Friday, June 29, 2012


23rd to 29th June 2012

As I sit typing this entry the skies have turned a miserable grey and rain has begun to fall from the thick, heavy clouds hovering in the sky.  At least with rain about it means we will not have endure an overnight arctic freeze for a change.  I find that the rain though makes you feel just that little bit melancholy.  Hopefully the weather will improve as I am now on School Holidays, I am very fortunate to have a three week break, many private schools in Canberra do.

In Sports Science I have been working through the Beginner Coaching Course, it is a computer based course, you read through information, answer questions and then at the end of each module you have to do an assessment.  I finished the first module and did the assessment and was really proud to achieve 100%.  There are five modules in all to work through and then at the end, as long as you pass you are then awarded with a certificate.  During the holidays I am going to work through the other four modules so that I have it all completed prior to returning to school.

My pain has been up and down this week, some days is makes me feel quite ill and even though I am taking the oxycodone and panamax, it seems to just keep it the same all day.  Yet on other days I am fortunate and there will be a slight decrease in the pain with the medication, those are the days that I try to really make the most of. 

This week I was also fortunate because my amazing physiotherapist, Kaitlyn returned from her holiday, so I had physiotherapy.  It felt so fantastic to have her release my spine again, massage it and then put those incredibly soothing heat packs on afterwards.  I was so excited when she shared some very special news with me, she got engaged whilst away on her holiday. 

I was not the only one who had to go to physiotherapy this week, Mum was there also, you see on the weekend when she was remaking all the beds, she knocked her right kneecap on the end of Jarrett's bed, when she knocked it she actually knocked her kneecap out of its place, this is called a patellar dislocation.  She was lucky that she was able to knock it back into place and although it was painful, it did not swell and she has not torn anything.  However she has to rest it for a week and then gradually get back to normal, it will take about three to four weeks for that, so she will be spending school holidays getting her knee better.  I lent her my rollator to assist her walking and she has it taped and is going to have  a brace for it to help to her get around much more easily and be able to look after me.  The knee that Mum knocked she had a knee reconstruction on many, many years ago after she injured it playing netball.  I have been praying that it will get better quickly for her and that it will not give her any more trouble.

In footy tipping I am still winning by two but Nana has been picking well, so she could easily catch up especially this week with many teams having players out because of State of Origin. Pop is ten behind me, so he has a little catching up to do but he should not give up as there are plenty more games left.

Tomorrow Jarrett and Nalani are racing in another pointscore Cross Country Race, it is 4.5km and on an extremely difficult course, they are hoping to do their best. Nalani is leading the female pointscore at the moment so she wants to hold onto that lead. Jarrett is second so he is hoping to pick up extra points to take the lead.

Did you know that brain tumours are now the second most common cancer in childhood, after leukeamia and unlike other cancers the incidence of brain tumours are increasing. Brain tumours are the most difficult of all childhood cancers to cure.  Research into the causes of and treatments for brain tumours is seriously under-funded, yet research focusing specifically on paediatric brain tumours is crucial to saving lives.  Brain tumour patients who survive are often afflicted by some degree of motor, cognitive or endocrine dysfunction and require the help and support of many health professionals to optimise their outcomes.  A Paediatric Oncologist at the Sydney Children's Hospital says that there is a 70% cure rate of childhood cancers and this demonstrateds the real life success of medical research, however there is a personal cost and for some tumours, such as many childhood brain cancers the cure rate is much lower.  He has said that new treatments are desperately needed.  There is an urgent need for new drugs for treatment of childhood cancer to be developed and available in Australia, because the benefits of conventional therapies have plateaued. 

The front cover of my new children's book
I have always been passionate and determined to do what I can to assist to raise awareness and funds to help those specialists find a cure or at least less devastating treatments for brain tumours and so I would now like to announce my latest fund raising effort.  I have written another special book, it is a children's book entitled 'Theodore and Friends - Theodore is Left Out'. When I wrote it, I was hoping to help children understand that just because someone is different, it does not mean that they should be excluded.  The star of the story is my extraordinary bear, Theodore who has travelled my journey with me and given me strength. One hundred copies have been published thanks to a huge and determined effort by Anna, Kimberley and Blue Star ACT to whom I am eternally grateful.  I am going to donate the entire proceeds from the books to The Sydney Children's Hospital Brain Tumour Research Fund, hoping that even the little that I can contribute will make a difference.  The cost of book is $15.00 and as there have only been limited copies made, it is extremely special.  Unfortunately,  they are not available online or at bookstores, you can only get them directly from me.
The back cover of my new book

May you all have a splendiferous and blessed week, remember to smile at others, open your heart in kindness and generosity and never, ever give up on a dream.

