboard for the hallway (can never have enough storage) and Super Amart had a 'buy one get 2nd item half price', so we only paid $225 for the armchair (it all went on our G.E. interest free card)! It is the 'James' and is the same as the lounges in the living room and it is wide enough so I can sit in it comfortably - if I want to sit and read, it has big arms and is really spacious. Russ often sits there reading a book while I am sleeping, especially on my bad days, so that he can watch over me and feel he is close by. Dusty also has claimed the chair as his, so just like every other part of the house this was business-as- usual.
The chair for us was a must have for the future too. There will come a point when I am declining in my health and I want people to visit me and be comfortable. Russ tells me that it is 'typical Talya behaviour - always thinking of others needs', but all I want is for people to want to visit. It is a fear that I will be dying and be alone and I don't want to die not knowing that I am loved. So this chair is important and it gets used often.
When we were in Fantastic Furniture recently I stumbled across this flamingo canvas artwork (below) that has all the colours of my quilt and is keeping in with the contemporary tropical theme, Russ really liked it too, so we are hoping to get it when we can afford it. It wasn't much, around $49 from memory.
I also enlisted the help of Foote and Flame to cut out some bamboo shapes of different tropical leaves so that I can hang these around my room and make an art piece from it. I also found some cheap tropical leaves in Kmart for $3 in various sizes and styles too. I know pillow talk have some too. I am hoping on the next day Russ has off to look at placement of the wooden and artificial leaves.
I know we are trying to fit a lot into such a small space and I do hope that in the end it all looks as homey and relaxing as it does in my head. I am hoping now that I have written this that it holds Russ and I accountable for getting our house sorted. I know 12 months ago I didn't think I would still be here today and I know the outlook isn't too great for the next year, but I just really want to feel calm knowing my house is in order.... literally and figuratively! I want to not feel anxious over if I have done enough or if people are judging me.
I am really wanting my room to be my tropical escape as I won't have the ability to travel there myself I want to bring it to me.
I am also not an interior designer or stylist, so I don't know if the mood board I have in my noggin' is going to work, I will just have to see won't I!
If you know of any tropical themed wares over the coming weeks and months feel free to let me know so I can check them out. I am really wanting to have my room finished by Christmas/New Year at the latest. Plenty of time I know, but if the last 12 months have taught me anything it is that Russ is a snail (when it comes to getting things done) and time certainly does flies by!
So tell me, do you have a themed/styled room or house? Which room of your house is your favourite?
Tuesday, August 09 2016
I am so excited! Our house that we have been building (for what feels like years), is FINALLY at the 4 weeks to completion point.
This means that in 4 weeks we receive our keys and we can start moving in, ending our time as tennants and time to pay off our own mortgage.
This will also be my final house I will ever live in, and if my plan for an at-home death falls into place this will also be my final resting spot... and this is a dream come true, something I never thought I would get to experience.
In my 25 years I have lived in something crazy like 47 houses (I can name every single house) because my parents rented and sometimes we moved every 3-6 months, and then I have moved a lot in my adult life too.
So I am pretty excited to finally have a house that I can make into a home and not have the stress of house inspections and being evicted and having to move EVER AGAIN.
I am also pretty excited for my garden escape to be built and to have a place I can go to escape that is my happy place.... some days I really need somewhere outside of the house I can go and have privacy (and where we currently live that isn't an option as there is no fenced yard).
It took a lot for me to want to ask for help to create the garden escape for me, and I felt that some might feel that a garden was a silly dying wish to have, but it has been something that I really want and need... especially as I am mostly housebound and this is rather isolating and some days I am so down and depressed I don't get out of bed.
I know things will only get worse as time goes on, so I know that I will need this. I used to love going to the botanical gardens when I was sad or angry and it was my happy place, but I can't walk far anymore before being in too much pain so Russ wanted to try and bring the garden to me.
