Back at school

Posted on July 31st, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Today was my first day back at school. Hints of a bitter taste entered my mouth as memories of ‘first days’ at school came flooding back. I still wonder why I actually ended up teaching when the mere smell of glue and crayons is enough to make me break out in an anxious sweat.

So I started doing some post grad studies in media at Edith Cowan University just up the road. I got a little nervous as I hadn’t been sent any information or letter of offer from the uni. Apparently it got lost in the mail. Mostly got things sorted though, and attended my first lecture today. I am still not sure about whether I can get into one of the units, but will find out tomorrow.

One thing I was very relieved about though was having a decision made regarding working at the uni. A research position was available and I went for an interview last week and I let them know that I was only able to work one day a week. Ever since I had the interview, I have been getting anxious about how I was going to manage study, the workshop, my education project, and my recovery – which I have been leaving out of the equation lately. After all, I am better now.

Thankfully, they called today and said they really needed someone for three days a week. I was quite relieved. If they had of offered me just one day, I think I would have reached the point of overload just thinking about it. It would have been another decision to make, now I don’t have to make it. The job would have involved stats, number crunching, data analysis, reports etc. Yes, I know, sounds perfect for me, but for this time I am happy to leave this opportunity for another gifted mathematician.

After uni, went over to Rach’s place to catch up as her and Michael and Angus have spent the week in Sydney. Angus went to the doctor today and it has become clear that he needs to have surgery quite soon to rectify a problem in one of his kidneys. It was a problem identified before his birth but seemed to be fine in post birth tests. So that will be a big day for little Angus. He doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort though for the time being, and it was semi expected in a way.

The lethargy that I have at the moment is becoming more difficult to handle it seems. By early afternoon I find that I am just yawning uncontrollably and can hardly remain upright. I was only at Rachel’s for a short while before I had to cart myself back home again for a sleep. I am still kind of wondering if I have taken on too much this semester. What the hey.

These last few weeks have highlighted for me the need to get back into decision-making mode again. For the last year, it has been a case of following a course of action influenced heavily by informed practice, treatment regimes, stints in hospital, physical ability and tolerance to pain. This kind of removes a lot of the variables that come into day-to-day decision making. Now it is time to get back into doing my accounting, handing in assignments, managing time, developing business plans etc. I liked it better the way it was. Actually, not really.


Home Again

Posted on July 28th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

It seems that we are spending a lot of time elsewhere these days. We arrived home today after spending a short time in Singapore. This is the first time I have been to Singers and actually walked out of the airport. We really loved it though and it exceeded my expectations for many reasons.

I tend to chuck a hissy fit once I hit critical retail overload. It has happened on several occasions where I feel just so bombarded by materialism that I feel sick. I would like to think that there is a noble reason for this, but it usually occurs after I have bought what I want and then just want to get back to the hotel to sip Martinis by the pool. Anything to avoid the affluence.

Yesterday was Elizabeth’s Birthday, so we started the day catching up with a good friend Nicole who I used to tutor with at Murdoch Uni. She was in Singapore this same weekend with family, so a great opportunity to meet up. We then tootled off to the Singapore Flyer, which I think is the biggest observation wheel in the world – very impressive. I think I spent as much time trying to work out the engineering and construction of the wheel as I did looking at the view.

It was then up to the 70th floor of the Swissotel for cocktails and sunset view before finishing up with Tapas for dinner. Quite a memorable birthday. The other things we were able to get to during the weekend included the night safari zoo tour and the National Museum (this makes us sound old). We had a really great weekend. I think I could very easily live there.

I really felt a new level of tiredness over the weekend. Very rarely to I get to the point where I feel semi-conscious while walking around or sitting on a bus. But this was happening daily it seemed, it feels like my thalidomide may be catching up with me. Still, we took time out to rest as much as possible and I continue to work out where my limits are. Now it is good to be home again and enjoying the winter rain.

The Raffles Hotel

Yes I know, missing the hairy chest and gold chains.

Night Safari



Posted on July 23rd, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

We will be away until Tuesday next week.


Between a Hard Rock and a Place

Posted on July 22nd, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I have a new webpage that I will be posting other writings up that are not to do with cancer related thoughts and experiences. I have been privileged to have such fantastic people follow and contribute to The Walk Beside and I will be keeping this site for what it was intended. So it is business as usual here.

The new site will be specifically for writings that may appear weekly or more frequently perhaps. Topics will be varied, but will include categories of faith, beliefs, culture, politics, etc. and anything that irks or inspires.

So feel free to head over there sometime. The addresses are: or

or you can just click on the link in the blogroll in the right hand side column.

See you there.


Dr Brad

Posted on July 20th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Had a consult with Dr Brad last Friday. Everything is looking pretty good. He is really happy with how things are going so we left feeling like we could get settled with the idea that I am in remission.

