You can run, but you can’t hide

So VERY long without a blog.  Sorry if anyone was worried about me…it was simply that we went on holidays to QLD for three blissful weeks, and while I planned to blog while away, I was stymied by a broken laptop screen on the way up in the plane, and sporadic access to any decent internet access while away.

So much to tell, where to start?  We flew up to QLD on 1 August, and let me just say we flew VIRGIN, they have not for a minute asked for a plug, but I am going to give them one anyway.  They were made aware of our circumstances, with my situation and travelling with four kids, one of which is disabled, and despite us NOT flying business class, they gave us access to all the facilities of those who do, and a lot more I should think, with a concierge provided to meet us at the airport, load our luggage without one single bit of effort from us.  Then they showed us to the lounge, where we could eat and drink to our hearts content, including my favourite, barrista coffee services!  When it was time to board, the concierge picked us up again from the lounge, took us straight to the plane and loaded us on first.  The children were spoiled the whole flight, including a trip to the cockpit at the end, where the captain made a big fuss of them.  When we returned to Melbourne yesterday, we had the very same concierge, lounge and priority boarding treatment, and the wonderful concierge, Brad, was waiting with Georgia’s wheelchair the minute we exited the plane.  He loaded all our luggage, which had doubled in QLD 😛 and he walked us right to where my brother was waiting with our car and helped load it all in.  He said it was a pleasure being of assistance, but the pleasure was all ours.  Virgin will be getting every bit of my airline business that I can possibly give them in the future.

Tana, my future pilot.  The captain of this aircraft was a woman, and I was incredibly thrilled that my girls would have thought that a perfectly ordinary event, when even a few short years ago women captaining an aircraft was unusual.

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We stayed for the first 8 nights at Seaworld Nara resort.  Again, I must say thanks.  They gave us two beautiful rooms interconnecting, a spa suite for Gaz and I, and a room with two comfy doubles for the girls.  What more do I need to say but the spa had a TELEVISION above it in the bathroom.  I was LOVING.MYSELF.SICK.

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Once again, made aware of my situation by a third party, they laid on the hospitality and the treats for the girls.  We arrived at the room to Spongebob showbags full of treats, and some choccie bars each.  Theme park tickets were provided for the duration of our stay.

When I asked on Facebook for a recommendation to a rent a bomb car company, as renting a car for three weeks is expensive and we couldn’t really afford the normal car hire chains, my friends at Kidspot, Cassandra and Pip, sprung into action.  I met them when I got into the top 100 of Kidspot bloggers, and that is sponsored by Ford.  The next thing you knew, my friend Angela, who is another Downs mama that I had known online for years, but never met, was driving us from the Goldie to Brisbane to pick up a spanking 7 seat Ford Terrirtory for the duration of our stay, a LOAN.  Not a penny changed hands and they were so helpful.  No rent a bomb for us, but a comfy, state of the art car, with the best reversing camera ever.  I left the driving to Gazza, as he is the worst backseat driver of all time when I am at the wheel, but he tells me it was ACE to drive.

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I think I said before when I did the Metropol post that it is hard to know what to say when your heart is so full, and I feel all those feels again.  We received so many kindnesses on this trip, and I got to meet a lot of people that I had known online for years, but never met due to distance.  People from my Downs support groups, my bowel cancer support group, online friends going back up to 12 years when I first joined the online parenting forum Essential Baby.  I also got to catch up with people who I had met, but had not seen for ages.   It was so, so ace.  To those I didn’t see, I am sorry that I never got the trip to Brisbane in, and thank goodness Jetset Jules as i shall forthwith be known, is in Brisbane again in a couple of weeks for a certain book launch.  See you there :)

After 8 nights at Seaworld we decamped (with a lot more luggage) to Paradise Resort in Surfers.  I can’t say anything too effusive about the accommodation except it was fine for what it was, but this place, for kids, is magic, and when the free four hour session of kids clubbed kicked in every afternoon at 4pm, it was pretty bloody magic for Gaz and I too!  I find it very hard to get any care for Georgia that is not specifically special needs care, despite the fact she is a very content and easy child.  I rang Paradise after making my booking to make sure that they would take her (not actually expecting that they would), and not an eyelid was batted.  The staff in the kids club were UNBELIEVABLE.  About 5 o’clock one night they were at kids club and Gaz and I still happened to be at the resort as I was experiencing some pain, and lying down.  We got a call, and as soon as they mentioned Georgia’s nappy (she does some shockers and this was a shocker) we lept up like we were spring loaded and apologised profusely, saying we would be there IMMEDIATELY to pick her up.  The girl was all like “no, it’s fine, just bring some clothes down for her, if you had been out I was only going to ask for permission to go up to your room and get her some clothes”.  Say what?  Gazbo and I have dealt with these type of shits and been left needing a sedative and a good lie down, and we are her PARENTS.  It was the kids favourite week I think, they would have been happy to stay there in the resorts own pool and waterpark all day every day.

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Week 3 found us needing some home comforts like a full kitchen, and in house laundry, so we moved to the Golden Sands apartments in Main Beach.  It got us THIS view:

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Stunning to wake up to every morning, and we ran that washing machine to the point it shuddered as it saw us walk towards it.  Happy Days.