Russ set up a gofundme page to try and raise the funds needed to make this magical garden escape for me, and we have been so humbled and appreciative of all the support and donations so far! The link to the gofundme and to read my story thus far, https://www.gofundme.com/gardenfortalya.
For what the working bee will involve (for those who have expressed interest) and my vision for my special garden and landscaping, please read on below. There is two sections: the main special garden (is my priority), but we also would appreciate any help in the rest of the landscaping (such as turfing, creating some gardens, laying pavers, mailbox) etc.
I have had a lot of family and friends ask what help we need in the garden, but also what things we need for the house. So I decided I would write this as a blog post so that I can just send them the link and they can read it, as opposed to me explaining it repeatedly.
Please note: I am not writing this expecting to get things for free, expecting charity or expecting anyone to buy things on our list out of obligation; especially as some of the things we need are costly. But if you want to help in the form of letting me know of a good sale going on, or a tradesperson that you know can help (and won't charge an arm and a leg and is reliable/trustworthy) please let me know! Or if any businesses would like to help out with a discounted price on an item we would be so grateful... I am really wanting to make a home that I can comfortably live out the rest of what time I have left.
1. Why a working bee?
As more and more people expressed interest in helping us, Russ and I decided that we would organise a weekend after we had moved in and settled in where we could invite people over to help us with the labour of helping our garden and landscaping. Neither Russ or myself have skills when it comes to building things and neither have had a house where we needed to do gardening, so we really appreciate all the help that has been offered.
Due to my tumours and state of my health, I won't be able to get out in the yard and help, but I am planning a lovely lunch/BBQ for everyone as my way of saying thank you but also making sure that everyone is well fed and has fuel to continue on into the afternoon. [If anyone would love to be my BBQ cook, please let me know].
I also hope that this working bee will feel like a community type project that brings people together and know that they are making a huge impact in my life and helping me to enjoy what time I have.
Once we have moved in and I have more of an idea of dates, I will create a facebook event for people to express interest in the working bee (to help me also to know catering numbers).
No one is to feel obligated to help in any means, we just thought it would be a nice way to bring together people who are able to help out.
As Russ and I have invested all our savings into building this house and paying for my medical expenses (keeping in mind we are a one-income household and are really struggling), we are trying to save money where we can.... so by people offering to come and lend a hand to save us paying someone in labour costs is really helping us out.
2. Help we need for the special garden (and help at the garden working bee):
The gofundme page that was set up by Russell will be used to fund this special garden, at the moment we are at 50% of our fundraising target and most of this funding will be consumed by the pond and water feature installation and the creation of a rock bench and pavers. I also need to buy a fence and gate, plants and koi fish... it would be awesome if we could reach the target goal and I can have the garden of my dreams and my true tropical Oasis... it is quite a big garden measuring 6.1m x 15m!
✰Pond and water feature installation:
✰Bamboo like plant for a screen:
✰Hardy oriental type plants:
✰Pavers and garden path:
✰Colourbond fence and gate:
✰A nice big feature rock:
✰A bonsai tree:
3. Other areas of our garden/landscaping we would love help with at the working bee:
✰Garden Shed installation & concrete slab:
✰Timber trellis/pergola thingy:
4. Our list of things we need/want (in no particular order of importance):
✰Upright Freezer and cooked/frozen meals:
Russ' mum has bought this one for us as a housewarming and is planning on cooking a bunch of meals I can freeze and reheat for dinner, and the frozen meals will help so much.. if you feel like cooking a bunch of meals too I will happily accept!
We honestly in 7 years have only ever bought 1 teatowl and it hangs on the side of our fridge... it was meant to be this cool bamboo and super absorbent but it does jack shit! No joke it is useless.. so we end up using towels to wipe up the dishes and I really need FUNCTIONING tea towels that dry and don't leave fluff all over the plates either.
I really cannot wait to get started on the garden and to make this house into a home. I hope those that come to the working bee will enjoy the BBQ.
