41. Chemotherapy – round 8…..ho hum

Monday 4th November to Sunday 17th November

It’s all getting a bit boring really. A bit of chemo, a few days in bed. Nothing particularly interesting happened this fortnight…or maybe it did and I just can’t remember it. The chemo brain is quite bad now.

Chemo number 8 took place on the day before Melbourne Cup Day. Like many people, my haematologist had a day off so there was no pre-chemo appointment with him and no hard questions to be asked.

Jenni had to work that day so Joanne stepped in as my chemo buddy. She is definitely putting in the hard yards for that favourite sister status. The results of my blood test took ages to come through so there was quite a delay before chemo actually started. My neutrophil count was fine thanks to the G-CSF injection so there was no need to consult with any doctors before hooking me up. Once it started, it was pleasantly eventful. I was informed that renovations would be commencing in the chemo ward in a couple of weeks and go through until just before xmas. The area was quite cramped so anything that would give the staff more room to move without trolleys crashing would be good. If they finished the renovations on time, I would have the pleasure of receiving my last chemotherapy infusion in the newly refurbished ward.


My chemo buddy for the day. I’m getting quite good at these selfies.

I started feeling tired while I was having chemotherapy and I may have even had a little nap. When I got home, I pretty much went straight to bed and again spent the next three days in bed. The chemo definitely seemed to be hitting me harder in terms of the fatigue but I had been told to expect that.

Apart from exhaustion and the feeling that I really couldn’t be bothered doing anything (which is probably exhaustion), there were no other significant ill effects. I didn’t have bone pain from the G-CSF this time which was good. The nausea seemed to be lasting a bit longer each time so I was popping the anti-emetic tablets more frequently. There was no vomiting; that pleasure was bestowed upon my daughter this time.

She came into my bed on Tuesday night and said she had a sore tummy. Shortly after she said she was going to be sick so I ran to get a bucket, hoping she’d hold it in until I got back. She didn’t hold it in but she got out of bed and took herself to the bathroom and vomited in the sink. I was so proud of her! I really expected vomit all over the bed. Perhaps I should have taken her to the bathroom myself and not worried about the bucket, but as I said, the brain isn’t working too well now. My mum was there and offered to take my daughter in to bed with her so I didn’t get sick too. I wasn’t trying to be a hero but I figured that I was going to feel like crap the next day anyway and I needed my mum healthy to look after the 20 month old ball of energy. If she got sick, I’d have to call in more back up. So I took my chances.

The vomiting continued all night, pretty much on the hour. Nine times in total but who was counting? At 7am I did a quick google search on zofran wafers and found out it’s OK to give them to kids, so I popped one on her tongue and there was no further vomiting. Wish I’d thought of that earlier! Zofran is a strong anti-emetic (anti-vomit) drug commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy. The beauty of the wafers is that they just dissolve on your tongue so they work quickly and are perfect for kids. I am also happy to report that with frequent hand washing and extreme care, I actually managed to avoid getting gastro myself. Very surprised but very relieved.

I came out of the exhausted phase by Friday, and by that I mean I made it from the bed to the couch. The ‘good’ week was spent madly blogging, fundraising and recruiting new members to ‘The Good Tittie Team’. Jenni and I had a meeting with our uniform supplier to discuss what options were available. It was a long but productive meeting. Girls discussing colours is never going to be quick.


The team uniform meeting. Yes, another selfie!

Since there is not much else to talk about, I will give you a quick update on the current status of ‘The Good Tittie Team’. The team was formed 6 weeks ago and started with two members. We now have 29 members and have raised almost $32,000. Eight members have raised over $2000 and have therefore officially qualified to walk. That leaves 21 members who are yet to qualify and it’s definitely not too late to donate!

Our fundraising efforts saw us race up to third top fundraising team, but we have now slipped down to fifth. We have three members in the top 100 fundraisers too. I did get up to 8th at one point but have now slipped out of the top 10, to 11th.

Our newest recruit is Bonnie. She has now taken the title of the youngest member of our team and will only be eligible to walk (by age) a couple of weeks before the event. Bonnie is my niece and daughter of Amanda (also on the team and a breast cancer arse kicker). She was my flower girl, shares the same middle name as my daughter and is a real sweetheart – being born on Valentine’s Day, she doesn’t have much choice. She has already kicked off her fundraising efforts with a massive $500 donation! Welcome to the team Bonnie!

If you would like to donate to ‘The Good Tittie Team’, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to, preferably somebody who hasn’t reached $2000 yet (or me).  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Tittie Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name. Any person or organisation donating $500 or more will be rewarded with their name on our team T-shirts. We are the second biggest team in the walk so we will stand out. Pretty good advertising.

This is also a final shout out to anyone who would like to join ‘The Good Tittie Team’ for something that is going to be so much more than raising money for a good cause. It is going to be a huge reunion of family and friends showing their support for two girls who had a pretty shitty 2013. Above all, it will be fun.  We will be ordering uniforms very soon so we need to finalise team numbers. If you would like to join, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. Go on, do it!


