Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mind Control and Car Accident

later Wednesday:

A couple of days ago a friend brought over a Christmas present she'd received - a mind control device for your phone. You put it on like a headset, touching your skull in three places plus a clip on one earlobe, and then use your brainwaves to control your smartphone. So cool! At the moment there aren't many good apps for it, but she showed me one and I had a go. You have to use your active brainwaves to blow up a barrel of fireworks - I had it fizzing but couldn't get it to blow up. Then you use your calm brainwaves, like meditating, to make a ball float into the air. I did better at that one, even though I suck at meditation and calming my brain! I did exactly what I do if a doctor is about to stick a needle into my arm (I am not at all scared of needles, but I know how to make it hurt less), I looked away and made my body go limp. And the ball on the screen floated up. I thought it was interesting that relaxing my body immediately calmed my brain (deliberately unclenching my jaw works too if I'm angry). But as soon as I looked at the screen, the ball started to sink again. It was really fun but you'd need more games than that to keep the interest going.

In other news, my father-in-law and his new girlfriend, who we met at Christmas a week ago, were supposed to visit a couple of days ago but postponed at the last minute so they could do something more fun on New Year's Eve. They were on their way here this afternoon when they had a car accident about an hour away. They are both fine, thank goodness, but apparently the car lost a wheel so it sounds pretty serious. Father-in-law says it was the other guy's fault, but I don't have any other details yet. They are getting the car towed to the nearest town and Tim has headed off to pick them up.

They were going to stay for two nights, no idea now. Might depend on the car getting repaired. Or maybe it's totalled.

This is the second car accident Des has been in in the past couple of years, which worries me. The other time he left the road in the dark and went down a short embankment. I had been starting to get concerned about my mum doing the long drive here at her age - she won't be doing it any more, we'll always visit her - so now I have to start worrying about Des instead! And my own father has a six hour drive here in a couple of weeks, on his own. Why do people have to get old?

My mum is feeling much the same. Her leg hurts if she puts weight on it but otherwise no pain, but she is tired all the time and mostly sleeps. She has her appointment with the radiotherapy doctor on Monday.

Happy New Year


Happy New Year everyone!

After a troubled night's sleep due to the heat, I got up and did an 8 minute standing yoga session then a 30 minute walk so that was a good start to the New Year. I didn't actually enjoy the exercise; yoga is difficult and boring (I am getting so old and creaky!) and outside was hot and full of flies ... but I did it anyway! Tick.

I just read through the last couple of years' NY resolution posts and it was a bit depressing. Same talk of weight loss, finishing my novel, drinking more water etc. Things I still haven't achieved. I weigh more now than I did in either of the previous two years. I think reading those posts was a bad idea. Forget them and look forward.

Starting weight for 2014 is 82.5 kg.

I worked out my Uni timetable and full time would be five pretty full days, with three days going past the end of my children's school hours, requiring after-school childcare. And that is not including study or assignments. No time for writing my novel, grocery shopping without kids, exercise, helping kids with homework or anything else. And the children already have extra-curricular swimming lessons, dance, karate, and violin to fit in. I am going to investigate part time. It will take a lot longer, of course, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? For now, I just can't manage 19 face-to-face hours per week plus study and homework. I have a course advice session this Friday so I will be able to chat to someone.

New scale

Tuesday night - NYE:

I'd been feeling very tired all day and this evening my lower abdomen was having some ominous pains so I sent Tim and the kids out to see the 9.00pm fireworks without me. Couldn't risk being far from amenities, in case of a digestive emergency. I do feel a bit sad, home alone on NYE, but they'll be back in a while.

The last time I bought bathroom scales, when my digital ones stopped working, I decided to get old fashioned dial scales. I felt that getting ones that digitally showed your weight within 100 grams plus fat percentage and hydration and twenty other things was silly because they just weren't that accurate. You could get a variation of a lot more than 100 grams just by getting off then on again. But now, I dunno - six months later maybe? I'm terrible at estimating time past - I've changed my mind and bought a new set of digital scales. Nothing fancy, just my weight. I got sick of trying to estimate where the dial was - is that 81 and a half or 81 and three quarters?

