New Beginnings

February 12, 2013 § 2 Comments

549495_10151013240261024_1824506590_n2013 is the year for new beginnings.  It is the year for fresh challenges, new energies and a future that is about looking forward to better things.  Notwithstanding how tough 2012 was, I guess I feel like I have learnt a lot – about myself as much as anything else.  And in that respect I feel grateful and indeed proud to know that even as I get older there is more to learn.  After all, life is a journey and it would be terribly boring if the landscape was dull and the road predictable. When things are  easy the temptation is always to be  complacent and expectant – that things will just be OK.  And in the end OK is enough –  by default it is the standard.    In my view OK is simply not good enough  – and for that I am grateful that my life has been nothing short of extraordinary – tough lots of times but worth it all the same.

So in  writing this note I want to reflect on what I have learnt in what is easily the toughest year of my life.

The trials and tribulations of 2012 have taught me:

  • Never doubt your own strength. You will be as strong as you need to be  – strength draws its reserves from unknown places.
  • We will get through even the darkest moments and at some time, when we are ready, we are amazed and proud of our resilience.
  • Resilience is what we admire in other people even though we take it for granted in ourself.  It is by far one of the most under-rated capabilities we have. We need to recognise it as a gift and draw on it when nothing else is left.
  • Family and friends are forever. They are everything.
  • People who are false, eventually just disappear out of your life – they can’t match your honestly.
  • Our mind is a  wonderful and powerful thing.  I choose to see the glass half full. I choose to be well and positive. I choose to make my own future.  I choose my destiny and am not defined by my failures.
  • I can let go –  lose nothing and gain strength.
  • Some people will always be victims and I am not one of them.
  • When your hair falls out so does some of your confidence.  When it grows back, it takes much longer for the confidence to reemerge.
  • Some doctors you trust with your life  – others you leave for others to trust.
  • The world goes on even when I don’t work at a million miles and hour.
  • Everything I experience is in the perspective of my life’s journey.  It is a mosaic of my complexities, of light and shade, of colors and riches, of cracks and chips – but it is what it is and it is worth the effort of holding it together.

There you have somethings that I got out of last year.  On the practical side – nausea passes, hair grows back, your appetite returns, your mouth eventually stops hurting,the flavour of food returns, life goes on – and on.

So now the final update

  • Katherine got through year 12 with an excellent score and is off to Sydney University in a couple of weeks to study Diagnostic Radiography. I will be on my own at home and that is a challenge I am surprisingly happy to face at the moment.
  • My cancer has gone into remission  – for how long is any one’s guess but the hope is it is for a few years – maybe forever, but Im not really thinking about that
  • I am working again.  I have set up another business but am also contemplating full time employment – maybe even a sea change.  I am open to all possibilities this year
  • I have written down a secret list of what I want to get out of this year – I would share it with you all but then it wouldn’t be a secret and I have learned that sometimes you just have to wait and see.

So life is busy and full again – but not too full for me to reflect on how important it is to make time for yourself and to never take things for granted.

Writing this blog with Sus has been a lifeline – it was just the writing that mattered. Not that anyone was listening.  It is amazing just how therapeutic it is just to hear yourself articulate your thoughts – in words and in print.  never under estimate the power of conversation.  And that is where it all started – the desire to start a conversation.  And for now there is not much else to say  – except thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone that joined in.

All my love and I wish you all a happy and fulfilling life.  I know that mine is.

Suz xxxxxxxx

Our Nominations for the Liebster award

January 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

The Liebster Award

As part of the Liebster Award, nominees are required to make nominations for the blogs they feel should be recognized. There are so many great blogs to choose from so……where do I begin? There are some bloggers that work diligently to make people think and reflect; I believe that is what bloggers are supposed to do. First, a little information about the award and some formalities.

About the Liebster Award

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you.  Thank you   Artofstumbling
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

The following is a combined response from Suz and Sus:

Eleven random facts about us.