Much love and so many thanks,
Sunday, July 31 2016
For those who have been following along through my mirco-blogging on my Facebook page would know that I recently (about a month ago now) entered into the care of Palliative Care and that my chemo and treatment options stopped.
I will write about that on my blog shortly, just been hard finding the words to say.
But since then I have wanted to make a point of living life and not just existing like I have been, especially while I was on chemo. It was making me so sick that I really didn't feel like myself anymore and I spent a lot of time in bed or on the lounge and I was just existing.... and I really wanted to experience new things and make memories.
So the week after my treatment stopped I went away on a Canteen over 18's camp and had a ball!
When I got back it was school holidays so I had my 14 year old sister come and stay for the week. I wanted to have such a fun filled week planned that I wasn't really looking after myself and resting (especially after such a big week with the canteen camp the week prior). But I found a chemist that was offering FREE makeup lessons to teenage girls in the school holidays, and she really enjoyed learning about how to apply a natural makeup look perfect for school. The next day we went and got pampered with manicures, pedicures and facials (I had never done these before). I even took her to brunch to my favourite spot by the waters edge, and that night we went to Hogs Breath for dinner and she said it was the best steak she had ever eaten!
Then it was time for her to go home, and when she got picked up my other sister (15 year old) got dropped off for her week to stay.
I felt so guilty while she was staying with me, as I was so tired from the previous two weeks, that all I wanted to do was mostly rest and take it easy. She was okay with it as she was enjoying the quiet and break from all the other siblings. I organised the makeup lesson for her too, and the chemist even had a VIP beauty night which we went along to and she won the lucky door prize! I also took her to brunch, but didn't take her to be pampered, frankly I couldn't afford it again (I did buy her something as a consolation prize).
It was nice having my sisters stay with us, they were both so helpful and willing to help me around the house or help me if I was trying to walk or climb stairs... we didn't want them to go home, it was nice having a youthful feeling in the house.... but mostly I was loving having company of a day and someone to talk to and not being lonely while Russ was at work.
So last weekend was our 6th wedding anniversary and we decided to go away for a few days and stay at a cabin at South West Rocks. We dropped my sister off at her house on the way, then we went Pokemon hunting for an hour or so and then we checked into the cabin and had a nap. I was so exhausted! The cabin was rather nice had 2 bathrooms which were rather spacious (just what I need and prefer) and it was right by the water's edge.
We went out to dinner that night to celebrate my brother's early 21st birthday with all the family and had a rather nice meal, then we went Pokemon hunting again, this time with my siblings. We had our 11 year old brother with us, but we lost track of the time and soon was 10PM and there were messages from mum to get him home as he had school the next day (whoops). But he was loving it.
Then we had a nice sleep in the next day (Monday) and decided to go to Port Macquarie to lunch (all you can eat buffet) and then go for a huge walk and pokemon hunt.
Palliative Care hired a wheelchair for me to try and to help me get out and about more for walks with Russ and to make things less painful for me.
I was rather nervous using the wheelchair for the first time, was worried people would stare or laugh. But people smiled and nodded, and I was holding both mine and Russ' phones and catching the pokemon... I have the two phones at once skill down pat.
Our walk was about 2 hours and I think we did 4km or so in total, Russ was feeling rather tired and I was starting to get in pain so we decided to head home while it was still daylight.
Right where our car was parked in Port Macquarie there was a wall with painted angel wings, and a sign that explained what it was about. You are to stand in front of the wings and take a picture and upload to social media using the hashtag #ifweallhadwings and it was to raise awareness of a NFP (not for profit) in Port that helps to alleviate the financial stress for someone undergoing cancer treatment. Here is my picture below.
So we headed home (well back to the cabin) and ordered Chinese for dinner and had a nap... I didn't realise how late it was and I had promised my siblings that I would help them with assignments and it was 8PM when I realised the time... so we called around to my brother's to give him his birthday present and see him before we headed home, then a quick pokemon hunt and it was bed time.
