In perspective

You know those days when you’re all “my life is soooo sucky right now” and feeling a bit sooky?
I was having one of those days yesterday (assignments due, crap day at school, snot pouring from my nose, kids continutally fighting or making *that* noise that goes through you like a dose of salt, sister-in-laws coming close to having a Will and their written request for more  blood money manually shoved up their ar$es … you know the drill).

Then reality hit me with a thud when I heard that the fourteen year old daughter of one of the teachers at my daughter’s school had succumbed to her 11 week battle with adult leukemia and died.  She was a gorgeous, lovely, bright, friendly kid.  She went into hospital with swine-flu-like symptoms  in June and walked out with a diagnosis of adult leukemia, suffered chemotherapy, a fungal infection which took away her power of speech and ultimately a stroke which killed her.

I found out she had died at morning tea and then had to go and teach a class of fourteen year old girls.

It kinda puts your life in perspective real fast.

Life is precious.


update on Dad

Thanks Magic Quilter for asking about my Dad.

I’ve been meaning to write an update but am not really sure where to start.

The good news is that the cancer is very slow growing.  the other good news is that the really bad balance was caused by an ear infection and not the tumour.  The other good news is that the chance of fitting is very slim so Dad can still drive (he’s not a bad driver at all).

The bad news is that an operation probably won’t fix anything and has a 20% chance of causing a stroke … and Dad is a good candidate for a stroke.

The neurosurgeon has said its 50-50 as to whether he’ll operate as there’s every chance that it won’t cause any further effects for another 10 years … which will make dad about 84…. and there’s a fair chance that Dad could end up worse off.


Nobody will really know until after an MRI which isn’t for another couple of weeks AND a visit with an ENT specialist to see if there’s any other considerations to help make the decision on risk of op Vs risk of leaving tumour alone.

I think Dad is leaning towards not having the surgery and I can’t say I blame him.  Still, he’s waiting to see what the results of the MRI and the ENT guy say before making a final decision.

BUT a big thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers.  I know I’ve been slack in responding, but I’ve really been avoiding thinking how I feel about it all.  Its the realisation that my parents are starting to get old. My family has good genes for living well into their 90s so its a bit of a shock for me to have to consider that a man of 74 can be considered “old”.

My Dad

has an acousitc neuroma.

If you are going to get a brain tumour, this is the one to have ….apparently.

…and given that the symptoms include going deaf, having raging tinnitus, being wobbly on your pins, and periodically complaining of motion sickness *whilst not actuality in a vehicle* and hurling your guts up we probably should have worked out that he had a problem many years ago.

Dad’s been deaf in one ear for years.  But aside from a complete inability to whisper and a penchant for only catching half a conversation, we thought it just went with the territory of having worked with noisy equipment for half his life.

The tinnitus?  …same thing.

The dodgy pins?  Well he tore the ligaments off his left knee about 8 years ago so no wonder he was getting a bit wobbly.  Not to mention the three rounds of major abdominal surgery he had last year making him a bit weak.

But now that I really look at him and not tune out when he whinges* about stuff I am noticing that he’s really *really* dodgy on his pins:

  • He couldn’t walk up the hill to our front steps last week and that never used to bother him.
  • He was walking around the front of my car as I reversed out the driveway a few weeks back and he had to grab the wall of the house so as not to fall over.  I thought he was still struggling a bit from the major surgery he had at Christmas time … but as it turns out he’d been looking at my car as he was walking and as soon as his point of reference started moving, his balance gave way.

Tomorrow, he sees the neurosurgeon. I’m hoping and praying that the news is all positive.  I hate to ask again, but please keep any spare prayers and good thoughts flowing in the direction of my Dad.

*He does go on about his health like a hypochondriac … but annoyingly when he says things like “I think my bowel is blocked” or “I think I have a brain tumour” … he is actually right … I mean there’s no family-humour-pay-out-on-him value in that.