Friday, June 22, 2012


16th to 22nd June 2012

With overnight temperatures well below zero and a record cold overnight temperature of minus six point eight degrees this week, we have woken to sparkling, white lawns, frozen bird baths and slippery driveways.  The dreadful arctic temperatures make you want to stay in a nice warm bed and cause pain to become a little worse.  The day time temperatures have not been too pleasant either and we have had overcast skies, chilly winds that feel like you might just be in a snow drift and we have even had rain this week. 

On Saturday, it was the Athletics ACT Cross Country Championships, it had rained prior to the event and the temperatures were extremely cold.  Nalani and Jarrett were both running in the 6km Championship event, Nalani in the U20 women and Jarrett in the U18 men.  I had wanted to cheer them on, and was fortunate enough to watch from a sheltered area.  There were even athletes from Interstate in the race so the competition was fierce, from the moment the gun went off it was obvious that the men's event would be a tightly fought one.  Jarrett ran a strong race despite having some asthma difficulties, which always happen when the outside air is unusually cold and he ran ever so strongly to finish 3rd, getting his second best time ever in a 6km race.  Nalani was incredible also, she had just recovered from a sinus infection and got a blood nose part way through the race, she kept running and finished the race in 4th place which was a fantastic achievement, she ran a personal best for the distance.  There was a presentation ceremony and Jarrett got a bronze medal, he was really pleased with his effort and so were all of us.  I thought both Nalani and Jarrett were both splendiferous and it was so special for me to be able to cheer them on. 

I was so lucky also to have another visit from my best friend, Emily, she was visiting Canberra again and came to see me for a little while.  It was fun to catch up on her latest news and share some of what I have been doing. 

At School this week in English we have been watching the Baz Luhman version of Romeo and Juliet, it is quite different from the original one,  it has been recontextualised, the language remains the original Shakespearean but there are many modern aspects thrown in.  In Maths we are working on Trigonometry, I am really enjoying it, it is a change from the complexities of probability and measurement.  In Sports Science, we are doing an online beginners Coaching Course, I am definitely enjoying doing this and when we complete it, we get a certificate. 

There is only one week left at school now until the end of Term and then we get a welcomed three week break, I am really looking forward to it.  The cold weather, pressure of exams and illness has all taken its toll on me and been able to sleep in and rest when I need to will be so beneficial.

On Sunday there is a High Noon meeting, the events are shot put and javelin, however the forecast is for showers and it it only going to be ten degrees, so I am not sure whether I will be able to compete, even though I would love to, I know that the cold and wet really affect my pain and make it worse and then I would not be able to throw properly.  Hopefully the forecast is wrong and the day will actually be a clear blue beautiful Winter day. 

In Footy Tipping, I still remain two ahead of Nana and Pop is just behind her.  I was so saddened when I was watching the Tigers match to hear that Robbie Farah's mother had passed away from Cancer, then at the beginning of the match to see Benji Marshall reduced to tears, it was so emotional, it must have been so difficult for them to play that game.

In my next Blog I will have some splendiferous news to share with you about my latest fund raising effort for the Brain Tumour Fund.  As there is little to no Government Funding for paediatric brain tumours,  to fund research to try to find a cure to this devastating disease relies on the generosity of the general public.  So I am hoping that my new, wonderful fundraising project will be able to assist in some way.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


9th to 16th June 2012

Last weekend was the Queens Birthday long weekend, the Queen's Birthday is a public holiday in Australia, as the country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, with the monarch of the United Kingdom being head of state.  The Monarch's Birthday was first celebrated in Australia in 1788. In that year, King George III was the Monarch and Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark his birthday. Originally, the Monarch's birthday was celebrated on the anniversary of the actual date of birth of the King or Queen. However, after the death of King George V in 1936, the date remained close to his birthday, which was June 3.

