Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Wishing all my blog readers a sensational Christmas and new year celebration. May 2011 be the best ever for you.

Don't you love my little Willow beside her Christmas tree at home in Durban? They are in Oz now and will be celebrating Christmas in Adelaide. But they'll be back to the NSW south coast in the new year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boys sleeping

Father and son having an afternoon nap :)

22 December

Well, time is just flying. And so am I. Today I've flown back to the Gold Coast to spend Christmas and a few more days with Tim and Oscar. It was a 4am start this morning to make it to the airport for a 7am flight. All went well, everything on time and I'm now ensconsed at Southport with the boys.

On Monday I sweated most of the day waiting to call the peritonectomy surgical team to hear the outcome of their deliberations over my case..... only to be let down by the news that the main surgeon has been stranded in the UK with the terrible weather, and the meeting could not resolve anything. All that pent-up anticipation and preparation for having to make a decision (perhaps)........... what an anti-climax. Not good for the nerves, let alone the tumours that are, no doubt, growing by the minute. They don't know it's the holiday season and they should take a break too! Also no result from the pathology test to determine chemotherapy treatment. And now, of course, it's the holiday season and NOTHING happens.

Best to just try to stay calm, get plenty of rest and enjoy the time I have with my gorgeous family during this time.

I am grateful for wonderful family and friends who have been supportive and attentive and enterprising in entertaining me to Christmas drinks, lunches et al. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

This week and next .....

This past week has been full - the campervan hasn't moved all week! :(

Monday - Hospital - had an angio-CAT scan to check out my liver - all OK. Then meetings with doctors who are part of the peritonectomy team. It was a harrowing day. I will know more about potential surgery next Monday afternoon. Chauffeured and supported all day by my stirling friend, Roslyn

Tuesday - different hospital -had a porta-cath inserted in my chest in preparation for delivery of chemotherapy. Stayed overnight

Wednesday - lovely day with Nikki and Zeke and Willow

Thursday - The Wiggles concert with Zeke. Willow was too frightened to see them ??!! :)
Then I drove them all to the airport to fly to Adelaide for Christmas and went on to catch up with my good friend, Wilna, who is going off on her 10 month African super-safari in the new year

Wilna's gift to me (apart from her delightful company and the wonderful catch-up we had) was a beautiful, illustrated book written by Barack Obama called "of Thee I sing - a letter to my daughters". Look out for it in book stores.

Friday - it's only yesterday, but I can't remember - except that I didn't stop all day :)

This morning (Saturday) - meeting with a delightful couple to begin the plans for their wedding ceremony in Margaret River in April next year.

Next week - flying to the Gold Coast for a week to spend Christmas with Tim and Oscar.

it is now Saturday 18 December 1pm

Monday, December 13, 2010

The rest of my first campervan trip

Lesley has a sister living at Fisherman's Reach, near Kempsey. It's a beautiful, natural 30 acre property on the McLeay River. We spent Tuesday night there with Heather and Bob.

On Wednesday morning we visited nearby Gladstone, a gorgeous little village near Kempsey where the buildings are immaculately restored and maintained and there are interesting galleries and riverfront cafes.

Our afternoon drive took us as far as Old Bar, on the coast near Taree. We stayed in the caravan park there, right on the beach, and it was the first night of really using all the campervan features - including cooking our own 'gourmet' meal.

After a leisurely morning, we finally packed up at check-out time and headed south again, finishing up at The Entrance on the Central Coast. No pics taken here, as we got in after dark following a delicious Italian meal, and spent far too long chatting to locals the next morning about the interesting collection of bric-a-brac on display in the park's camp kitchen. We had to get on the road in time to be at North Ryde to visit Dr Chen by 1pm.

Dr. Chen was concerned about my latest diagnosis and has changed my herbal regime to cater for the onslaught of chemotherapy - yet to commence!

The grand finale of this trip was, after the visit to Dr. Chen, to arrive at the international terminal by 3.30pm to meet Nikki and Zeke and Willow after their long flight from Durban. It is so wonderful to see them, since it is February when I was with them in Durban.

First day on the road

Day #1 on the road from Southport to Yamba

Me and my 'woody'

Dinner view from the pub at Yamba where I was joined by friends Judith and Morton

First night in the van was fine, although I was a little spoiled being able to use the bathroom in J and M's cabin rather than the public amenities at the caravan park.

