Friday, October 26, 2012


20th to 26th October 2012

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a special Birthday Party for Annie's 11th Birthday.  I was able to dress up in a pretty dress because the party was at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra.  The Hyatt Hotel is heritage listed, it has been restored to its former 1920's grace.  It has art deco design elements intertwined with modern facilities.  The party was held in The Tea Lounge, there was an incredibly scrumptious buffet to select from and they make the most splendiferous hot chocolate that I have ever tasted. 

At school this week we have continued learning about Consumer Maths, in Sports Science we are working on revision ready for our exams, as well as a coaching lesson plan for the Junior School children.  In English we have begun speeches for A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove, I truly admire my classmates who have already done theirs and I am looking forward to doing mine next week.   

School is tiring for me, but it is important for me to go, it sometimes helps take my mind off  my pain and nausea that I live with each day.  You can take many medications but distraction is often also helpful. 

I had my usual physiotherapy appointment this week, Kaitlyn worked on my right foot which has been extremely sore and difficult to put weight on at all.  She massaged it and then used the ultrasound on it.  She also worked on my legs, my right knee has been giving me lots of grief, then after that was finished I had three heat packs on, one on my lower back, one on my legs and one on my upper back.  I actually dozed off while they were on me, they really do provide me with relief and I am so grateful to Kaitlyn for the wonderful amount of help she provides me. 

Tomorrow I have Interclub, I am hoping to throw the javelin and shot put, hopefully the weather will be fine.  We have experienced a few days with extremely gusty winds, yesterday there was a thick cloud of dust around Canberra produced by the winds. 

I am still working on a new fund raising idea, as you know it is my dream that one day in the future a cure will be found for this absolutely horrific disease.  I will also have to come up with some ideas for next year, after having my second book published this year, with all funds going to The Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation Brain Tumour Fund, I will have to think of something unique and huge because funds are so desperately required.

Each and every day I feel so grateful to have people in my life who care about me those like Fiona, Anne and David who paid short, caring visits this week and you, who read my Blog, leaving the most humbling, encouraging and inspiring comments, I would not be able to be so strong and positive each day without you all.  Thank you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


13th to 19th October 2012

Term four has commenced and as predicted it is immensely busy! 

On my first day back to School I was given an assignment, over the following days, three more assignments were handed out.  As we have exams at the end of November we have to have all our term work completed prior to that.  We also need to have time to study as these exams cover the work from both Term 3 and Term 4. 

In PDH/PE we are learning about drugs and the effects they have on people and society, we watched a Sixty Minutes interview about alcohol and energy drinks, alcohol is a depressant and energy drinks are a stimulant and when they are mixed they can be a deadly cocktail.  A sixteen year old girl died from having only three of them, another girl had to be resuscitated and a young boy was bashed by a person who had drunk them, the boy who was bashed died and he had not been drinking.  The scary thing in the interview was that even though the people were aware of what the drinks could do to them, they still wanted to keep drinking them because it helped them to stay awake and keep partying. They all had the motto of YOLO (You only live once), yes we only live once but we should make the most of our lives not destroying them with these dangerous drinks. 

In Maths we are doing Consumer Maths, I am absolutely loving this unit, we are doing work on cost price and selling price, mark ups and discounts, it is so easy to understand and is something that is related to everyday life. 

Peer Coaching sessions are continuing in Sports Science and then we have to write a lesson plan for the younger children on how to strike a ball.  We will have to write this differently to how we did the one to coach the students in our own grade. 

For English we have had to write an essay on A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove, as part of this we have also learnt how to write a successful essay.  It is important to have a thesis statement, strong introduction, clear and concise body and a conclusion.  We also have to work on a speech which is part of our assessment, it is also based on A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove. 

This week I have also had my usual and relieving physiotherapy appointment with Kaitlyn, this week she worked on releasing my spine as it had been so dreadfully painful and I felt crooked.  She also did some work on my neck which I had been having problems with bending and turning.  Finally I had those absolutely delightful heat packs on, I had three of them, one on my upper spine, one on my lower spine and one on my calves, I was in heaven, I think I have said before, I just wish I could have heat packs on me all day.

On Friday afternoon, on a perfect Spring day, I threw at Interclub at the AIS, although I was exhausted from my arduous week at school, I wanted to throw, discus was first, it has always been my strongest event. Although a bit weak and wobbly, I managed to throw 4.95m, not a personal best but I  was immensely pleased with my effort.  Then it was time for shot put, my busy week was beginning to take its toll on me and when I had one of my throws, I almost went with the shot put.  In the end I threw 1.92m, definitely not my best and worse than last Interclub, I was a little disappointed but never mind, there is always next time. 