It was a good chance to rest, especially after an extremely tiring and mentally draining week of exams.  Although on Sunday, I did decide that I wanted to throw discus and shot put at the High Noon Meet.  The weather was actually rather pleasant and with the sun shinning my spirits always brighten.  Discus was my first event, every thrower had four throws, with each throw a numbered marker is put in the ground, if your next throw is an improvement on your first one then the marker is moved.  At the end of the competition they measure your throw, I threw 5.02m in discus, not a personal best but I enjoyed throwing and that is what is most important.  Then it was time for shot put, again we had four throws, I managed to throw a distance of 2.30m which was not quite a personal best but I was happy with my effort. 

While I was throwing Lauren Boden and Brendan Cole our two Canberra athletes that are going to the Olympics, ran in a 400m Hurdles race, they were just awesome to watch and I hope that they do exceptionally well in their races at the Olympics along with the other athletes and also those chosen for the paralympics.

School this week has been rather quiet with much less pressure than the past few weeks, because exams are over and our Semester work has been completed we are just starting to look at what we will be doing next Term.  In English we are looking at Romeo and Juliet, reading the play as well as watching the original film, we will then next Term have to write an essay and a new script for the balcony scene.  At times the language is a little difficult to understand because it is so very different to the way that we speak today but it is a magnificent story.

In Sports Science we are going to be doing Skills Acquisition and Coaching, which is yet another extremely interesting area to be looking at.  We have been watching a film called Invictus. The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. As the newly elected President  Nelson Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport,  he rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.  I am actually enjoying watching it and feel that there is a definite lesson to be learnt from the story.

How splendiferous it was to see my Wests Tigers defeat the Melbourne Storm, they were absolutely incredible and delved deep to find the determination courage to win. I hope that they will continue to do well and at the end of the season they will be there on Grand Final day. 

In Footy tipping, I also performed well, getting four correct, to over take Nana to be leading by two points.  Poor Nana had a dismal week getting none of the games correct and Pop also got four like me so he is making his comeback now. 

I had an appointment with Australian Hearing today, it was my twelve month check up on my hearing.  There has been a very slight decrease at the high frequency in both ears, so my hearing aid had to be calibrated so I can hear a little better, however the machine was not working properly so now I have to go back in two weeks to have it done then. 

Jarrett and Nalani are running in the Athletics ACT Cross Country Championships tomorrow, they are both running 6km, it is going to be in the morning, hopefully the weather will be favourable as they are predicting rain at times.  I hope to be able to be there to cheer them both on, I love watching them run.  When I throw they are always there to cheer me on and having your family behind you really makes a difference, you feel so loved and encouraged.

The pain in my spine is still constant, it can make me feel very tired, I try to find things to distract me from it and of course I am on pain killers to relieve it.  I often find that the pain and the medication can make if extremely difficult to concentrate and when I am at school that is frustrating.

I think this quote fits with my love of sport and with life itself - There is no telling how many kilometers you will have to run while chasing your greatest dream.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


2nd to 8th June 2012

The sun is shinning brilliantly in the crystal clear, sparkling blue Winter sky, I love the warmth, it makes me smile and takes away some of my pain.  This week I am still unwell and have not been able to attend school, I have been back to the doctors who has put me on another lot of antibiotics, I still have infection in my left ear, fortunately my chest is clear of infection now however my lungs are tight so I have to use asthma puffers. 

With being ill I have spent much of my time resting, doing some school work when I feel well enough, some reading and watching some DVD's.  We had some atrocious weather during the week, massively gusty winds combined with heavy rain and temperatures which dipped below double figures for the maximum.  We were not the only ones with dreadful weather, Sydney really suffered severely from the winds and storms. 

Last Saturday Nalani ran in a Cross Country Pointscore event, the skies looked gloomy and opened up just as she began to run.  It was a 4km race at Weston Park, she ran extremely well, she was 8th overall and was the fourth female.  When she finished her shoes were steaming from the heat of her feet and the icy cold rain that was falling. 

It was Jarrett's 17th Birthday on Monday, he was not well with a virus so could not do too much, however he did enjoy a pizza dinner and a delicious ice cream cake to celebrate his special occasion.  His illness stopped him from running in the ACT Schools Cross Country Championships, if he ran with an infection, he could of faced more severe illness.  Based on his excellent performances at other events hopefully he will still have a chance of being selected to represent the ACT at Nationals later this year.