40. Chemotherapy – round 7……and an ode to Ev

Monday 21st October to Sunday 3rd November, 2013

I turned up to my routine pre-chemo appointment with my haematologist with a bit of attitude this time. I walked in, sat down in the chair and said “I need answers. I need to know what the future holds for me.” I left the last appointment with him a fortnight earlier really having no idea if he thought my PET scan results were good, or if he actually thought they were bad because I didn’t have bulky disease and the scan wasn’t negative.

I think he was a little surprised by my assertiveness. He turned and faced me and looked me in the eye. I asked him a lot of questions about whether he thought the PET scan at the end of treatment would be negative, what would happen if it wasn’t, what my chance of relapse was and what sort of treatment would be involved if I relapsed.

He said if the PET scan after 4 rounds of chemo had been completely negative he would be “super bolshy” (I think that means arrogantly confident or something like that) about the PET scan at the end being negative. Since that PET scan wasn’t negative, he said he was “bolshy” rather than “super bolshy” about a negative PET scan at the end. If the PET scan is not negative, I will probably have radiotherapy to any spots still showing activity, as long as they are not widespread.

If the PET scan at the end is negative, does that mean I am cured? He said he hoped so, but of course there are no guarantees.  I will continue to see him every three months initially to see how I’m travelling. I had asked him at one of the very first appointments about how we would know if I relapsed. I assumed I’d be having fairly regular PET scans but he told that wouldn’t be the case. Apparently they do that in America, but not here. Obviously it comes down to money. If I relapse with lymph nodes involved in my neck, armpits or groin, I can feel them, but if it’s in my chest or abdomen, I can’t feel those lymph nodes, so the lymphoma could just march along with me completely unaware….unless I get itchy again. I didn’t really go into it too much at this appointment, but diagnosing a relapse is definitely something I’ll go into in great detail if I am given the all clear after the next PET scan.

If I am given the all clear, there is about a 10% chance of relapse in the first two years. After two years, the risk of developing other cancers is actually higher than having a relapse of lymphoma. The risk of other cancers is higher than the general population because of the chemotherapy I have received! Good chemo for the good cancer. It might cure the lymphoma but then give you another cancer. Awesome! If I do relapse, the treatment is likely to be a stem cell transplant. He was a bit hesitant to go into too much detail or commit to what sort of treatment I would have, as any treatment for a relapse is likely to be performed in Melbourne under the care of a different doctor.

I left the appointment feeling a little clearer about his thoughts on my prognosis. He doesn’t have a crystal ball so I guess I couldn’t ask too much. It seemed to me that a negative PET scan at the end of treatment was the most likely outcome but the possibility of a relapse and how that might be detected was a concern.

I went downstairs to be hooked up to chemo and was back in the naughty corner again. Getting number 7 under my belt was a bit of a milestone as it would mark the first time I had less chemo ahead of me than behind me. The nurses informed me that my neutrophils were 0.6. I was neutropaenic again having not G-CSF after the previous round of chemo. I wasn’t even the slightest bit concerned that I wouldn’t be having chemotherapy that day but the nurses told me they’d have to run the results past my haematologist to make sure he was happy to proceed. I was OK with that. They were just following protocol.

Of course, my haematologist was happy to proceed but he also told the nurses that I would now be having G-CSF after every round of chemotherapy. I guess I had earned it now, being persistently neutropaenic. My lazy bone marrow hadn’t realised that it needed to work a bit harder so it would be getting some help. My chemotherapy infusion was otherwise very uneventful. Given my episode of vomiting after the last round, which I forgot to mention to the haematologist, I made sure I was sent home with some extra anti-emetic drugs.

The fortnight after chemotherapy was fairly uneventful too in terms of the effects on me. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in bed feeling completely drained, but there was no vomiting which was very fortunate. I hadn’t spent three days in bed after previous rounds of chemo. I had been told the tiredness would be cumulative and it felt like that was exactly the case.

It was in this fortnight that I started the dodgy hodgy chemo cuts reveal challenge and formed ‘The Good Team’, which was soon after re-named ‘The Good Tittie Team’. So it was quite fortunate there were no particularly nasty after effects as I was very busy fundraising and blogging.

I had to go back to the hospital on Monday 28th October for a routine flush and change of dressing on my PICC line. I was fortunate to have an earlier than usual appointment that day which meant I could get out in time to pick up my daughter and her friend from school and take them to gymnastics. This has always been left to the parents of my daughter’s friend, which they have been very happy to do and for which I am extremely grateful. They also usually take my daughter back to their place for tea and then deliver her home, fed and happy. Thank you Tash and Richard! The support from the school community really has been amazing. Although taking my daughter and her friend to gymnastics is really no great feat, it is important to me that I do simple things like that in the ‘good’ weeks as I know my daughter hates the ‘bad weeks’ when I spend a lot of time in bed and everyone else runs her around to school and other activities.