I was fully prepared for my old scales and new scales to register very different weights. I got out the new one tonight for an unofficial weigh-in to compare them. I won't tell you the number - evening and fully clothed doesn't count! But to my astonishment they gave me exactly the same number (as exactly as I could estimate the dial one). So I am going to trust my new scale.

Not weighing myself every day has NOT worked. I have put on quite a bit since I stopped in April. So from tomorrow I will weigh myself every morning and plot the number on my graph like I used to. I have to learn from my experiences of the past few years since I seriously started trying to lose weight and use what works. Weighing every single day keeps me accountable, and daily fluctuations don't stress me because I've done it for long enough to know that that can happen. As long as the up and down jags tend downwards overall.

See you all in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Tuesday - New Year's Eve:

'Tis the time for reviewing the old year and looking forward to the new one.

For 2013, a couple of stand-outs for me are writing half a novel and finding out my mum has cancer. One good, one bad. Did anything else big happen? Not that I can think of right now. Health/weight stayed much the same (overall probably a bit worse). Same house/husband/children/friends as before.

2014 is shaping up to be a big year. I'd been wavering about Uni but my Poppa (grandfather) gave me some money at Christmas so I feel less guilty about that side of it and decided to go for it. I've enrolled to start full time in February. We'll see how that goes, might have to change to part time.

As I mentioned, I wrote (nearly) half a book in the second half of 2013. I was hoping to complete it in that time, but didn't. And then I stopped entirely with worrying about my mum, then going away on holiday and Christmas and now school holidays plus finishing reading nearly 200 short stories for an award I am judging. But I am not going to abandon my novel, even though I'm planning full time Uni and have all the usual other commitments of family and health. It was going really well and it is something I've always wanted to do. I'll just have to make time, somehow.

As usual, my main NY resolution is to work on my health. Good food (not too much), exercise, drinking water, sleeping, enjoying life. A few blogs I read this morning talked about picking a word or phrase as your theme for the year, and I loved "Thrive". Not just staggering through my days, but unfurling the tendrils of being. Looking after my health without punishment or guilt. Nourishing my body and my mind and appreciating the results. Feeling gratitude for what I have.

(Mother's Day 2012, my mum and me and the kids)

(December 2013, my mum and the kids)

Sunday, December 29, 2013



I've often said that I don't really have a problem with sugar (I have other issues, of course) and it doesn't particularly tempt me. Over the several-day family hop that is Christmas I had a lot more sugar than usual; desserts, nibbles between meals, and worst of all soft drink (fizzy, sugary stuff - I think Americans call it soda).

I don't even know why I drank it, I can't stand the stuff. So sweet and cloying. But it was mostly what was offered and I was too lazy to get up and get myself a glass of water, I guess. With that plus juice at breakfast I had gone from zero sweet drinks to four or five a day. By lunchtime on Boxing Day I could actually feel it sluggishly filling up my bloodstream, it was making me feel physically sick. So I vowed not to have any more, and I didn't.

But since then, whether from the liquid sugar or just the general treat-fest, I have been craving sugar. I've eaten most of the little treats from my two Christmas stockings, even the ones I don't like and couldn't believe I was eating them. Peppermint candy canes in particular have become irresistible. I can see this is going to take a bit of work. Getting back to normal after Christmas isn't as easy as I expected.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Christmas


We drove to Sydney on Christmas Eve to stay at a hotel on the beach. We hadn't been to this particular hotel for a while but it used to be a favourite with my husband and I before we had kids. It always seemed the height of luxury, with lovely rooms overlooking the ocean. Well, maybe it was ritzy ten or more years ago. But I don't think they've done any refurbishment since then! Our room was disappointingly shabby with threadbare carpets and smelled funny. The kids' beds were blocking the door to one of the tiny balconies so I'm sure it wasn't originally a "family" room. The available balcony overlooked the dingy backyards of local restaurants, full of rubbish bins and cardboard boxes. Yet it was still as expensive as we remembered!

However, we tried to ignore all that and concentrate on Christmas cheer. We put up our little travelling tree and then the kids went for a swim in the rooftop pool while we grownups read in the deck chairs, enjoying the ocean-scented breeze and (finally) an amazing view. Then a walk along the beach-front to a nice restaurant and back to try to settle the excited children for sleep.

