Saturday, December 29, 2012


Facebook is an amazing forum for finding, chatting, keeping & sadly 'losing friends.'  For me it has been an awesome medium for reconnecting with friends from my past and for making so many wonderful new friends. 

I have also been blessed by the kindness that I have been shown by so many people, through my recent bout of illness. Simple comments of support, love and healing, have made my journey so much easier and I want to acknowledge how important you have all been to me.

Today I was blessed once again, not through the medium of Facebook, but by the generous gift of a bunch of flowers from people who are not only the employers of my son (and eldest daughter before him); but also people who I consider friends.

A simple gesture of love and support that turned an ordinary day into something special. 

So to friends around the world - thank you.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best wishes for 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Heading to the ballet

 Elizabeth and I booked to go to the ballet in January this year and when my diagnosis and treatment plan occured I wasn't sure that I would make it to see "Sleeping Beauty" but luck and planning were on our side and by today - I had enough energy to attend the performance.
Elizabeth drove me in and looked after me the whole day. It was nice to get dressed up and get out of the house. The ballet was stunning.

Christmas 2012

Facing Christmas

Every year I look forward to Christmas with glee and joy and focus on all the wonderful, beautiful, exciting things that uplift our home at this time of the year. I take note of those around me less fortunate, less blessed and share a prayer and thought for them. I must admit it has been at times a fleeting prayer, as I indulge in the blessings of my own family and my life.

This year I am looking at Christmas from a slightly different place. My diagnosis of cancer and treatment has robbed me of energy and the bubbles that normally fill my days. I have been focussing on a 3 week regimen almost since August and even today just a week from Christmas I am resting in bed, conserving energy, just to get to the ballet this afternoon.

I am however, learning new lessons, perhaps the most valuable ones I could ever have learnt.  I am not indispensible (I would like to think I am); I am not indestructible (I thought I was); I am not a failure (for asking for help) and no-one hates me for not being perfect.

How many times have I judged others for not stepping up to the plate? How many times have I taken on more than I should, just because I didn’t ask for help? And more importantly how many times have I denied those around me the chance to share their love for me, by helping me just a little.

So Facing Christmas 2012 is a challenge.

My health is now a gift, not the thing I take for granted.

Your help is also a gift for which I cannot thank you enough.

Your prayers, thoughts and wishes lighten up my day as much as the electricity that lightens up our homes.

So facing Christmas 2012 – I wish you all health most of all, love and support of family and friends and my love. Thank you for being my friends.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Motivational Sayings:

I am always inspired by words, ideas and thoughts that sum up a moment.  I have been recording and keeping a book and now computer file of these sort of things for years and today I have been inspired by a new one.

It was stated by a very wise - young man. I have known him for nearly 20 years and at times his words have made me laugh and at other times cringe! There have been words that have touched my heart and words that have broken it; but every word has held a special place.

These words however, extend beyond the normal wisdom of someone so young - they are words that have summed up a simple mistake. A mistake, similar to one we would all make at any time in our lives and then beat ourselves up for it. But . . . with his wisdom and these few simple words - he put it all into perspective.

"A step in the right direction with the wrong foot."

Matthew Adair - December 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Health update

Lack of communication has become my biggest side-effect of my chemo treatment.  I have been managing energy and neglecting my writing.  Also Facebook is quick and easy, so my poor blog has been neglected.

So for those of you who follow Vesta - here is my news.

Today is nearly 3 weeks since my last treatment and I am feeling fantastic.  The last few days I have felt 'normal' again.  Filled with energy and an enthusiasm for life. Driving the kids crazy with my dancing and singing around the house.

I still have my hair, which is perfect and the tingles from cold drinks or cold temperatures have certainly decreased.  Still experiencing a little discomfit in my left hand/arm from the intravenous treatment, but it is manageable.

Now we begin again:

On Wednesday I head back into hospital to have a new portacath installed - I will stay overnight for my treatment on Thursday and then stay overnight again to manage any (hopefully none) side-effects.

 This is me after my first attempt at utilising the failed portacath - smiling idiotically - not sure that I should have been, but it was smile or cry. So I opted to smile.
Feeling a little worn and tired and really cold as the IV chemo treatment is installed.

