Love and Tears for Brady

Tonight I cried.

I cried because my beautiful boy looked at me with his beautiful big brown eyes. He looked like he was sad.

He looked like he was loving me.

He looked like he was happy.

You decide what he looked like.

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I have watched him all day, hobbling, sniffing, being incredibly uncomfortable, strange breathing while sleeping and bringing me toys. He is still doing dog things, Brady things but, he isn’t our Brady anymore.

He is riddled with an incurable cancer. He is in pain. He is sad.

I cry because I don’t know when it is ‘time’.

How do I know that he has had enough?

I don’t want to wait until he is exhausted but I don’t want to do it when he is still brining me a ball to throw for him.

I have loved sharing my life with Brady but right now, I hate it. I am so confused and lost.

Brady is as loving as ever but I fear his time is near.

I can’t wait for his surprise BBQ party on Sunday but I fear what follows it.

Am being as strong as I can.

Loving my boy.

My boy is loving me.

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My Heaving Bosom (and Brady Update)

In the olden days of BC (Before Cancer), I would sometimes see ladies with shirts that seemed a little too small for them. Their shirts would stretch across their boobs and almost make the poor button pop in exasperation trying to hold everything together.

Now, well, I am one of those women.

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FYI – This is NOT me NOR my heaving bosoms! Just a pic so you can see what I am talking about.

I have a HEAVING BOSSOM!

It is so awesome and I LOVE IT!

My shirts are now too tight and the fabric is stretched to the max and the little buttons are earning their keep, keeping the left and right side of the fabrics together.

I don’t even care. I am out there strutting my stuff almost yelling for people to LOOK AT MY HEAVING BOSSOM!

So, I either accept this new me, with my stretched shirt and big boobie (the original boob is still not rising to the occasion) or, be still my husbands racing heart! I Go Shopping!

Ok, I am going to go shopping the moment I have some money but let me tell you, am loving this busty new me.

I was out walking today on my lunch break (working from home)(first walk since surgery) and I saw a lady coming toward me and I thought, I bet she is saying to herself, “who is this busty, skinny looking woman before me”?

Ok, it was Kate from across the road and I doubt she said any such thing to herself but I do love my imaginary thoughts of other peoples thoughts so lets run with that ok?

Update on pain, it is manageable. There is still discomfort along my stomach scar line when I wear fitted pants or, undies (snort, I said undies). Walking and even stretching is tedeious and tight but, today was day 1 of quite a few that I have to undertake before heading back into the city office and, I really enjoyed it.

I am working from home at the moment which is an incredibly fortunate thing to be able to do when working for such a big corporation and each and every day I am so thankful to be able to do this. Not only for my recovery from this reconstruction surgery but also, to spend the last few days/weeks with my boy Brady.

How’s he going I hear you ask? Well, I don’t hear you but I imagine you are all here to just find out how Brady is tracking.

He is bloody well loving life at the moment. Ok, not loving it as such with trying to get around on three legs with great pains in the cancer side and all but check these pictures out…

Saturday Breakfast

Silverside and Roast Veg Night

Spaghetti Night

Bro and Sis

This last picture is very special because Brady and Kelly NEVER sleep this close to one another. Brady gets cross at sharing his space and usually walks away. On this day, he was too worn out to argue and just accepted that Kelly wanted to look after her big brother. xx

 

How to say Goodbye to Brady….

I loooooove animals. I can just ooh and aah my way through facebook for hours on end looking at all the animals in the world but, there is one animal that has captured my heart from the moment I met him and has continued to do so for his whole life.

Having said the above, I am not usually one to be absolutely smitten with a puppy. I love them, enjoy cuddling them, adore their puppy smells but, can walk away and not think of them again.

Until I met Brady.

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Baby Brady Bailey-Wilkinson (8 Weeks Old)

I had gone to Willunga to meet my new boyfriends family and they were Groodle breeders. Sam (then boyfriend, now husband) asked if I wanted to go and see the puppies and I shrugged and said ok.