I started crying when we were in bed, as I hadn't felt so alive and happy like I had those past few days and I was dreading going home the next day... I was trying to convince Russ to stay another night in the cabin but he said we really couldn't afford another night. He said if my nan would let us stay at hers that we can stay another night, I could see mum and the kids a little more and have dinner with them and then I could catch up with one of my oldest and dearest friends the next morning for a cuppa before we left.
So my nan said "of course you can stay" and so we did.
When we left on Wednesday we had to make sure we left Kempsey by 10AM as I had to be in Coffs by 12PM. For months I had been looking forward to Turia Pitt coming to Coffs and speaking, and it is something on my bucket list to hear her speak and hopefully meet her. I just think she is so incredible with what she went through and how she doesn't let anything get in her way of achieving anything, she sets her mind on something and works her ass off and she makes shit happen... I had a few friends hear her speak and spoke of how incredible and inspiring her talks were.
So I went along to her talk (along with my nan and her sister) and we had a nice lunch and then Turia spoke. She made us laugh, I know I cried, but she really inspired me.
and guess what...
Afterwards I got to meet her! I asked her to sign a copy of my book (her book she wrote) and told her that it was on my bucket list to hear her speak and she said "well mate I am fucking honoured".
I walked out of there trying so hard not to cry, not sad tears but really happy elated tears you have when something you have wanted came true and I was just so full of emotion and excitement... she really is remarkable!
So that brings us to Wednesday night and I was so exhausted I went to bed early and woke the next day with the flu, Russ was sick too and only returned to work yesterday. I felt better yesterday (from the flu) but was in bed dealing with girl issues... it has been over a year since my last period and it returned yesterday and has been rather painful... so I have been pretty much back in bed since Wednesday night.
But my pain is a bit more controlled now, just taking pain meds more regularly and it is helping a lot.
So that is my recap of the month that was July, was a crazy busy month... next month might be as crazy (we hopefully get the keys for the new house... IF IT IS FINISHED urgh it is taking forever) but I am in LOVE with my new kitchen.
Thanks for all the support and for following my journey.
Saturday, July 30 2016
I am sure by now you have heard of Pokemon Go, the gaming phenonemon taking over the world.
If you haven't you might be living under a rock, as it is this game that was released about 3 weeks ago and has so many people playing and socialising just to play the game... heck it is even tricking you into doing exercise!
My husband started playing the day it was released here in Australia, and I only started playing it 7 days ago (and I am already up to level 15, half a level behind my hubby who has been playing for 3 weeks).
When I was younger I loved watching Pokemon on TV and even played on my gameboy advance, so when it was released I knew it would be pretty awesome to re-live some pretty fun childhood memories (afterall, you're never too old to be a kid).
But two of the reasons I was so delayed in signing up and playing Pokemon was 1. I have a bit of an addictive personality 2. I can be pretty competitive but 3. It is hard for me to get out and go walking/driving on my own and I didn't want to be stuck at home feeling down and disappointed that I was missing out, which in the end I was feeling that way anyways so I created and account and started playing.
Boy what fun it has been this past week though!
We went away (my husband and I) for our wedding anniversary and stayed close to where my family live, so we got to go Pokemon hunting with my siblings (which was a lot of fun) and we even went to Port Macquarie for the day where we went for a massive walk (4km in total) and my husband pushed me in my wheelchair, then we got home on Wednesday and went for a 3km walk through the botanical gardens here in Coffs Harbour (there is so many Poke stops and pokemon there).
But the highlight for me has been waiting for my husband to come home each evening and we go searching for an hour or so for the Pokemon, it gives me something to get out of the house.
It has become a fun thing that my husband and I can share and do together, and we are having so much fun!
HOT TIP: Before you start playing do your research (google search) for articles on tips, tricks and resources to help you play. I wish I had of done that before I started playing so I could fully understand how to get the most out of the experience.
