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Your Gift Of Witness During Our Battle With Cancer – My Messy Beautiful

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 14 comments

Your Gift Of Witness During Our Battle With Cancer – My Messy Beautiful

Mike and I went out to a lovely Italian restaurant in Byron Bay this week to celebrate the official last day of Mike’s final cycle of chemotherapy. It was delicious. All of it – the food, the salty ocean ambiance, the knowledge that Mike wouldn’t be heading back to the treatment center the next day, the leisurely two hours at the dinner table without once having to instruct a two year old to sit down/stop yelling/don’t pour/and for the love of all that is holy eat some of your dinner! Also, did you know that if you go to a nice...

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The All Clear Siren

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 34 comments

The All Clear Siren

This is that post you’ve been waiting for… Well, to be more accurate, it’s the post we’ve been waiting for. And I know that if you happen to see it, you’ll be happy, too. Mike’s last official day of chemotherapy is next Monday, the 24th of March. Yesterday, along with our dangerous pal, bleomycin, Mike also received the news from the oncologist that he has the cautious all-clear. He’ll need monitoring every three months for this next year, then every six months, then annually for a decade… but we can be reasonably optimistic...

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Bonus Points In The Second Half

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 3 comments

Bonus Points In The Second Half

Two weeks ago I felt the first flickers of a certain kind of energy that I haven’t felt in months. No. Not that kind of energy (sorry to disappoint). Energy for work. When Mike was diagnosed, just before New Years, I let go of any expectations I had regarding all the work I had planned for the first part of this year. We had 48 hours to pack up ourselves and the two little boys and leave Laos for Australia, and there’s been very little time in my schedule or my brain since then to think about updating websites, planning content, and...

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Tiny Wonderful Moments

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 4 comments

Tiny Wonderful Moments

A couple of our friends have said they’re holding their breath for the post that says: “we’re coming out the other side.”  This is not that post. We still have at least one more round of chemo to go. That said, after I update you all on how we’re doing, I plan to talk about happy things. I’m not making any promises, mind you, because you never quite know where you’ll end up by word 500 of a post, but happy is my intention. In the last week we’ve seen the staph infection in Mike’s foot make a subtle but determined comeback...

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Scary shadows in the valley of nadir

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 14 comments

Scary shadows in the valley of nadir

It’s getting harder, folks. Mike himself would say that the first round of chemo had its share of awful moments, but overall it was easier than we’d expected. Well, the chemo honeymoon is over. We’re eight days, six chemo treatments, eleven bags of intravenous antibiotics, one $2000 injection to stimulate bone marrow regrowth, several doses of anti-emetics, and one feverish vomitty trip to the emergency room into chemo round two. The ugly week of nadir has arrived again, and (as you might expect with chemo) nadir is not something that...

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Tiny Awful Moments

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 18 comments

Tiny Awful Moments

Mike’s hair started to fall out last Tuesday, and the next day we went to visit a cousin with clippers and she did the close-crop honors. Now Mike has a slightly dangerous air. He looks like a mercenary on holidays. Like there might be a concealed weapon under that baggy tee shirt. Like the red smudges around his eyes might be due to too much late-night whiskey in a dark and seedy bar. Mike looks like a hard-living bad boy. As far as I can tell, losing his hair hasn’t really bothered Mike all that much. It hasn’t fazed me, either. It did...

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Chemotherapy For Dummies: What does BEP do?

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 1 comment

Chemotherapy For Dummies: What does BEP do?

Since Mike’s testicular cancer diagnosis, I’ve learnt all sorts of new words – words like seminoma, bleomycin, etopiside, cisplatin, and nadir. Nadir. Every time I hear that I picture somewhere similar to Mordor – a land of gloom and shadows, peopled by savage beasts and dark-robed warlords mounted on black stallions. Clearly, learning the words and actually understanding what they mean are two separate things. Before all of this, I only had a rudimentary understanding of what chemotherapy actually did. I figure there are probably lots...

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Memorable Moments In The Pressures Of The Present

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 2 comments

Memorable Moments In The Pressures Of The Present

 A couple of years ago now, I read Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Following the great success of his memoir Blue Like Jazz , Miller slumped into something akin to a low-grade depression. When two producers proposed turning Jazz into a movie, Miller discovered that his life didn’t actually bear any resemblance to a great story. He realized that he was drifting through days populated by the monotonous and mundane, and decided to figure out how to live a better and more inspiring life story.   So, track with me...

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Love Letters on our “Cancerversary”

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Lisa and Mike dialogues, Mike's cancer journey | 15 comments

Love Letters on our “Cancerversary”

  Dear Lisa, Five years ago today we stood in front of family and friends and we vowed to share with each other life’s joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains from that day forward until death did us part.  I guess it goes without saying that I never expected to spend this anniversary sitting next to you in a Cancer Treatment Centre.  This morning as the sun was rising above the ocean, I looked at the slideshow of photos you put together from our first five years.  Tears came to my eyes several times.  You know how it’s possible to...

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A note from the messy middle

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Mike's cancer journey | 17 comments

A note from the messy middle

I walked into the kitchen last night to find Mike lying on the floor clutching his foot, a pool of blood spreading rapidly beneath him. “Go get gloves,” Mike said. We’d both been given several lectures on how to handle Mike’s bodily fluids during chemo. The first step of the process is always gloves. Two pairs of them. As Mike’s Dad took the lead on wrapping his foot, I ran for the car keys. “We’ve got to go to the hospital,” I said. “Lismore,” Mike said. “Ballina,” I said. “Lismore knows more about how to handle...

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