There they were, lots and lots of puppies, all scrambling for my attention as well as the mum and dad of said puppies. All of these white/cream dogs, wet noses pushing through the gate hoping for a scratch or pat and then I saw him.

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Brady didn’t want to stop growing (12 weeks old)

A rolly poly fat little dopey puppy, sitting all on his own, looking around as though he couldn’t work out where everyone else went. They were all of five feet in front of him but he didn’t seem to know that so just sat there looking as gorgeous as can be.

Well, that was the end of me.

Brady And Kelly (Both 6 Months Old)

I hadn’t had a dog in years and didn’t really pine for one until Brady. Oh I thought of him day and night after that first meeting. That first cuddle when Sam handed him to me when I asked if I could hold him. His big little paws seemed to wrap themselves around me neck to have a longer, more snuggly cuddle.

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Brady trying to get his fur back (and I have my natural 2 boobs!)

That was, until the day Sam bought Brady down to my city apartment and we became a couple. Brady and I. Me and Brady. We were a team and my gosh he was one handsome fellow.

Nine years later we are the best of friends but something has changed.

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Now, it isn’t me fighting the horrid cancer but my boy Brady. Unlike me, Brady doesn’t have an action plan to get rid of it. It is deep within him and now it is up to Sam and I to keep him comfortable, provide him with all of his favourite treats and give him as many cuddles as we possibly can until the day comes.

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He is on his pain medication to keep him comfortable. He sleeps a lot.

He also knows something is wrong.

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Sometimes Brady became a little too obsessed with is toys and one day, Papa Sam took all of his toys away. Brady then found a piece of sandpaper and bought it to me to ‘throw’ for him. I almost did a little wee in my pants from laughing at his serious face. 

 

Since when is he aloud to sit on Papa Sams sofa and eat a whole packet of salt and vinegar chips with him?

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When did Mama Bailey decide I can have a bone in her office while she is working?

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The tumor is in his left hip and has created a great deal of pain in his left leg that he can put no weight on it.

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This does not stop him bringing his ball to us in the hope we’ll throw it for him to chase. I have tried to explain to Brady that running after a ball on three legs on timber floor boards is going to create all kinds of havoc.

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Brady sleeps in my home office while I work through the day (geez, I must clean those windows!)

He doesn’t quite get it.

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Unhappily medicated and cold on the morning of 14/9/2017

We have carpet runners now all through the house because he simply can’t manoeuvre his three working legs on the slippery floor boards. Thankfully we have a great community that has donated carpet to us. Thank you Kirsty Binney.

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Mr Bald Bum – Where the vet took the biopsy

The time hasn’t come yet to say our goodbyes to our boy. We don’t know how many days or weeks we have left but I can assure you, each and every day our Brady is with us, it is going to be a day to bring Brady something worth wagging his tail for.

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I Have a Sore Tummy

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Do not scroll down if you do not want to see my stomach. (Sorry if my stomach shows up in any of your browsers because I am not totally aware of how to keep certain photos hidden)  It isn’t too bad to look at but I have been looking at it for four weeks now so am pretty used to is. It is a cut from hip to hip but don’t worry, it is all stitched up AND, you can see my new belly button.

The reason this area was cut to pieces was so they could use a flap of skin and a whole heap of my tummy fat to build a new boob for me.

You’ll also be able to see my amazing photoshopping aaahahah but honestly, this is why I am unable to drive, bend, sneeze comfortably, have husband and wife time, walk semi decent distances and also why I tend to say, geez my stomach hurts a bit today!

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Just a little more…

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ok, I couldn’t work out how to post the photo without it showing on your facebook feed with my stomach there for you to see weather you want to see it or not. Also, I can’t work out how to delete this blog post LOL. I’ll work it out later. sorry folks…

 

Newlyweds & Romance

This morning, as I enjoyed my lovely hot cup of coffee, I was indulged with a wonderful foot and leg massage with my favourite moisturiser by my amazing husband, Sam.

Ok, how it really happened.

Sam walked passed me as I was enjoying my lovely hot cup of coffee and gave my feet a little scratch because he knows how much it annoys me. He then looked at my feet and legs and pulled his hand away as though he was about to catch some dreadful disease.

