Saturday, 30 April 2011

This week I'm grateful for...

... Maxabella - for helping me to remember to think of the things I am grateful for when I'm not really feeling that flash

... my Mum - coming to help me with my garden

... pyjamas - I've been living in them since Monday (not when I was gardening though).

... my very understanding partner - "Have you unpacked any boxes today?" he asks.  "uhh, no" I reply.  "That's okay" he says, "have you had a nice relaxing day?" "Yes..." I reply guiltily as I think of the 13 hour days he is working.

... four more days of holidays before I go back to work - no need to expand on that one!


Garden Beginnings

The other day Mum came over and helped me to start working on our garden.  Mum is a brilliant gardener and plants go wild under her care.  I am the sort of gardener who wrinkles her nose at the first speck of dirt under the fingernails.  Yes, a useless one.  However, I'm determined to turn this around.  So armed with some tools, some snowpea seeds and tomato seedlings, a couple of herbs and a variety of bulbs we got to work.

Unfortunately, the first thing needed to get to work on was removing this huge patch of cooch.  Here is where we are thankful for experienced gardeners who weed quickly.  I managed about a quarter and Mum did the rest.  My idea was to wrap some bendy trellis stuff around the unsightly tree trunk, which I can hopefully talk MR into getting removed at some point in the future, and grow the tomatoes and peas up it to hide it. 

How much better does it look now?  Almost garden like in fact. 

Cherry tomato and normal sized tomatoes, which are apparently called grosse lisse.  Snow pea seeds planted in the gaps between the tomatoes, the whole way around the tree stump.

Some parsley and garlic chives

One fluffy garden supervisor

The bulbs went out the front, no photo there yet because a photo of some dirt is really not that interesting.  Mum also removed some of the smaller birds of paradise and a stack of frangipanis and a couple of other plants that we didn't want.  There were about 15 frangipani plants throughout the front and the back, just a few too many I thought, so Mum took them home to pot up, nuture and sell.

While digging up the frangipanis Mum found a little fledgling citrus plant hiding amongst the canna lillies.  We'll be staking and nuturing that!

I thought I might leave you with a photo of our brand new outdoor setting we got just before Easter.  Isn't it a beauty!  Lots of outdoor entertaining planned from now on.  We've already had a birthday dinner, a bbq with friends and an Easter Sunday family breakfast on it!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A spoonful of sugar...

I started my medication today for my CML.  I have been somewhat anxiously awaiting this moment for a couple of weeks now as I really hate swallowing tablets.  Anything bigger than a nurofen and I gag.  Of course, most tablets are bigger than a nurofen and are most definitely not sugar coated so they slide down easily.  Unfortunate.  My tablets (Glivec) are probably a fairly normal powder coated tablet size (slightly larger than a capsule) but the fact that I have to take them every day forever has been building up the anxiety in my mind over how well this is going to go down (literally, if you excuse the pun).  To make matters worse they are a dreadful orangey-poo-brown colour.  Charming.

I realise it's all psychological, this gagging when tablet taking, but it really doesn't help the situation.  I am much better at it now than I was as a teenager but there's still plenty of whinging if anyone is around to provide sympathy.  As a child I just could not do it.  Tablets were crushed up and swallowed with a very very very large spoonful of jam or sweetened condensed milk.  I know this is not an uncommon thing but how strange is it that so many people have a problem with swallowing pills?  We can all swallow large mouthfuls of food.  Easy.  Shovel it in. Yum. But a relatively small hard thing?  No thank you. 

Also, for more of a psychological factor, back when I was diagnosed my specialist gave me some information on the condition and the medication.  Of course, I read this through dilligently and as I came to the three A4 pages long list of side effects a bit more anxiety set in.  What ones will I get?  There are some rather unsavoury ones (but relatively minor on the severity scale) on the list with some quite high percentages of experiencing listed next to them.  Right now, Miss Hypochondriac here is trying not to pay attention to every stomach gurgle or conjure up mysterious aches and pains.  It's quite ridiculous really.  I know they have to tell us everything so we know what to watch out for, but knowing can sometimes be worse because then you just worry yourself into getting the nausea/diarrhea that you may possibly experience.  So then is it from the drugs or from the crazy brain telling you nonsense and making you stress?

It's all in the brain, I'm sure of it.  It's like natural remedies from the naturopath or homeopath working for some people and not for others.  Cynical attitudes deny that it is working so it doesn't.  Believing attitudes believe it will so it does.  So does it work or not?  I know there's a whole lot more to it than that and many studies have been done on the effects of placebos that I really cannot be bothered researching.

All I know is that it has been two hours since I took the tablet and I feel fine.  Yes, I do.  Fine. Completely Fine.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

What's in your wallet?

cool Lego wallet found here

How often do you think about all that stuff in your wallet?  I know I don't think about it all that often, unless it is getting too chockers with old receipts and I give it a good clean out.