Feline fantastic

 Cleo was having a super nap the other day while I was working on my computer. She was so relaxed that I was able to snap these great photos of her.
 I didn't use the flash, so she could stay asleep.  She really is the most beautiful cat in the world - not very friendly, but quite sociable. She loves company, spending hours asleep on my desk, or on her scratching post next to me in the study.
When she woke - I captured the 'hunter' as she watched the night moths appear at the window.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Last week we celebrated with Matthew the end of his school life. It was a joy for Ivan and me to share the Valedictory service and celebration with him on Thursday evening and then to attend his final assembly at school on Friday morning.

 It has been a wonderful watching Matthew grow up - especially the last 8 years at Westmac - he has made good friends and had lots of highlights.

Friday morning assembly was moving and special.

Mr Alcorn & Ms Stewart (Senior School vice principal & principal) and the school captains.
 The school song is a beautiful one called "On Eagle's Wings" - when the kids are in primary school they learn all these lovely actions, but when they get to senior school - they become way to cool to perform them - so it was with delight we watched and listened to the joy of these graduating kids singing out loud, out of tune, yet with actions and great enthusiasm.

Matthew appearing up the time tunnel

The time tunnel is a great tradition at Westmac - the entire school lines up and farewells the graduating class - they start with the preps and end with the Year Eleven's - there were lots of tears and quite a few cheers.
 Elizabeth got the biggest hug from Matthew - their bond is still so close.

 My turn for a photo with Matthew.
 And finally heading out the gates with his friend Alec
Congratulations Matthew - we are so proud of you and love you very much.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November Birthdays

November 16th & 17th are two special birthdays.  First my beautiful Ivan and then my very special Mum.

This year my Dad (Brian) took the prize for giving Ivan the very best present. For nearly a year he has been working on Ivan's gift - Rupert Bear - a favourite character from Ivan's childhood.

 My amazingly talented Dad - made all the drawings, plans and carved and painted this beautiful character.
 Ivan was so thrilled and pleased with the gift.

Of course as it was Mum's birthday we had to give her a few gifts as well - she received candle lanterns for the patio from the children and Ivan and I had given her a nice bottle of Rose and money for a birthday lunch down the coast.

 A few hours after our celebrations we were hit by a super storm and in less than 30 minutes had 73mm of rain.  All the gutters and patio flooded and as soon as it eased a little Mum and Dad came up the garden visiting - both looking like 'Orange Aliens'

After 49 years of marriage - these two are the happiest, funniest and loviliest people I know.

Happy Birthday Mum and Ivan.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I love my Cat!

Cleo has been such a lovely addition to our family.  She was supposed to be Sarah's cat, but quickly decided that she preferred me.  When I was in hospital - Ivan said that she sulked and avoided him, or slept on my side of the bed.

Since my diagnosis - our normally anti-social cat, has taken to sleeping really close to me and now whenever I get out of bed (if I don't pull the covers up) - she rushes in to sleep on my pillow.

 A couple of days ago, I couldn't resist getting the camera out to snap this photo.

Now Cleo has always been an indoor cat - we love our wildlife too much to allow her to roam and kill not only birds, but also lizards and other creatures.  However, her instinct has been so strong to go outside, that this morning we allowed her out for a 10 minute wander. 
 Our only hope was that she wouldn't just rush off and dissapear.  She was very curious and timid and Max, made sure she didn't go too far, keeping an eye on her and inviting her back inside.
Now as I said - I love my Cat!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snakes Alive

We had the most amazing visitor to our garden a couple of days ago.

This beautiful python is either living in our garden wood shed or just visitng for a couple of snacks. We have to now be more careful in letting Max out alone - as he would make a great meal for this beautiful snake.

Relaxed slow, slithers along the fence - at least 8' long
Dad called me down with my camera and Mum had hers, so we took lots of photos, the snake was quite placid until Mum stopped thinking.

I think I will reach out and touch you!  The snake head is hidden in the leaves, but within micro-seconds it was curled up and ready to strike.

The length of the curled part of the snake was at least 4' enough to reach out and take a nasty bite.

Mum then decided that discretion was the better part of valour and moved away.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nature healing

This post is a two-way post all about my healing, but also the amazing healing of nature.

Two years ago it began to rain around October.  This October, we are struggling in the grip of a desperate shortage of water.  How contrary is nature?  At the time, the Brisbane river began rising and for the next few months it would innundate the local parks.

Today Ivan took the girls and me for a drive to the newly refurbished and re-opened park in Barellin Point - and it is beautiful.

 New shade areas on the edge of the river are a relaxing place to sit and relax.

 The car park which was always gravel and bumpy has been neatly repaved.