Have you got Greyscale? He asked.

Don’t know what Greyscale is? Well, here is a picture of Greyscale. (Courtesy of Game of Thrones)

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I then proceeded to explain why I use moisturiser as much as I do and seeing as though I can’t bend to my feet or legs thanks to the hip to hip incision made by my surgeon, I haven’t been able to get to this area.

Sam was genuinely shocked by the dryness of my feet and legs. He couldn’t stop looking at them and pulling faces.

He did then go and get the moisturiser to place on to my feet and legs but was still reluctant to touch them! He attempted to place the cream on with the end of a brush!

Oh Puleeze! Has this man never seen dry skin before! He then braved it all and used his hands to rub the cream into my feet and legs all the while talking about how disgusting my skin was. I then proceeded to tell him how he was making me feel like Patty and/or Selma from the Simpsons and he says, throw in a bit of JubJub and you are spot on!

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Oh the romance of newly weds huh?

Getting The Girls Out

There is nothing like a man excited for you to get your clothes off. Well, today I had my post operative appointment with my surgeon and he was so keen to see me topless that he even did a little dance at the door of his office before we went in. This is one man who is very proud of the work he does.

And let me tell you, he did a marvelous job on this old girl that’s for sure.

I find myself often holding onto the new boob. Just resting my hand there. Oh she is one fine piece of work. And to think, this new boob is made by me. My fat, my blood vessels and my muscle. All of these things taken from one area and placed into another.

This is where the pain bit kicks in. Because the muscle was taken from the right side of my body near my ribs, there is where the pain sits. It hurts a lot. The pain is what I imagine would be should someone have kicked the beejeebus out of me on a Saturday night.

Anyhoo, I am pretty impressed my body is happy enough to take on a new job in another area. We are amazing human beings I tell you.

One of the most marvellous things that my surgeon told me today was I can now shower again! You have no idea how exciting this is until you are unable to shower for a period of time.

No, I have not gone almost three weeks without washing but it hasn’t been a walk in the park I can tell you that much. As I have been cut from hip to hip, had fat and muscle moved from here to there, a flap of skin replaced from my stomach to my breast, there are many things I can not do for the moment. These include bending, stretching, twisting, laughing too much, sneezing etc. So, come to ‘wash time’, it has been tedious and I have had to enlist the services of my husband.

Now, if you know my husband, you’ll know that he isn’t always the most serious of people so, you can only imagine what my ensuite has been like with the two of us naked and trying to wash my hair and parts of my body that I can’t reach. I have been in fits of giggles and there have been squeals and swear words and a lot of water splashing !

Not only will Sam and I be happy for me to be showering myself but I am sure my neighbours will be happy too hehe.

That is all for today as I am exhausted from my big outing to the surgeons office and a little wander around my favourite supermarket in South Australia being Foodland on Glen Osmond Road.

Xx Your Two Boobed Friend – Mrs Wilkinson xx

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Home and Drainless

YAY! They didn’t keep me in the hospital.

Turns out there was some kind of malfunction of the drain so they removed it. Definitely not sorry to see that gone but it has been replaced with a plastic bag type thing that sticks to the hole in my skin and collects the blood and puss stuff in the bag. Kind of like a colostomy bag.

When we got home from the hospital I was absolutely exhausted and slept the entire afternoon away and woke feeling sore but happy to be waking in my own bed.

So I happily sit here medicated with minimal pain, drainless, Kath and Kim on the TV, dogs quietly sleeping…. Life is good.

I did have a chat to the gorgeous breast care nurse at St Andrews about my pain medication issues and thankfully, there was finally someone on my side and who understood exactly what the hell was going on with me.

Oh and guess what private health insurance entitles you too? A first class, front of the non existent line in the emergency ward. There was not one person waiting in the emergency section of the hospital and was seem almost immediately by the nurse and then doctor. I was given a warmed gown and blanket to put on while I waited the whole eight minutes for the doctor.

