Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Bad luck doesn't make you immune from more bad luck.

You probably already know that.

Before I go on though, let me say upfront that I am perfectly fine - but I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Let that be a reminder to all ladies of a certain age, to take full advantage of the free screening program because that's how I found out. According to the surgeon, they did a mighty job of picking it up as it was quite subtle on the image.

This happened waaaay back in February and although it hasn't been a secret, I haven't exactly been broadcasting it (I am now!) and that's because I know plenty of women who have done it tough - and I appreciate that I'm lucky not to be among them.

And as usual for me, there are some funny aspects to this, starting with the diagnosis.

I'd had my screen and been asked into the hospital for some more tests, including a repeat mammogram, an ultra sound and a biopsy, then asked to return two days later. I was invited into a room with four, very solemn looking people who were all introduced before the doctor broke the news.

It cancer, he said.
Okay, I responded, fairly nonchalantly
You must be shocked, he said
Not really, I replied. I'd pretty much reconciled myself to the possibility.

Here's the thing: In my deep experience dealing with doctors about extremely serious situations, I can reveal that no-one invites you into an office with four people to tell you everything is okey dokey. The gig was already up.

So what's next? I asked.

He explained I'd need a lumpectomy and that there was also some other suspicious looking tissue. If that turned out to be bad, I may need a mastectomy. Given my age, he hastily added, if that did happen, I'd probably also have a reconstruction.

Can I have a tummy tuck at the same time? I asked, seeing a silver lining to this scenario.
He looked at me like I wasn't serious.
I'm serious.
He said something about 'biting off more than you can chew' or words to that effect, but didn't rule it out.

Next stop, the surgeon.

When do you want to schedule surgery? she asked
How long after wards can I row? 
A while. Rowing would be worse than golf.
Hmm. Well, can I put it off until May because I'm going to the World Masters Games.
Let me think about it, she said.

Two days later, I was back. She'd done some homework and consulting with other doctors.
Are you lying awake at night worrying about it? she asked.
Would you regret not having it done sooner if we discover that suspicious tissue is bad and you need a mastectomy?
No, because it's just timing - the outcome is already determined isn't it? 
It is, she confirmed. Well then, I can't see a reason not to delay it.


So on and on I rowed until I came back from New Zealand, went to hospital and had the lump out.

The surgeon explained she'd remove the small tumour and pull the remaining tissue back together -"like a slice out of a cake".
Will my boob be perkier after? I asked, hopefully
Noticeably? She hesitated. No. 

The biopsy of the suspicious tissue officially reclassified it as not suspicious. No tummy tuck for me :(

I also need a bout of radiation. We're off on holiday (Mongolia and Bhutan - stay tuned for that adventure!) so there wasn't enough time between surgery and leaving for that  so I'm doing it when I get back. I got four new tattoos today in preparation (just tiny dots).

So, there you have it.

The point of this post is not to garner sympathy - I truly am absolutely fine and lucky it was early, small, contained and slow - but to remind everyone to have your screens because we never know how luck will treat us.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The MJs non-event

Do you remember our find raising group the MJs? A selection of like minded friends hell bent on putting the FUN back into FUNdraising as well as minimising the out goings and maximising the dollars that actually get to the cause. Now there's an idea!

We're called the MJs because we all have middle names that start with 'M' or 'J' - Jane, Joy, Mary - that kind of 1960's thing. Well, we did have until Sally joined... but we're overlooking that.

Anyhoo, our next FUNdraiser is now open and I need your help!

We're hoping to raise $20,000 for Avalon Centre which provides second hand clothes, shoes, bedding and toiletries to the homeless as well as supporting other disadvantaged and disenfranchised individuals  - those from a refugee background, those with a disability, the lonely... anyone is need. They're a great cause.

So, what event, we wondered? We've had a trivia night, a cake stall, an indigenous do, a vintage clothing sale.... and then a friend's suggestion a couple of years ago popped back into my head - a non-event! That's right - an event you don't have to go to - perfect!

For those of you in Melbourne, you'll know what winter is like - long and bleak. So you start off, buying a ticket for an event and as the day draw closer, enthusiasm tends to wane as the beckon of the couch and an open fire becomes stronger. Why fight it, we thought?

Here's our promotional video.

That's why our next event is a non-event. That's right - an event we're asking you NOT to attend. 

We're not spending a dime on a venue, extravagant entertainment, a sit down dinner and wines of questionable quality - 100% of all monies received is going to the cause. We are so 'on mission'!!

As mentioned, (about 3 times..) we're hoping to raise $20,000 - we're up to about $4k and have a deadline of June 27th - eek!!!

Tickets are $130 and entitles the purchaser to a tax-deductible receipt, a discount on an eat-in, take away or delivered pizza from Firestone Pizza (472 - 486 Waverley Road, Malvern East) on the night (June 27th - it's a Tuesday BTW...)  and a warm fuzzy feeling!

And how can you stop me nagging? Yes - buy a ticket!!!

In addition, you can 'purchase' much needed items like sleeping bags, socks, underwear, runners and beanies - and yes, you'll get a tax-deductible receipt for those too.

Here's the TryBooking link so you can take action. 

With thanks and love!! MWWx and the MJs

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Kangaroo Island Part II

Back to the island.

Know that there are often long drives on unsealed roads between attractions. In hindsight, moving accommodation as you progress around the island is probably a better option that our plonking in the one spot.

Various friends and family had given us the hot tips but pretty sure we covered it all.

  • Pelican feeding at Kingscote - very funny and informative


  • Cape Willoughby Light House - again, an informative, friendly worth while tour - and bonus, not far from Dudley Wines!
  • Clifford's Honey Farm - long way to go but the honey ice cream was delicious
  • Stoke's Beach - where you walk through what feels like a secret passage through the rocks to get it - quite magical (Also where you get the great food at the Rockpool Cafe)
  • Seals at Seal Bay - the tour is expensive but it also supports conservation so fair enough

  • Flinders Chase National Park (below) - windy as all get out, but with rock formations like we'd never seen 
  • Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary was one of those rural parks run by people who are dedicated to animal conservation and welfare - friendly and happy to have a chat - a great stop


  • Island Pure Sheep Dairy, We arrived just before closing time at 4pm and didn't we know it! In spite of buying 3 cheeses and a gorgeous wooden tray, the staff grumbled that it has been such a long day (they opened at 10...) and weren't that welcoming which was a bit off putting
  • Admiral's Arch (below) was spectacular. Watching the seals in the incredibly rough water and over the rocks was mesmerising. The surf is huge - and they just love bouncing around in what we mere mortals would find terrifying. This may have been the highlight of the trip. It's so good.

  • KIS - Kangaroo Island Spirits, a small distillery where you can taste their gins, vodkas and other offerings. We had trouble getting their attention because it was one of the staff's birthday and they were more interested in presenting a specially labelled bottle of something to her than serving us... We did persist and they had some great products, buying a bottle of their SLAP vodka with Samphire (a salty succulent that's prevalent on the island), Lime and Pepper
So all in all, lots to do and see, some great food (and sadly, some not so great) and a successful trip.

When we got back to Robe, we discovered I had a cracked wheel rim so had to travel back to Melbourne on the space-saver wheel at 80km... seems my car is cursed here!! You might recall the drama when the keys got locked in it - also at Robe.

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...