Just a few thoughts…

Just a few random thoughts/opinions that have been floating around in my head lately. Why doesn’t the Pope tell Archbishop Pell to go home and give evidence to the court re paedophiles in the church? I’m sorry to hear Pell’s not well (although it’s an odd coincidence that he developed this heart problem once he knew the court wanted to hear from him). But, let’s face it, he could afford to fly home in business class. He could have a doctor travel with him (many have offered to do so). He could come home by ship. It’s just not good enough. The Catholic Church has handled these sorts of issues so badly for so long that their credibility is almost non-existent. Name and shame the perpetrators and give them up to the police. Anyone who abuses a child shouldn’t have holy orders. Full stop. I was going to say something about the refugee crisis and the appalling treatment they receive from our government and the governments of the nations that house the camps… but I can’t do it. I find that these days, whenever I think about terrified families that are seeking shelter, being treated so cruelly and all in the pretence of “protecting our borders”, I sob. I think of the frightened children and I sob. I think of the abused women and I sob. I think of the powerless, depressed, frustrated men and I sob. What have we become, Australia? So…today I’m choosing to think of the heroes who are trying to bring justice, help and healing to those who have been traumatised by war. I salute the doctors in the Queensland hospital who are refusing to hand-over a baby to immigration. I salute the doctors and teachers who are putting themselves at risk by speaking out against abuse. I deeply admire the people who go out of their way to befriend and care for the needy and vulnerable in our community. I thank every good-hearted person who chooses to look past ethnicity, skin colour and religion, to see the human being in front of them. You give me hope. It’s time we stop letting the fear-mongers determine how we live. Any politician who uses smear and hate campaigns, and panders to the lowest common denominator, in a cynical attempt to gain office or to win power, doesn’t deserve to get one single vote. Now…back to Facebook…...

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Three cheers for the boffins

Yesterday I had an appointment with Dr P (my oncologist). We discussed the results of the recent CT scan I’d had of my chest and abdomen, and the results of a recent blood test. This is what we usually do and, as usual, there’s nothing to worry about. Then, I wandered down into the chemo room for my dose of Denosumab: the Egyptian Grand Vizier of bone strength and cancer-fighting ways. (No, it’s not a real Egyptian, it’s just a chemical, but that’s what the name sounds like to me. Bear with me, I’m a writer.) A friend, who knew about the up-coming appointment, offered me their sympathy. I told them there was no need. I wasn’t worried; I was grateful. All this stuff is keeping me alive. It’s worth a few days of feeling “off” (nasty headache, a whiffy tummy and a desire to sleep, sleep, sleep…) if the result is so good. While sitting in the waiting room I had two nice bonuses. 1. The reception staff forgot to weigh me. (HUZZAH!) 2. I met up with an old friend. The last time I saw her, last year, she wasn’t travelling so well. She was having chemo, her hair was gone and she was wondering whether it was worth her while to go ahead with a purchase of a caravan, so she and her husband could have some holidays. She looked really crook. As she’s a stage 4 gal, like me, I wondered if she’d still be with us in 2016. Well, there she sat with all her hair back on her head and colour in her cheeks. She and her husband had bought the caravan and, once the chemo was over, they set off on some nice little adventures. She looked good and sounded better. Of course, she wasn’t cured but she was still alive and, for now, feeling well. That my friends is the marvel of modern medicine. 20 years ago, when I first had my dance with cancer, I was told that if it came back then there was nothing that could be done. I would die, and probably sooner rather than later. Therefore, when I was first diagnosed with a return of the beast, the Old Boy and I thought my number was up. Then we discovered that all sorts of advances had been made in the treatment of cancer. The specialist told me that with what they now know about cancer cells and how they work, and what they know of the sort that’s sitting in my ribs, I could possibly last another 20 years, provided I’m not run over by a bus. I’ve lived long enough to see amazing breakthroughs in medicine. When I was a kid, a friend of mine had polio. I don’t think there’d be anyone in the generation after mine that has seen a kid in a breathing lung, or wearing callipers on their legs. I’ve visited old cemeteries and seen the number of graves of infants and children, from the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, who had died from diphtheria or influenza or whooping cough. How many deaths do you hear about, these days, from Tuberculosis (consumption), or Tetanus (Lockjaw) , or Smallpox? I’m grateful for all the science boffins that slave away in research labs, fiddling with test tubes and strange liquids, and peering into microscopes. Well done, all of you, and thank you. So…although I feel unwell and, therefore, extremely irritable, I don’t mind. I know it’ll wear off in another day or so and I’ll be able to keep on, keeping on.  ...

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