So, today I shall not complain about what I do not get from private health insurance but stay tuned for that rant… its coming J

Update on pain, it is still there and still extreme but pain killers are taking the edge off and stop my blubbering.

To anyone who thinks doctors are not entirely truthful as to how long it takes to recover from surgery, I say, listen to them.

My surgeon told me I would need six weeks recovery from this surgery which I thought was preposterous and told my boss as much. I said that I would be happy to take two weeks to recover from surgery and then work from home for the remaining four weeks. Baaaahahahahah what a silly little twit I was.

I will be making the phone call to my boss tomorrow to explain that the surgeon may have had a point in advising I would need 6 weeks to recover from surgery. I just know from previous surgeries that the recovery time was ‘kind of ‘ correct but I could have easily worked from home, just not travelled to work and dealt with walking, pushing and pulling of doors etc.

This time, totally different story.

Pain is still high. Emotions are crazy. Sleeping more than I am being awake etc.

My advice to anyone planning on having this surgery, believe your surgeon when they tell you the recovery time. You will need this time not only to manage the pain but to rest your body. It is also incredible as to how often you use your stomach muscles. Spitting out toothpaste is absolutely excruciating.

I am slightly frightened of sleeping tonight with this stick on bag. I am a bit of a toss and turner during my sleep and dread the thought of accidentally rolling onto my left side and popping my puss and blood filled plastic bag. Gross huh?

Draining the Drain

When you have certain types of surgery, you have drains inserted into the surgical site to drain away the yucky fluid that builds up in said site in the hope to avoid infection.

I had three drains after my tram flap surgery and was lucky enough to have two removed before I went home because they’d stopped draining. One was left in which is on my left side in my lower abdomen.

Well, this drain has been working its little drainface off until yesterday.

Sam has to change the drain bottle when it gets to 300ml and has done this quite a few times since I have been home but after yesterdays drain bottle change, we noticed there wasn’t anything draining. I looked at the drain site where it goes into my body and I can see the stitch that is meant to be inside my body holding the drain in place. Thankfully the drain tube does go a fair way into the body so I knew, ok Sam assured me, that it wasn’t going to come out but, it seems there is a problem.

I have sprung a leak.

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There is yucky fluid all over my side. I woke up in a swamp of fluid. A ghetto of goop. Just disgusting sticky puss looking stuff.

What this means is that I not only have to go to the emergency ward at St Andrews but, I have to wash my hair in the sink and the body parts that don’t have bandages on them. Make myself look and smell human again. I have to find clothes that don’t restrict the surgical sites and pack a bag in case they keep me in.

No, I don’t think they’ll keep me in for the drain issue but perhaps for the pain issue.

Geez I was a mess last night. Like seriously, a blubbering girly snotty redfaced mess.

oh and do you know what I absolutely hate about being a blubbering girly sook? My voice. When I try to speak it is the dumbest sound you have ever heard. All high pitched and gaspy and damn well embarrassing. Not to mention my face as well while we are discussing it. Big red bulbous nose, red cheeks etc. Not a pretty little tear stained face with gentle sobs like the movies.

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Sam picked up the script from the chemist that my surgeon had organised for me but, I was too frightened to take them in case I ran out again but the pain was excruciating by this time. My last lot of pain killers had been taken in the morning and it was now after 5pm and I could barely breath let alone do anything else.

So, I did it. I took two tablets and then cried and cried and cried. I cried because of the pain, I cried because of how difficult it was to obtain the pain killers, more tears because of the pain, tears because Sam has to put up with me, tears because chickens are being sold for $3 per kilo at Aldi and I think they are selling those beautiful birds for too cheap (it might be here that the pain killers had started to kick in).

As you can see, it is quite the roller coaster of emotions at the moment but I recall from my mastectomy days when the pain was almost as intolerable, my surgeon considered popping me back into hospital. I do not partially love the idea but I hate the pain that I have too. I also recall that I didn’t become a pain killer addict and I got through it as I will this time too.

