Final words for 2011

Christmas Day is two sleeps away. Hanukkah has already begun. New Years will be on us before we know it. I’m having a little break from blogging for the next couple of weeks and it’s highly possible that most people won’t get around to reading this little effort anyway. You’re probably all out doing last minute shopping, cleaning up before the relatives arrive, cleaning up after the relatives have left or baking or… Only the die-hard facebookers (and people with virtually no life outside the internet) will read this…oh, and you, completely normal, socially successful person. But, that’s okay because I’m not going to make much of an effort anyway. Hahaaaahahaa. In spite of the bustle of making food, eating food, cleaning up after the food’s gone; buying gifts, wrapping gifts, giving gifts, unwrapping gifts and exchanging gifts for something you’d rather have; decorating, lighting candles, mopping up wax, putting out fires… and all the rest that goes on at this time of the year, I have a wish for you. May you know moments of stillness; little spikes of joy; some laughter and affection with loved ones; and the assurance that the message of Christmas isn’t “Buy, buy, buy”, nor is it “Get, get, get”. It isn’t even “mainly for the kids”, or “a time for the family to get together”. It’s something more simple and yet deeply profound. It’s “Emmanuel: God with us”; the creator of the cosmos contained in the body of a new-born child. It’s God’s love gift, to the world, of himself. Well, that’s what I believe. You’re free to go with the other stuff if you want. And, every year I’m delighted to see that generosity, kind-heartedness and compassion have a resurgence at this time of year. Now, if we could just keep that going for the other 11 months! I hope I’ll still see you all popping in for a visit in the New Year. Don’t be shy; bring a friend or two. I wish you all love and joy and a wonderful...

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Santa came early to my house.

This is going to be a bits and pieces blog, today. I hope you can cope with the “collage effect”, but that’s how my brain’s working these days. Re the “book”: An agent has asked to read the whole manuscript. They liked the sample I sent them; said my “writing was strong” and they’d “warmed to the main character”. I’m trying to remain cool, calm and collected but the hamster on the excitement wheel in my head, is pedalling away like a mad fool. Fingers and toes crossed for a positive outcome next year. If she agrees to represent me, I can get on with writing the rest of the saga while she does the job of finding me a publisher. (oh please, oh please, oh please…) Re recent activity: Two days ago I spent a morning with a friend on the back of a motor-trike touring the Barossa Valley, dressed up like bandits and alternating between sheer joy and sheer terror. It was her idea of a birthday party and I was the sole guest for the ride. We finished the morning by having lunch with our husbands at Jacob’s Creek Winery: gourmet pizza and chocolate petit fours, mmmmm. It wasn’t the first time I’d been a passenger on a bike. (I have fond memories of a Harley ride in California in the 70s, but that’s another story for another day.) However, being perched up high on a seat, above the rider and open to the wind, is a different ballgame to riding pillion, safely tucked away. My arms are still throbbing in unexpected places. I think they were strained by all the grim hanging-on in fear of my life. hahaaaaahahaaaa. It was fantastic! I realised, again, how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful part of the world, with time to have fun, good fresh food to share with friends and the opportunity to delight in being alive. Having time for fun and joy is a luxury most of us in the Western world take for granted. We don’t have to spend all our waking hours walking to and from the nearest water supply, or trying to eke out an existence picking through a city’s rubbish heaps. As part of our Christmas giving this year, we’re contributing to a TEAR fund to provide a well for a village. There are a number of agencies that have similar schemes. Why not check them out? Re the Big C: the CT scans were all clear. It seems the cancer may be confined to one small, though painful, spot in my left ribs. However, this has the specialist slightly bemused as returning breast cancer doesn’t usually act so shy and self-restrained. (I didn’t tell him my teeth-baring-fist-waving-pants-hitching challenge had probably scared it into submission, but I thought it.) I’m having a lung biopsy next Thursday; they will draw off some of the fluid that’s nestling in the bottom part of my left lung. This will, hopefully, provide a definitive answer re what sort of cancer we’re dealing with. Then I’ll have a few (I repeat, a FEW) doses of radiotherapy and then it’ll be back to “normality” for as many years as possible. This is all good news. There’s one more week until Christmas but I reckon, with the week I’ve just had, Santa came early to my house. I hope he’s as kind to...

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Lightning strikes twice…

Back in the 90s I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy. The doctor told me that if the cancer came back it would be bad news, because there was no cure for ‘secondaries’. It would only be a matter of time before I died. Naturally, I decided it wouldn’t come back – surely, lightning wouldn’t strike twice? – and I got on with my life. Eighteen years later I felt fairly bullet-proof. In those intervening years several friends had died due to cancer but I was still going on, strong (sort of) and healthy (sort of). Then a couple of weeks ago (the day before my son’s gorgeous wedding) the doc told me a recent x-ray had shown cancer in my left ribs. Insert some cussin’ and fussin’. Either I have developed a brand new cancer or the old one has finally come back. At first I figured that meant this might be my last Christmas. I couldn’t get a handle on dying. I can’t picture myself not here. I cried a bit. I panicked a bit. I prayed a lot. Then I saw a specialist who gave me hope. If it’s the old one back (and that’s the more likely) then because it’s taken so long to resurface it isn’t ‘aggressive’. In fact, as far as cancer goes, it’s really rather wimpy. He thinks they’ll be able to control/maintain it for years. He even said, “Who knows, you could have another 18 years.” My first thought was, YEAH! Then I thought, Actually that doesn’t sound very long. I’m going for more. I’ve had a bunch of scans and in a couple of days’ time another specialist will tell me what they show and then tell me what our plan of attack is going to be. You see, I’m too busy to be sick. I have books to write and get published and all that takes time! I need my grandchildren to do some growing up so they can not only understand what’s happening, but will be able to remember me when I finally shoot through. I don’t want to leave my husband just yet, he’d get lonely. And, I’ve always promised myself one more trip to Disneyland and the Alamo in San Antonio. As we’re broke, it’ll take years to get the money together for that trip; especially if I want to go Business class this time. (Travelling cattle-class just about killed me!) I’m hoping the money from the film rights for my story will help pay for the tickets…or Reader’s Digest finally comes through with the big money! So, dear publishing world, don’t let this little set-back put you off taking my book(s). I intend to hang around for years to come. Don’t worry dear readers I’ll be blogging for yonks, and I promise it won’t be all about cancer. If that lousy disease wants a fight it’s come to the right person. I’m stubborn as all-get-out; I fight dirty; I’m not afraid to use my teeth, nails and whatever weapon is handy, and I don’t give in easily. Come on, you b**tard, bring it! *Bares her teeth, waves fist threateningly and hitches up...

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