But over my week of playing, I have come across some ways to help you not only play better but also to play safely.
#1. Find a friend to be your Poke' buddy
#2. You will find more pokemon in more populated areas
#3. Use caution and common sense when playing especially at night
#4. Invest in a portable phone charger
#5. Unless you plan on battling your Pokemon get rid of unessential items
#6. Berries can help you to catch a pokemon
#7. Capture as many Eevee's as possible
#8. Capture every Magikarp you find
#9. Save your lucky egg for a bulk evolving spree
#10. Use the incense to draw Pokemon to your location
These are just a short list of tips and tricks I have used to not only play efficiently but safely, but you can google 'Pokemon Go tricks' for a lot more hints. But if you have any hints or tricks you have used and isn't mentioned above simply leave a comment below (or join the conversation over on our facebook page)
Most of all have fun but be safe!
Sunday, December 27 2015
Late last year, I decided that I would organise a fundraiser event for a charity I have been personally involved with the past 3 years. This charity is called Canteen and they help support young people (like myself and my siblings) who live with cancer in our lives.
We first became members back in 2012 after the loss of our dad to cancer, and they have been a huge support to me while I have been on my own cancer journey. So I wanted to do something to show my appreciation and have a bit of fun, and that was to host a Halloween themed high tea!
The turn out was great, so many dressed up and we raised a total of $1200!
To the attending guests they thought the event ran smoothly, but for me I realised so many things I could have done differently and I thought I would share these with you all. To see the full page of the event sponsors and images courtesy of the professional photographer who donated his time to run our photo booth, click here now.
10 mistakes to avoid when hosting a fundraising event
#1. Give yourself plenty of time to organise it
#2. Have a committee or team to help you
#4. Make sure your phone is charged
#5. Get an MC
#6. Time management
#7. Find monetary sponsors for the event
#8. Don't forget to thank your sponsors or supporters
#9. Get the support of local media behind your event
#10. To save costs do as much DIY as possible, trust me it can still look awesome!
I also made the trophy to be awarded to the best dressed, which I found some plastic couldrons and plastic mouldable skeletons and created a funky trophy.
I also used the plastic cauldrons to make little gifts of lollies for those who would win the group trivia games.
So if you're wanting to host a fundraising event, I highly recommend it! I still have people telling me over a year later how much fun they had and even on the day I had people asking when the next event would be held. I had hoped to run it again this year as an annual thing but I have been too sick to do it this year and especially undergoing chemo it was just too much pressure I was putting on myself and hope that one day when my health returns and I am in a better position I will host an event again.
Thursday, December 17 2015
November (like October) involved not as much chemo as I would have liked and meant more time spent in hospital.
NOV 3RD, 2015: Had chemo today, was the first day in 3 weeks that I have had it was also Melbourne Cup day. I felt rather seedy the following day(s) and rather tired. Even the blandest of foods I couldn't stomach and wasn't until a few days after chemo that I actually ate something. I actually ended up being admitted into hospital on the 5th of November with fevers and suspected infection somewhere. I had a CT scan which showed my tumours haven't shrunk but they hadn't grown much.
NOV 10TH, 2015: No chemo today as I was in hospital
NOV 17TH, 2015: Had chemo today, was the first day in a fortnight I had chemo. My mum picked me up early and we went and had lunch by Mangrove Jacks, it is this really lovely restaurant situated on Coffs Creek and is majestic.. such a tranquil spot! Was rather funny at lunch there were these seagulls in the water being chased by big fish, the poor birds were paddling their little legs as fast as they could to get away!
My port bled today for the first time in ever, which had me excited that maybe all the issues of my port were behind me. I did wake this morning to a bunch of sweet texts from my sister (14) and brother (18) wishing me best of luck for chemo. I am loving the family support recently, it is reasurring knowing you're not along in this huge battle.