So, for the moment, I will sit and enjoy my cup of coffee and try not to think of how cheap chicken is in the supermarket and how they deserve more as do the chicken farmers, but only the free range chicken farmers because we all hate the cage chicken farmers  and take a few pain killers.

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Talk soon xx

The New Boob – Part 1

Please be advised I have permission from my husband to post the photo at the end of the post of my ‘war zone’ post breast removal – pre boob reconstruction site.  🙂

 

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Here is a photo of my gorgeous daughter who never fails to make me smile whether I am in her presence or simply just thinking about her….. so, lets start my New Boob blog part 1

Right, this is the start of a multi part series on my new boob.

My aim is to cover a few things.

  1. Why do I want to reconstruct my breast?
  2. Why don’t I want to reconstruct my breast?
  3. What does the ‘bomb site’ look like right now?
  4. How is it going to be reconstructed?
  5. The high price of private health insurance in Australia. Are you totally covered?
  6. The physical, mental and financial pain
  7. Working for an understanding company
  8. The support from co-workers
  9. Some other ramblings in my head

It has been over two years since I lost my left breast to stage three breast cancer. Now, it is time for a new and improved model to move on in.

There will be no technical terms going on in this post, or even future posts because seriously, who can remember all this mumbo jumbo the surgeons and doctors and anaesthetists use so I shall be me and use normal words and terms.

Thankfully, I was strong enough to lose the weight required by Mr Kollias who so delicately demanded I lose (You are too fat, I can’t work with this (as he grabs my stomach and wobbles it up and down and round and round) he says to me on a few occasions). Thankfully I have no feelings and his words have no emotional effect on me. This is one thing I really do like about my surgeon. The actual thing about him finding it difficult to work on me wasn’t so much about me being fat but that I was ‘solid fat’ and not ‘floppy fat’. It is easier and tidier to work with floppy fat as opposed to solid fat.

I initially really struggled with making the decision to have my breast reconstruction because, get this, I didn’t want to lose my new body. The flat left side where my cancerous breast used to live suddenly became a really important part of me. The scar and little plump fake cleavage is something that I have actually grown to love. I don’t love having to wear a prosthetic everyday in my bra as it can get quite warm and cumbersome and now that my body has changed, the prosthetic breast (called Dolly) and the right saggy baggy boobie just don’t match. No one else can tell and I know this but I can tell and it looks bloody stupid but, it is me. The new and improved me. So, why do I need to change it?

Anyhoo, I really wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself through more surgery, pain, financial strain (I am going to get to this bit a little later) and the time off work.

My new husband, the man who has seen me through all of this breast cancer bizzo, had a serious talk with me (that is a very rare thing in my household) about having this surgery. He said, and he is right, that it would be a very beneficial thing for me to do for my mental state. He sees how uncomfortable I am if he walks in on me in the shower, when I get up in the morning (yep, am a nudie rudie sleeper), and when I am braless.

Usually, I don’t give a hoot what people think about me, of my dress sense (or lack there off), the car I drive, what my hair looks like and even some of the things that come out of my mouth. It has surprised me that I am still, after two years, uncomfortable being naked in front of the man who has been with me through thick and thin, good times and bad, in sickness and in health – o hang on, this isn’t my wedding blog hehe. But you see where I am going with this don’t you?

I really had a long think about what he had to say (again, a rare thing in this household hehe) and he is right (I know! Strange hey?). I do need to do this for me and my mental health. I know I am not going to be looking like I was before and that is definitely not what I am after. My goal here is not to replace what was taken from me.

What I am after is a feeling of balance (hehe) and comfort. The new breast is going to be built from the fat from my stomach. There will be no implants or expanders because I feel I have more than enough recourses in my body to create what I need here.

Before anyone gets on their moral high horse and decides to have a go at me about the implant/expander thing… I have absolutely no issues with either of them at all. In fact, pre-cancer life, I had considered having implants to give my girls the much needed lift they required, so shut up and get back in your box! There is nothing to get all huffy about.

Anyway, back to what I was saying, the fat is coming from my stomach to build my new left boob. This occurs on the 22nd of June.

