Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another anniversary

G'day all!

It is a year today yesterday since I finished treatment for cancer.  A year since I last walked in for my zapping by a flesh-searing relativistic particle cannon (thanks, xkcd for the best ever comic!).

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I remember being a little sad in a way - I was living by myself in Melbourne, I was seeing my workmates two days a week, and I was lonely and bored.  At least I saw people regularly when I was being zapped!

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I also remember waiting for the weariness I had been promised to kick in.  Hello!  I am supposed to feel exhausted now!  Where's my exhaustion?  I was tired if I didn't get my sleep each night, but I'm always tired if I don't sleep enough.  I think that is fairly normal.  It's just I needed an extra hour or two.

But I didn't.  I felt better and better every day, though the "sunburn" got worse for the next week or so.  The chemo had knocked me around so much that the radiotherapy was a walk in the park in comparison.

(Hmm, this blog post took a lot longer to write than I hoped, like a whole day, because Chromium has some issues on linux....)


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Anyway, it is a year and I'm grateful to still be here.  I've been reading the Occupy Wall Street Tumblr "blog" and I am really quite horrified.  I am one of the 99% but as an Australian in Australia (and I believe it would stand if I lived in New Zealand too), I get free healthcare.  Because my income is above a certain level, I have what Americans would call a co-pay on seeing a GP (primary care physician) but all of my chemotherapy, my operation and my radiotherapy cost me nothing.  Nil.  Nada.  Not a cent.  The anti-nausea medication and lotions I used cost me, but even the Neulasta and 2 X Emend tablets only cost $30 a pop and when I went on the dole (did I mention we have a welfare safety net too?), they only cost $6.40 for each script.  Each Neulasta shot cost my government somewhere around three thousand dollars.  Emend isn't that expensive but it is not a cheap anti-nausea drug.  If I was an American, I'd probably be dying right now.  (I may be anyway but I hope not!)  DH's job had just ended when I was diagnosed and we could not have afforded Cobra (extension of the work private health insurance after work stops paying for it) and we certainly could not have afforded to pay cash for my treatment.

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So hooray for Australia, for taking care of its people.  I'm quite happy to say being on the dole sucks big biscuits - it only brings home a bit over $400 a fortnight and is a lot of work (unless you are signed off work like I was), but from what I read, a lot of Americans working full time don't bring home much more than that anyway.  Which also shocks me.  And here we get free healthcare when we earn so little. (People will argue that it isn't very good because they can wait two years for a knee operation or to get a filling done but that is better than never ever getting that work done or having to line up at a fairground and get treated in a horse stall surely?)



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(Whoops, I just realised that pic is not straight...well I still like it)



OK, off the political pony now.

Next week it is my birthday.  And right about now would've been my parent's 60th wedding anniversary.  I remember their silver wedding anniversary and the bowl that the lodge gave them.  It was such a different world then.


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Now that it is almost the next weekend, I have to say what a lovely weekend I had last week.  Nathan decided that I should have an early birthday celebration because some friends are going to be away for my birthday.  Even though he was under significant work pressure, he found a recipe online for a yummy GF/DF sticky date pudding and got the ingredients and would've made it except KB wouldn't let him cook it in her kitchen.  That was sweet of him and her!  And it was yummy (though the sauce was a bit sweet and gave a helluva sugar rush).

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(This flannel flower was growing in some sandstone in the back yard of the house being warmed)

Saturday we had a housewarming up in Hornsby, which was very pleasant.  Nathan and I were the only Australian born people there.  The rest were adoptees.

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(Sunset from the loungeroom of the house being warmed)


Sunday DH had breakfast in Balmain with some friends and then I joined them for a walk around Ballast Point (two separate links), which is technically in Birchgrove but eh, it's all Balmain to me on that peninsula.  It set things up for a very nice day.  But we still don't get the verse on the oil tank sculpture.  (The full thing reads, "Stone statues of ancient waves, tongue like dingoes on shore .")  Today's pics are mostly from that walk.

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I wonder where we will go this weekend?  And what we will see there?  Exploring the harbour is fun :-)

anon!

2 comments:

  1. Well done on the year and Happy Birthday. Many more of both.

    My sister is walking in the relay for Life this weekend and also in the first lap for survivors. Here's her comment to me in an email. "I am walking in the Relay for Life on Saturday as well as in the Survivors lap at the start. Because I am. Well and truly. I cannot imagine that there would be anyone with more single occurrences than I. Not that I like that, but at least I am still here to walk. "

    Her recurrences have all been single instances of the same cancer with no mutations. Apparently it's a very unusual type and hasn't mutated at all. She's an exhibit in hospital because doctors in Sydney haven't seen that type down here.

    Sounds to me as if you have the same survivor's attitude as she has. Up and on with life.

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  2. Happy Birthday (to come) and Anniversary. It is a long haul with ups and downs, but as Jan said: You are still here.
    Nathan was very sweet to seek out that recipe and it sounds like you had fun going out.
    Very lovely photos, as usual!!!
    I second your Political Pony-ing!! I know my drugs cost thousands of dollars a month. I am very luck to have had free treatment too. WE are in the lucky country!!!

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