On that Monday, I developed quite severe bone pain, due to the good old G-CSF. It was a strange, throbbing pain around my hips and sacrum. It was constant but made much worse with any change in posture or position, like moving from standing to sitting or vice versa. I also had a band of throbbing pain around my chest when I moved. It was quite a bizarre kind of pain but fortunately it settled considerably after that day. I didn’t take anything for it. As I later told a nurse, I just sucked it up.

This fortnight was also the first time I was asked what once would have been a very confronting question by a complete stranger. I was in Adairs, doing a spot of Christmas shopping (taking advantage of the good week and getting organised early) when a man who looked like he was in his 70’s came up to me and said “Excuse me, have you got cancer?” I thought it was really quite odd to ask that question to a stranger and I did wonder about the state of his frontal lobe (for the non-doctors reading, people with frontal lobe problems are disinhibited and often socially inappropriate) but I wasn’t upset or offended. I actually thought it was pretty funny that he’d just blurted it out so I smiled and said, “yes, I have cancer”. He then told me that his wife had died of cancer about a year ago. I think my behaviour then was even more inappropriate than his! As I was in full-on fundraising mode, I thought “Hmmmm, I could get a donation out of this”. I asked him what sort of cancer his wife had and he said “ovarian”. Bingo! A women’s cancer. So, I told him about the walk to end women’s cancers that I had signed up for but he just said “Oh, good luck with everything” and walked off.

I mentioned in the previous post that my hair loss had not been quite as advanced as I had expected it to be. I think every chemotherapy regime is different and every person is different in their response to it. My hair had thinned considerably, so there was no question it had to be shaved off,  but I had very thick hair to start with so I was far from completely bald. The hair that was there was even starting to grow so I really was starting to look quite a sight with very thin hair exposing much of my scalp. I thought I was looking like a balding old man. In fact, I thought this hair style was quite similar to that of my good friend Ev! I promised Ev that if he joined ‘The Good Tittie Team’ or made a sizeable donation, I would dedicate a blog post to him. Everyone loves a blog mention! Unfortunately he couldn’t join the team due to work commitments (whatever!) but he did make very generous donations to both Lisey and myself. So Ev, this is your time to shine……sort of, because it won’t all be nice.

I’ve already mentioned Ev a few times throughout this blog. He is a high school friend and one of the very few high school friends I have kept in contact with in the now 21 years since we finished. Ev was a cycling fanatic in high school; he still is but age has slowed him down a bit. He used to call cycling hammering, so I bought him a hammer, and got it engraved, for his 21st birthday. I wonder if he still has it. As we got older and our lives got busier, the face to face catch ups became less frequent but there were still fairly regular phone calls and text messages between us.

After I was diagnosed with cancer, Ev stepped it up and really has been a tremendous friend and support to me. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you really find out who your true friends are and Ev is definitely one of them. There have been many text messages and phone calls, a good percentage of which haven’t been responded to but he hasn’t given up on me! He has visited me several times, once straight after finishing night shift and he even brought dinner! He did confess however, that his beautiful wife prepared that meal, not him. That visit was the day before my PET scan so that Shepherd’s Pie became the celebratory meal when the results were good. We went out for brunch that day and I remember the day well as I talked like a woman possessed and I don’t think poor Ev got a word in, but he sat patiently and listened.

Sadly Ev’s father passed away very recently. Fortunately for me, the funeral was in my good week, so I was able to attend. There were at least seven people, and a few partners, from high school at that funeral, which I think says a lot about Ev. I told him that to have that many high school friends there, so long after finishing high school, really is testament to the great guy that he is. I’d say Ev’s wife is lucky to have him but I actually think he’s luckier to have her!

Sorry Ev, but it can’t all be nice. With any glowing reference there needs to be a bit of a slap in the face too. When I told Ev I thought my current hairstyle was resembling his, I asked him to send me a photo of himself so I could put it next to mine on this blog. To my great surprise, he did send me the requested photos with the accompanying text “Very uncomfortable doing this. It’s just for u and that fucker cancer”. I was also very surprised to learn that these were not Ev’s first ever selfies. So here is Ev and myself sporting our very similar hairstyles.

The front on view……..

IMG_1377     IMG_1387

And the more telling, top of the head view……..

IMG_1378 IMG_1386

Fairly similar I think (although Ev carries it off much better), so I have dubbed that hairstyle of mine ‘The Ev’ as a tribute to my good friend. After taking that photo, I shaved all my hair off again as it really was looking very average. Quite vain of me!

So that was the end of the fortnight after chemo round 7. Seven down, five to go wasn’t sounding too bad.


39. Chemotherapy – round 6……the half way mark

Monday October 6th, 2013

I’d only been discharged from hospital the day before and I was back there again for another hit of chemotherapy. I hadn’t seen my haematologist since 26th August as he’d been on holidays. I was looking forward to seeing him so I could ask him what his opinion of the PET scan result was. I was fairly certain it wouldn’t be as overwhelmingly positive as his sympathetic female colleague. Jenni came into the appointment with me. She likes to sit in on them when she can as she finds my haematologist’s lack of sympathy quite entertaining.

