A moment in time

I’m currently drowning trying to keep my head above water in a sea of journal articles and assignments, but I couldn’t let the weekend pass by without a post to celebrate this milestone.

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary for Mr Posy and I. We’ve been together for a decade. I can hardly believe it – time has passed by so quickly. It certainly doesn’t feel like ten years… this can only be a good thing.

We have had some amazing adventures together – holidays overseas, holidays interstate, a proposal, fancy functions, puppies, kittens, buying a house, family celebrations… We’ve had ups and we’ve had downs. Mr Posy has always shown me nothing but unwavering support – with my parents splitting, Mum’s cancer, new jobs, my university studies. Life is so much more enjoyable, and even the darkest moments are tolerable, knowing that the person that I love most is always by my side. We have so many laughs, and we have both grown so much. There are so many new adventures on the horizon for Mr Posy and I, and I absolutely cannot wait.

My favourite photo of us: Boxing Day 2007 – the day Mr Posy proposed.

It’s been one heck of a ride, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us next.

30 by 30

A little over three weeks ago, I turned 27. My birthday was a wonderful celebration, seemingly continuing for a good two weeks, and I was utterly spoilt by my family and friends. Mr Posy and I have big plans for the next 12 months – twenty-seven is shaping up to be a fabulous year for me.

Soon after the candles had been blown out, and the last of the cake had been eaten, I started to think about how far I’ve come over the past few years, and where I’m looking to go next. I started to create a list in my head of holidays I wanted to take and goals I wanted to achieve, and before I knew it, my list was so long that ideas were spilling out on to paper.

In three years, I turn 30. People tease that I’m getting old, that I’ll soon be over the hill. Turning thirty doesn’t scare or worry me, it doesn’t fill me with anxiety, but I do have a lot between now and then that I want to achieve. If not now, when?

So I kept adding to my list, until I had my magic number. My 30 by 30 –

  1. Move to Sydney
  2. Stop, absorb, and enjoy our wedding day
  3. Stay in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
  4. Finish a half marathon
  5. Finish a marathon
  6. Take a cooking class
  7. Learn to play one whole song on the guitar my great uncle made for me
  8. See dolphins/whales in the wild [changed from swim with dolphins]
  9. Take a photography course
  10. Visit Hawaii
  11. Learn to surf
  12. Make a soufflé
  13. Drive the scenic route down from Sydney to the Sapphire Coast [changed from drive the Great Ocean Road]
  14. Keep a plant alive
  15. Take a ballet class [changed from buy a stranger their coffee]
  16. Book in a regular (weekly? monthly? fortnightly?) massage
  17. Go parasailing
  18. Dine at La Villa Mahana (Bora Bora) [changed from degustation at Vue de Monde]
  19. Book a snow holiday
  20. Make my own ice cream
  21. Buy an amazing piece of art
  22. Sign up as an emergency foster carer
  23. Take a design course
  24. Book a beach holiday
  25. Turn off the TV for a week
  26. Host a Christmas lunch/dinner
  27. Buy myself a pair of diamond earrings
  28. Land my dream job (or, at the very least, work out what my dream job actually is) [changed from write a novel]
  29. Forgive
  30. Organise a fabulous celebration for my 30th birthday

Mr Posy is not too impressed with item no. 25 (I suspect during that week he’ll be sneaking in TV-time when I’m not home), but for the rest of my list, he’s happy to come along for the ride.

I’m looking forward to our adventures over the next few years. This list is exactly what I need to get me out of my funk.

And so it begins!

Image credit: Thank you to my design friend who saw me struggling with Photoshop one afternoon after work, and after ascertaining exactly what it was that I was trying to do, helped me create the image that I had in my mind.

2011 – A Year in Review

Much like 2010, for me 2011 was a year of growth.  There was change and heartache and uncertainty, but there was also much to celebrate.

When I was much younger, I always thought that life would be better, easier, when I was “older”. Then I got older and it wasn’t any easier – in fact it was harder – and I would tell myself that life would be better when [insert reason here]. Now I’ve realised that this is just life, and with the great losses also come great wins – that life is sometimes incredibly painful, but it can also be extraordinary.

This thing that I’m living, this is life.

And so I present my wrap-up of 2011 –

There were babies born

2011 was the year that some very special babes came into this world.

In January, a dear friend had a very special, brave little boy – a little boy that I am very much looking forward to meeting in a week.

