Monday, December 7, 2009

CanTeen News

In CanTeen News...

I haven't been on a camp in some time now. which is sad. I was supposed to go on the Summer Camp, which is on now (3rd Dec - 7th Dec) but because I got Pneumonia, my doctor did not want me to go away too quickly after coming out of hospital. I don't think I would have gotten a full experience out of it anyways, being tired like I am anyways.

BUT for 2010 I have been electected the new Secretary of the Vic Division! How awesome is that! So now I have 3 x 1 monthly meeting for CanTeen. Div Com, 18+ committee, & Media Group.
I'll be kept busy! But i think it will be a fabulous opportunity, and i'm very much looking forward to being more involved :)

I must practice my note taking skills...

Keep well all!
Eat lots of Chocolate,
Amelia xox

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's been awhile...

By Golly has it almost been 6 months since I last wrote a post!!
How the time flies!!!

The fact that I've been in hospital for maybe 2 months of that could explain, some of my time slipping away.

Well, I am very please to announce that I am officially in COMPLETE REMISSION!! :)

In the past 6 months I have had:
- 3 ICE Chemo's (4 days in hospital at a time, every 3-4 weeks) at Cabrini
- 1 Stem Cell Collection (3 days in hospital) at The Alfred
- 1 Stem Cell Transplant (1.5 weeks in and out of hospital, and 2.5 weeks in hospital) at Box Hill
- 3 weeks (13 treatments) of Radiation at The Alfred
- 1 bout of Pneumonia (10 days in hospital) at Cabrini
- Multiple blood tests, x-rays, scans, doctors appts

So after all that you can see why I've never posted, i just haven't had the time, or haven't been feeling like I'm capable of it!
In August just before the stem cell collection, and after the chemo, my doctor gave me a "break" from it all, and allowed me to travel up to Brisbane to see my mum's side of the family. It was a wonderful week break! Mum & I went to this retreat called THE GOLDEN DOOR. OMG it was absolutely amazing, the best place ever. It is a health retreat, where they have exercise classes, meditation, relaxation, massages, all that lovely stuff. It was just wonderful. Mum and I had 5 days there, and we felt like we had been away for a month! Just fabulous!
We then spent the weekend with the family, and came back to Melbourne.

Just this past week, I have been starting to feeling excellent. It is like I can finally see the end of the tunnel, there is some light and I am certainly close to it. I have more energy than ever before, so I'm doing a lot more. But I'm still getting tired, and I'm very weak (i have no muscle strength), so everything in small steps. I'll get there, only a little bit at a time. I'm still on SO MANY medications, (20 tabs a day) but at least they are keeping me healthy!

I am looking forward to being able to plan things now, I can actually say to some one "lets catch up next week for lunch, Tues 12pm, should be great, see you there" in stead of "I'd love to catch up, but can i let you know on the day, as i don't know how i will be feeling".
It's a new sense of freedom. Another new sense of freedom is my car. I can actually drive him properly now! For the past while i haven't drive Cedric much, because of drugs, or I'm just not up to it. Having no Independence in travel is annoying! But Cedric is great (after a hefty service and new temp gauge).

I think that is all i need to up date you for now, in the coming month (the busiest of the year) I have many 21sts, birthdays, Christmas functions & family functions to attend, which I'm greatly looking forward to :)

I hope to see you all out and about, and celebrating!
(I am even allowed to DRINK ALCOHOL NOW!!)
Remember to keep eating that Chocolate, I know I've kept the chocolatiers in business!
Love to all,
Amelia xox

Monday, June 1, 2009

What a Week!!

OMG It has been a huge week.... crazy stuff has happened...

So what has happened?? Hmm...

1. I have found out that the Hodgkins Lymphoma has returned :(
2. I have been in hospital for the past few days to have biopsy
3. the biopsy was supposed to happen on Thursday at 1300, but did not have it until 1930.
4. I was STARVING & SO THRISTY leading up to the biopsy as I had not eaten since 0500 that morning. I also had a "No talking about Food or Drink" rule in my room that day.
5. The biopsy turned out to be MUCH larger than expected. I have 2 scars frm it.. one about 10cm long, and one a few cm long with stiches.... more below
6. The results have come back and it is deffinatly Hodgkins Lymphoma again, so at least that is a good thing...
7. I have had many lovely visitors :) So thank you all who visited.
8. I have discovered that Morphine, is amazing stuff.. sry to those I texted while high...
9. I have had to give up organising the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show - for KADAC. I miss it, and I miss seeing everyone at work
10. I am home now :)