I don’t know if it is everyone’s experience, but the connection that one can feel to another human being in charge of their treatment can be quite profound. How do you thank a doctor for stopping you from dying so soon? How do you convey gratitude to a person who puts in 20 years of study, work and research to get patients like me enjoying more of life?

I have only really known Dr Brad for less than a year, but he has obviously become an integral part of my world and it is highly likely that he will continue to be for the rest of my journey. I can honestly say that he has the compassion and personable nature to match his brilliant medical skills. We could not ask for anything more, though with him, we get it.


The next move

Posted on July 17th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

It has taken me a while to get my act together, but I think I am getting there, wherever ‘there’ is. Still somewhat recovering from being sick, and I haven’t been able to hear out of one ear since we went away the other week.

Other than that, these last few weeks have been spent coming to terms with a new chapter of living, and hopefully living without too much treatment. In this, decisions have had to be made regarding how to spend my time and how much my body can physically cope with. I was getting ready to fire up the silver business a bit more, but after doing an order last week, I don’t think I could take on too much physically, not just now.

So at the moment, I have decided to continue with the silver business as is and continue developing the educational website. I am also going back to Uni part-time doing a Grad Cert in Film and Video. The focus is on documentary production and I am pretty excited by the course outlines. It just seems the perfect time to do some learning – something to get the mind ticking over while the body takes its time to catch up.

I have also started another website that is dedicated just to writings about various topics. I decided a while back that I didn’t want to have a crossover with The Walk Beside as it mainly deals with a personal experience. These other writings will focus more on opinions and questions that are good to get down on paper, or pixels. I am still constructing it at the moment, but should be up next week.

For the record, my hair is growing back. Yes, everywhere where it is supposed to.


When I grow up, I want to be…

Posted on July 14th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Sorry, YouTubing again. This is one of those pieces that either makes guitarists inspired or discouraged.


What moves me

Posted on July 14th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

In the absence of anything to report on, and in the absence of any clear thinking recently, and in the absence of me doing anything constructive recently, I have been flicking through some Youtube vids. It is the Solitare of our generation, but more stimulating and requires less skill. Perfect.

Tonight I decided to look up a particular song by Pink. Each time I hear this song on the radio I shudder and get chills up my spine. The passionate resonance of her voice, the message and the harmonies just grip me every time. Songs like this make me feel like I am having a spiritual experience. I admit that I get the same feeling with Van Halen’s Jump, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rendition of Little Wing, Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire and a few Meatloaf songs, but when a song can bring about a physical response in me, I think it is doing its job nicely.

In my late teens I used to detach the speakers on my stereo to give me surround sound, turn the lights off and crank up tunes like ‘Lenny’ or ‘Little Wing’ by Stevie Ray. I would just let them repeat over and over. They are both instrumentals, so it wasn’t the words that moved me, but the melancholy mood of the music would soothe me beyond what I can describe. A passionate voice can do the same for me. Love it.

Whenever my melancholic mood swings into action, it is often accompanied by me putting on some appropriate soul-stirring music, or playing some soft tunes on the piano or guitar in the dark. Often I imagine that I am in a movie, walking down a city street wearing a big winter coat while it is pouring with rain, the music playing like a soundtrack.

Please tell me it is not just me who does this.

Post script
On this subject, and after getting back on Youtube, I couldn’t go past putting up Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama. My suggestion, put your speakers either side of your head, and turn off the lights.


Another Anniversary

Posted on July 8th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Today is Elizabeth’s and my 8th wedding anniversary. We went away for the weekend and had a great time, but we are pretty tired now and I managed to get some kind of throat infection. But all in all, it was good to get away.

It was in stark contrast to this time last year, when we received the news of my diagnosis just 3 days before. At that stage of diagnosis, it seemed that the worst-case scenario was underway as the specialist at the time told us that things did not look good. Our last anniversary, therefore, was quietly understood to be our last anniversary. It wasn’t until a week or so later that tests showed a more workable prognosis. It was a crap week.

This anniversary went a lot better. The recent good results have painted a better picture for the future and we were able to consider the year ahead as being more positive that the year that was. Other events of the weekend included getting stuck in an elevator with Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins (Okay, not ‘stuck’, but it does sound better than ‘catching’ an elevator with Jennifer Hawkins. Whatever the case, it would be fair to say that we both felt the earth move, as you do in elevators). Friends took us out for a tour of the city in a limousine, we were able to catch up with family and we did our fair share of eating out at some very cool cafes, so it all made for a great time away. It was good to do something different to break the memory of this time last year.

There is no way I could have got through this year so easily without Elizabeth. I feel it is her that has had the difficult year and I have had the easier role out of the two of us. As can be imagined, there have been some very tough times, but through it she has not flinched. It has not just been the case of just being well looked after, but more about how one can put every aspect of their life into making another feel completely loved and comforted. Elizabeth has made this into an artform.



Posted on July 3rd, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

It has crept up on me a bit, but a year ago today I heard the words, “I’m sorry to have to tell you…”

More to write on this later.


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