Of course all being in the one room meant that we had to turn off the lights so the kids could sleep, yet my husband and I had to stay awake to put out the presents once the kids were asleep. And put them under the tree in almost pitch-darkness. But finally we were allowed to go to bed. I slept very poorly, excited about Christmas (honestly, I'm as bad as the kids) but also kept awake/repeatedly woken by the revellers shouting and breaking bottles under our window, the garbage truck doing its rounds at 3:15 am (on Christmas morning!) and AGAIN at about 6:00 am.

But finally it was time to get up and open our presents! Yay! We all got lots of things; books and music and jewellery and computer stuff mostly. We bought Aiden a proper drum kit but the car was packed even without it so we just wrapped the drumsticks and left the rest at home. Buffet breakfast at the hotel (a bit lacklustre) then off to Tim's brother's place for big family lunch.

It was lovely to see everyone and share lunch to which everyone contributed, and play with my baby niece who is 9 months old now and very cuddly. Then my kids got to play Santa's helpers and hand out all the presents under the tree. I did have a bit of a disappointment at this point. I got a book from my father-in-law and a massage gift voucher from my brother & sister-in-law, but the rest do a Secret Santa, spending quite a lot of money on the one person, and I didn't receive anything. The person who was supposed to buy for me had a premature baby a few weeks ago (or rather his wife did) and he apologised and said he hadn't had time. Of course I said I understood, and I did. But still. There was no offer of getting me something later, or money to chose myself something or anything. A bit of a downer to get nothing when the kids are piling up stacks to the roof (they still get presents from everyone). His wife also didn't get anything for her recipient. I don't want to seem petty, of course I do understand, but it was a bit of a sad moment during the present orgy.

So, anyway, then off to see my mum and take her to her father's (Poppa is still going strong at 95) for Christmas dinner. Lucky I like turkey! More food, chatting with family, more presents for the kids, three toddlers running around, my cousins who are all younger than me suddenly seeming like adults now they're mostly married with kids, my aunts in the kitchen all evening as usual, rubbishy Christmas crackers with junky "prizes" and stupid jokes inside, Poppa spending forever trying to set up his DVD show us a video of my cousin's engagement party. Good times.

Another, different hotel near my Poppa's - a fairly new building and so much nicer! Really lovely. And an amazing breakfast buffet. I had a special treat of two glasses of freshly squeezed juice, nothing like stuff from a bottle!

We went back to my mum's and helped her with the housework. She is not feeling as tired as she had been, now she's been on the medication for a week, but is finding walking and standing painful and difficult. She still doing her own shopping, and is worried about losing her independence. She spends most of the time lying down. Hopefully if the pills shrink the tumours in her hips it will help with walking.

Then back to my brother-in-law's for Boxing Day BBQ lunch - it is my father-in-law's birthday on Boxing Day so we always all get back together again. Then we all went to see "The Hobbit part two: The Desolation of Smaug" - in two shifts so there was always someone to look after the children. Great movie! Leftovers for dinner and we stayed at my brother-in-law's overnight.

Have I mentioned the spare-room bed there yet? My sister-in-law's parents chose it when they were staying for about 9 months, visiting from China. It looks comfortable enough, a huge thing that takes up the entire room and is much higher than a normal bed. Looks soft, right? The first time I climbed onto it I thought I had bruised my knees. When we travelled in China we found all the beds, even in the Western-style hotels, horribly hard, and this one follows that pattern. Good for your back, they say. But I honestly think decently-thick carpet would be more comfortable.

Friday a smaller family group assembled and we played some games, a relaxing morning after all the bustle of Christmas, then we did the "car tetris - advanced level" challenge, packing everything in somehow and set out for the long drive home. Overall it was a lovely few days. But so nice to be home in my own bed!

This morning I weighed 82 kg, up half a kg (1 pound) and went for a 1 hour walk before it got too hot. I didn't overeat at mealtimes but I did have quite a few unhealthy snacks in between. Back to normal eating and regular exercise!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ready for Christmas


Spent today cooking for Christmas and sorting all the clothes I washed after our holiday and packing bags. Heading to Sydney tomorrow for several days of family Christmas. And seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Boxing Day.

I think we're ready for Christmas!