 And plants and trees all over the place are thriving.
Through the next few months of my healing, I think I will take advantage of this beautiful place in nature to sit and recover, just like nature has recovered from the flood, so will I recover from my cancer and grow stronger and hopefully more beautiful and healthy on the other side of healing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day Ten

Today is day 10 from my surgery and I am up and dressed at 8am - huge progress.  Managed last night to lie on my side for a short while - Yippee!!!!!  It was such a big step forward and made me feel fantastic. Still slept on my back - but just having the chance to change positions was wonderful.

I had a good day yesterday. It all started on Tuesday evening when Elizabeth realised that I was not in a good space.  She decorated a lovely sponge cake for me and even brought it in with a candle for wishes and healing.  I was so sore and hot, frustrated and upset.  After a piece of cake, she offered me a bath.  My beautiful girl, ran me a shallow bath and washed me. She had bought me a fresh, new sponge and took the time to wash my feet and legs, my back and arms. Just being pampered was wonderful.  Then sitting me in the lounge, she corralled Matthew into helping her change my bed-linen - even though it was only 2 days since she had changed it.  She put the air-con on in our room and cooled everything down. Result was that on Tuesday night I slept really well. 

 Wednesday morning, we had morning tea out on the patio, cake, lemonade, fresh air, puppies playing at our feet and a game of cards.  What a delightful way to heal.
She then offered to take me to the shops for an hour to get out of the house - again a blessing.  I managed to snail-pace walk up and down the centre and enjoy looking in a few shops.  A wonderful way to exercise.

So thank you special girl for your love, thoughtfulness and time.  I love you.

So today - Day 10.  Woke up feeling so much better.  Another day on the healing trail.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Before and After

Now not many people would be game enough at age 48 to be baring their skin to the public, but I figured if celebrities could do it - so could I. 

Before I went into hospital, I asked Elizabeth to take a photo of my belly, a little fat, but not too bad - no road maps.

 It is so easy to take an after photo - of a new garden bed, or something changed, but so often we forget to take the before photo - I wanted a memory of my tummy before the scar went in. 
Knowing that he was doing a transverse scar I expected one around 5 - 10cm, but this huge 20cm was even a shock for me.
 The problem was the upper junction of the tumour and his desire to ensure that he would get all the cancer out - thank goodness he did.  My first thoughts were - "Oh Well - I can do a join the dots road map - from my caesarian scar, to my appendix scar to my tummy scar to the drain scar to my gall bladder scar - I won't need a tattoo, I can just join up the patterns."
 My first day home - I got to see all the beautiful cards and flowers from friends displayed.  Thank you to you all for your Facebook, email, phone and card messages. It is at times like these that I appreciate the time and love you have all taken to share your prayers and care with me.

Flowers adorn my bookshelf in my room, white roses for healing from Ivan, a stunning orchid from Sergio, bright orange daisies and lillies from Graham and combining Mum's flowers with flowers from Chris & Jan, has made an amazing display.

Thank you everyone.  My first step on this journey has begun, and now I am building strength for the next step.  One I know I will deal with no matter what - I have too much to do in life and life has too much for me to enjoy.

So with a smile and JOY in my heart I am recovering slowly and healing. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Canteen - Bandanna Day

Every year I support the annual fund-raising drive for teenage cancer research by buying a bandanna.
So it was funny to walk into Woolworths just after receiving the news that my tumour was cancerous and find that they were selling bandannas.

Bandanna Fun

Ivan moved our beautiful flowering pot plant to where we could see it - isn't this beautiful.
I had to buy one, well I bought two.  I wanted to share and show my support for all those who are much worse off than I am and help with the fund raising. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fun photos in September

This beautiful young puppy joined our family this month.
Our Sarah is totally obsessed with animals and on spotting this beautiful little Japanese Chin x Yorkie x Chihahau puppy - we succumbed to her obsession.
 Max joined our family a couple of weeks ago and has turned out to be the most amazing addition.  The girls (Abby & Bella - dogs) and Cleo-cat are totally in love with Max. 

Of course the rest of the humans are just as besotted.  He is so much fun, and so small just 1kg at the moment.  He has the most delightful nature and brings a smile to our faces all the time - most needed at the moment.

This photo of me, sitting with my puppies - Bella and Max - the day I came out of hospital after shoulder surgery and finding out about the tumour in the colon - says it all.

 And in trying to get a couple of great photos at Max's level - I managed to get this one which I am titling - CANON FODDER.  Max tugged and pulled on my camera strap, as I giggled and snapped away.