And how much do we take it all for granted?  Reach in and grab out what you need at any time.  Leave it sitting in your handbag in the front of the trolley at a supermarket on a busy Saturday during Easter and get it stolen.  Much to my disgust this is what happened to me on the weekend.  And the funny thing is, I thought I was keeping a (reasonably) close eye on it.  Thank goodness it was just the wallet though.  And the thing you never think of when you think of your wallet getting stolen?  How on earth am I going to pay for all this food shopping?? Thankfully, MR was home and my mobile wasn't taken so I called him to come down and pay for it. 

Apart from the annoyance of having to cancel cards and be moneyless, I'm also now without my medicare and HBF cards which I sort of need on a fairly regularly basis at the moment.  I have to get all my store reward cards reissued, sort out a new driver's licence and buy a new wallet. 

And really, wallet shopping is really quite a chore.  My current wallet I have had for almost six years (yes, I did have to think about that quite a bit) and while it was getting a bit tatty around the edges it was the perfect size with the right amount of pockets, zips and press studs in all the right places.  Getting used to a new wallet is never fun.  But finding that new wallet?  When you can't even use your credit card to pay for it?  Much grumbles, let me tell you.  Not that I have found one online that I like, because I really need to scuffle through all the pockets and feel it first, but the fact that I couldn't buy it (or anything else online) if I wanted to is somewhat annoying.

Perhaps this is a good opportunity to pay off some of my credit card?

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Family Language

Does your family have some words that they use that no one else you ever say them to has ever heard of?

Mine certainly does.  Some have foundations elsewhere and were picked up when my sister or I mispronounced a word as a child such as 'cuggle' for cuddle/hug.  I was in highschool before I realised this wasn't a word.

Then there are a couple of other that I have no idea where they stem from.  Such as 'globbing'.  Globbing, in my family, refers to the (incredibly disgusting) sound a person makes when they eat with their mouth open.  My dad does this very very regularly.  As children, Mum would tell my sister and I to 'stop globbing', as in 'chew with your mouth shut'.  This term has well and truly stuck and both of us have morphed into our mum by repeating this statement to Dad.  I've googled 'glob/globber/globbing' to no avail.  It does not seem to mean what it means to my family to anyone else in the world.  Perhaps it stemmed from gobbling?  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the accurate word to interchange it for, so it will continue to be used until that time.

Another strange word my family uses is 'catballs'.  Now this is not at all what you might think it is.  Catballs are the dry cat biscuits that the cat eats.  I haven't googled this one for fear of what might come up, but since realising that this word was another unique one to my family, I've been listening out and haven't heard anyone else use it or understand it when I say it.

I'm sure every family has some of their own words.  It does make me wonder, how often do they turn into everyday language?  What is the thing that makes them 'work' in language so well that others pick it up as well?  How many generations of my family on my mum's side have been telling their children and husbands to stop globbing?

Your turn now.  Tell me your unique-to-you-family words.  Entertain us!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

This week I'm grateful for...

I've been feeling very flat energywise this week.  Very drained, with big purple suitcases residing under my eyes.  So my gratefuls are centred around those little things that are keeping me trundling along... albeit very slowly.

- kind people I work with bringing me morning tea.  You know - 'I baked a cake yesterday and thought you might like a slice'.  Ever so thoughtful and very much appreciated.  Sugar is my friend at the moment.

- holidays starting on Wednesday next week.  Oh God Yes.  Can I sleep for 360 hours?  I'm tempted to test this...

- phone calls to My Rock.  He is back away at work this week but dutifully calling me each evening to see how I'm going and share a few moments from each of our days.

- take away meals.  I've had too many of these this week.  Woops.  But no preparation and minimal dishes is about all I can handle at the moment.  Luckily I am back in the city where I can get reasonably healthy take away meals like uhh... pizza... chicken and chips... okay, neither of those is healthy but minestrone soup and a teriyaki beef and rice might just slide into the healthy-ish category.

- my Meow.  Demanding attention and cuddles and doing crazy meowlish things.  She makes coming home to an empty house not an empty house at all.

more gratefulness at Maxabella's

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Determination and Positivity

Apparently I have some, because it is coming out in spadefuls at the moment.  There are some down times, sure.  But everything else in my life is going to plan. 

Last year my best friend and I decided that this year (2011) was going to be my year and so far it really has.  I have changed jobs and the place that I live, I have a wonderful new home with my partner in a street full of welcoming neighbours, my new job is fantastic and I am really enjoying it, I am exercising (a bit) more, I am closer to family and good friends who have similar interests to me, I have the best partner that I could ever wish for and today is our four year anniversary.  We went out to dinner last night (he works away and flew back to work today) and we are going to Cirque du Soleil the weekend after this one. 