Merry Christmas one and all, have a great festive season.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday snaps


Spent today washing several suitcases worth of dirty clothes, wrapping the last few Christmas presents, and relaxing. Doing all my share of the Christmas cooking tomorrow.

I weighed myself this morning, 81.5kg which is my pre-tummy-bug weight so I think I did ok considering we ate out several times a day for a week.

Here are a couple of photos of me on our holiday.
Aiden and I on a ride at SeaWorld. Aiden flew very safely so that I wasn't scared.

At the beach with Aiden and Jasmine.
I received my acceptance letter from Uni last night, so I can study Bachelor of Human Nutrition next year if I want. Still a little hesitant, I'm worried about three more years of me not earning anything, in fact with fees and maybe some after-school care for the kids it would be a drain on our finances. Also I'm only halfway through writing my novel but doing well enough that I want to continue with it. It is partly dependant on if Tim decides he just can't stand the work he is doing any longer and we both end up as check-out chicks! At the moment he earns enough for us both, but it is a very high stress job and we're not sure what is going to happen if he doesn't find another job soon in the same field. Uni starts in Feb and I have until mid-Feb to back out without paying anything or registering a fail. Mum's health is another issue. I love study but I'm just not sure at the moment.
Mum's oncologist gave her a much better prognosis than I expected. Apparently it is grade 1 cancer, the easiest to treat, and the tumours are feeding on oestrogen so they are giving her one pill a day to block the oestrogen production. Hopefully the tumours will shrink and then they can do radiotherapy on the bone and breast tumours. No lengthy chemo in hospital, and she shouldn't feel too sick. So that is great news. At the moment she is having a lot of trouble walking any distance (like the long corridors in the hospital to have tests!) which is bad but will hopefully improve with this therapy. Such a relief, I was really bracing myself for much worse news.
Only three sleeps until Christmas!

The illustrated holiday


Just got back from a lovely holiday to Surfer's Paradise, a small city on Queensland's Gold Coast (north-eastern coast of Australia, all golden beaches and blue skies). Beautiful mild summer weather, perfect for beach and pool-going, and ironically we left a heat-wave back home.

We started with a visit to my mum and then my niece in Sydney, then flew north. I don't like heights and I'm not a good flyer but I did ok and it went smoothly. Given my fear of heights, I was a bit worried about our holiday apartment on the 33rd floor:
But I was fine. Admittedly I only went out on the balcony a couple of times. I loved lying on the bed looking out at this view!

The first afternoon we just hung around the hotel pool, which had a pirate ship waterslide. My daughter must have gone down it a hundred times.

The next day we walked to the beach. The surf was a bit rough so we stayed well within our depth and toyed with the waves and built sand castles. I spent quite a while sitting on the sand with waves washing over my legs. Very peaceful and lovely. Unfortunately, despite being covered in sunscreen and only being out for an hour, I got quite sunburnt in a distinct line on my shoulders and chest where my cossie had covered when I was putting the sunscreen on, but then the material must have moved down a little bit as I moved around. Burnt on the first morning! Curse my lily-white skin.

We stayed out of the sun in the middle of the day by going on an Aquaduck after lunch. This is a bus that goes into water (calm water, Surfer's Paradise is a long strip a few blocks wide with an ocean beach on one side and the broadwater on the other) and chuggs along beside the enormous houses of the rich and famous. I spotted a couple of dolphins. Then in the afternoon it was back to the hotel pool for more slides and then time in the indoor heated pool and spa.

Next day we went to Movieworld ("Hollywood on the Gold Coast!") which I think is like a miniature Disneyland. Rides, shows of motorbike stunt riding and precision car driving, a short 4D Ice Age movie where the chairs shake and water gets sprayed at you at appropriate moments, people wandering around in moviestar costumes. Willy Wonka, Marilyn Monroe etc. The kids loved it, not so much me. I didn't fit on the kiddie rides and the adult ones were much too scary for me. I got to try Ben & Jerry's ice cream which I was very interested in doing because it seemed to be so popular in the US but it was horrible! Some kind of chocolate variety - chocolate temptation I think. So sickly sweet and rich. It cost a fortune and I could hardly eat any of it. What a waste. However, the kids had a great day and Tim got to go on a couple of grown-up rides so it was a good day overall.