SO what is happening to me now??
Well the biopsy I was supposed to have was going to be in my neck, but the Lymph nodes in my neck were not large enough for a proper biopsy. Therefore my Surgeon, and my Heamotologist decided that they should biopsy directly frm the main tumour in my chest. This was cause for a major operation. As they removed 2.5 cm of my tumour, as well as inserted a device called a 'window' to stop fluid developing around my heart. As I did not go into theatre unil 1930 Thursday evening, I did not return to my hospital room from recovery until 2330.
All day Friday I was in and out of consciousness with the Morphine, which I was on for the pain. Saturday, I was at least alert enough to see visitors, besides family, and also able to get onto my computer. On Sunday I had my tubes removed, and I had to get stiches in the place where the tubes were. So atm I am in a bit of pain with the stiches & the cut frm the biopsy.

Since my biposy was a major ordeal, my Haemotologist has decided that I will need to recover properally before starting my new Chemo treatment, to avoid getting an infection. Therefore my treatment will not start until Thursday 11th June.
On Thusday morning I will have to be re-admitted into hospital for my PICC line to be re-inserted, and then I will be in the 2 Central, Oncology Ward of Cabrini Hospital in the arvo for Chemo.

In terms of Uni, I will have to defer Semester 2 (trimester 2 for Deakins), and when it comes to March 2010, I will have to see how much I have recoverd from the treatments I am going to go through, as there is a much longer recovery time as it is a much stronger and aggressive treatment. I have spoken to my lecturer for the subject I am currently doing, and if I hand in all assignements that I have completed so far, and so another little bit of work for her she is going to pass me. This is awesome, as it means I will not have to repeat the subject :)

My Treatment Schedule Now:
- minimum of 2 months of Chemo, which is 3-4 consecutive days in hospital recieveing intraveneous Chemo that whole time
- then Scans (PET/CT/X-ray)
- providing my scans say that I am in remission, I will then start procedure to collect Stem Cells
- if not in remission, more Chemo
- Collection of Stem Cells means more hospital, where I will be hooked up to a blood transfusion macheine for a couple of hours per day, for a couple of days. This means that My Own Stem cells will be collected for use later on
- Stem Cell Trasplant will happen a couple of months after the cultivation of the stem cells. I will have to be in hospital for 4 weeks minimum, basically inisolation so that I do not contract any illnesses. The Stem Cell Trasplant involves Chemo for 7 straight days, this will wipe my immune system & kill all cancer cells, as well as my bone marrow, and then on the 8th day they will re-inject my frozen stem cells. Then over the time I am recovering in hospital the stem cells will re-create my immune system, and bone marrow. Providing that all goes well, a couple months after the trasplant I will have to have Radiation Therapy, for a minimum for 5 weeks, which is every day....

So, I am going to have alot to deal with over the next months, and I would really like to have no other dramas to deal with like I did last time when I was going through Chemo. It is ME TIME now, and I seriously mean that. I am happy to help people with theor own dilemas but I am no longer putting up with some peoples SHIT... you know who you are.

Until Next time (lets hope I have good news to share then)...
Eat Chocolate.. I know I will with the amount I was given in hospital! I would feed a family for a week with it all!

~Amelia Fuller xox

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wow ... Time passes so quickly!

Ok so I thought I should update my blog... at long last!!
I know you have all been waiting to read what has been going on in my life... If that is you.. you obviously do not talk to me often enough!!

Anywho... What has happened to me since my last post :
  • I bought a CAR!! :) It is a 1995, Honda Accord, Burgandy colour. It is very sexy, and is called Cedric. Perfect Name I think.
  • My car broke down and is still getting re-paired :( Poor Cedric...
  • I went on another CanTeen Camp :) It was so awesome, just as awesome as the last one (sorry no in-depth description this time, you will just have to ask me about it!), however this time is was an 18+ camp. No drinking thou.... just for people general knowledge. There was a GIANT SWING, Australiana Party, many many conversations & reflections, and just general fun!!
  • Australia day Lunch with the family, always good to see them
  • Rugby Games with Friends
  • My Cousins Play "Hello Dolly", awesome performance Krystle :)
  • And just general catching up with people
  • Organising Book Group - alot of effort but I know it will be worth it in the end! I am looking forward to it very much!
  • Oh and how could I forget WORK!! That is crazy busy at the moment.. only 3 weeks till the GFWS! AHH
  • Oh and Uni... Can anyone see my priorities here? :P That is going well, however I really need to up my motivation and actually get my assignments done!! :S
I think that is really all I have been up to... one quick stint in the Emergancy Department last night... apart from that it's all good!