I filled him in on what had happened over the last month or so, including the insertion of a PICC line and the recent hospital admissions. I told him I was feeling stupid turning up to hospital and not having a fever and asked him if I should bother coming to hospital if it happened again. His advice was to take some panadol and see if the temperature settled. Quite funny really, as my standard advice when people complain to me about any sort of illness is “take a couple of panadol and have a lie down.” I told him I had really felt quite unwell when I was admitted the second time and that I was surprised I didn’t have a fever in hospital. He said there was nothing sinister on my blood tests.

I then told him about the night sweats and I’m pretty sure that made his ears prick.  Hmmm, could that be B symptoms? (In case you’ve forgotten, B symptoms are fevers, night sweats and weight loss in people with lymphoma, and are associated with a slightly worse prognosis). Surely not so soon after a nearly negative PET scan, and I didn’t have B symptoms when I was diagnosed. It was enough for him to get me on the bed and examine me. He felt my neck and abdomen and listened to my chest and reported that everything looked pretty good to him. That was comforting.

I asked him if he’d seen the results of the PET scan and he said he had. I asked him if he thought the results were good and he said “they’re OK”. I then said “you said you expected it to be negative and it wasn’t. What does that mean?” His response was “it’s not worth splitting hairs at this stage”. That was not so comforting. I didn’t really know what he meant by that but for some reason I couldn’t be bothered going in to it.

I asked him if I would be having G-CSF after this round of chemotherapy and he said “No”. I asked him why not, not that I wanted it, I was just interested in his reasoning. He said there was no point stirring up the bone marrow. I wasn’t really sure what the meant but figured I just had to be severely neutropaenic to ‘earn’ the G-CSF, and since I’d had it after the 5th round of chemo, I wasn’t neutropaenic going into this 6th round.

I also asked him if I was actually going to lose all my hair. I was now over 2 months into chemo and although my hair had thinned considerably, I was far from bald, and some of my hair was actually growing. I took my scarf off and showed him how much hair I had. He asked if he’d told me I’d lose my hair and I reminded him that he definitely had. It was pretty much the only side effect of chemotherapy he had been certain about. No mention of nausea or extreme fatigue.  Oh, he did also mention the cessation of periods. He conceded that I probably wouldn’t lose all of my hair.

I wasn’t annoyed that I’d shaved my hair, because I had to do that with the amount that was falling out. As strange as it might sound, I was actually a bit disappointed that I wasn’t going to go completely bald. It’s not something many get the opportunity to experience, not that everyone would want to, but if you’re going to lose most of your hair, you might as well lose it all! Also, a lot of people who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy find that it grows back completely differently, like my sister-in-law, whose hair grew back completely straight (I was going to say dead straight but that could be inappropriate). So, I was interested to see how my hair would grow back and I didn’t know if the fact that it hadn’t completely fallen out meant it would just grow back the same. I was hoping for completely straight regrowth but actually thought I might just get another twist of the knife with it growing back grey.

After the appointment with the haematologist, I headed downstairs for chemo number 6. The half way mark. Quite a milestone. Although I didn’t really feel that I would be half way until I got through the effects of chemo, it certainly was a good feeling to be able to start counting down the remaining sessions. I didn’t feel I could do that when I had more ahead of me than behind me.

There was nothing particularly remarkable about session number 6, which is good. No threats of delayed chemo, most importantly. Karine wasn’t there as she’d had her last session a fortnight earlier, and Jenni and I didn’t find a new friend that day.

The after effects of round 6 were fairly kind initially. Wednesday was the worst day, as it usually is, but as far as Wednesday’s go it was pretty good. I dragged myself out of bed before 5 pm and even managed to take my daughter to and from her singing/dancing/acting class, something I usually leave to my mum. I had  lovely dinner, cooked by somebody else and went to bed early looking forward to a good nights sleep and the possibility of feeling relatively normal the next day. Unfortunately, that was not to be. I woke up at 4 am and started vomiting! Now I know that nausea and vomiting are pretty standard side effects of chemotherapy, but this hadn’t happened with the previous five sessions, so why was it happening now? Just when it looked like I was going to get off lightly with the after effects!

I didn’t know if the vomiting was due to the chemotherapy or I had just been ‘lucky’ and had a bout of gastro. It didn’t matter really. What I was hoping would be a good Thursday was a day spent in bed feeling completely and utterly drained. Nausea and vomiting is not pleasant at the best of times, but I think when you’ve had chemotherapy and you have virtually no reserve, it hits you even harder.