After the next morning in Yamba in brilliant sunshine, I drove on to Coffs Harbour where I met my friend Lesley who is to travel home with me ....................

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ready to roam

Took delivery of my new (second hand) campervan yesterday. It was quite a morning, beginning with a 4am wakeup because I was excited. After the flight, the paperwork, the loooong wait at QT (RTA equivalent) and forking out some more $$$$$, I needed to stop for a rest before I hit

the road back to the Gold Coast. So, I relaxed awhile on my bed, by the river at Mooloolaba before joining the peak hour traffic through Brisbane and back to my son, who inspected almost every inch of the vehicle and declared it OK.

I'm ready to roam, if only this dreaded disease would desist from its attacks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moving on to happier things

It's Monday evening, and in the morning I'm boarding a plane to fly to the Sunshine Coast to collect my campervan. I'm very excited. Tomorrow afternoon I'll be driving the van back to the Gold Coast to stay with Tim and Oscar for a few days.

Then..... on Monday 6 December, I'll be setting off to drive the van back home. My friend, Lesley, is flying up to the GC to meet me and share the trip back. We'll arrive back in Sydney on Friday 10th in time for my next consultation with my Chinese herbal doctor, then go to the airport to await the arrival (from South Africa) of Nikki and her two littlies (Zeke and Willow). They will stay in Wollongong for a week before flying to Adelaide for Christmas with her husband, Sam, and his family. Then back to this side of the country for another week before heading back to Durban.

Then on 22 Dec I'm flying back to the GC to spend a week with Tim and Oscar over Christmas.

Sounds like lots of flying and lots of driving - time for fun and family before the next health-related round begins.

Will post some pics along the way.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ding, ding. Ready for the next fight?

It's on again. This insidious disease just will not cower! New, fast growing, tumours in my peritoneum, close to where the most recent one was.

1. Oncologist says palliative chemotherapy only solution. (Don't really like that 'p' word or even the 'c' word)

2. Surgeon says he's the only one in Australia who does a 'peritonectomy' and infuses special chemotherapy directly into the abdomen while he's in there. More 'p' and 'c' words.

It involves - 12 hour op. 5 days in ICU/HDU, 30 days in hospital, 3-6 months to recover (if I make it that far).... AND...... this will give me a 30% chance of long term survival. Pre- and post-operative chemotherapy also required.

More tests to be had to determine my eligibility. What good fun!!

On a lighter note:

See the blog "following the fragrance of shooting stars" to see the next amazing adventure my friend, Wilna, is about to embark on. Hospital bed or that truck??? Hmmmmm

Feeling OK physically. Emotionally...well.....................

there will be more when

1. I have more news and
2. I feel up to it

Please get the towels and water and buckets ready for the next round. Ding. Ding

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9

Oh dear! It's November 9, and I haven't been back here to keep in touch. Well, life has been busy.

I've had a fun 3 day weekend in Sydney with girlfriends. The highlight was seeing the production of Namatjira at the Belvoir Theatre. I highly recommend it, if you get the chance to see it.

Another recommendation is for the movie "The Social Network". The story of the invention of Facebook.

After the girls' weekend I went to the Hunter Valley for an overnight stay and a reunion with my Teachers' College mates. Great fun catching up with the girls and boys. We're going back again in two years' time :)

And then the big move. My father moved from his house into a unit just around the corner from the house. A big move, a big day - exhausting but satisfying. Dad is very happy in his new environment. And we still have 6 weeks before the house is settled, so plenty of time for the garage sale and the final clean up.

And then a week on the Gold Coast. I went up to spend some time with my son and little grandson, Oscar. He turned 3 on 3 November and we had a sausage sizzle party to celebrate.

Here is Oscar practicing his candle-blowing in preparation. Isn't he just gorgeous??:)

It was an icecream cake which melts very quickly in warm weather and the birthday boy loved digging his fingers in

While I was on the Gold Coast I also visited my dear friends, Judith and Morton, who have a beautiful garden on their 30 acre property at Rosebank, in the hills behind Byron Bay.
Here's a pic of them last Sunday - for those of you who know them :)

And the last piece of news is that................ I have made a deal to buy a used campervan. It's time to start seeing my own country.
I finalise and collect the van from its owner in Coolum, on the Sunshine Coast, at the end of this month.

