Friday, June 24, 2011


18th to 24th June 2011

This has been a week of many storms, dark clouds have not only filled our skies here bringing rain, blizzard like winds, sleet and flakes of soft white snow but our lives have also been touched by clouds bringing much sadness. 

Jarrett could not compete in the ACT Cross Country Championships because of his croup, my goal had been to compete at them also but was unable to due to my stress fracture and Nalani's rehabilitation was not quite at the level to be able to race either.  Instead Jarrett and I were spectators and Nalani assisted as a recorder at the event.  Next year we are all hoping to be able to compete together and show everyone just what we are all capable of.

Sunday Mum, Nalani and I were all been treated to a special pamper day which Camp Quality had invited us to.  We had an early start at the Diamant Hotel where we were told we were going on a little mystery trip to do something special.  We piled into the Camp Quality Van with other excited Mums and daughters, our mystery surprise was that we were having a jewellery making session at The Bead Barn at Federation Square.  We made a necklace and earrings, we got to choose which beads we wanted to use, I chose red and black and used gold string and clasps, the lady running the class said my choice was very regal.  We had a splendiferous time although I held everyone up as I was a little slow with my fine motor skills but no one seemed to mind.  After we finished our jewellery making we were taken back to The Diamant Hotel for lunch, it was a Spanish Tappers meal, where you get several dishes to sample, when the food arrived it looked liked something out of Master Chef, some of the dishes I found a little too spicy for me however I especially loved the dessert which was a stick made of doughnut and coated liberally with cinnamon sugar and you could dip it in chocolate, it was absolutely scrumptious.  After a creamy hot chocolate we were then taken away for our special pamper, Nalani and I had our makeup done, I don't wear makeup but it was fun having it done, I felt like a model and so did Nalani and she looked really gorgeous.  Then Nalani got to have her hair done, she had some loose curls done and they looked really pretty.  Unfortunately, I could not have my hair done because I have virtually no hair.  I am so lucky to have all my beautiful wigs so that I can have whatever hairstyle, colour or length I wish to have.  Mum was treated to a facial and she glowed after having it, she told us that she had not had one done in over twenty years.  The Diamant Hotel is a heritage listed building and it is unbelievably majestic.  The whole day felt like a fairytale and we felt so fortunate to be given the opportunity to be part of it. 

We had nearly not gone though because just before we were about to leave to go we received the unexpected and shocking news that my Grandad, who is my Dad's father had passed away.  It was so sad, and left us all quite numb.  He passed away on 19th June, the next day would have been his Birthday.  One comfort for us all was that he did not suffer, he just went to bed on the Saturday night and did not wake up on Sunday morning.

This is a special verse I found that I think is so lovely and I dedicate it to my Grandad.

'We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone;
for part of us went with you the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide,
and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side.
Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same,
but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.'

Dad has spent the week in Brisbane, we were not able to go but our hearts will always hold Grandad close.

At school we are winding down, as next week is our last week of Term 2, in Science we were looking at pulley's and how the more pulley's you add then the less effort you have to use so even someone like my teacher would be able to remove a car engine if there were heaps of pulleys with little effort.  In English we are now doing work on Macbeth and we looked at the Banquet Scene when Macbeth saw the ghost of Banquo.  In Maths we are just doing revision work with numbers, fractions and ratio's.

Nalani had the rest of her Year 12 exams this week and after doing an AST practise today she has now finished school for this Term, lucky her, she has four weeks holidays.  Jarrett is actually also doing Macbeth so we have been able to share ideas and thoughts about it. 

The cold weather has brought many illnesses to Canberra and on returning to school, I have now picked up another infection, I have a terrible middle ear infection, it is extremely painful and whenever I swallow my ears pop and throb.  I am again on antibiotics to try to clear it up, I think the holidays will give my body the chance to try to recuperate and hopefully I won't be as ill next Term. The weather is supposed to improve over the weekend, with frost overnight but beautiful crystal clear days with pleasant temperatures. 

I had physiotherapy today and every time I see Rhiannon I am so grateful to have such a talented and wise physiotherapist looking after my welfare.  My heel is slowly mending but I am still unable to put full weight on it with stabbing pain, it is only five weeks on Sunday since I injured it though so I must remain patient and it will mend.  Today I had a tight achilles and calf which felt so wonderful when they were released then I did some upper body work with weights to help continue strengthening my upper body, when I do any exercises I notice that my right side is weaker than my left, this will remain with me always but I can make it as strong as it can possibly be by doing the exercises that Rhiannon gives me, I do them everyday.  So many people are often given tasks to do like physiotherapy exercises but have a million and one excuses not to do them, yet the only way to help yourself is to make yourself do them because it will pay off in the long run.