I think the fortnight after chemo number six was one of the hardest. Perhaps it was cancer’s way of saying “don’t be too excited about being half way through your treatment!”  I was completely physically and emotionally exhausted and my catchphrase became “drained is the new normal”. I was feeling guilty about not being able to do things with my 6 year old daughter and because I felt crap, I had no patience and felt like I was constantly yelling at her and telling her off. I felt like she was suffering too and that was not fair. Although having a 20 month old son is bloody hard work when you’re going through chemotherapy (and even when you’re not), the blessing is that they are (hopefully) too young to remember anything. I do feel guilty about neglecting him too, and I’m sure he thinks my mum is him mum at the moment, but he is happy and I’ll make up lost ground in 2014.

Sally (high school friend, member of ‘The Good Tittie Team’) came over on the Saturday to entertain my children, to give both my mum and I a break. The girl is a star and I can not thank her enough! She cleaned up the playroom, brought dinner and entertained a very busy, young boy. By the time she left in the afternoon, I thought I was starting to feel better but then I performed the rather simple tasks of feeding and bathing my son, and I was exhausted. It really was quite frustrating. Cousin Sonya came for a sleep over that night, to catch up and to let me sleep in on Sunday. My darling cousin has been so supportive during this adventure.

I also discovered a new talent in this fortnight. That of making people cry. Well, it’s actually not a new talent if I think about it. From what I have heard, there have been a few tears shed by people reading this blog but I think that was mostly at the start so perhaps I was rediscovering this talent. I took my daughter to swimming on Saturday morning, and a good and honest friend told me I looked like crap. I told her about what had been happening and my physical and emotional exhaustion and I started crying. Then she started crying. On Sunday something else set me off and there were tears again. Sonya also started crying and then Jenni, who had popped in for a cup of tea, started crying too. The three of us were standing in the kitchen crying, so then I started laughing and wanted to take a photo of us all crying.

At the end of an exhausting fortnight, I was feeling like I needed to book some sort of holiday (local of course, because I wasn’t allowed to go overseas). I needed something to look forward to. The problem was, this cancer and the effects of treatment were so unpredictable. I could book something and may not be able to go because I might be in hospital with a non-existent fever, or I could just be so drained that it when it came time to go, I couldn’t be bothered. There just didn’t seem much point.

The fortnight ended on a nice note with my daughter writing a short but beautiful message for me. I felt I’d been so short tempered with her and was neglecting her, but I guess it just proves that a mother’s and daughter’s love is unconditional. Six down, six to go!


33. Punks rule

10th – 18th September 2013

Strange title for a post but all will become clear. The days after the 4th hit of chemo involved the usual exhaustion with Wednesday spent in bed but there was nothing too out of the ordinary, or what was becoming the ordinary. Whilst the exhaustion was ‘normal’, it was more annoying this time as there was so much I had wanted to get done around the house while there were no children to make a mess, and time was skipping away. Just in case you’ve forgotten, or haven’t read the relevant post,  the rest of my family were in Bali on that holiday that I couldn’t go on because of cancer and no neutrophils!

On the Thursday before the 4th hit of chemo, I had gone out for a lovely dinner at a local restaurant with a few school mums.  We had a great night with lots of laughs and a few wines.  It was just the night before that dinner that I had shaved all my hair off. One of the mum’s, Andrea (member of ‘The Good Tittie Team’) mentioned the trivia night that was coming up on 14th September at the primary school our children attended. She said they had a spare seat on their table and asked if I would like to join them. I said I would love to. At this trivia night, each table dresses up in their chosen theme and the theme for our table was punks! How I wished I’d known about this just one day before. I would have kept the mohawk!


How perfect would that have been for a punk theme??!!

Saturday 14th September came around soon enough. I had borrowed some ‘punky’ clothes and accessories, including a fake nose ring, from my sister (the one who hasn’t commented on this blog yet) and found some fishnet stockings but my outfit wasn’t quite complete and I hadn’t been able to find a ‘punky’ wig anywhere. As luck would have it, my good friend, Lisa Waugh (of chemo show bag fame and also a member of ‘The Good Tittie Team’) texted me that morning and I mentioned my dilemma. She happened to be in a shopping centre and she jumped at the challenge of finding me some appropriate attire. She arrived at my house several hours later with a mohawk wig, tattoo sleeves, safety pins and all sorts of other ‘punky’ accessories.  Thank you Lisa!

I wasn’t sure whether to go with the mohawk wig or  to bear my shaved head. My sister, Jenni (fav sis) convinced me that the shaved head option was the best and that I might as well take advantage of it. I got dressed into my punk attire and then went to Jenni’s for the finishing touches. After that I went to Andrea’s house for the application of the punk make-up and we were ready to rock!


Rockin’ the punk look.


A bit closer just so you can appreciate that nose ring.


The mohawk wig. The natural mohawk looked better but unfortunately I didn’t keep it.


Three punk chicks ready for some trivia. Renee, Andrea and myself (L-R).


The reason for title of this post becomes clear.

The trivia night was a lot of fun for reasons other than trivia. People who knew I had cancer thought I was very brave exposing my shaved head. And those who didn’t know I had cancer? Well I told them I had shaved my head especially for the night and they were very impressed with my level of commitment to the theme.