I started some new medication today, my oncologist prescribed me lorazapam which I am to take the night before chemo, the night after I have had chemo, and the day after I have chemo which will hopefully help keep my body calm and works well with my other medications he gives me during chemo like ondanzatron.
I had fevers a couple of days after chemo, but with some panadol I was able to manage the fevers at home, but have been sufferring bad with kidney pain and migraines.
NOV 24TH, 2015: Didn't have chemo today, they tried to use my port but it wouldn't even flush saline through! I went and had a portagram done, which is a scan of your port to see if it is working and turns out the thing is blocked! I have to come back on Thursday (26th) and have a procedure done to unblock it.
I decided to wear my storm troopers headwrap to chemo today along with my Dior lippy I got from Look Good Feel Better workshop (loving the pink!). I got a lovely compliment from the volunteer today, she said "you always look pretty with your hair wraps". A compliment from a stranger always makes you feel better.
NOV 26TH, 2015: Today I am having my port unblocked. It is a surgery that requires the doctor to make an incision into my groin and going in through the artery he can feed a cable up past my heart and chest and to my neck where my port is and unblock it. The surgery went well and was a success and the port started bleeding back. The surgeon also was able to reposition the port so it wasn't sitting so high up.
I woke up half way through the procedure and it was rather bizarre just laying there not able to feel anything but know that you are being poked and prodded.
Once I was awake, I had to stay in bed for an hour to reduce any complications post surgery and then I was allowed to sit in a chair, have a sandwhich and wait for a couple of hours before I could be discharged.
The incision site was rather sore for a couple of days and chemo will be scheduled for next Tuesday (1st Dec).
Even though it is month two of this chemo saga, it is only something like 4 days (cycles) I have had of chemo because of all the interruptions such as surgeries, port not working and being in hospital. Here's hoping things go a bit more smoothly next month... I am a bit anxious about Christmas and hope to be able to spend it with my family.
Sunday, August 30 2015
There is something about being chronically sick and told you're essentially "a ticking time bomb" that really helps to put things into perspective.
When I was first diagnosed with FAP in 2010 (I was 19), I was told that I wouldn't be at risk of bowel cancer until I was 30. It made me realise just how much I wanted to do and achieve while I still could.
Then in late 2012, I found out the polyps in my bowel were turning cancerous and that I only had a matter of months to act and have all of my bowel removed. You would think that this would cause more of an alarm and prompt me to want to do a lot more with my life, but as the bowel cancer risk was removed, I naively thought that my risk of cancer would be removed and I could get on with my life..
But boy was I wrong.... My cancer journey didn't end there. In fact, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer earlier this year too which thankfully was successfully removed in April while it was still in the stage I phase, remained contained within my thyroid meaning it hadn't reached nearby neck tissues.
It wasn't until a year ago that I had this drive and motivation to want to do everything I have ever only imagined in day dreams, was re-ignited and has been a continual driving force (and distraction this past year). It made me realise that while I was content with my life and my accomplishments so far, that I didn't feel entirely happy, and I knew that there was more I wanted to do and see.
So I decided I would write a happy list, as opposed to a bucket list for one of two reasons:
What was the changing point for me, was when I was in hospital for pancreatitis when the doctors did a CT scan that revealed there was this new and rather large tumour and suspected it was a desmoid tumour. These types of tumours are really rare, but they can also be rather deadly and life threatening and these 'aggressive fibromatosis' can cause death.
To put it bluntly, when I was first diagnosed with FAP my doctors said that they "hope that you don't develop desmoid tumours... if it isn't the cancer from the FAP that kills you the desmoid tumours will".
So while I am only 24, I have come to terms with the fact that this condition will kill me, I just don't know when. Some doctors mentioned up to a year if the tumours continue to grow at the rate they currently are (thankfully last lost of treatment is keeping them at bay and no new growth) but others have said 5-6 years.