No wonder I haven't had time to write. Glad to catch up now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back on my bike

Well, following the good news from the tests, the weather has also improved, so I've been motivated to venture out on my bicycle again. The chain was off, the tyres were flat, there were cobwebs decorating the spokes and pedals - but it is still in working order and after a good friend gave it some TLC, it's now up and running and so am I.

I first ventured out yesterday, on the spur of the moment, after sitting in the sun to have my breakfast and my morning cuppa. The day was so beautiful and there was only a gentle breeze, so I donned my riding gear and took off. I only went a few kilometres before I was puffing and my thighs were burning from the effort, but it felt good.

So, I have been out again this morning (another top day) and cycled twice as far as I did yesterday. The cycle path travels along the coastline beside all the beautiful beaches, so it is always such a pleasure to be on the path. For those of you who know it - yesterday I made it to Fairy Meadow beach and today I went as far as Bellambi Lagoon. There are seats strategically located along the way, so a nice 5 minute rest is in order before turning back.

I hope the next ride will take me to Bulli, to Sea Salt Cafe where I can treat myself to tea and a toasted muffin before turning back.

Meanwhile, I'm off to Sydney tomorrow for a long weekend with 'the girls' in the big smoke. On Saturday we will see the play Namatjira at the Belvoir Street Theatre. Really looking forward to that as it has excellent reviews.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good news from latest tests

Good news today. I had a blood test last week and a CT scan this morning. I collected the scan and report from the radiologist and went straight to the surgeon to hear the results. And Yippee!!!! both blood and CT reports say all is clear and all is fine. The surgeon says he is very pleased. Me too :)

These pics are from the two weddings I conducted over the recent weekend. In the above I am with the groom and his best man, waiting on the bride's arrival. We were at Fountaindale Grand Manor at Robertson in the Southern Highlands.

This wedding was held at Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa on the south coast.

Both were beautiful and it was a great pleasure for me to officiate.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Celebrated Dad's 90th birthday

Dad (striped shirt) with some of his special guests. He doesn't look 90, does he! The red-shirted 76 year-old looks older, don't you think?

My Dad turns 90 on 8th October. In Australia this recent weekend was a holiday weekend, so we decided to hold the celebrations this weekend. A picnic in the park was planned and during the week leading up to the party day the weather was fine and sunny, if a little cold. That would have been fine........ but............. the night before the party, the heavens opened and delivered all the rain that had been held back over the past months. So... on the morning of the party I had to cancel the picnic and move the celebrations into the house - which is only next door to the park.

Fortunately not all the people who would have come for the picnic arrived, but we had quite a nice crowd of people call in during the afternoon for a glass of wine and a piece of birthday cake. Dad had a great afternoon - that's all that matters :)

It was a great day. We'll have more, quieter celebrations on Friday 8th.

And then on to - moving him to his new abode and emptying his house in readiness for settlement in December. And for me - more scans and blood tests and cosultations. Life is busy!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A weekend with friends and daffodils in Rydal

A thousand daffodils at Barks Ridge

I spent last weekend with friends in Rydal. It was the annual daffodil festival, held every 2nd weekend in September. The weather was magnificent, the company convivial and the daffodils splendid.

My friends and I stayed at Rydal Mount which is a small conference centre owned by my friend, Anne.

Several gardens in the village were open and awash with daffodils and the tulips were just beginning to poke their heads up. There were also gardens open in properties we visited around Rydal.

Chappel House was magnificent.

Anne and Ros at Rydal Mount.

There was a chill in the air, but the sun shone brightly all weekend and many, many visitors came to the small village which has a population of 81.

Put it on your 'places to visit' list - recommend September. Rydal is between Lithgow and Bathurst on the road that passes Lake Lyell.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

At last - a decision and peace of mind

Well, the break away at Hyams Beach had mixed results. The weather was lousy - rain, wind, cold, power black-out! Not so good for walking on the beach or spending any time outdoors. However, all was not lost. The project I set myself to sort out 40 years of photographs was completed :) All the photos I need/want to keep are now compactly stored in 2 pretty photo boxes. All other photos and the old albums that they were in have been ditched. Whew! It feels good.

And I have finally had some advice from a medico, who has no connection with me or my 'case'. However he has worked in the oncology and radiotherapy field all of his career. He has given me peace of mind and allowed me to let go of the anxiety that has been haunting me about whether to have radiotherapy or not. The decision is 'No'. I will rely on scans and blood tests regularly. Whew! That feels good, too.

