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

I’ve got a certain feeling that this is going to be a big year, sickness aside.


Down days

Posted on January 30th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

We affectionately refer to the days that I am off steroids as ‘down days’. These can be tough as the body tries to settle down from the four days on high doses of dexamethasone. We usually expect lethargy and more pain for these days. I have now been on chemo for two weeks today and we are surprised how good we are traveling. I feel ok considering it is my run of down days and I am still fairly mobile. I went to the workshop yesterday to get a few things in order and made it through most of the day.

Today is to be a quiet day though. Libs has spent a bit of time sorting out details with the fraud branch of the bank and the local police. I only really woke up at about 11 after getting to sleep at about 4 this morning. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my body is sick because I feel like I am going ok. When I don’t sleep, or if I wake up sore and sweaty, or if I can’t settle down, I need to take a minute to think ‘Oh that’s right, I am on chemotherapy’.

Even in conversation with people yesterday it seemed strange to talk about chemo while I seem mobile and looking ok. I would have expected at this stage to be looking sick, pale, no hair, vomiting everywhere I go, and people wouldn’t need to have it explained. It seems quite odd to have a conversation with someone explaining that I am undergoing chemotherapy at the moment and that I am just going to pop out to get some terriaki chicken and some keys cut.

Over these next few months, we need to be letting people know that my immunity is down also. We have been told to be cautious with kids, colds and crowds. Basically I can’t afford to get sick from now on. It is just helpful for us if we let people know that this is the situation for a while because we don’t usually ask people if they or their kids have colds before they come for a visit. We are still trying to operate on a sensible caution mentality, so I haven’t got to the stage where I am wearing bubble suits or cooking my food in disinfectant.


Like a thief in the night.

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

Well if the original settlement of Australia involved accounts of theft, we have had a very Australia Day weekend. We were burgled in the early hours of this morning. I woke up this morning to find the front door wide open. I didn’t think too much of it as I didn’t notice anything missing.

When Elizabeth got up, her attempts to find her handbag proved fruitless. My man-bag was also missing. There were no signs of forced entry but we are sure that we locked the door as we talked specifically about it last night before going to bed. It is a bit of a mystery how they got in.

Regardless of their method, they took both our bags only. Along with these were Lib’s cashcards, visa card, license and, most distressing, her haircut loyalty card which was ready to give her a half price cut next visit. Life can be cruel.
We proceeded to cancel all our cards only to find out that in the few hours they were in possession of our visa card, they had racked up a $1500 bill on hardware vouchers, liquor, newsagent items and petrol.

It could have been a lot worse. The police were around very promptly, forensics closely followed and our cards have all been looked after and re-issued. A very smooth process, and we don’t really feel like we are traumatised at all. It is just a freak event that is a bummer.

The police have got a good trail of where the money was spent so there is a good chance that the folk will be caught. We have changed our locks so we feel safer. A friend stayed last night and he decided to move his computer from the doorway where it was just before we all went to bed, and my wallet was not actually in my bag last night either. So like I say, could have been significantly worse. They didn’t come through the house and we were all safe.

If you are reading this and it was actually you that burgled our house last night, could you please put the haircut loyalty card in an envelope and tuck it under our door. I promise we will not take the incident any further or ask any questions.


Australia Day

Posted on January 26th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

By January 20, 1788, Captain Phillip had anchored at Botony Bay where Captain Cook had recommended settlement. Their hopes were dashed as they failed to find the beauty or industrial potential of the location, so they sailed north to find ‘the finest harbour in the world’, naming a part of it Sydney Cove.

‘On the 26th of January the convict transports moved into their new home as a handful of Aborigines on the shore set up a horrid howl and indicated by angry gestures with sticks and stones that the white man was not wanted. That night, the British flag was unfurled at Sydney Cove, shots were fired, and toasts were drunk’ (p.17).

‘Within a few weeks convicts has stolen food so shamelessly that Phillip decided to have them flogged as a warning to both European and Aborigine of his determination to defend property. When floggings failed to deter, Phillip agreed to use the last sanction of the law and launched one of the thieves into eternity. The white man had come to Australia’ (p.18).

By the 26th of January, 1808, the founding of the colony was traditionally celebrated by the troops in drunken carousals (p.36).

(Mannng Clark, 2006, Revised 4th Edition. A short history of Australia. Penguin: Australia)

Happy Australia Day everyone. A sensational day where we can celebrate our heritage and conveniently forget some details that can make us uncomfortable. Not to take away from the great things that we can celebrate, but I believe there is more to remember than the cooking of lamb on a barbeque or the watching fireworks will represent.


Another brilliant idea

Posted on January 24th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Elizabeth has always said that if I ever got locked away in solitary confinement, I would be fine. I am not sure if this was to prepare me for anything, or to compliment me on the ability I seem to have to entertain myself for hours on end with very little material.

Tonight, and from this moment forward, I am finding it necessary to sing most of my sentences in Gregorian Chant. I am sure Elizabeth loves this idea as much as I do, although she did seem to get very tired quite quickly and has just headed off to bed. I am thinking it is only logical, given the soothing melodic qualities of my nasal soundwave projections.

I therefore nominate this coming week as ‘Sing-everything-in-Gregorian-Chant-week’. We could raise money for charity by collecting sponsorship when people want to have a serious conversation with participants, minus the chanting.

Please let me know if you are able to give testimonies about the lives you touch over the coming week through this ministry.