  1. I used to hate my curly hair but now I quite like it / I am a science addict
  2. I am a workaholic and ashamed of it / I was an amateur astronomer as a child and wanted to be taken away by aliens
  3. I used to be a competitive athlete when I was in my late teens / I am a pantheist
  4. I had a dog once that I called after a Charles Dickens character: Mr Micawber / I am an advocate of animal rights and believe all things in the universe are equal (ALL things)
  5. I have never had a broken bone – although have had some cracked ribs as a result of a bike accident / I was a vegetarian for 30 years until I got dermatomyositis and now I eat fish for the protein but im going back to being a vegetarian as soon as im well again as I HATE eating animals – it feels wrong
  6. I feel that I am getting old and I don’t like it
  7. I went to a catholic secondary college when I was a kid
  8. I am just about the only one of my school friends that has moved away from the state I was born in
  9. I feel frustrated with my own abilities  – enough is never good enough
  10. I am a half glass full person – most of the time
  11. I love burning candles around my house

Our answers to the questions posed to us 

1. What’s your favourite book?

  • JD Salinger. Catcher in the Rye
  •  Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

2. Your favourite film?

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Contact

3. Do you have any nicknames?

  • Suzzie
  • Boob

4. Do you play any musical instruments?

  • No – but I did start to learn the piano once in my 20s
  • No – Ive tried many and failed dismally

5. Have you ever had surgery?

  • Yes – had some cancerous stuff extracted
  • Yes – an arthoscopy on my knee

6. What’s your favourite food?

  •  Smoked Salmon  – with capers on fresh bread and with cream cheese !!!!!!
  • I don’t have one

7. What are you afraid of?

  • Heights, snakes, sharks – anything scary
  • Spiders and foolish humans

8. What’s your proudest moment?

  • Giving birth to my daughter – no question about it

9. Your favourite item of clothing?

  • A beautiful cream dress that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn

10. Your favourite song?

  • Moon River

11. Favorite TV Show?

  • Spooks

Our Nominations:

http://jillinoisrn.com

http://highinbrixham.wordpress.com

http://franksdermatomyositisjournal.blogspot.co.uk/

http://superherounderpants.com/

http://nikilee766.wordpress.com/

http://rescuerover.wordpress.com/

http://myitchybubble.wordpress.com/

Our Questions

  1. What was the name of your first pet?
  2. What was the first album/CD you ever purchased?
  3. Would you rather eat out or have a home cooked meal at home?
  4. What’s your favorite flower?
  5. What house chore do you absolutely loathe doing?
  6. What is your favorite country to visit?
  7. What flavor ice-cream do you like the most?
  8. What is your idea of being decadent?
  9. Who is the person you admire most in your life?
  10. If you could choose a different job or career what would it be?
  11. What style of music do you like the most??

Full Stop. New Paragraph

January 1, 2013 § 3 Comments

Well today is the first day of 2013.  Another year has come and gone  – one with lots of challenges, a few tears, lost hopes and a few more endings.

I have decided to welcome the new year simply.  Reflecting on 2012 I have been very tempted to write it off as one to forget.  But when thinking about writing this blog – a few days ago – I concluded that rather than wipe the slate clean I would simply get it into perspective.   It is tough love sometimes and I guess I would put 2012 into that category.  It wasn’t just the cancer but a range of other very difficult personal and professional challenges that together made 2012 a year I was keen to draw to a close.   However, having always subscribed to the view that whatever comes our way is what makes us the people we are, I am resolved to reflect on 2012 as one of those years that in the journey of one’s life, was simply an energy sapping detour. So to 2012 I punctuate with a decisive full stop and poise the pen for the next paragraph of 2013.

Experience has taught me that luck and opportunity are things we make for ourselves.  While I am still grappling with a fussy brain,  poor memory and no hair I feel as determined as ever to make my own luck and opportunities count this year.   I remain positive that this next phase will be a good one – as I am sure many others in the world do.

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Happy Christmas or whatever it is you celebrate !!!

December 23, 2012 § 3 Comments

 

 

 

 

 

To all our family, friends and readers

I hope you have the most wonderful of celebrations – whatever it is that you celebrate at this time of year.  No matter what has gone before, Christmas holds the magnificent opportunity for peace and love.  Since I can remember it has been a special time in the life of my family.  I hope ti is for yours as well.

Merry Christmas and thank you for all your wonderful support.