I had a dreadful week in footy tipping, I only got two right, Nana got five and she is now only four points behind me, I must admit I am a little concerned now, Nana said her good fortune came because her Birthday was on 21st June, then Pop requested extra points because his Birthday is not during football season but both Nana and I firmly told him NO!  I  do hope that I do a little better this week, I am very disappointed that Benji has a knee injury and I am hoping that the Tigers can find inner strength to beat the Bulldogs.

Earlier in the Blog I mentioned our fairytale day at The Diamant Hotel, late yesterday afternoon there was a destructive raging fire there, no one was injured in the blaze which was so lucky, there were five fire pumpers, a Bronto Skylift hydraulic platform and a specialist breathing apparatus unit brought in to fight the massive fire.  Smoke billowed over the city as one of the two buildings which make up the complex burned and many key roads were blocked.  Today they are saying that 85% of the Hotel was damaged, they are hoping to rebuild it in the future and they are investigating how it happened.

So as you can see this week has been quite a devastating one, filled with storms, however in the back of my mind I always keep remembering that after a storm there is always a rainbow, so hopefully next week will see a huge rainbow to take away the pain. 

Friday, June 17, 2011


11th to 17th June 2011

We were extremely lucky to have a long weekend to celebrate the Queens Birthday, our weather improved and we were treated to some sunshine on Saturday which was fortunate because Jarrett was running in a Cross Country Point Score Event, it was a 3km one on a very hilly, gravel course.  It was his first race since his asthma attack and I knew that he was fairly anxious before the start.  He had a terrific start and led the field  through the croaked eucalyptus trees, up the first hill and out of sight.  A smile formed on my face when we spotted him coming back, running strongly to win by over one minute.  In fact it was hard to say who had the largest smile, me because I was so happy he had not had any problems and was running, well to me when he runs it is like he is flying, Mum because she is so close to us and feels all our pain and excitement or Jarrett whose smile was one of relief and joy.

Sunday we went to running training, the morning started off sunny and still but towards the end it had become dreadfully dark and gloomy with strong, gusty winds.  Nalani managed to actually do some running, six months after major knee surgery she has worked so courageously and determinedly to make it to this point.  I think that her smile on this day matched all of ours from the day before. 

This week was week seven at school, we only have two more weeks until School Holidays and then we get a three week break which I think many students will need because with our drastically cold weather there is so many illnesses going around.  In Integrated Studies the class are still working on problem based solving questions, in English we are looking at various aspects of Shakespeare works and in Science our Physics unit and we looked at levers, I also had to do a Science test which was extremely demanding as most of the questions required quite detailed answers and I am so slow at handwriting. 

When you are at school and have low immunity you can very easily pick up any germs that are present in the air, I have ended up with another cold, after I have barely recovered from my bout of bronchitis.  I am not the only one though, Jarrett has a viral infection and croup, he has been rather unwell and has had to miss running training, school and this weekend is unable to run in the Athletics ACT Cross Country Championships this weekend,  which of course he is devastated about.  Earlier in the Year I had a goal to compete in this event also but of course with my stress fracture which is still healing I am not able to achieve that goal however I have set that same goal for next year now. 

Nalani has begun her Year 12 exams, she is constantly studying as she hopes to do exceptionally well in her subjects, she has already done her PE exam and her Maths exam, next week she has her other exams then has an AST practise on Friday, once that is over she is finished school for this Term, so she actually gets a longer holiday than Jarrett and I.  This afternoon she sang with the choir and they were live on the radio, the song they sang was called They Rhythm of Life. 

Today the day started off with the sun streaming in the windows promising a delightful Winter day, however the sun was teasing us because as the day progressed the weather deteriorated quickly, low, heavy grey clouds appeared and suddenly the temperature dropped, then sleet began to fall ever so gently like little chips of ice that melted as soon as they touched the ground that the earlier sun had warmed.  The icy winds then whipped up even making ripples in the bird bath out the front, it was truly a cold Winters day.

There is a very special person that I would like to ask you to pray for, it is Chris and his family, he did the interview with me on Stateline, he is not well at the moment, he is another extraordinary person who has been given a difficult journey and I hope that with our prayers he will be able to go through his journey more easily.

I have heard tonight from my Endocrinologist and I am afraid to say it is not all good news, some of my some recent tests show that I have a growth hormone deficiency which I will need to have injections everyday for which Mum will have to administer however approval has to go through for them before I can begin them.  I also have extremely high cholesterol, problems with my liver function, some thyroid issues and an insulin resistance. There is one concern with giving me growth hormones and that is that they can cause tumours to become aggressive and there is concern about the remaining tumour however if I don't have them then there are several other serious issues that could arise so they will try the growth hormones and see what happens.  More challenges but they will only make me stronger, I have learnt that been positive and seeing a challenge as a positive on this journey has been important.  You have to try to have a positive outlook on your life and those little aches and pains are nothing compared to what some other people are going through.