Another morning at the pool. We unwisely stayed out for more than two hours and this time poor Jasmine got quite badly burnt on the arms and Tim on his shoulders. We spent the hot after-lunch period playing putt putt golf (mini golf) in a sort of indoor warehouse space so we were out of the sun. We had planned to go to the beach in the late afternoon but couldn't risk any more time in the sun so it was back to the pool which was shaded by the building in the afternoon.

On our last full day we went to SeaWorld which was my favourite day. Sea-lion and dolphin shows, a SpongeBob Squarepants parade, more rides for kids and grown-ups (and I fit on the kids' ones), patting manta-rays, an enormous lagoon aquarium, a SpongeBob 3D movie (not as gimmicky as the 4D movie, but better), dinosaur island (not sure how that fits with the sea theme) and my favourite was Buccaneer Bay which involves sailing around a little bay in a pirate ship shooting water cannons at people on shore while they fire back. We got soaked! Awesome.
Dinosaur island, obviously.

Buccaneer Bay!

Dolphins showing off nose strength!
We tried really hard every day to avoid sunburn but I guess that was impossible unless we had stayed in the room all day. Jasmine's arms were exposed to more sun as we walked around SeaWorld and even Aiden, who has more olive skin, was a bit pink.
On the final morning the kids had one last quick swim before we packed up and flew home again. It turned out that we only played at the beach once, on the first morning, but we were near the beach many times walking to and from restaurants for lunch and other outings so we got to enjoy the sight and the sea-breeze without the sand in our cossies. 

We were exhausted at the end of every day and I usually crashed at the same time as the kids each night, straight after dinner. We ate out every meal except for two breakfasts of fruit and toast in our room, and also had snacks while out and about. I haven't weighed myself yet!
The flight back was a bit more trying as there was a bit of turbulence at the end. I spent the final couple of minutes hyperventilating and hanging on to the arm rests, in tears. But we got down safely.
I'm not in any of these photos because I took them with my iPhone, Tim also took lots of photos with an actual camera so I'm in some of those. I might post some after I've seen what they look like. Or not.
It was a really great holiday but I also love being home again. My own house, my own bed. Can't beat home. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


Friday night:

It may be controversial, but I love "Next Top Model" shows. You get to see that these "perfect" girls are still just people with many flaws (both physical and emotional) and they often only look good with heavy make-up that took experts a couple of hours to apply and then they take a hundred photographs to get one good one.

And then, apparently, in the real modelling industry if not on these shows, they air-brush the photographs. A lot.

What you see in the magazine is nothing like what the girl started her working day looking like. It's reassuring to know that.

And I'm a sucker for a transformation, too. Love that you can take a weird-looking person and make her look fabulous.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Emotional eating


I am very much aware that I am an emotional eater, primarily reacting to boredom and tiredness but also (I would have said) stress. I don't eat so much when happily busy, and I've never had a problem with big celebrations like Christmas because I actually eat less when around lots of people and chatting and cooking and everything else. I am much more likely to overeat when alone, bingeing on a bag of chips in front of the TV.

I would have thought that all the stress and worry about my mum would have pushed me towards overeating but it's had the opposite affect. Even though I've had fast food a several times and dessert at my sister-in-law's and lots of access to Christmas treats, and I've been sleeping really badly which would usually be another trigger, I actually lost nearly a kilogram in that first week. When we had McDonald's recently while travelling I got my usual order but then only ate half of it, and that has been my pattern lately. I have to remember to have a snack to manage my blood sugar. I just haven't been much interested in eating.

Then of course the past few days I've been quite sick and I lost a lot more (I'm sure temporary) weight, yesterday morning I was down to 80kg. So I've lost about 2.5kg (5.5 pounds) in a week and a half.

Of course the irony is that the reasons for me losing the weight are totally not worth the result. Any other time I'd be so excited to lose weight so rapidly. But not now.

I am quite a lot better today, up to eating a whole piece of toast for breakfast this morning and able to walk the kids to school (well, halfway, I got them across the road then they walked the rest of the way without me). I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get out this afternoon to do the grocery shopping and return our overdue library books. Trying to mainly take it easy though, and not think about the 50 million things I need to be doing in the lead up to Christmas. At least we aren't hosting this year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visiting mum and stomach bug


I haven't posted for a while, partly because for the last few days I've been down with a nasty stomach bug and haven't been out of bed. Just starting to try food again now.