Before that, I am into surgery for my Mr Kollias to clamp two arteries in my groin in preparation for the big kahuna surgery. This is what I am actually most worried about. Cutting open my groin on either side to clamp arteries and stitching me back up scares the bajeebus out of me. How painful does that sound? Anyone who has had severe period pain will be nodding their head right now. So, that is a five to six day recovery apparently. This will only be day surgery though which is a nice thought.

The next surgery, the big bazooka boob surgery, will be the 22nd of June. This is where the fat from my stomach will some how be schimmied up to my chest and a new boob will appear. I get a tummy tuck “Thrown in as a bonus in the deal” and a wiz bang new belly button.

Oh the haters are hating right now!

Enter – Lucky you have no feelings Mrs Wilkinson – because, as Mr Kollias examined me a few weeks ago, he confirmed my fat stomach was floppy enough to do the surgery with, my two year cancer check was clear, my lymphedema was being managed but, there was a problem with Miss Right Boob.

‘Oh, we can’t leave the right breast like THAT!’ where his words, ‘Oh, I’ll have to do something here’ he says has he flattens the breast, pulls at the skin, shakes his head. I really do wish to remind him sometimes that I am laying here WITH this breast attached to me! Sometimes I wonder if he forgets there is a person attached to the breasts he works on. Thankfully he and I have been friends since day two of cancer (just over two years now) so I can take his chatter.

That means, rightie is getting a make over too. She will be plumped up and made a little younger and prettier again. Another little bonus of this whole cancer crap I guess.

Here is the potentially uncomfortable image that may offend some viewers. This is my ‘love’. My part of the body I have grown to love and cherish, hide and feel ashamed off. This is the ‘war zone’ where the potential killer lay waiting to do its job before it was destroyed by the Army consisting of many people but the man out front was Mr Kollias, he was at the front line, taking out the bad guys and saving my life.

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I shall finish this part 1 segment of ‘my new boob’ with the following

  1. A tummy tuck is NOT A GREAT BONUS (I had cancer you idiot, the only bonus is life!)
  2. Having a minimum of six weeks recovery will NOT be a welcome break from work you fool! (I had almost a year off work trying to beat this bitch called cancer!)
  3. Income insurance will NOT keep our mortgage, bills, hospitalization, medicines, animal food, people food, general living expenses covered
  4. Having perky breasts is also NOT A BONUS. I would take my pre cancer life back any day thank you (dickhead!)
  5. No, having a ‘boob job’ or ‘reconstruction’ does not make it all worth it.
  6. Private Health Insurance will NOT cover the costs of this (further information on this will be covered in Part 2)

 

Interesting Information

The following information is taken from the website www.breastcancer.org

Once you take tissue from a donor site on the body, such as the belly, it can’t be used again for breast reconstruction. So if you’re thinking about prophylactic removal and reconstruction of the other breast, you might want to make that decision before you decide on reconstruction. If you have TRAM flap reconstruction on one breast and then later need reconstruction on your other breast, tissue for the second, later reconstruction will have to come from your buttocks, inner thighs, or back. Or you can have reconstruction with an implant.

Because skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels are moved from the belly to the chest, having a TRAM flap means your belly will be flatter and tighter — as if you had a tummy tuck. Still, a TRAM flap does leave a long horizontal scar — from hipbone to hipbone — about one-third of the way between the top of your pubic hair and your navel. In most cases, the scar is below your bikini line. After the skin and fat are removed from your belly, your surgeon may place an artificial mesh material to cover the area where the muscle was removed and then close the abdomen. If mesh is used, it stays there permanently. Your navel is then brought back out through a separate incision and reshaped.

The Wonderful Year of 2016

2016

This blog was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook by a fellow called Matt Strange. I have attached it to the bottom of this page for you to read through if you are interested. The language is a little ‘in your face’ but if you can deal with that, his message is so strong and true (In My Opinion).

