21st and 22nd September 2010
We woke to a light fog that hung gracefully in the Canberra skies, almost like a Bride's veil, however as we drove towards the AIS it had lifted completly and revealed what can only be described as a glorious Spring day, the perfect day for running, apart from the fact that being Spring there were many pollens floating along through the air.
Jarrett had come home from school the day before with itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose, an antihistamine helped a little but he was not one hundred per cent, he seems to be having the run of bad luck at the present time. His first race was the 1500m, the paediatrician had told him to run it comfortably at around 80% of his usual pace and not to push himself too much. The gun went off and he lead the pack of fifteen year old boys and girls, another boy Riley was running virtually neck and neck or just behind Jarrett for most of the race and then in the last four hundred and fifty metres he took off, Jarrett could have easily taken off after him but he followed the paediatricians instructions and ran easily. He ran a time of 4:31:36 which was a good time and he came second, he was smiling when he finished and had no problems breathing at all, it had been a gentle run for him with no asthma difficulties, he was so relieved.
The sun was so wonderful, its warm rays assisted my bones, although I was still in pain it was not as severe as it is on colder days. I had a lady from Sydney who does the classifications for Athletes with a Disability come and talk to me. She said that she felt that I should be a lower classification than the provisional one that I have been given, she was going to contact someone to have them do a face to face assessment as soon as possible so I can compete in the Interclub Competition at the AIS which commences in October. She also coaches athletes with a disability and she said she was so impressed with my courage and determination to do my athletics and she said she was sure that I would be competing at the Paralympics! How exciting would that be, Jarrett has a goal to compete for Australia at the Commonwealth and Olympic games and I could be there too showing athletes with a disability that no matter what you go through in life you can continue to compete in the sport you love.
It was then time for Jarrett's next event which was the 800m, this distance is a little short for Jarrett, he is a much better longer distance runner, for him the 800m is a sprint. It was a curved line start which means that all competitors in the race start along the line, when the gun went off Jarrett found he was boxed in and had a dreadful start. Around the back straight he put down the accelerator and pulled ahead of the pack, however Lachie who is the best 800m runner in their age group was ahead and although Jarrett ran well, he had no chance of catching Lachie who has terrific speed. Jarrett came second again in a time of 2:11:64 which he was reasonably happy with, he had thought he had a personal best as he went across the line but this time was not quite. Once again he had followed the paediatricians instructions and only ran at 80% of his normal pace and although he was a little tight in his throat, he had not had an asthma attack. I was so excited for him, because he came second he has now qualified for both events in the ACT Championships which are on 4th November, by then his asthma and his vocal cord dysfunction should be well and truly sorted out and he will be able to run at 100%.
Although I had enjoyed watching Jarrett run and being in the splendiferous Spring weather, I was virtually falling asleep in my wheelchair, just cheering Jarrett on had exhausted me. Even though the sun had been on me for the day, my ankle had become extremely painful again. When we came home, I had a sleep but woke with a headache, it is probably from the sun. We had a quiet night, Mum, Nalani and Jarrett had to go to parent teacher interviews, so I spent half an hour with Dad playing Upwords. Then Mum and I worked on my French dialogue for the assessment, I wrote it on a palm card to practise it but was not able to do it off by heart.
I fell asleep quickly but woke intermittently throughout the entire night feeling uncomfortable with pain and stiffening joints. I was also extremely nervous about my French Assessment which was today. When I woke I found that I knew my dialogue off by heart and was amazed, I had left it on my bedside table overnight, maybe that had been the secret to why I was not able to do it last night but could do it perfectly this morning.
The weather today was not quite as glorious as yesterday but the sun was shinning and then hiding behind the clouds making it that little chilly at times. I had butterflies in my stomach and my hands were shaking as we headed to school. It was almost as bad as going through chemotherapy, I remember I was so nervous each time, even though I tried not to be. The teacher was playing French music for atmosphere in the classroom and he played the distinguished French Waiter Role. I began to feel as if I was going to vomit and was willing it to be my turn. Finally he came to our table and I ordered in French - I said "Bonjour, Je voudrais le chocolat chaud, j'adore le chocolat chaud", I was going to say more but because he had to get around the whole class I missed out on my ending part, however he came back to me at the end and asked what else I was going to say and I told him - "parce-que c'est delicieux! Merci!", he was really impressed and said I did a terrific job. What I had said in my dialogue was - "Hello, I would like a hot chocolate, I adore hot chocolate because it is delicious. Thank you". The hot chocolate was actually really very rich and I ended up giving half of it to Mum as it was just a little too strong for my stomach. So all my butterflies and nerves were really nothing to worry about, Mum told me she was so proud of how I had done.
I then had textiles and we made our own loom using wool, builders string line, a special loom card and a keyring. I actually discovered that a wheelchair is extremely useful for doing this type of activity, while other people had to have calico around their back and use their backs to provide tension, I used the arms of my wheelchair and while other students backs become tired and sore, I found it easy. The loom had holes and slits and some of the builders string line went in the holes the alternate pieces of line went through the slits, when it was moved up you weaved through the strings that were attached to the holes and when the loom was pulled down you weaved through the string that was through the slits. I thoroughly enjoyed my textiles lesson today and was so excited to hear that knitting is our first task next term.
Today I had my appointment with my paediatrician, he went over what we had discussed last appointment and then we talked about new issues like my seizures, which he is certain they are absence seizures, caused by the tumour and treatment. He thinks that the prolonged pain and loss of muscle after the seizure is a complication of the treatment. He weighed and measured me and told me I have grown a few centimetres and have put on 500g in weight which he said he is extremely pleased about I am now 147.5cm tall and weigh 28.8kg. He also said that I am not to put full weight on my ankle for a couple more weeks and once I can to take it steady. He was very excited about Rhiannon getting me a rollator and said it is a definite step forward. My right side is relatively weaker than my left again and he agreed with my radiotherapy doctor about the fatigue for some people it is almost like a chronic fatigue syndrome after treatment for cancer. My tumour has changed shape however it is hard to determine whether it has enlarged, future MRI's will determine that. He had not heard from my oncologist who had said he was going to contact him, so he said he was going to write to him and fill him in on his opinion. I have to go back to see him in three months unless I am having any new issues or my seizures become worse. My oncologist and the Team in Sydney want me to go back in October and stay for at least three weeks for more tests, however my paediatrician feels that some of the tests could be done here, as he thinks that being home around family and friends is the best form of treatment, he also said in a cancer journey everyone is different and it has not even been twelve months since my intense treatment finished and he thinks considering the extent of my tumour, surgery and treatment I am doing reasonably well.
When I came home, I entered some competitions on the Total Girl website, played Upwords, decorated the photo frame for Mum's Birthday and made her a card, before having a rest, today had been quite a full day and it had taken its toll on me. After doing the card and photo frame I also found that my right hand had weakened again, I think I over used it.
'Beginning today and lasting a lifetime, don't be afraid to feel like the stars are shinning brightly just for you'