I had a very special visitor on Sunday, my best friend from school, Emily, who moved to Sydney.  It was so lovely to see her, her sister Jess and her Mum.  Unfortunately she could not stay too long because I was unwell but she is hoping to make a return visit in another month. 

On Tuesday I had physiotherapy with Kaitlyn, I was so relieved to be able to see her, as I had not had it the week before because I was just not well enough.  She released my spine which was twisted to the left and right, she also released my neck which was rather stiff, then I had the wonderfully warm and soothing heat packs on my back.  I will not know have physiotherapy for another two weeks as Kaitlyn is going on a special holiday, however she has left instructions for Nalani and she will be able to massage me. 

I also had a visit from Wendy, my wonderful CNC from Sydney Children's Hospital, she visited with Sally my special nurse in Canberra and they were checking on how I was and it has been decided to increased my dosages of my pain killer called oxycodone.  It does make me feel rather drowsy but apparently I will get used to the higher dosage and it will not make me as drowsy but it will help my pain a little more.  Oxycodone is an opioid narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine. Oxycodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

I am catching up in Footy Tips, only two behind Nana now, poor Pop has fallen quite a bit behind but you never know, he may have a few really good weeks and catch up.  I was so excited that the Tigers won last week 40-0 beating the Raiders, I would have loved to have shared the excitement but was just not well enough to be there.  I hope that their success continues, their early season storm is now turning into a rainbow. 

In the next couple of weeks I hope to be sharing some extremely splendiferous news with you all, it is another way that we can raise funds for the Brain Tumour Fund as well as something very special for me. 

May you all stay well, warm and spread happiness to others who come into your lives.

Friday, June 1, 2012


26th May to 1st June 2012

Today we welcomed the first day of Winter,  it is a time of year when the trees sit bare and the boughs shake against the bitter cold, thick white frost cover the lawns, the birds stop singing so sweetly and the sun fades away quickly and turns to night, thank goodness for the warmth of the house, a mug of hot chocolate and the warmest hugs to brighten the spirits when Winter comes around. 

I have been ill this week with a chest and ear infection, it has left me feeling very tired, weak, having trouble swallowing and in more pain.  I am on antibiotics, an asthma puffer called Seretide, was taking Benadryl which is a cough medicine to try to stop my cough so I could rest and of course my regular pain medication.  I have not really felt like doing very much at all and have been sleeping throughout the day. 

This week I had to see my Paediatrician who found that I have no reflex in my ankles and when he examined me I had a tremor in my right hand.  He is going to see me again on 4th July to see how I am going. 

My one bright day was receiving a visit from my Starlight Wish Granter, Tess, she came down from Sydney to see me, because I was ill and tire easily she could not visit for long but just seeing her cheered me up.  She seems to have a magical aura about her that when you are around her you can not help but feeling special and smile. 

Poor Jarrett is unwell also and he is not going to be able to run the ACT Schools Cross Country Championships which are on Monday, which is also his 17th Birthday.  He is bitterly disappointed but because he is in the top three runners in his age group, he should have no problems being selected to represent the ACT at Nationals which will be in Adelaide in August this year. 

In Footy Tipping Nana is still ahead but only by three, I am gaining on her, she will have to keep on her toes if she wants to stay in front.  Poor Pop though, he has fallen behind and may need a miracle to help him catch up.  My Tigers are playing the Raiders here in Canberra this weekend, I had been hoping to go to the game to cheer them on but with being ill, I will not be able to be there.

Nalani is racing in a 4km point score event this weekend, she is leading the point score for junior females at the moment and hopes to do well to keep in front.  She has worked tirelessly to get her fitness back following her knee surgery back at the end of 2010, it has taken a while but with her determination, she has got there. 

Next week at school is exams, so that will be an extremely busy and stressful time for all the students in Year 9.  Our Year 9 exams and assessments go towards our Year 10 Certificate here, it is probably better than just having to sit a one off exam.

Wishing you all a very splendiferous week, stay warm and remember even though it is cold outside you can spread warmth with a kind smile.