And now to concentrate on the 90th birthday party for my father next month, emptying his house by mid December and helping him to find his new home.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


As reported before, the story goes on and on.... never ending. Yesterday's visit to the surgeon was frustrating. No definitive opinion or action being taken - just a referral to another surgeon for an opinion.

But for now I am ensconsed in my friend's house at Hyams Beach overlooking Jervis Bay and the whitest sands in the world!

Life is OK, for now:)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dr Chen says "all good"

Today I've been to see Dr Chen , Chinese herbalist, who tells me he is pleased with my status. He takes my pulse and looks at the colour of my tongue - and from that he can tell how I am and what acupuncture treatment he gives me on that occasion.

I had a discussion with him about my diet and he is still advocating eating lots of kiwi fruit, lots of sweet potato and lots of cooked tomoatoes. This I already do.

Since my last entry I've enjoyed seeing the Royal New Zealand Ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet. It was a very modern interpretation with today's costuming including stiletto heels, short skirts and sun glasses for the girls. The dancers' bodies and arms and legs are so athletic and yet so they are so light and dainty. There were three 20 minute acts, and they seemed to fly by. Marvellous.

Also spent an interesting day at a Professional Development seminar for marriage celebrants. There is controversy here at the moment about some celebrants not including all the legal wording required to make the wedding actually legal. The discussion at the PD day confirmed that my ceremonies have all included the required legal wording - as I knew they did. I can't understand why guilty celebrants don't include them. They are not onerous for either the celebrant or the couple.

In the past week I have also resumed my regular Saturday and Tuesday early morning walks with friends. I can't go the whole distance yet, but it's great to have started back into some of my regular activities. Early morning rises will take some getting used to again. I've got into the habit of late nights and late mornings. it will be a long, slow haul to turn the body clock.

So, it's 9.15pm now. Perhaps I should turn in now :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No radtiotherpay required

Today I had a call from the radiotherapist. He told me that the two pathologists had spoken and consulted over the samples and are now in agreement that the margins are clear (I think that's the expression). This means that there is no need for radiotherapy treatment at this time. It will be necessary to monitor the situation with regular CT scans, with the first one probably needed in about 2 month's time.

So, that's good news, hey? I still have my appointment with the surgeon to discuss my concern about the (original) differing pathology opinions and the possibility of a third opinion - on 1 September.

My strength is improving and I'm driving again. Meeting with couples for weddings coming up in the spring, as well as conducting funeral services. Life is almost back to normal.

Terrie 12.30am Friday

Sunday, August 15, 2010

She Won! She Won! She Won!

Keiraville's Emma Young has tonight (Sunday) won the 2010 Sydney Eisteddfod Operatic Aria Competition. You may remember that I talked about her last month and that I was very excited that she won her way to the final. She has only been singing opera for six months, this is the first time she has entered this competition (obviously) and nobody really expected her to win first time round. In fact I mentioned the gorgeous young man from New Zealand who seemed to be the stand-out favourite. Well, tonight he earned an honourable mention by Richard Bonynge, who announced the winners. And when Angela Brun was announced as the runner-up, our hearts were in our mouths for Emma! And she was announced the winner!!! Amazing

She has won
  • $5000 cash
  • $35,000 scholarship and return economy airfare to undertake overseas study for the operatic stage including vocal tuition, languages and stagecraft
  • opportunity to attend rehearsals at Opera Australia in Melbourne or Sydney and observe an opera throughout the stages of its production
Emma's life has just changed forever. For those of you who might know about operatic arias she sang
  1. 'O luce di quest'anima' from Linda di Chamounix by Donizetti
  2. 'Je veux vivre' from Romeo and Juliet by Gounod
and she was fabulous - obviously! To celebrate we had to have coffee and cake at a cafe in the Opera House forecourt before driving back to Wollongong.

And now I can't sleep, so that's why this is coming to you so soon after the event.

Terrie 2am Monday :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What was that I said about a neverending story?

Home from the warm, relaxing environment of Cairns to very-cold Wollongong. And apart from a delightful day out to lunch at The Queens Club in Sydney with my SCEGGS Gleniffer Brae friends

it's back on the medical merry-go-round.

A visit to the Chinese herbalist yesterday, confirmed that my system is OK and that he will support me through the radiotherapy with acupuncture and a change in the herbal regime when the time comes.