I was a busy girl up there!  I did a podcast with Pip from Kidspot, we had a visit from “the media”, and I was interveiwed by a “well known woman’s magazine” (I am going to be able to give you more details very soon, I can feel it in my waters 😛 ).  I was laughing about not being denied my 15 minutes of fame – no way.  Soon, you shall be seeing me all over the shop and shall be bored to TEARS.  All because this was the little blog that could become a book, and people seem to be interested in how it all came about.  The book is official released this coming Wednesday 26 August, but it has already been spotted, and BORROWED from a few libraries :)

There has been a bit of a dark side, and this is where I can run for a while, but I can’t hide.  About a week into the holiday I noticed I was starting to itch.  Not severe, and generalised, but I felt something was afoot.  Over the last two weeks of the holiday, pain, which had been varying degrees of liver pain over the last 18 months has now become moderate constant pain.  There have been spasms in between my shoulderblades, and lots of pain radiating through to my back.  None of it is anything I haven’t had before at one stage or another, but never so constant and so at the same time.  I called my oncologist on Friday and we agreed that he book me in for chemo this coming Friday, pending the outcome of scan I will have this week on Monday or Tuesday.  Results Wednesday, the day the BSRC is officially released.  I can feel that it is going to be a very bittersweet day.  My oncologist and I were hoping that I could have a further period off chemo to enjoy my book launch celebrations, but I think we both feel now that I shall be denied this.  The biggest hope is that cancer progression has not been too much, but instead, in a different direction and pushing on different areas.  Second line chemo is in my future, and it is very effective in a lot of people, so I am holding on to that and trying SO HARD not to be too angry at not being able to catch a break for what will be the most exciting weeks of personal achievement that i will ever get to celebrate.

Last Thursday I was getting a bit down about the pain and the fear, and a bit sick of the look of myself, as I have sort of dropped a bit of the personal “style” that I have made mine this last year or so.  I decided that a salon visit was in order, and it was back to being uncompromisingly ME.  I went to a gorgeous salon in Main Beach that served me wine, and the lovely Magda turned me out like this:

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I look at this photo, and I feel a lot of things.  Happy, glad, angry, sad….Happy because I know that this photo, this style, it epitomises the person that I always knew I was inside, but was too scared to show the world.  Happy because I got to meet this woman, this confident, accomplished woman of 44, and happy you did too.  Glad (and grateful) that I reached the point in my life that I could see myself this way.  Angry….sad…..wishing that I had had my big dose of perspective sooner, and in a different way that means that I could know her longer, that my children could, that Gaz could.  I am, unquestionably, on the absolute threshold of all that I could become, personally and professionally, and I am very much afraid I will be denied the time to do it.  Definitely not giving up though….I know of one wonderful stage 4 BC survivor (waves to the lovely Louise) who was on this chemo I am about to start for 18 months and went into remission!  She has now been treatment free for two years.   You never know, eh?  I responded very well to first line chemo, some of the signs are in my favour.

So much more to tell, but this is the epic post to end all epic posts, so I will save it for another day.  I will be back soon to tell you all where you can find me at book launches should you wish to come, and on your tele screens and magazine stands….it won’t be too long away, I can tell you THAT.

Much love to you all, and hope to those who need it….always hope xxx

5 Comments on “You can run, but you can’t hide

  1. So glad to hear you had such a wonderful family holiday. My son and I, whom I raised on my own for the first 8 years of his life, went and stayed at Paradise Resort a couple of years back. We had a ball. I know what you mean about the kids wanting to stay in the pool all day every day. He was in bliss!!! We loved doing the theme parks together and even took in a Big Brother live eviction show!! Best mummy and son holiday ever!!

  2. What a great read! I’m so sorry we didn’t get down to see you Jules. What a time for us all to get sick, and not just cold sick but chicken pox sick. See you at the launch, xoxoxo, G

  3. Oh Jules what a wonderful trip you all had making special memories. It sounds heaps of fun.
    Sorry you have to deal with more chemo and the awful side effects. I wish you everything and more hope for more time with your family and celebrating your book.
    I’m sorry I had to read your bad news but I do need a dash of that hope too. It puts it all in perspective again.

  4. Hi Julian (Jules)
    It was awesome seeing you again and meeting Gaz and your beautiful girls, thank you for the laughs and the looks on the girls faces when they asked if was I taking the maltesers home with me, Blake deciding your name was Julian was so funny. Whatever happens in the next week we will be there right beside you,Looking forward to seeing you at the Brisbane launch.

  5. What a wonderful experience for you all! And you know what? Sometimes we do have to go away to find our authentic selves. No pressure, and none of the usual day to day. :)
    The Virgin people sound like they are amazing, and it is really lovely to read something so positive about experiences of travelling. You will have so many wonderful memories for everyone. Your holiday will have only done you all a world of good.
    Health and happiness.
    BTW, best landing of a plane I ever experienced was a lady pilot. She brought that monster down to earth like it was a feather. The passengers clapped. :)

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