#2. Sense of accomplishment and fulfilment (purpose/direction)
#3. Is more empowering and motivating
#4. Offers inclusion of others
#5. Works as a distraction
Things on my happy list include (in no particular order):
I know some of these may sound over the top, and I admit they are but if you're going to dream you might as well dream big as well as being realistic... now if I could just find the next multimillion dollar idea, I will be well on my way to taking over the world (not quite literal).
So tell me, do you have a happy list and what is one thing you want to mark off your list? Feel free to comment below.
Tuesday, July 07 2015
We are so lucky here in Coffs Harbour that there is an abundance of restaurants and cafe's open early in the morning right through until after lunch and often serving all-day-breakfast, and then there is almost as many places open serving dinner. There is a lot of variety to choose on depending on what it is that you like to eat and your budget. We also have some very beautiful surrounding towns not too far from Coffs and have some great shopping and local attractions.
The 'Clog Barn' offers the most delicious pancake stack for approx. $13, while the Twisted Sisters Cafe at the Jetty has an area for the kids to play while you catch up with friends over a well deserved coffee and cake. The food is pretty great too and they have a range of locally made products available to purchase as well, locals supporting locals is great!
Have you ever been on holidays and you actually WANTED to cook? Well... Me neither (lol)
I know how frustrating it is though, when you want something yummy and fulfilling for dinner, are on holidays and you have no idea on the best places to eat OR the places that offer GREAT meals at affordable budget friendly prices.
That's why I thought that I would do this post, and help share my part of Australia as a local with those who might be on holidays and visiting Coffs Harbour and the Coffs Coast and/if you are a local who is wanting to know where they can dine for under $11!
Here is my list of 11 places to eat for under $11.
Breakfast with a view
Plenty of parking available, and only a stones throw from the beach to go on a stroll after Breakfast.
If you're in Sawtell, or wanting to go and have breakfast somewhere, take the drive out there. Only a short drive from Coffs and some of the most beautiful beaches and views from the headlands and lookouts. While you're there stop by the Wholly Cow cafe and take advantage of the awesome $10 bacon + egg burger and coffee deal. Friendly staff and I just love the vibe you get when you walk through the doors.
Lunch for under $11
Hogs Breath Cafe $9.90 lunches available Monday-Friday, and these are pretty big meals! My husband loves the smoked BBQ beef wrap which comes with the delicious curly fries, while I like the grilled chicken and ranch burger with curly fries.
This would be my favourite Chinese place to go to for lunch or dinner in Coffs, and they have beautiful lunchtime specials for just $9.95 including fried rice or crispy noodles. Located in Park Ave across from Woolworths.
There is this quaint and homely little cafe about 20-30mins drive from Coffs Harbour situated in the village of Bellingen or as the locals know it as 'Bello'. The Black Bear Cafe situated on Church St, is home to the $11 Friday Pieday specials where you'll enjoy a locally baked pie, salad and a tea or coffee. What a bargain at $11!
The Plantation Hotel, on the highway in the heart of Coffs would be our regular place to eat with their $8.50 lunches and dinners, and it is such a good atmosphere with Tuesday nights being family nights and entertainment for the kids, and the kids can even make their own pizzas! I love their chunky battered fries they serve too.
There is this great and unique venue in Coffs down on the Jetty strip called element bar created within a modern/rustic/urban industrial space and is the place to be. With not only a great selection of food at a great price, they also have a range of drinks and cocktails to suit every preference along with amazing LIVE music.
While there are a lot more restaurants and cafes in the area than the 11 places I mentioned, this is a list of my top 11 choices for eating out in under $11, and if you have your own recommendations within the local area, please feel free to comment these below.
I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful area of Australia, and I hope that you find this guide to affordable places to eat while on holidays useful. Be sure to stop by the Solitary Islands Aquarium, and the Dolphin Marine Magic and get a kiss off of a Dolphin!
I highly urge you to head to the Woolgoolga headland during winter and see how many whales you can spot as they migrate north.
It won't take you long to fall in love with the Coffs Coast!