Then today I went to see the radiotherapist at Wollongong Hospital, fully expecting to be told that radiotherapy was unavoidable, despite its risks and side effects, as I had been led to believe by the call from the oncologist two weeks ago.


...the local pathology team has examined the material from the surgery and finds a different outcome from that of the post-surgery pathology team. They are currently consulting with each other and I will be informed about whether it's 'on' or 'off' in a week or so.

If it's on it will be 5 days/week for 28 treatments.

The radiotherapist was very informative, and very tolerant and understanding of my apprehension and my endless questions. He encouraged me to keep asking - and I will.

In the meantime I need to try not to worry :)

Terrie 7pm Thursday

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The beauty and terror (mostly beauty)

Helen and I have spent the weekend in the Daintree, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation. It is just so beautiful. I have to put it on my list of places to return to - and with a 4WD vehicle so that I can go further north.

The terror!

The beauty

The colour

Cape Tribulation beach - but stay out of the water...there are crocs!

Mossman Gorge

The beauty of nature

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

a few pics

Up, up and away
Yorkys Knob Boating Club

Some pics from up here. The top pic is the view from our balcony - I can't get the text to work up there! We had a rough landing in the balloon, but all are safe and sound.

Terrie. Tuesday 10.18pm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's windy in tropical Queensland..

... but at least it's warm and it's not raining.

Safe arrival in Cairns on Tuesday afternoon and moved into a delightful 3 bedroom apartment at Yorky's Knob - just north of Cairns central. It's a stone's throw from the beach and has every facility you could ever want. The owner even left the fridge and pantry full and a pasta meal prepared for our first night. Very thoughtful - and delicious.

Yesterday was a quiet, slow-paced day where we got our bearings and made some bookings for future activities. Last night we dined at the Yorkey's Knob Boating Club, right on the water, with another friend from Wollongong who is up here doing some volunteer dental work at an aboriginal health centre for 2 weeks.

My friends have gone off on a boat to the Great Barrier Reef today, while I stay around home and the beach and rest. On Saturday we are booked to go hot air ballooning - taking off from Mareeba on the tablelands and landing somewhere on the coast - wherever the wind takes us. We also have plans to go to Port Douglas and points between here and there as well as up to Kuranda by scenic railway and return by skyrail. Now you know why I'm resting today :)

And yesterday, the oncologist phoned to tell me that he had discussed my case with the radiotherapist. I will definitely need to have radiotherapy treatment - no more details. I have an appointment to see the radiotherapist mid-August, so am putting it out of my mind until then.

I spent some time at the beach this morning, but didn't swim. The water is not the tropical blue I expected as it has been raining for the past few days. It's a yukky brown - not very inviting.

OK. Time for lunch, some reading and my 'nanna nap'

Terrie 1.15pm Thursday

Monday, July 26, 2010

No chemo required:)

OK. Today's the day I set off for Cairns. I've been checking the temperatures and it's 10 degrees warmer in Cairns than here in Wollongong. Yippee! I've packed my swimmers and sarongs, sunglasses and sunhat -and a few other things. Cairns - here I come with my lovely friends. We plan to relax and relax and relax!

And then there's yesterday's visit to the oncologist. Now, he's the man who has been remiss for the past 2 years - not identifying the tumour that has been slowly growing. Anyway - I don't think he'll be remiss any more :) He says I don't need chemotherapy, that I am currently disease free, but that I need to see the radiotherapy expert as he thinks I might need radiotherapy directly onto the spot where the tumour was removed.

I have an appointment to see said specialist on 12 August. Meantime, warmth and sunshine in Cairns.

Terrie 10.30am Tuesday

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Neverending story....

Just when you think you'll get definitive answers about the next step ..... there's yet more consultation to be done.

Today's visit to the surgeon was MOSTLTY positive. He said:
  • the pathoplogy confirmed that it was a secondary growth from the original colon cancer
  • he got it all and there were no signs of cancer in any of the samples taken from around the site
  • he had a good look and he couldn't see anything else nasty in there
  • he didn't disturb the liver, so that will need to be watched closely (already being done)
  • probably won't need to have chemotherapy - but ask the oncologist for his opinion
  • may need to have radiotherapy - but ask the radiotherpaist for his opinion
  • I need to see him again in 3 months after a CT scan and blood tests
I have an appointment to see the oncologist on Monday, the day before I go to Cairns, and an appointment to see the radiotherapist on 12 August, when I have returned from Cairns. There's one thing for sure - there won't be any treatment before I have my holiday.