She is gone

My mother-in-law passed away early this morning.
She was happy when my husband saw her yesterday.
Sitting up, talking to people, chatting away.
Quite glad of the company and all the friends who had come to visit.
My husband is glad he went to visit her rather than finishing dipping the cattle and going in later today.
I am glad the kids and I had seen her a few times during the past week.
I am also glad that her death was not a long, drawn out, agonising thing, but was mercifully quick.  She had a number of very painful attacks during the week (which she forgot almost instantly) and we all knew that she could not go on.
I am glad that one of her daughters who had been travelling overseas for the past month was able to see her yesterday and spend some quality time with her.

But I am sad.

Sadder than I thought I would be.
I haven’t cried yet. That will come after I tell the children. Until then I will be numb.
I know.
I have been through this before.

…and I dread the days to come.

Needs must, when the devil vomits into your kettle

Never ever ask the Big Bloke Upstairs “what else could go wrong” because the bugger will show you.

So you know I’ve been a bit preoccupied with my mother-in-law finding out she had breast cancer and then a huge aortic aneurysm within the space of about 6 weeks.

This pretty much sucks the most out of things right now, but we did get a little kicker when the devil did indeed vomit into our kettle today:
My 6 year old darling girl fell off the flying fox at school and broke her humerus (big long bone at the top of your arm –  not humorous as in funny).  Its very very unfunny.

The first thing I said was ratfucksonofabitch (yes reader, my knowledge of interesting swear words is improving thanks to the awesome Kelley at Magneto Bold Too).

Then I refrained from swearing too loudly for the next 5 hours between finding her in the school health room in agony and sitting next to a girl who was violently throwing up (please God – I’m sorry about that “bugger” comment above – please don’t give her the spews as well), having the brain-dead secretary-come-“nurse”  fart about for 5 minutes before she’s let me sign her out, then driving to the GP around the corner (who at least were compassionate enough to tell us to go straight to the hospital because it would ultimately save us time), then getting to the hospital (half an hour away) even though every slow truck in Eastern Australia pulled out in front of me on the way there, then waiting for the triage nurse (thank goodness he had painkillers), then waiting for an x-ray and having my girl scream in agony the entire time (thank goodness the dude was waaay fast and good at his job), then waiting for the Dr, then waiting for him to talk to another Dr, then waiting for the first Dr to find the right bandages, then the right sling.

Poor kid was starving and thirsty but couldn’t have anything in case they needed to operate  (hopefully they won’t but we still need to see an orthopaedic surgeon next week).  She was so brave the whole time, the little trooper.

So Big Fella – I’m not going to ask you anything about other things that could happen.  I’m sure there are many many more things that could go wrong just now, but I don’t want to know, thanks all the same.

The good news and the terrible…

The good news….

My Mother-in-law’s breast cancer seems to be confined to her left breast.  Scans have not shown any secondary tumours.

The terrible news is that, whilst checking out possible causes for her pneumonia, the doctors have discovered a *7cm* long aortic aneurysm.

The aorta is the main artery coming out of your heart.

An aneurysm is a weakening in the wall of a blood vessel.

A 7cm aortic aneurysm is a big bugger of an aneurysm.

If  it ruptures, there is virtually no time to do anything but hold her hand as she bleeds to death.

We are in shock again for the second time in a month.

Being the information sponge that I am, I have asked Doctor Google for some answers … but he’s being cagey like always.

I’m hoping that they can manage her in the short term with drugs.

I’m hoping that the cancer is so slow growing that it will remain a secondary issue for the time being.

I’m praying for calmness because I’m not entirely sure exactly what I should be praying for.


Update 21/2/09, 10 am: We rushed 3.5 hours up to see MIL in hospy yesterday as we got an early morning call to say the aneurysm was not good and we should be there.  She was stable when we got there.  They care-flighted her back here (capital city) last night as we drove the 3.5 hours back home.  We’ll find out if they will attempt surgery today – I hope.

Dear God

I know that I’ve had the odd angry word with you in the past few weeks, but now I am just asking that you give:

comfort to those who need it,

protection to those who are at risk,

strength to those who are fighting,

vision to those who  lead us, and

generosity so that the rest of us can share the load of rebuilding.

A bit of soaking rain wouldn’t go astray at the moment either.