I also heard what is possibly one of the most inappropriate things to say to someone with cancer that night, but I thought it was hilarious. A fellow punk who was a hairdresser and was slightly intoxicated was told I had cancer. She had recently lost a good friend to breast cancer and was very interested in my story. She told me I had a beautiful shaped head which I thought was a bit of a strange thing to say, but she told me that she was a hairdresser so basically she was qualified to make that judgement. She told me the shaved head really suited me and then all of a sudden she came out with “YOU’D LOOK SHIT WITH HAIR!” Most people I have told think that is a highly inappropriate and offensive thing to say to someone with no hair due to having cancer, but I thought it was funny, funny in it’s complete randomness, and I laughed. And I wasn’t intoxicated.

On the morning of Tuesday 17th September, I picked up the family from the airport after their 17 night holiday in Bali. When they left, I had the short dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 7 hair cut. My daughter had wanted to help shave my hair off before they went to Bali but we never got around to it. I had told her via FaceTime that I had shaved it off while she was in Bali but I hadn’t shown her. I arrived at the airport, wearing a scarf of course, and when my daughter saw me, she could see some (very) short hair in front of my ears that wasn’t covered by the scarf. In the middle of a very busy airport, she ripped off my scarf and exclaimed very loudly, “You told me you would have no hair when I came back!” For a split second I was angry and was about to tell her off but then I thought, “Who cares?” and I laughed. I was rather grateful however, that I was wearing a scarf with a built in cap so it was very easy to slip back on.

Now, an update on that challenge to avoid a PICC line. I had been feeling that big vein that the diluted, slowly infused chemo had gone into every day since hit number 4 and in the early days things were looking good. No pain, it felt soft. I thought we had succeeded. Then over the weekend it started feeling a bit tender and by the next week it was definitely feeling hard. Mission aborted. I rang the chemo ward on the Wednesday and told them I needed a PICC line. I thought I might be able have it inserted the next day as I would be in a radiology department having a PET scan (a PICC line is inserted by a radiologist) but I was informed I had to be admitted to hospital to have it inserted so it was booked in for the following Monday and would go in before hit number 5 of chemo.

I was having a procedure performed by a radiologist. Naturally, I had to make sure any old radiologist could do this and there wasn’t anyone I needed to avoid. Doesn’t everyone do that? No, just doctors. I sent a text to my helpful radiologist colleague letting him know when and where I was having this procedure performed and asked if there was anyone there I perhaps shouldn’t trust. Within what seemed like a split second, a text came back telling me the name of the radiologist who would be doing it, that this radiologist was a good guy, and in fact was the husband of a work colleague. Small world. There are so many colleagues to thank at the end of this adventure, and I think they might be thankful this adventure is over too!

So, the next day, Thursday 19th September, is the day I would have a PET scan and find out if the chemo I had already grown to hate was working on the good cancer.

Unknown            Unknown-1

30. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cuts Numbers 11and 12

Well it took two days, but we have attracted another two members to ‘The Good Tittie Team’, and a generous donation from Len and Barb (BT’s parents) got Jenni over the line and she has now raised $2000 and is the second member of the team who has officially qualified to walk. It is quite fitting that the donation came from Barb, as she is one of the people we are all walking for. Hence, the dodgy hodgy chemo cuts 11 and 12 will be revealed after a bit of housekeeping.

The Good Tittie Team tally now stands at a staggering $9551 with generous donations continuing to trickle in, and we have 15 members in our team!! All this, in just one week.


This is what I would look like if I had hair and was looking at ‘The Good Tittie Team’ tally.

We again had three members in the top 10 fundraisers of the week for the past two days. A stirling effort.  Here’s the proof:


Saturday’s top 10.


And Sunday’s top 10. Not much movement over the weekend.

AND, ‘The Good Tittie Team’, despite having been in existence for only one week, is 14th on the tally of top fundraising teams.  This is partly because we are such a large team but it’s still an amazing feat and amazing that we have attracted so much talent, including interstate talent! But don’t become complacent. Keep donating please!! Every dollar counts so everyone out there who hasn’t donated yet, can you spare $10? If you can, donate now please!

I have great pleasure in introducing our two latest recruits:

  • Charismatic Cousin Chris. Son of Uncle Noof (former fav uncle). Uncle Noof is the one who has chosen lawn bowls over walking with his niece with cancer and now has two of his three children stepping up. No pressure Cheyne. I was absolutely “shocked” when I found out Chris had joined the team, and that’s not just because he is an electrician (thank you Sonya for that joke). Chris was hoping to be the first male in the team but by his own admission, being male, he got sidetracked by something irrelevant. Hence, he will have to be content with the title of the youngest male in the team and, according to him, the funniest. Chris is ambitious, or delusional, and has set his fundraising goal at $1,000,000. Since he joined the team, we went from having achieved 25% of our target to achieving only 1%. Hmmmmm.
  • The legendary long lost friend, Lee Neave. I wish I could say more about Lee but I haven’t seen her for about 27 years! Lee, Lisey and I all went to primary school together so I am pretty ecstatic that she has joined the team. Lisey and I were texting today and reminiscing about our primary school nicknames. We have no idea how we earnt them but Lee was Fozzy Bear, I was snake and Lisey was Ozzie Ostrich.  Kermit, if you’re out there, come and join our team!!