Friday, June 10, 2011


4th to 10th June 2011

As many States in Australia are experiencing their coldest winter temperatures in years, Canberra has not been left out.  From Monday through to Wednesday we suffered arctic temperatures that truly brought tears to your eyes and made your bones ache.  At 3pm on Wednesday our temperature was a mere 3 degrees but with the dreadful icy winds it felt like 1.3 degrees, that was unbelievable and definitely a day to stay indoors rugged up in warm clothes and consuming hot drinks.  We are now expecting a couple of more pleasant days before showers and rain for the remainder of the coming week.

Saturday was Jarrett's 16th Birthday, we made his day extra special just like he is, we went to lunch and had a delicious meal that just melted in your mouth at a place called Joey's in Watson and after dinner we had a scrumptious tiramasu cake. 

On Monday it was ACT Schools Cross Country Championships, although the weather started off with the sun shinning as the day progressed it became cloudy and the temperature plummeted.  I rugged up warmly but the wind seemed to still sneak through all my layers.  It was time for Jarrett's race he is in the 16/17 Males ages group, this means that he is running against boys who are a year older than him.  I wished Jarrett good luck and watched him walk towards the start line, there was a huge field been two age groups combined, the starter said go and they took off.  Jarrett had to run 6km, which was three laps of the 2km Stromlo Course, after the first lap three of them had broken away from the rest of the field with two other boys a little distance away, Jarrett was in that group of three.  After the second lap it was the same, Jarrett looked to be running so well I was extremely excited for him.  As they came out of the last loop of the last lap I saw two boys running but Jarrett was not one of them, then I saw him not too far back I wondered if his legs had become tired.  In the end he came third, he was the second boy in his age group I was so proud of him. Unfortunately he had had another serious asthma attack, he said it happened with just 1km to go as he took off but his chest tightened and restricted his breathing and he found he could not breath properly and became worried.  The attack was not as severe as the one he had in Brisbane last August but it is always frightening to see that happen to him, Lachie who helped him in Brisbane was there checking on him again.  Jarrett was so disappointed and frustrated, he saw the doctor who said that unfortunately with asthma sometimes extremes in weather can affect it  like cold, heat and humidity and that is what had occurred, so he now has to run with his ventolin in poor weather conditions just in case.  The doctor checked his lungs and heart and everything is perfectly fine with them so that is great news. 

I could not go to school this week because I have been rather unwell, I have bronchitis which is an acute inflammation of the air passages within the lungs. It occurs when the trachea (windpipe) and the large and small bronchi (airways) within the lungs become inflamed because of infection.  I am on antibiotics and have to use inhalers called ventolin and seretide, when I cough especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon into the evening it hurts my chest and the cough is so bad it almost makes me vomit.  I guess it was a good week to be told by the doctors to stay indoors and away from school where I could also pick up another infection.  I am still not feeling very well and coughing up masses of mucous which I wonder where it is all coming from

I had physiotherapy today, I am not allowed to put weight onto my heel yet, but I am able to do some upper body exercises, it will be another couple of weeks before I am able to put weight onto my heel, I will then have to take things carefully.  I know that Rhiannon will help me rehabilitate and become strong again so that I will be able to reach the goals that I set myself.

Poor Dad he came home from work on Tuesday and when we saw him we were horrified because he had injured himself, he had a huge, deep cut from the corner of his right eye all the way down his cheek, he told us he had caught it on a piece of timber.  He did not need stitches but had to have a tetanus injection and steristrips put on the deepest part of the cut.  It looks really dreadful and painful although Dad says it is not and he now has a terrible black and purple bruise as well. 

Amidst all the drama of the week Jarrett had his Year 10 exams from Tuesday to Thursday on two of the days he had three exams in one day, he was very tired by the end of them and pleased they were over, Nalani begins her Year 12 exams for this Semester on Thursday next week, her exams are over two weeks, she is spending the long weekend studying.  

Nalani is singing with the School Choir next Friday and they are going to be broadcast on ABC 666 in the afternoon live, they are signing from 4.00 to 4.30pm.  I love listening to the choir they sound so beautiful and it is always exciting to see Nalani sing at special events.

In the footy tips I am still winning, Nana is now coming second and poor Pop is coming last, he keeps asking for some extra points because he is behind and when he had a tooth taken out this week he asked if he could get some extra points for that, both Nana and I told him - No!

I hope that you all have a wonderful long weekend, stay warm and keep well.