In September, my lovely friend Little Miss Moi had her little Harrie – and just as I do her big sister, I completely adore her.

In October, I found myself with a nephew – a little brother for Niece Posy. Nephew Posy is the most handsome little man, and I am smitten.

Friends moved away, new friends were made, current friendships were strengthened

Living in PosyTown, people come and go frequently, and 2011 was no exception. We said goodbye to friends throughout the year, and while it was sad at the time, I know I will see them again – and I know that one day soon it will be our turn to move away. We made some wonderful new friends throughout the year, and I feel that current friendships (both near and far) have gone from strength to strength.

There were trips interstate

Mr Posy and I didn’t take a lot of time off in 2011, but we did manage to get down to Melbourne in March/April for Niece Posy’s baptism, and to Sydney in June so Mr Posy could attend a work conference, with a couple of extra days on the side to relax. Both trips, while short, were exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries.

The C-word, Part II

While 2010 was the year that we discovered my mum had breast cancer, 2011 was the year that we beat it with chemo. It is of course still early days, but the worst of the battle is over.

There were great achievements

After four years in my current workplace, in April I finally won a permanent position – the position that I had been “acting” in for nine months at the time. I have a terrific team, and together we had an incredibly successful work year – cyclones and all.

I completed a second triathlon (the same beginners triathlon that I completed in 2010) – but I managed to shave FIVE MINUTES off my previous time. I felt like I was going to die on the last leg of the run, but, somehow, I stumbled over the finish line.

Weddings were celebrated

My childhood best friend got married in August, and I had the honour of being her bridesmaid. The wedding was a beautiful affair, held on their family’s property.

I was also fortunate to watch another dear friend get married, in a gorgeous ceremony, with a fairytale reception outside under the stars.

A new addition

Always one with my feet firmly in the dog-loving-camp, nobody was more surprised than my cat-loving Mr Posy when I finally agreed to us getting a cat. PosyKitty arrived in July and wormed her way into my heart. She is truly the sweetest little thing, and Niece Posy is completely obsessed with her.

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2012 is already shaping up to be another big year. Mr Posy and I are heading down to Sydney this weekend – for a very special little boy’s baptism and 1st birthday, and to celebrate my Nan and Pop’s 50th wedding anniversary.

There are big things on the horizon for the Posy family this year, and I cannot wait.

Groundhog Day

Do you ever feel like every day is Groundhog Day? Lately, I’ve felt like I’m living the same day over and over; like every day is the same as the last. I’m not exactly unhappy – but I am suffering a mad case of ennui.

I know that we’ve not long finished off the Christmas ham, and that we’re all dusting off our party shoes to bring in a new year, and that I should be buzzing with energy and excitement. But I’m not.

For the past few months, I’ve had dreams most nights of chopping off my hair, and at my next hair appointment in January, I plan to do exactly that. Such a plan would have previously been panic-inducing, but currently, the thought of it is exhilarating. Freeing. Change has always been a major source of anxiety for me, but right now, I’m itching for it.

I read blogs like Fit Mumma, Meals and Miles, Skinny Latte Strikes Back, and Healthy Tipping Point, and consequently I feel… restless. I want to achieve something big. Huge, even.

For months I’ve been trying to work out what that something was, and I’ve finally decided – the Blackmores Half Marathon in Sydney on Sunday 16 September 2012. Run, walk, stumble or crawl – I’m going to cross that finish line.

The C-Word: Part II

Click here to read Part I

Do you know what other word starts with C? Chemotherapy.

Chemo is a funny beast – you’re grateful for it, because it’s saving your mother’s life; but it’s this hideous poison that “cooks” her from the inside out, kills off her healthy cells, and makes her so sick you think she might die.

The first round is the worst. You don’t know what to expect. There are doctors and nurses everywhere. You’re surrounded by patients who are at all different stages in their treatment, and you don’t know where to look, or what to say. Do you say hello? Do you smile and give them a nod? Is it rude to watch the nurse hook the patient before your mother up, because you’re scared and want to know what to expect?

The pain on my mum’s face on that first day is still very clearly etched into my brain. I thought I would pass out when I saw the needle.  Mum screwed up her face and cried out in pain when they inserted the needle into her vein, and I felt an ache deep in my heart. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through five more rounds of this,” I thought. I choked back my own tears. It was awful, terrifying, overwhelming. But you have to be strong; you’re not allowed to fall apart.