His final words to me were - "There's every possibility that you'll live for a long time". Of course those are words I like to hear and will be doing my darndest to make them a reality.

As I said - MOSTLY positive.

Terrie 4.30pm July 19th

Book is launched

Well, today was book launch day. And it was a great success. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and warm, the wind was NOT blowing - the conditions were just perfect for the launch on the sandstone western courtyard outside the Gleniffer Brae manor house.

Champagne flowed, voices laughed and shared memories, and the formal proceedings paid respect to

  • the brilliant work done by the author, Dr Marcia Cameron, in recording the history of The School on the Hill, SCEGGS Gleniffer Brae
  • the founding headmistress, Kathleen McCredie, and her staff - beginning in 1955
  • the small committee of 'old girls' who supported the author in her work and organised the launch
It was a privilege (and lots of fun) to be a part of that committee and to be Master of Ceremonies at today's function. We had a friend there taking photographs, so if there are any really good ones, I'll post them when I receive them.

It was quite a tiring day for me, but I managed to pace myself, and I have a great sense of satisfaction now that it's done.

Tomorrow I visit my surgeon, Professor David Morris, who will obviously check my abdomen to see that all is OK. I hope it is. He will also tell me the result of the pathology, from what was removed, and let me know if I need to have radiotherapy treatment. I'm hoping that's not going to be the case, but.. we'll see. And then....

I'm heading off for 2 weeks holiday in Cairns. Two girlfriends are coming with me on Tuesday week to fly to the tropical town for some R&R and to escape the winter cold for a while.

All for now.. more tomorrow after seeing the surgeon.

Terrie 10.30pm Sunday 18 July

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quick update Tuesday 13 July

Just to let you know that Emma Moore has qualified for the final of the Operatic Aria competition - so we (her fan club) are all off to the Opera House on 15 August to see the top 8 young opera singers (maximum age is 32) from Australia and New Zealand compete for the big prize. There are 4 men and 4 women in the sing-off. The outstanding performer on Sunday, and the likely winner, is a brilliant young Maori man - 22 years old. They were all great - but he was exceptional.

Last minute plans are coming together for the book launch at Gleniffer Brae on Sunday afternoon. We are very relieved that the books were dispatched by the Adelaide printer this afternoon, so there will be a frantic working bee on Friday to put dust covers on and prepare them all for Sunday.

Healing and strength continue. Preparing my questions for the visit to the surgeon next Monday. And my wonderful band of friends is still coming daily to assist with the things I can't do - and to bring their scintillating company. I am so grateful.

Terrie 10pm

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Saturday evening 10 July

It's late on Saturday night and I'm glued to the television watching the Aussie broadcast of the Tour de France. I went to bed earlier thinking I was tired, but couldn't sleep, so I'm back up again with cuppa, laptop and heater for company. What magnificent athletes these cyclists are and what a beautiful country they are riding through. I know it's not everyone's ideal viewing, but I love it.

This week has seen me walk further - sometimes with companions and sometimes alone - but at a little faster pace each time. It feels good. I started out with a shuffle in my ugg boots and am now striding at a reasonable pace in my regular boots.

It's been several days since I took any pain killers, so that's good too. :) In fact, I wasn't taking pain killers for the last couple of days in the hospital. As the wound is the full length of my abdomen, I think it's quite significant that I got over the pain so quickly.

Am still having a nap most days, but today managed to get through the day without one and am still not really weary - so my stamina is obviously improving.

On Wednesday a friend drove me to Sydney to visit the Chinese Herbal doctor for the first time since the surgery. He commented that his acupuncture treatment has made a significant contribution to the quick recovery and the lack of need of pain killers. His main aim now is to keep my immune system strong to fight off any random cancer cells that might be looking for a comfortable site to settle in to.

Visits to Dr Chen always involve an acupuncture session where I lay and rest for about 20 minutes with needles poking into various parts of my body. Sometimes I drift off to sleep and other times I use the time to sort things out in my head. It's a good rest period after the 90 minute trip and before the return trip to Wollongong.

Still eating very well. Too well, really. Three good meals a day and then morning and afternoon tea when friends pop in for a visit. It's good for now - I need to regain the weight I lost from the surgery, but it can't keep happening after that! I've given away all my 'fat clothes'.