Remember even when the skies are grey if we look into our hearts we can find warmth and happiness to turn those grey skies to blue.

Friday, June 3, 2011


28th May to 3rd June 2011

This week Winter began, we were fortunate to have glorious days with the sun shinning and just a slight chill to the air but I think that is all about to change next week as forecasts of only eleven degrees are predicted.  Winter may be cold but it is also a special time because it is Jarrett's 16th Birthday on the 4th of June and my Nana's Birthday on the shortest day of the year, the 21st of June. 

On the weekend I could not go for my walk with my rollator because of my stress fracture, however when Jarrett was doing his running training  at Stromlo I was acting as Nalani's coach, guiding her in her running, telling her to watch her arms and to not drag her feet as she ran. I also taped out a beat for her on my leg so that she could work out a pace.  On the Sunday Mum pushed me in my wheelchair around the perimeter of the AIS and I breathed in the fresh scents of the early morning air, it was refreshing.

At school we have again been extremely busy, I had a Maths test on the Monday during the double period, it is extremely difficult for me to cope with test situations, they are so strenuous for me, my eyes began to flicker endlessly and pins and needles started to run up and down my right arm.  It is so frustrating to have all this happen when you are attempting to do a test.  At the completion of the test, I was utterly exhausted and unfortunately had a seizure where I experienced pain in my right arm, felt so strange, then found that my arm had dropped and I was weak and so tired, I had to sleep.  My eyes had dilated and my body had gone limp, luckily by the evening I had made a recovery except I felt very weakened. 

In English we are now looking at Shakespeare, we were doing some work on Romeo and Juliet which is a romantic tragedy.  We are also going to do Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice, sometimes the language is extremely complex and often it can become rather confusing.  I have finished writing my moral tale for the Year 1 and 2 classes, I am so excited about the finished product, for illustrations I took photographs on my digital camera, I used my bears to tell the story and it looks brilliant. 

I have almost finished my art sculpture, papermache can be very messy and sticky and trying to papermache around fingers of the gloves was actually quite challenging.  I am now up to painting it, my base is blue, like the sea and my hands appear to be coming out of the sea reaching as if in prayer to the sky, I have used a bright yellow for the hands.  I thought that a quote for my emotion could be:  'having the emotion of hope in your heart is like rising out of a deep, dark sea of hopelessness and reaching up to touch the brightest, glistening star in the vast sky of hope'.

My heel has remained excruciatingly painful, especially if I attempt to put any weight on it, I actually almost jump out of my skin if any weight is put on it.  So I have been taking pain killers and resting it hoping that it will recover quickly so I can get on with my goals.

This week also was one that I had to spend time in hospital having more tests, this time I was having three endocrine tests, a lucrin one, a senacrin one and an arginine one.  I had to have a cannula inserted and initial bloods taken, then I had an injection of lucrin into my quad muscle, as well as the senacrin put into the cannula.  Bloods were taken regularly for a few hours then I had the arginine put through an IV into my cannula and had bloods taken every fifteen minutes for two hours.  It was all too much for my poor vein, it gave up, they tried a warm blanket on my arm, numerous saline flushes into the cannula and pushing on the vein to try to encourage it but it was bone dry, not a drop of blood came.  So I had to have another cannula inserted, this time into my left hand, when it went it the blood began to flow, it came so freely that I had blood dripping down my hand and onto the bed sheet, it resembled something from a horror movie.  Once it was capped off it stopped.  I had fasted since dinner the night before so by the time the testing was completed at 4pm I was famished as well as feeling really dizzy and a little nauseous.  The tests had been exhausting, once I had something to eat all I wanted to do was sleep.  I thought that they took so many vials last time, well this time, there were thirty vials that were taken, so that is the new record, I hope that never gets beaten.  This morning I had to have another blood test, we had to tell them not to use my right arm, I pleased when the blood came easily from the left arm vein as previously I have had troubles with it.  I see my endocrinologist again in July, he will then let me know the results and if I have to have more tests. 

I also found out this week that I will be going to Sydney in early August for several appointments including MRI's, a lumbar puncture, neuropyschological test as well as seeing a neurologist.  It will mean a week away from home and school.

Tomorrow is Jarrett's Birthday, I hope that I am feeling a little better so that I can help him celebrate his special day.  Then on Monday he is running at Stromlo in the ACT Schools Cross Country Championship, he is in the 16/17 age group so he will be running against boys who are twelve months older than him, his hope is to come in the top five, I think he will be able to do it, he is my champion, if he does well he will be chosen for the ACT team to compete at National Cross Country. On Tuesday he begins his Year 10 exams for this Semester, so it is a huge week for him.

Wishing you all a splendiferous week ahead, I hope that you all keep warm during the Winter.