The first 24 hours I was able to still feel a lot of gratitude that I had got sick now, this week, and not when I was trying to visit mum or during Christmas or while we were away on holidays soon. But after the first day or so it's hard to keep up the positive attitude!

Also I've been struggling a lot with sleep. Since hearing about mum's cancer I've been sleeping really badly - taking a long time to get to sleep, waking during the night, and waking early. Worrying. So tossing and turning with stomach cramps these past couple of nights hasn't helped.

We saw mum on the weekend. I hadn't seen her for two months and she's already lost quite a bit of weight. Her hips are hurting her so she limps and rests a lot. But she's still able to get around and look after herself. She's finally got an appointment with the oncologist but not until next week which I am really mad about, I want them to get started on treatment as soon as possible. She showed me her x-rays and her bones are riddled with cancer everywhere. I don't know if they can do anything for her but we won't know until she has at least seen the specialist.

While we were there I did weeks' worth of washing up while Tim vacuumed and mopped the floors. And my brother, who lives there, sat around and watched or played with the kids. It's so frustrating. I've already talked to dad, who has agreed to take him if the need arises, but that might be a fight. Yes he has OCD which makes him wash his hands a lot and hoard stale food, but he is also just a lazy selfish bastard. I live four hours away but I have to come and wash a kitchen full of dishes! I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing it for mum, not for him, even though most of the mess was made by him.

So, anyway, I'm not feeling at my best right now. Time to go get some more rest.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Getting organised


I'm feeling a lot more in control today. We've organised the next few weeks around seeing my mum several times for short visits. We're still going on our holiday, but have changed the travel arrangements around a bit so we can see her more. Since she's not having surgery, there'll be no immediate change to her level of health or need for care. Or course chemo can make people pretty sick so I might be staying with her after each round, or else she might stay at her sister's. Not sure when that is starting. I am definitely a planner, and it's really helped me to be able to work out what I'll be doing for the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. At least it means I don't have so much uncertaincy on top of the shock and grief.

We had some lovely news today, a bit earlier than expected, a close family member had her baby yesterday. Little Eliza. I'm not sure exactly when she was due but it wasn't for another few weeks. But she and her mum are doing fine so that is great. That was the baby shower I missed last weekend. The present I bought for that will do just as well for a "welcome to the world"!

I spent today Christmas shopping. Nearly all day by myself, then after getting the kids from school we went out again to buy their presents for daddy. By the time we got home (time for me to start dinner!) I was utterly exhausted with aching legs. But it was still better than the previous two days when I just wandered around the house in a daze. Good to be out doing something. I feel a bit less helpless and lost. More Christmas shopping tomorrow.

I haven't been thinking about weight loss for the past few days, but neither have I been turning to food which has surprised me a bit. I'm eating about the same or even a bit less than usual. So that is good, but I can't claim any credit for it. I just haven't really felt like eating.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



Mum has seen the breast surgeon and they are not going to do a mastectomy. Mum is really relieved not to have to go through that even though she knows it is because it is too late. She was dreading the surgery.

She is going to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy but only to stop the cancer spreading further. She hasn't seen the oncologist yet, an appointment is being made. There is no hope of cure, just keeping her as well as possible for as long as possible.

She seemed very resigned and not even unhappy. I think knowing for sure has helped her, she talked about letting go of unimportant things, like work.

I am not feeling resigned.


later Tuesday:

I had a long talk to mum, today I was better able to process information and ask questions. The one, very surprising, piece of good news is that my brother Darren is suddenly being very helpful since she told him last night. He's washed the dishes and he answered the phone when I called (normally he wouldn't bother, just wait for mum to get it) and offered to take her to the specialist tomorrow. She accepted, more to encourage his behaviour rather than because she actually wanted him there I think, but it is great to know he is helping rather than being a burden.

The other news is all bad. The breast cancer that spread to her bones is in her pelvis, right shoulder and the back of her skull. I can't remember now if she said spine as well. The pain and stiffness in her hips is making it hard to walk. It's spread so far that I can't imagine a good prognosis. She is hardly eating at all. She is being positive though. The person she is seeing tomorrow is the breast surgeon, she hasn't seen an oncologist yet.