Tomorrow I'm off to Sydney once again - with a friend - to see the Eisteddfod of Sydney Operatic Aria semi-finals. Emma Moore, a local Wollongong girl, has made it through to the semi-finals and we are going to see and hear her sing. If she makes it to the final eight (8) she'll compete in the finals at the Opera House on 15 August. I saw her win the big prize in the Wollongong Eisteddfod recently. If she can win this competition, she'll be on her way to an international operatic career.

And next Sunday (18 July) I'll be Master of Ceremonies at the launch of a book of the history of my school - SCEGGS Gleniffer Brae.

This is the wonderful environment in which I spent my formative years. From the age of 8 to 16 I was a student at the Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School, Gleniffer Brae. It was housed in this magnificent manor house on a hill overlooking Wollongong and the Pacific Ocean.

What a privilege it was for my sister and I to be foundation pupils in February 1955 and for us both to be members of the teaching staff when the school closed in 1974.

"The School on the Hill - a History of SCEGGS Gleniffer Brae" by Dr. Marcia Cameron, will be hot off the press this coming week and will be launched at Gleniffer Brae next Sunday. Marcia and I were classmates in our high school years - we were 2 of only 3 Latin students in our final year who had to attend lessons on Saturday mornings, as our teacher came down from Sydney each week to give us lessons!

It has been a pleasure to reconnect and to work with Marcia while she has been compiling this history of our alma mater.

I'm excited about the event, as are the 150+ former students, parents and staff of the school who will attend the launch and collect the copies of the book that they have ordered.

Back to the Tour de France - the riders are at a feeding station in a valley in the Jura region - bags of food and drink held out for them to grab as they cycle past. Stunning scenery.

Time for another cuppa.

Terrie @ midnight

Monday, July 5, 2010

All going well - Monday evening 5 July

Well, it's amazing that I haven't written here since last Wednesday. Since then I've quietly been getting stronger and feeling more comfortable.

My appetite is really healthy and I've been putting away 3 good square meals a day. My pre-hospital store of soups and casseroles is gradually being whittled down and I've also been enjoying delicious food brought in by special friends.

The glut of international sport on TV has helped keep me entertained into the wee small hours of the morning (sometimes) so that by the time I tuck myself in I have no trouble having a good night's sleep - often into the late hours of the morning. That and an afternoon nap most days ensures that my body is benefiting from the restorative powers of sleep.

Short walks have also been the order of the day and I've ventured as far as the light-house today - that's probably almost a kilomtere round-trip. A slow one, with a few stops to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

So...... eating well, sleeping well and walking well. Feeling good :) And, thanks to all my friends who have been coming in daily to help and to bring their stimulating company.

Thanks for reading and for all the wonderful messages.

Terrie 9pm

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home, Sweet Home Wednesday evening

Back in my own cosy little place in the Gong. My brother, Scott, collected me from the hospital yesterday, we had a very smooth ride and were at home well before lunch time.

The wonderful Roslyn had been to the shops and the place is well stocked.

So yesterday afternoon and today have been quiet, with wonderful friends coming to help with meals etc.

I return to see the surgeon on 19 July - in the meantime - rest and recouperate.

Terrie 6.30pm

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday evening - last entry from hospital bed

Confirmed today that I can go home tomorrow. Yippee! Clips from my surgical wound will be removed in the morning and then I can shower and be off. My little home beckons. Apparently it is extremely cold outside (nice here in the hospital). It will be nice to be out in the fresh air and I'll be rugged up to get to and from the car.

Today is my daughter's 40th birthday, so I've had a lovely chat with her on Skype - me in my hospital bed and she in her home in Durban, South Africa. She is off to one of the World Cup Soccer games later today. They are enjoying the festival atmosphere of the tournament and are tolerant of the vuvuzela trumpets that are an integral part of the African experience. The children love them, but are only allowed to play them outside the house.

So............ it's farewell and thanks to St George Private Hospital and its caring staff. It's my second time here and some of the staff remembered me from last time - I don't really want to become a regular.

Thanks to my friends who take the time to read my news and those who make a comment here or by email, sms, phone call or visit. Friends are the family you choose for yourself - I have a most wonderful extended family.

Next entry here will be made from the Gong

Terrie 7pm

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday evening

Well, today has been another good day. Feeling even better and more agile. The physiotherapist even took me up and down two flights of the fire stairs and gave me the tick of approval. So, Day 2 has been great.