Apparently 2016 was a terrible year. It was full of death and illness and war and destruction and so on. Well, I am not buying that. I think 2016 was a great year and I plan to focus on the great things that happened instead of dwelling on the bad. Why is it that we have to look at the bad things and focus on them so much? Why can’t we look at the amazing things that happened and focus on them too? Make the good things the conversation we start with instead of the bad?  I am not saying that the bad things that happened should be brushed under the carpet but, why should these things ‘ruin’ a whole year? Yes, we need to learn new ways of doing things, change ideas and prevent situations and hopefully one day, LEARN to do things better in this amazing world of ours but, there are good things to look at too.

We aren’t on this planet for long and I feel that each and every day, good and bad, should be treasured and not brushed away or wished it over. So many people, and yes, I have been guilty of this too, wish for Monday to be Friday, October to be January, the year to just be over…… Why? Why can’t we all embrace the moment we are in? Why are we all wishing our lives away waiting for what is coming next? Why are we wanting Summer when it is Winter? Why can’t we enjoy Monday like we do Friday? Why can’t mid week before pay day baked beans on toast be just as delicious as pay day steak and vegetables? Is the middle of the year really worth wishing away as we try to hurry Christmas holidays along?

Well, I am grateful for 2016 and for everything that it has given me.

Here is my ‘short’ gratitude list……..

  • I had cancer. Why would I be grateful for this? Because I don’t have it now and because I have been shown that health and happiness, friends and family, good times and bad are all so important. I can now show empathy and understanding to people who are not doing so well health wise whereas before, I thought I understood but I had no idea at all. I can also now provide support, information and compassion to those fighting cancer or those who have someone they know dealing with it.
  • My mental health took a tumble. Yep, I am indeed grateful for this because it has made me realise that I can fall apart when times aren’t so good. It doesn’t mean that times will always be bad because I have been shown from counselling, friends and family, work colleagues, my doctor and medication that there is help and a way up and out of despair. My breakdown showed me that sometimes I do need to slow down, listen to my thoughts but not take them all too seriously, enjoy the simple things in life.
  • I have a job but more than that, I have a job that I love. In this day and age, work can be hard to come by for many people and I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that pays well, is interesting, has a good management group and one that I enjoy coming to each and every day. Having had so much time off this year (and last) to fight the cancer demon and to heal the broken ankle, it increased my love for my job. I have always enjoyed my job but not being able to do it for many months on end, not having a sense of purpose each day, missing the fortnightly income, it made coming back to work so much more important for me.
  • Friends and Family and Dogs and Chickens. This all speaks for itself but I will point out, I love that I have been able to see people a little differently this year. It has become clearer to me to see people who genuinely want to be a part of my life and those that don’t. The ease of removing some people from my circle, from my friendship, has been a very simple task and one that has been quite fulfilling and at the end of the day, easy. How lovely it is to have honest, loving, caring and friendly people in my life and not battle with the unease of having to stay ‘friends’ with a person/people who really have no interest or kindness in their heart for you at all.
  • Our Volunteer and Accident & Emergency Services. Australia has had many floods, fires, storms and accidents over the year of 2016 and each time, we have a bundle of amazing, generous people who head out to fix things up. These people miss important events in their own lives to make our lives that little bit easier. Weather they’re cleaning up storm damage, assisting someone involved in a car accident, fighting the dreadful fires, they’re not doing it for themselves. They’re doing it for all of us. When you see a police car driving down the road, instead of frowning at the possibility of getting a speeding ticket or a fine for an unregistered vehicle, remember, they’re often the first people on the scene in a fatal car accident. These police men and women have one of the toughest jobs I can imagine. Not knowing what each day will bring. They are not only there to give you a ticket but they’re also there to save your life. They will be there for us. The traffic jam you are stuck in making you late for a dinner date could well be because of a paramedic trying to save someone’s life who has been hit by a car. When you have no power to your home, there is a group of people working on that right at that very moment and on top of that, have you thought about how many people live without electricity each and every day of their lives? You have to detour on your way to work because the road is closed….. There are a group of people, out in that storm chopping up and removing a fallen tree from the road. These people, each and every one of them are amazing.
  • Our Beautiful Home. Having lived in so very many different houses, units and locations in my life, having a place to call our own has been sensational. I know how incredibly lucky we are to still have this home in our lives after the reduced income and financial setbacks faced over the last 18 months. More than that, our home is a place that has been filled with friends and family celebrating various moments and to hear the laughter filling the space is something I treasure and hope to have for many years to come.
  • Kindness. I have seen so many acts of kindness this year and often, it takes my breath away to see what people will do for others knowing they won’t be rewarded by being featured in an article in the newspaper, a headline on the news, a cheque or medal…… they are doing kind and thoughtful things simply because they can. I am lucky enough to work in the city of Adelaide and whilst I see many people screw their noses up at the homeless asking for money or cigarettes, I also see people giving them a sandwich, a $10.00 note, a kind word or even a smile. I have seen companies provide the less fortunate items in need, people raising money for families/people/animals in need. Not everyone has a lot to give but it is so nice to see people giving something, even if it is just a simple smile. Having been on the receiving end of such kindness over the years, I know how helpful and appreciated these acts are.
  • My Mum. Of course, all of my family and friends are important to me but something that really stood out this year is that I have my mum in my life. Each day we email each other to say good morning and discuss the traffic into work, what was on television the night before, our plans for the weekend and where we should go for dinner on our fortnightly dinner dates. Not everyone has this amazing opportunity that I have.
  • Sam. You all know why.
  • To live in Australia. A land of extreme temperatures, kind people, amazing landscapes and wildlife. A country of opportunity, freedom, fun and beauty. Yes, we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding and acceptance in some areas but as a whole, what a wonderful country to be living in.