She says she doesn't need me to come and stay right now, she just spends her days resting and she has her sister ready to do anything needed, but accepted that she might need me later after surgery or during chemo. I'm relieved she doesn't seem to be resisting that. As I expected, she encouraged me to still go on our family holiday. I'll wait until hearing from her tomorrow to decide and finalise our arrangements. She's happy for us to all visit this weekend as long as it is a short visit, she'll probably needs to go and rest fairly soon, so we'll organise that as well.

I'm going to do her Christmas shopping for her and maybe stuff for her hospital stay as well depending on when that will be.

At the moment I'm in practical mode, just getting things done.

Monday, December 2, 2013



I slept very badly last night, worrying about mum, and haven't done much today other than wander around the house. Considering the fact that the cancer has already spread to her bones, I don't think the prognosis is going to be good.

I got this from a UK cancer website about breast cancer survival rates:

In about 1 in 20 women (5%), the cancer has already spread to another part of their body when they are first diagnosed. Sadly, the outlook once a cancer has spread to another body organ is not so good. It is not curable at this point, but may be controlled with treatment for some years. Women with stage 4 tumours have a 5 year survival rate of around 13%. About 1 in 10 women (10%) will live for more than 10 years.

Only 13% will live for 5 years.

I don't have details about mum's case yet, and no one can know for sure what will happen anyway, but it doesn't sound good at all.

I'm stressed that she is resisting me visiting her. I don't want to make it all about me, I want to respect her wishes, but I really feel strongly that I should be there. I'll talk to her about it again tomorrow after she has more information. Maybe she will have surgery or chemo dates by then.

We were going away to Queensland in a fortnight for a holiday on the beach but I don't think I should be away right now, even further away than the current four hours drive. It will depend on her schedule and her wishes I suppose, but it feels wrong for me to be going on holiday.

I'm stressed about my brother. I don't know if I've talked about him much here. He is 45, still lives with mum, no job, no life. He has obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding tendencies, mainly out-of-date food which fills the fridge and stinks up the house, and refuses to take the medication or see psychiatrists or do anything about it. I personally think his lifestyle is half OCD and half lazy bastard. He freeloads off our mother and spends his time either in bed (for up to 24 hours at a time) or watching TV. Since mum's been so sick he's just messed up the house, without her cleaning up after him, and done nothing whatever to help. If I end up staying there to look after mum I will try to organise him to stay with dad for a while - dad lives out in the country in another state. Neither of them will like that much but it's the best option I can think of.

I talked to my best friend about it today and she offered to help with the kids after school if I needed to be in Sydney which was lovely of her. She works most days but it would help if Tim doesn't have to rush home early from work every day.

I wonder if she will be in hospital for Christmas. I'm so glad I'm not hosting this year, at least I don't have to worry about that side of it.



My mum rang with her test results. She has breast cancer, and bone cancer. She'd suspected it was something bad but didn't tell anyone until she was sure, today. She's seeing the specialist on Wednesday.

I'm still a bit in shock and I don't really know how bad it is. I guess she doesn't either.

She doesn't want me to come to Sydney right now - I talked about driving down tomorrow. She isn't even sure about the weekend, she'll let me know. Should I just go anyway? Tim suggested she might prefer if I went by myself, rather than all of us (we'd all go to Sydney but only me to see mum), I didn't think of suggesting that. I'll wait until after she's spoken to me on Wednesday, anyway, because that's what she wants. My brother is worse than useless, but her own sister and brother live nearby and will be a big help.

Trying not to break down in front of the kids too much.

She said at one point she wasn't scared of dying which I thought was positive but now I'm not sure if she meant she's feeling so sick and awful she wouldn't mind. She talked about things unfinished - she's a couple of months away from a uni degree after years of study. She's been taking a lot of sick leave from work and she's going in tomorrow one last time to delegate work but she says she's not quitting or retiring yet (she's 72) so I guess that is a good thing. She's just going on more sick leave. There is only 2 or 3 weeks left of this school year - she's a teacher.

Scared she is going to die soon.

What do you do with yourself while you're waiting for test results?