Roles are being filled in the team. Lisey and I are co-captains, Jenni is self appointed uniform co-ordinator and Unca Russ (the Godfather), being a sign writer, is the logo designer.

Well, here it is, Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 11; the completely shaved head.


Even I got involved with the shaving for this one.


Nearly all gone.


Ta da! The skin head.


A side on view just to prove it’s all gone.

I haven’t had so little hair since I was a foetus! I was born with more hair than this!


This is me at 3 months of age.


And at 10 months of age. Yep, I think I’m a wog.

Just to remind you what I used to look like, and what I’ve become:


A fairly substantial change! I actually think I like the pic with no hair better.

Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 12 is my personal favourite. It’s not really another cut, I mean, what more can you do with a shaved head? It’s more of a statement. Here it is.


A picture says 1000 words……or maybe only two.


With the supportive fav sister.

I think the part of all this hair shaving that was the most fun for me was making such a mess in Jenni’s bathroom! If you don’t know, both Jenni and BT are clean freaks. BT even makes his kids tap their feet before they get in the car so they don’t carry dirt in.


Jenni’s bathroom after the shaving. Apparently she left it like this for three days!

If you’re wondering how we got such perfect writing on my head, wonder no more. I will tell you. BT has a sticker business, as anyone who lives within a 100 km radius of him will know, as you would have woken up one morning to find a sticker on your car….or motorbike….or caravan….or lawnmower. For my head, BT printed a sticker and we simply removed the letters and used the surround as a stencil. Pretty good hey? You can even get this sticker on your car.


I reckon these stickers could take off in the cancer world. Not the purpose BT intended them for, but  I don’t think he’ll complain. You can order whatever phrase you want at http://www.myracecarsticker.com.au  At the moment they come with a flag, but if there is enough demand I think BT could be convinced to do cancer awareness ribbons instead of the flags. When I sent this to Lisey she said she wanted one for her car, front door, back door, letterbox and pram.

Well, there you have it. Twelve dodgy hodgy chemo cuts revealed and a plug for the brother-in-laws stickers at the same time. The next dodgy hodgy cut is not really a cut, it’s what happens after two months of chemo when some of your hair falls out and some of it actually grows. This is the one I am calling ‘The Ev’, after a very good friend of mine from high school.  I’ll talk more about Ev when it’s revealed. So, Ev. The pressure is on. Time for you to either join the team or make a sizeable donation if you want a whole post dedicated to you. And since you’ll be torn between donating to either Lisey or myself, I suggest you walk!

Please keep the donations coming. Although I have raised the $2000 required to walk, I am hoping to raise $5000. Pam still needs help to reach the walking target too, as do many of our team members.

If you are planning to donate, but haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Do it now. We are not far away from being in the top 10 fundraising teams and we are aiming for at least a top 3 finish. If you’re not planning to donate, change those plans right now please!

To donate, simply click HERE.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Tittie Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Tittie Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception only one week ago.  We now have 15 and are one of the biggest teams walking!  Many more are welcome, and there are rumours of several more members, including one from overseas!!!

29. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cuts Numbers 9 and 10


A bit of housekeeping before the haircuts.

There has been a minor and very necessary change of structure to the team and to the name of the team. My dear friend and cancer sister, Lisey, is co-captain. I copied Lisey by getting cancer, I copied her by doing a blog, and I copied her by getting a huge number of chemo cuts and releasing them on my blog for a good cause. Lisey is the main reason I am doing this walk; to raise money for the hospital she was treated at and for the cancer she has just finished being treated for. She started her journey six months before I started my adventure (I wish I’d found my cancer earlier!) and has been the most unbelievable support and friend to me so there is nobody I would rather do this walk with……..apart from every other bloody awesome member of OUR team!

‘The Good Team’ was so named because of the name of my blog; I got the good cancer.  Lisey’s blog is called Shittytittiebangbang. So the new name for the best team in the walk is……………

The Good Tittie Team

Lisey is a bit concerned about what the tamoxifen of our team (Russell and Max) will think of the name but I think they’ll be proud to walk amongst some good titties. Eyes on the road boys and don’t trip over!

Lisey is not fortunate enough to have the insanely supportive family with so many cousins, aunties and uncles all vying for the title of favourite, that I have, so we are adopting her and taking her in as one of our own.  She told me today that she has always wanted to be a wog, so a wog and a Tomo she is!

The donations are still trickling in, especially to the newer members of the team, and Daisy, so we have now raised a staggering $8675 in five days. Today, we still have three members of our team in the top 10 fundraisers for the week, a pretty phenomenal achievement.