Well, that was my year in a brief summary on my soap box. Obviously, there were so many other incredible things to be grateful for but I would be here for days and months and by the time I finished, it may be the end of 2017 and I for one am not going to miss a single moment of each wonderful day I am still alive on this earth.

Here is the inspiration for my blog. I have left it as is without removing the language which some of you may find offensive and I am also not going to fix up those spelling errors. (I shall avert my eyes to them J

I wish everyone an amazing end to an amazing year. No, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing but for me, I have loved my 2016. I do hope you can find some good in your 2016 and I hope everyone has a wonderful, enchanting, fun, loved up 2017.

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Matt Strange

Right, Fuck it, I’m done with ‘OMG 2016 was terrible’, here’s some fucking awesome things that happened, you’re welcome, Merry fucking Christmas

There’s an Ebola Vaccine now
Child Mortality – Down across the globe
+9% survival rate in pacreatic cancer sufferers
Gene responsible for ALS found
Volunteers in India planted 50 Million trees in 24 hours
Suicide rates down globally
The Ozone layer is repairing itself
The Rabbinical assembly issued a resolution affirming the rights of trans and non conforming individuals
MIND CONTROLLED ROBOT ARMS
Leo got dat oscar
Wild tigers numbers up FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 100 YEARS
Giant Pandas – No longer endangered
A solar powered plane did a fucking world trip
Global Malaria down by 60%
Measels ERADICATED from the Americas
93% of the world’s children learned to read and write – the highest percentage IN HUMAN HISTORY
China plans to be completely renewable by 2020 and has a global plan for by 2050
Huge global push in renewable energy
Norway committed 0 deforestation, 0
Every major grocer and fast food chain in the U.S pledged to use cage free eggs only by 2025
Manatees – No longer endangered
Wild Wolves – Back in Europe
Wild Salmon spawning in the Connecticut river for the first time since the American revolution
Columbian white tailed deer – no longer endangered
Green Sea Turtles – NO LONGER FUCKING ENDANGERED
Sea World no longer breeding captive killer whales
Humpback Whales – NO LONGER ENDANGERED
Global aid – up by 7%
Americas most generous year EVER in charity and aid
China’s most generous year EVER in charity and aid at $15 goddamn Billion

Yes, some famous fucking people you liked died, and you know what – more of them are gonna go too

but take some time to look at the fucking good and beauty in this world, good shit is happening, learn it, support it, be part of it.

Merry fucking Christmas