Surgeon's visit resulted in another cryptic message about departure. It won't be tomorrow, as the clips holding the wound won't be removed until Tuesday morning, sooooo... maybe I can go after they've been taken out. Hoping to be home by Tuesday night.

Tomorrow night the surgeon is making a presentation to staff here about a peritonectomy (that's my op!). I wonder if he's ever had a patient sit in the back row :)

My stalwart friend, Roslyn, has returned to her own home today. She has been an absolute gem and made this experience as comfortable and hassle-free as it could have been. She has been staying in Sydney at a hostel adjacent to the hospital and has appeared with her cheery smile, offers and suggestions of help, stimulating company, quiet company and necessary errands - on a daily basis. It's hard to express the level of gratitude I feel. I can only say that I hope that each of you has at least one friend such as Roslyn.

Thanks, Ros XX

Terrie 7pm

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday evening

Wow! Today feels as though it could be Day 1 - where have I been for the past week? - under some kind of fog trying to find my way out.

Today the fog has lifted and I really am feeling human again - along with all the associated aches and pains.

The surgeon came in today and, in his inimitable style, hinted that I might go home on Monday. His parting words were "no promises". I guess I need to feel this good - and more - again tomorrow and the exit strategy and timetable will evolve :)

And now for the news, the rugby test and the partial eclipse of the moon

Terrie 7pm

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday evening

Hi to you all
Terrie is dictating from the comfort of her hospital bed. She has been on a long excursion to the pantry this morning where she discovered the delights of the hospital fridge - she is feeling like food now, which is a wonderful step forward.

Now her words are:-

"What could beat the excitement of yesterday's events ?? - REAL FOOD - including almond coated, custard filled croissant for morning tea and a chocolate cup-cake with happy face on the icing for afternoon tea.

No longer have drips and drain. Independent showering and visits from lovely friends - that's the formula for a better day than yesterday".

Terrie 6.45pm - just in time for the News.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday evening

Aussie politicians performing at home to elect our first female Prime Minister, Aussie sportsmen performing admirably on the world stage of soccer and tennis - all systems go! and the same goes here at St. George Private Hospital.

My system is now performing as it should and the threat of CT scan and more surgery has abated.

Been walking around the ward - gingerly - sitting up for extended time - and generally feeling better.

It's now time to settle down to the TV to watch the wash-up of the history-making, political activity in Canberra today.

Terrie 8.30pm

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wednesday afternoon

Hi all,
Here she is looking better this afternoon.

One step forward and two steps back - Wednesday 23 June

Hi! Terrie here now.

Have just read the chirpy messages that Roslyn posted below. And they were so accurate. Once I was out of ICU and back in the ward I think that the adrenalin outstripped all other drugs - natural or otherwise.

Yesterday afternoon I fell in a heap and have been 'disciplined' by having the clear fluid privileges taken away. So, it's back to sipping ice only and to a drip to deliver the goodies my system needs.

The Prof says that this will remain the case for the next 24 hours and if nothing changes, I will have to have a CT scan of my abdomen to see what's causing the bile to come up and the wind 'not to pass'.

Hmmm. Hoping to feel some positive changes during that time.

Terrie 8.27am Wednesday 23 June.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday 20th June; 8.30pm

Terrie is looking great today.

Back in her ward bed, sitting up; her joyous smile showing her pleasure at the best outcome for this surgery.

Today she has been chatty, cheerful and handing out instructions - that's how well she is !!!!

Although I know she wants a good sleep and is waiting for the time when she can EAT.

Dont know how long she will be in hospital - visitors welcome.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Saturday 19 June 2010, 2.30pm

Terrie's surgery is over,
Tumour removed
No other cancers found
She will be a very happy woman

She is now resting very quietly in Intensive Care

Will let you know when she is back in the ward when visitors can come a'calling.

Update tomorrow.

And thanks to all for your heartfelt messages of love, concern and encouragement for Terrie.

Terrie, looks like you have done it again, you little trouper!


Friday 18th June - 6pm

Hi,. this is Roslyn and Tim and I have just booked into St George Private Hospital - with Terrie decked out in glorious nighty and the famous TB knitted socks.

She is on 'light fluids' and loving it.

Operation wont be till about noon tomorrow (Saturday)