We also have two new members of ‘The Good Tittie Team’ who I have great pleasure in introducing to you:

  • Fav cousin Sonya. Sonya good onya.  To tell you about Sonya would require a blog all of it’s own. She’s a natural blonde who does things like wartering artificial plants to try to impress her boss. All I can say is come to the closing ceremony to meet cousin Sonya. There is sure to be plenty of stories to tell. Jokes aside, cousin Sonya has been a great support throughout my adventure, calling often, entertaining my children, breaking champagne glasses (sorry, had to throw that one in) and cooking an abundance of meals which are always filled with love (and sometimes Giardia). She even changes my son’s nappy recently, despite it nearly making her vomit (and I have the video footage). Sonya loves a drink, just make sure you give her a plastic glass to drink out of. Sonya is very, very funny.
  • Luscious Lisa. Lisa and I went to the same high school, where she was (and still is) Jenni’s friend but we are now great friends. Fortunately Lisa has not offered to cook meals for me, well she has but I have declined as Lisa is known amongst our circle as the Paleo woman. Since saying something slightly inappropriate, in an effort to be funny, at the beginning of my adventure, Lisa has more than made up for it and is now walking with me. She is a fitness freak so will be able to do this walk hopping backwards with a blindfold on, but will she be able to do that and piggy back me? Well, she has been training for it.

IMG_1389         IMG_1390 2


Apparently Lisa has arranged to borrow this if I get too heavy and I apparently I forgot to post this haircut on the blog. I don’t even remember having it!

Dodgy Hodgy chemo cuts number 9 and 10 were quite fun and my brother-in-law, BT, showed tremendous support by getting a mohawk with me. Thanks BT.

Here is number 9:


Here comes the mohawk.


Matching mohawks. What a supportive brother-in-law.


From the top for a better look.


From the side.


And the token silly face. Do I look scary? No, it just looks like the sun is in my eyes.

And number 10, just a slight variation on 9.





Dodgy Hodgy chemo cut number 11 is a mere $45 away, or two more members of ‘The Good Tittie Team’. Surely that name change will encourage more of you to join! Cut number 11 is the completely shaved head, shaved on number one. I wish I’d known I was going to be dressing up as a punk a few days later before I shaved the mohawk off!

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Tittie Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you are planning to donate, but haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Do it now and keep us in the top 10. Who said we were competitive? If you’re not planning to donate, change those plans right now please!

If you want to join ‘The Good Tittie Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Tittie Team’ at it’s inception only 5 days ago.  We now have 13!.  Many more are welcome.

28. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 8

OK. Back to the fun stuff. Before I reveal cut number 8, a quick recap on the status of ‘The Good Team’ and our fundraising efforts. Great to see Dr Connelly off the mark, with some funds in her account. Amanda’s balance is slowly but consistently rising, Kate is making progress and Pam got off to a good start but appears to have done a hammy. Jenni has been working hard and our youngest recruit, Daisy, is looking like being the number 1 draft pick! Check out the status of the top weekly fundraisers today. I draw your attention to numbers 1, 7 and 9. Three members of ‘The Good Team’ in the top 10! Nice work team (and of course donors) BUT, these same three people have received no further donations today. No room for complacency!


We also have another two new members, both my uncles and both amazingly making the trip from WA to walk with ‘The Good Team’.  What a tremendous show of support for their favourite niece.

  • Uncle Russell. My godfather. Also known as Unca Russ (but I can’t remember why, I’m sure someone will enlighten me in a comment). A talented sign writer in his younger days, a talent which I’m sure hasn’t left him. Unca Russ now takes over the title of the oldest member of the team, and also the first man to join the team.  Finally some tamoxifen to block all that oestrogen
  • Uncle Max. Affectionately known as Uncle Fucker. Whilst being the first man to commit to joining our team, he was pipped at the post by his older brother who signed up first. Uncle Max never forgets a birthday but is happy to argue with you about the age of your children. Uncle Max was a caring older brother to his sister; he kicked her in the mouth when she was about 10 years old breaking her front tooth.  He will be easy to spot on the team. He’ll be the one with the towel over his shoulder to blow his nose on.

Welcome to the team boys!! Both have opened their fundraising accounts already. After being in existence for four days, ‘The Good Team’ has already raised over $7000!

And a recap on the previous haircuts from the starting point to cut number 7 in the space of about 2 hours.


The remaining cuts go from cut number 7 above, to a shaved head.

So, here is the dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 8; my attempt to look like Pink which I have to say was very unsuccessful as my hair is not blonde or pink, it was too short and I look nothing like her.




I probably should have tried to pull a rock star face in one of those photos.

Please keep the donations and new members coming.

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception only 4 days ago.  We now have 11 and two more have committed but have not yet officially signed up.  Many more are welcome.

Dodgy hodgy chemo cuts 9 and 10 are quite similar so will be revealed together. These are the mohawk cuts. All that is required is a further $345 in donations or those two people who have promised to join coming through with the goods. Every dollar counts so you don’t have to donate a huge amount. Thank you!