Nalani also threw, with her knee still healing, she can not do her usual spinning technique, so this disadvantages her.  However she managed to throw a 2cm personal best in shot put from the last Interclub and her third discus throw was terrific, it is great to have her throwing with me and to be able to see how well she does.

Jarrett ran in the 1500m, he ran an amazing race in a time of 4:20:51, which was exactly what he was aiming for at this stage of the season, it was a three second personal best from his last run earlier in the year.  I was at shot put when he was running but still cheered him on as he ran so speedily, I truly admire him.

I think that by the end of this term I am going to be totally and utterly exhausted but I will feel so proud of what I have achieved, finishing Year 9 despite my diagnosis of incurable tumours on my spine,  pain and other obstacles that I have had to face this year. 

No matter how difficult things may seem at times, I truly believe that if you have a positive attitude, courage and determination then you can achieve the most amazing things in your life and in turn you may inspire others whose path you cross.

Friday, October 12, 2012


6th to 12th October 2012

Over the past couple of days we have had extremely unseasonal weather, and Canberra  experienced the coldest October day in more than 40 years. There was a maximum temperature of 8 degrees on Thursday, which was eleven degrees below the October average and the coldest October day since 1967.  There were also overnight snow falls in the hills between Canberra and Bungendore and in areas around Goulburn and Crookwell.  Our heating went back on and I searched for warmth from hot water bottles and blankets. 

Before the cold snap though we had experienced some of the most beautiful Spring days and combined with the start of longer daylight hours with now being on daylight savings time, it really felt like Spring had arrived.

On the weekend I had a very special visit from Tess my Starlight wish granter who came from Sydney to see me, her sister Gloria also popped in for a little while to say hello.  Tess always makes me smile, she helps me to remain positive and gives the most splendiferous hugs. 

Sunday was Mum's Birthday, I made her a rainbow patterned tissue box cover, which she really loved, I also helped Dad make her a delicious cake, it was a butter cake and we put pink icing on it. We made sure that Mum did not do anything at all so she could relax and be spoilt on her special day.  She was able to start reading a book that she got from Nana and Pop, it is all about Bert Hinkler, who is actually a relative on Nana's side of the family.  Monday was a public holiday in Canberra and with the sun shining we were able to spend some time outdoors soaking up those sun's rays, full of vitamin D. 

On Tuesday I had physiotherapy which was magnificent because I was so sore in my legs, right knee and my glutes.  Kaitlyn worked her magic and helped, I am lucky to have her.  Then I had those delightful heat packs on my back, some days I wish I could just lie there with them on me all day, they help so much whilst they are on my spine.  I also had an appointment with Australian Hearing to have my hearing aid re calibrated, this is done on the computer and when it was done, I noticed a difference in what I could hear, so that will be fantastic for my return to school next week.

At the shops I have noticed that Christmas decorations are all going up, I think Christmas is a magical time of year, it is a time that we can share joy, peace and love with those around us and try to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than we are.  My favourite part of Christmas is giving to others and seeing the look of delight on their faces.  I am working on an idea for fundraising for the Brain Tumour Fund and sharing the joy of Christmas. 

Thursday with the weather been so cold, was a day to keep warm and watch a DVD, we decided to watch Toy Story, it is a terrific movie and one for the whole family to watch over and over again.  Today I had an appointment with the dietitian, she went over some ideas to help me when I am feeling so dreadfully nauseous.  Did you know that eating salty foods, like chips, nuts and savoury biscuits can assist with nausea?  Also having cold food rather than hot food is also beneficial during times when you feel ill. 

Tomorrow is the first Interclub for the Summer Season, the events that I can do are javelin and shot put.  Nalani is going to do throwing and Jarrett is going to run in the 3000m.  I hope that the weather will be fine and not too cold because if it is then my pain levels are affected and I can't throw too well.  Monday is back to school for Term 4, I know that it is going to be an extremely busy term as we have exams and it is a short term also, I am looking forward to the challenges and doing my very best. 

Please say a prayer for Charlotte and her family, she is only four years old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour the same year as I was, it is a different kind to mine, they have just found out that it has returned.  This is why it is so important that awareness and funds are raised to find a cure, this type of cancer is horrific.