Love Suz x

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A holiday before the holidays

December 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve just had a little holiday break after my treatment.  You don’t realize how fantastic a holiday is and how much you need it until you take it !!! Even though the last few months have not involved much hard work, the ability to just get away and change the routine is itself refreshingly therapeutic.  While of course not much happens when you are  unwell, I never felt quite comfortable  doing nothing – not being pre-occupied with something ‘meaningful’.  For some reason being on holiday gives you permission to escape from all the things you usually worry about.  If nothing else – this is why holidays are a MUST !!!!  Let’s face it, the worries will be waiting when you get back (as I have found out all too quickly).  We really need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

Anyway my list of the ten best things about holidays:

  1. Eating fresh fish and chips
  2. Being anonymous
  3. You can’t get an internet connection
  4. It doesn’t matter what the weather is – you can relax whatever happens
  5. Reading the papers – from front to back over more than one day
  6. Going out for breakfast
  7. Walking along the beach
  8. Slowing down – literally !!!!
  9. Going to bed late
  10. 10. Not having to clean the house

By the way – am still bald !!!!!


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Missing in Action

December 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well my apologies.  I have without a doubt been missing in action.  It has been a busy time for me of late – my daughter finishing school and all the various celebratory events that go with that; my last chemo; then my last two does of rituximab (sorry forgot how to spell it); my visit to the haematologist; trying to find some work and in the last week, taking a short break with my family on the western australian coast.  So it has very much been facing up to trying to manage all the other realities in my life and not feeling bombarded.  So maybe the best thing to do is to just reflect on some of these over the course of a couple of blog entries.

Well Katherine finished school a couple of weeks ago.  What a milestone that was for us all.  I am very proud of how she has managed her own issues to get to the end of the year.  It has been a tough one for her as well.  I have to say that there were several times – dating back to the start of the year – that we didn’t think she would make it through the year having to battle the demons of anorexia.  As I have said before it is such an awfully insidious disease.  Anyway, through sheer strength, determination and courage Katherine made it through and while her final results are not in yet and we won’t know which university course she gets admitted to until the new year, she has done exceptionally well.  Her determination to work hard and get terrific results constantly surprises me – and for someone so young, her strength and focus is inspirational.  She is working hard to beat the anorexia and I am sure that with the focus she has – that will happen.  We would all like it to happen quicker than it will of course, but these things take time.  She is also working in a local cafe these days – since just after her exams and is really enjoying that.  It is giving her a sense of achievement and, of course some cash, so that all goes some way to help her feel better about herself.  I say that while also wondering why it is that such a beautiful girl both in character and looks and with so many wonderful qualities, could ever think otherwise.  Her beautiful red hair, fine features and pearly pale complexion which I treasure so much and which make her the beautiful girl she is – are not features that she values.  Life is cruel sometimes.  It plays tricks on all of us.

To the Real Celebrities

November 17, 2012 § 5 Comments

Yesterday I went to this fund raising lunch to support research into depression.  The guest speaker was a relatively prominent member of a national football code.  His talk was interesting, a good speaker and personable enough but to be honest the content was pretty shallow. While  I have no doubt he suffered from a depressive episode his recovery sounded as simple as waking up one day, deciding not to be depressed, going for a jog around the block, changing his diet and getting back on track with his professional football career.  Thankfully for him, he only had to see a psychologist  4 or 5 times and he didn’t require any medication.    Of course the audience ( most of it) found his talk ‘inspiring’ and his honesty in ‘outing’ his illness similarly inspirational.

Perhaps I am a sceptic but having suffered multiple episodes of depression throughout my life (including years of medication), two incidents of anorexia nervosa (including a three month hospitalisation), domestic violence/abuse at the hands of a partner, several failed relationships, at least two failed businesses, significant financial loss, cancer and a daughter who herself suffers from mental illness (depression and anxiety)  – I couldn’t help but think that neither he nor the audience had any real insight into the reality of depression and mental illness more generally.   I know that people look to celebrities as sort of role models including as evidence of strength against adversity, but there are so many more of us that really experience very serious life challenges and who manage to get through them pretty much by ourselves and with our families, whose efforts go unnoticed.  This is not to say that I think we all need this kind of celebrity attention, but that there are many of us who should simply give ourselves more credit for facing and overcoming the challenges we face – sometimes on a daily basis.  I say this because I know there are many people who read this blog who deserve that acknowledgment and who should be proud of the simple achievements they have made.  You guys are the real celebrities.  Cheers to you !!!!