How awesome is all that?!

I am so lucky that all of the above is going so well, and a minor hiccup (we'll call it minor because I'm not dying and there are many, many people worse off than me) in the health department is not going to interrupt things.  No siree!  This year is still my year. 

Also, I am on holidays in less than a week!  Woohoo!  Sleep ins, here I come :)

Friday, 8 April 2011

This week I'm grateful for...

Two weeks ago I went for a blood test because I was feeling a bit more tired than usual and wanted to get my iron levels and thryoid checked as I try to do every couple of years due to past problems with iron levels and family history of thyroid conditions.  The doctor phoned me two days after that to get me in for the results as soon as I could get there that day, so I knew something was up.  I wasn't expecting anything major, perhaps my thyroid was underactive, maybe I had very low iron levels.  But the doctor gave me Very Big Unexpected News instead - my white blood cell count was at 73,000 and normal levels are 11,000.  They suspected Leukaemia.  I was sent straight to see a Haemotologist the next day and more blood tests two days after that and a bone marrow biopsy earlier this week.  When I went in for the biopsy the haemotologist told me the blood tests had confirmed it.  I have Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML).. 

It's all been a bit of a whirlwind couple of weeks for me and my head space is only just starting to function normally.  Wednesday I was very down and flat (results and bone marrow biopsy the day before) but yesterday and today I have felt much happier and more normal.  I feel that I am coping quite well considering.  There have only been two or three small lots of tears, and no ranting or raving.  There has been some quiet time, lots of discussions with my partner, long chats with family and close friends.  There have been some flat days and days that are a bit of a blur but I have my results now and I'm not left hanging for weeks, and medication doesn't start for another week or two so life is continuing as normal for now.  My last patch of pre-Leukaemia life, before everything else starts and things change while I get used to the medication and any side effects that come with it.  I'm trying to make the most of it!

So the grateful awards this week are going to...

... having the 'good' Leukaemia which is manageable by tablets which, if they work as they are supposed to, means I can lead a pretty much normal life and should prevent it from developing into a more severe form of Leukaemia which requires chemotherapy.

... modern day medicine and the advances they are making every day.  The medication I will be taking for the rest of my life to control my white blood cells has only been available since 2000.  It has increased the life expectancy of people with my disease enormously.  I am very very thankful for this.

... my partner, who will probably from now on be known as My Rock (MR), who is continuing his very high levels of support and unflappability in the face of some scary news.

... things not being as bad as TV makes them out to be.  Bone marrow biopsies look really scary and incredibly painful on Grey's Anatomy.  They are not too bad and they give you good forgetful unconcerned-making drugs in real life.

... all the people around me who have needed to know - work, family, close friends.  Lots of support and ears to talk to.

In other, everyday life, I am also grateful for it being the weekend, finally!  For cleaners coming to clean our house tomorrow so that I don't have to (although, I do have to pay them but it is well worth not having to do it myself), for a quiet weekend planned, with a trip to the hairdressers, a new couch being delivered and a stack of books waiting to be read whilst snuggling down in its new cushionyness and for my sister coming over tomorrow to help me do some more unpacking.

Many more grateful hits over at Maxabella's

Thursday, 7 April 2011

This morning...

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain.

This morning I woke up from a good quality nine and a half hour sleep.

This morning I woke up feeling much more positive and balanced.

This morning I woke up feeling happy.

Friday, 1 April 2011

This week I'm grateful for...

This week I'm exceedingly, overwhelmingly, completely absolutely grateful for so many very important things.

- the fact that I haven't buckled and fallen in a heap (yet) after hearing some VBUN (Very Big Unexpected News)

- having such a wonderful, fantastic, strong, supportive man in my life whose first (admitted with a little prodding about what he was thinking/feeling) stress about this news was how we were going to manage mortgage repayments when he had to tell work he needed time off to look after me.

- having the above mentioned rock home when all this happened.  It's easier to be strong with support right there beside you

- the relief we felt when we heard things aren't quite as dramatic as the picture certain words create in your mind

- having strong loving arms to hold me when I did cave in to a very short first (no doubt of many) bout of tears

- my sister, who has been exceedingly normal about the whole thing and has coined a new nickname for me in honour of my new, mutated chromosones, status.  And who is also taking a day off to take me to, from and look after me after a test next week to confirm everything

- the ability to stay positive and find the silver lining (how ironic given the title of this brand new 'pre-VBUN' blog) as well as finding a bit of humour in some way too serious and depressing stuff

Apologies for the obscurity and vagueness.  More information will follow post diagnosis but I am just ever so very very very grateful right now and need to focus on all those wonderful reasons to be grateful so that I don't fall into that deep dark hole I feel like I am balancing on the edge of.

If you haven't already had your fill of gratefulness from my very long list, head over to Maxabella's for more.