Here is an example if you need guidance. Extreme freestyle Gregorian Chanting is perfectly acceptable. Once you watch the first 30 seconds, you may get the idea. Don’t watch the whole 3 minutes waiting for something amazing to happen. That is just it. The beauty lies in the nature of it just going on and on and on, relentlessly. You will thank me if any of you find yourselves in solitary confinement.


Got it good

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

I have to say that we have got it pretty darn good here in Western Australia as far as health care is concerned. People have said ‘If you are going to get sick, get sick in Perth’. These people, by the way, are not comparing the Perth option to that of being stuck sick in the bottom of a dry Simpson Desert creek bed with nothing but a band-aid wrapper and an enema kit. They know their stuff on the international medical circuit. My experience would back that up totally.

We have shopped around between private and public care, depending on what resources are available at the time. The majority of my treatment so far has been public. We have only used private to get earlier scans as an outpatient. So generally, my file is on the pile with everyone else’s.

I received a call yesterday from Katie at the Leukemia Foundation of Western Australia. She called me to tell me it should be OK for me to go to the Police concert in a couple of weeks. Apparently I am not the only cancer patient in Australia, but most days I feel like I am. Where else in the world do you have someone liaise with your specialist carers about my drug schedule and my immunity count predictions for the beginning of February in order to find out if I can personally make it to a concert?

I have had the privilege of dealing with Fremantle Hospital, The Mount, St John of God, Hollywood, and a lot with Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, all in Perth. The departments have included Haematolgy, Radio/Oncology, Orthopedics, Physiotherapy, Day Surgery and Emergency. Every step of the way I have been looked after superbly. It is not going to happen all the time I know, but the ratio is certainly in the favour of the everyday patient it would seem.

I could have been anywhere in the world at this stage of my life, and indeed we were planning to not be here at this time. But I have to say that if you are feeling a sniffle coming on, or if you have coughed up your pancreas for the third time this week, Perth is a pretty good place to be.


And on the third day…

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

Not drawing any comparisons at all. Besides, it says not one of Jesus’ bones were broken. I guess that rules me out of running for Messiah, ribs and all.

The last three days though have been a bit testing. Good to get into these things gradually however. I am doing four days on, four days off steroids and the days off are difficult. No energy, no strength to sit up, etc. The painkillers make my brain smokey and the nausea began to rear its head yesterday.

I am actually getting through quite well. I would have expected a lot more nausea and violent vomiting by this stage but, alas, the anti-nausea drugs are doing a great job. From what I gather, things have come a long way in terms of making people feel comfortable during their treatment. Drugs to get you through the discomfort are quite effective and pain management is seen as significant in the healing process. I am glad I got sick now, because I would be crying like a baby if this had of happened 30 odd years ago.

I get back on the gear tomorrow as far as steroids are concerned so I am looking forward to feeling a bit better once they kick in. I cracked my back on Sunday while buttering toast. I think I must have gone a bit heavy on the butter when lifting and I forgot to do my usual stretching exercises that we all should do before buttering toast. At first I thought I had cracked my spine in half which would make perfect sense given the lesions in my T-11 and my hypochondriac heritage. But I think now it is just a facet joint that is out of whack.

Nurse Elizabeth has just informed me that I have lost a day in my steroid timetable and I am not back on them until Thursday! Time to get creative with the liquid paper and drug schedule.


Skeletion Deletion

Posted on January 19th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

After two kind of blissful days on chemo with no serious side-effects, my dream run seems to be coming to an end. I am sore. I don’t think it is the effects of the chemo just yet, my ribs are just in agony. Because my painkillers and steroids are masking a lot of the pain, I think I am just doing things that are continually breaking them, forgetting that I have chalk for bones at the moment. Sleeping on my side is enough to get audible clicks.

Which makes me wonder how I got through the Thai massages I was having at the end of last year. Before I knew my bone density was bad, I was having massages that would involve people walking on my legs, rolling me backward over their knees, contorting me in ways I had only seen on Ripleys Believe It Or Not. Somehow I got through without having to be scraped off the floor and carried home in a wheelbarrow.

The other effects of chemo haven’t seemed to kick in yet at day four. I haven’t felt nauseous, haven’t lost my hair, haven’t had any other complications apart from brain fog (so I have been told). Just the ribs. If God wanted to create any more women the same way he did last time, I have a few ribs floating around in me that I would happily get rid of at this stage. My genetic characteristics may leave a lot to be desired, although my legs would look more at home on a woman’s body than mine.


Day one of chemo

Posted on January 17th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: All The Videos, Let's talk.

This is the first batch of chemicals I took on day one. We had just come back from the hospital and I had already taken a few counter-active pills before hand.


Breast feeding cafes

Posted on January 16th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I was talking to a dear friend tonight who mentioned a breast feeding cafe group in London. I hadn’t heard of such cafes but those kinds of things set my mind racing. I cant stop myself thinking of names for such cafes. If they don’t exist already, I am thinking potential owners should consider ‘Cafe Express’, ‘The Maternity Brasserie’, or perhaps ‘My Full Cuppas’. For a slogan, ‘Serving the breast coffee in town’, or ‘Coffee that doesn’t colostrum the earth’, or maybe ‘Making great coffee, making great friends, making great mammaries’.
The options are endless.
Apologies for the deviation from cancer. The dexi’s are keeping me awake- need to direct my creative energies somewhere.


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