'Be true to your dreams, and keep them alive, never let anyone let anyone change your mind about what you feel you can achieve.  Always believe in yourself.'

Friday, October 5, 2012


29th September to 5th October 2012

We have had the most perfect Spring weather here in Canberra over the past few days, it is so magnificent to see the sun streaming into the house and have some doors and windows open letting in the fresh air with a delicate hint of spring blooms wafting in. However, the delightful weather is set to change, with rain predicted and a drop in temperature forecast for the coming week.

Last week I forgot to mention that I had seen Sarah, who not only shares the same Birthday with me, has been courageously fighting a brain tumour, shares my passion for finding a cure for brain tumours and inspires me, visited.  She is organising a truly incredible concert to raise awareness and funds for brain tumours in 2014, in fact it is going to be on our Birthday, it will be her 40th and my 16th.  The concert is going to be called Brain Storm, I know that her determination and tremendous passion for this to work will make it a huge success. 

I was also fortunate enough to have a visit from Mez, who is an Australian gymnast, she was reserve for the Australian Gymnastics Team at the Olympics.  She has fought many obstacles from injuries and other setbacks, she loves her sport and gives so much, she is a very inspiring person and her goal is to be in the team for Rio in four years time. 

This week I had my physiotherapy appointment, I have been quite uncomfortable with pain, so was really looking forward to seeing Kaitlyn.  She worked on my coccyx which has been working hard to support my spine and then that has made it painful and out of place.  As Kaitlyn released it I could feel my tightness and pain decrease in that area.  She also worked on my legs which have been painful and rather weak causing me to off balance several times.  While Kaitlyn worked on my legs, I had those amazing heat packs on my spine and buttocks.  Something so simple provides such a wonderful relief, I wish it could last much longer than it does. 

I have been working on some school assignments also this week, yes, we are on school holidays and still have work to do!  Next Term is exams so it is important to get through the work we need to cover so we will be prepared for our exams. 

On their way home to Sydney from Cooma, I also had a lovely visit from Stuart and Meryl, they always brighten my day and Stuart has experienced some of what I have as he has lived with brain tumours.  Having people like Stuart and Sarah to talk to is so special because they are the only ones who really understand what it is like to live with a brain tumour and how it changes your life. 

My very helpful and creative occupational therapist, Tom also visited, he has come up with a couple of new ideas to assist me at home and school.  He really enjoys what he does and having him supporting me makes my life just that little easier, I am so lucky to have him working with me.  He is going to have my wheelchair sped up to its maximum, I am so excited about that.  Something very exciting is that he is going to try to organise a very special wheelchair that is a much faster speed that I can have a race against Jarrett at the AIS track.  Running was something that I really loved and I had goals of been as good as Jarrett and representing the ACT, but my diagnosis changed all that and with my recurrence I know it will never happen but to just have one day when I can be fast and feel like I am at running speed would be so awesome. 

Today I had a little ride on my tricycle, the winds had come up so when I was riding into it, I found it very difficult but with it behind my back, I felt like I was flying.  I can not ride for too long as I become tired and my back becomes painful but riding today put a huge smile on my face.

Pain is a dreadful thing, it can virtually take your breath away and make you so uncomfortable, having my panamax and oxycodone helps it but as it is constantly there all the time, it really becomes tiring.  Medications are not the only thing that can help pain, using heat, having massages (thanks to Nalani) and of course physiotherapy are all great ways to assist with pain but none of these things provide permanent pain relief.  If someone could invent a medication to rid the world of pain they would be very rich and so many people who suffer all the time would be eternally grateful.

Jarrett went to a concert this week with one of his mates from the running squad, the band that they went to see was The Amity Affliction, it is not really my type of music but Jarrett likes it.  He was so excited to be going to the concert and was even more excited when at the end, the lead singer was shaking people's hands and thanking them for coming to the concert and he reached over and shook Jarrett's hand.  Jarrett was not like a girl though, you know the ones who see or touch Justin Bieber or One Direction, he did wash his hand afterwards!

All the football Grand Finals are over now, with Sydney winning the AFL and Storm winning the NRL.  Neither are teams I support, but I was cheering for them on the day.  I was elated to see the Tigers win the lower grade Grand Final.

When we turned our calendar to October, I saw the most beautiful picture of a rainbow, looking ever so rich and colourful reaching across the sky beyond a lake and bushland, then I noticed these words beside it........"Hope; sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible" 

I will leave you with those lovely words and hope that they inspire you as they have inspired me these last few days.