In the movies, it looks like it’s a quick process, having everything hooked up. I thought they’d insert the needle, attach the cocktail of drugs, and away we’d go. But it’s not like that. It’s painstakingly slow. You feel like it’s never going to end – and you’re just watching. You have the easy part.

The session does end, though. Days later, Mum tells me that she can’t continue with chemo, that it’s too awful, too painful, that she feels like her brain is fried. You don’t want to tell her what to do, force her into her treatment, because you know she’ll resent you for it later, but you think back to that day in her surgeon’s office, where he shows you the numbers. She’s had the surgery, so her odds are better than if she hadn’t gone ahead with the mastectomy, but… the numbers aren’t great without chemotherapy. You tell her you’ll support her, whatever she decides, but you feel sick inside, and you (somewhat selfishly) go through the numbers in your head. She’ll still be here for my wedding – check… but what about when I have kids?

Mum’s first round of chemo was two weeks before Christmas. Hair loss usually occurs two to three weeks after treatment – Mum hoped hers would fall out closer to the three week mark. It started falling out a few days prior to Christmas. I bought her a beautiful Hermès scarf for Christmas. I was devastated when she told me months later that the colour had run – she’d. put. the. silk. scarf. through. the. washing. machine. I’m quite sure Thierry Hermès turned in his grave.

When she calls the day before her second scheduled chemotherapy round, the treatment you thought she’d cancelled, and asks if you’ll go with her you breathe a sigh of relief. You don’t want to ask why she changed her mind, but like she’s reading yours, she tells you: “I thought of your Godmother.  I thought of the day her mother came to tell her that she was stopping treatment. She called and asked us to be there, to give her support, and I still remember the look on her face. I saw what that did to her. I saw what that did to her when her mother died. I couldn’t do that to you and your brother.” You’re not thankful that your Godmother’s mother died, but you’re thankful that because a conversation over twenty years ago, your mother won’t give up the fight. “And,” she adds, “I’ve already lost my hair, so there’s no point giving up now.”

Words that you don’t want to hear the Cancer Nurse say to your mother when she’s in the middle of chemo – “I know this drug stings, but you can’t move. If you move and dislodge the cannula, these drugs could spill all over you, and you could lose your hand.” You don’t know if he’s joking, exaggerating. But he gives you a look that tells you he is not, and you wonder what that heinous concoction is doing to her insides.

The chemotherapy cocktail that my mum was on had a cumulative effect. She was tired all the time, she had mouth ulcers and sores on her body that wouldn’t heal, some of her nails split and fell off, she lost her appetite, she had wicked nausea, she couldn’t sleep, she developed what we call “chemo brain”… The intensity of the side-effects grew worse with each cycle. We went out for coffee on one occasion, and walking around the shopping centre, I was so worried she was going to faint – but she insisted she was fine.

After Mum’s third cycle, and just before her fourth, she had a PICC line inserted after all her veins collapsed. That central line was a godsend – there was no trying to find a vein at the beginning of each session, no more needles, much less pain. The PICC line combined with the scarves on her head made her look sick – I know that she was sick, but it was such a visual reminder.

Mum’s final chemotherapy round was a cause for celebration. She made a lemon meringue cake to share with staff and patients, I brought along a batch of cupcakes. I was so happy, so excited that we were at the end of the road, I thought I would cry. I wanted to kiss my mum’s cancer nurse – I am forever thankful to him (and of course, also to her surgeon). Mum’s Cancer Nurse made cancer and chemotherapy “fun”. He was kind, compassionate, and he dealt with her intense fear of needles – but most importantly, he was always positive, and he made us all laugh. He made a very difficult time for our family much easier, and when I think of how I feel towards him, “grateful” just doesn’t seem to cut it.

As we walked out of the Cancer Centre, the staff cheered.

The story ends well for my mum – of course it is still very early days yet, and I feel terrified just writing this that I’ll somehow jinx things, but her Surgeon and Oncologist are happy with her progress. There is Hormone Blocking Therapy, as well as gene testing (which will give an indication of the likelihood of the cancer coming back), to get through yet, but the worst of it is over.

I think the fear will stick around for a long while yet – finding out my mum had cancer completely knocked me for six – but it’s no longer debilitating. I can breathe again.