On another note, getting back to 'normal' is harder than I thought... I don't even know what normal is anymore. Recovering frm treatment, is in someways harder than going thought Chemo... I guess it is just another Journey.. another "Yellow Brick Road" to over come.

Until Next Time... Eat Chocolate! (YUMM CHOCOLATE - it is it's own food group I swear!)
~Amelia xox

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some photos of my trip...

Jelly Fish!! Not poisonious don't worry! (Taken underwater)

My new friends and I (underwater)

A Seal!! Yes taken underwater...

More Seals.. again from underwater

My New Friends... Rhiannon, and Claire... from left to right.

Sting Ray... again under the water

Me in the water, in my snorkling gear! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

CanTeen Camp :)

So I have not been away for a long time... about 36 hours in total... but it feels like SO much longer! :) In a good way of course!

So where did I go?, I hear you ask me... what did you do?

Well read on... and I shal tell you :)

Ok so... I guess I should start spilling the story! Hehe

Well yesterday morning (saturday) I left home at 9am, to arrive at CanTeen Vic Headquarters by 0930. I drove in as I have dad's car for the week, and left it in the CanTeen Staff carpark for safe keeping over the weekend. Better than having it on the road (and getting a fine)!
By 0950 all Members were in the bus, and we were starting to chat and get to know each other.
After some formal introductions to the staff, volunteers, and ourselves (just our name, age and school/uni etc) we set off for Queenscliff!

On the bus trip on the way down, we chatted, got to know the people around us, ate muslei bars and apples. We also ordered our lunch which were Rolls. Yummy, Yummy Rolls with whatever you wanted in them.

Once we arrived at our place, which was a huge lodge for everyone. It had 3 rooms with bunk beds... about 16 people per room, 2 extra toilets (as well as the ones in our rooms), and 2 extra showers (ditto as with toilets). It also had 2 lounge rooms, an outside patio/backward, a kitchen, single rooms (for staff, and volunteers) and a huge living area with tables. It sounds larger than it propbably was, but it housed 30 people comfortably for the night, and could probs house more comfortably for longer.
Anyway, back to the story.... So we arrived. We unloaded the bus, and were assigned to our rooms. 1) the boys room, 2) the 16+ girls room, 3) the >16 girls. Once we had dropped off all our belongings, we re-grouped in the lounge room, and headed over the road to the oval for lunch. We got to eat our yummy rolls and continue chatting.
Once we had all finished, we played "get to know you games". They were great. And obviously an awesome way to get to know everyone's names.

Oh did I mention this was a 'New Members Camp'? I probably should have said that before. So yes this was a 'New Members Camp' and none of us had ever met each other before. So we were all feeling anxious about attending, and meeting new people. But as always it was nothing to stress about, as they were all lovely people.

So once lunch and the games were over, we went back into the lodge, to learn all about CanTeen. We watched a small movie created about CanTeen and learnt what it was all about. If you don't know already, CanTeen is a non-for-profit organisation set up for 'All Young Australians Living with Cancer'. Now that maybe as a Patient Member (like me, as in you yourself have had/are going through the cancer), as a Sibling Member (your sister/brother had/has cancer), or as an Offspring Member (your Mum/Dad/Guardian had/has cancer). You can also join as a 'Bareved Member' if you have lost a family member to cancer in the above catagories. All CanTeen members are also between the ages of 12-24. We also learn't about the "CanTeen Values" there are like 17 or something so I won't mention them all :P

After our meeting, we had some 'quiet time' where you could just chill and chat to people, get to know them. Do what you want really. Some people had naps (hence why it had to be quiet), and some played board games. After an hour or so, we all got ready, and rugged up for our Boat Cruise.

Yep that is what was next on our Agenda. :)
We went on the boat cruise at about 1700. We went out for an hour and a half, during the initial stages of the sun setting. It was amazing to see the bay at a time like this. We visited the Seals (more to come) and also some other spots. Then we went for a cruise, past Sorento, and Portsea.

We got back to our lodge about 1830, and we de-rugged ourselves, and setteld in for the night. We had showers, and got into our trackies/pjs. 1930 was Dinner Time. :)
As we were having a "Movie Night" we had pizza/pasta for dinner. We also had "CanTeen Cold Rock" for dessert. YUMMY!!!
Then the actual moving watching was upon us.
We had a democratic vote for the movie, and mojority ruled "BIG" to be played. It had Tom Hanks in it, and was about a boy who wished he was 'big' and turned from a 13yr old to a 30-40 yr old over night. Funny movie I have to say.

2300 was lights out. My room went to sleep the fastest. The little boys and girls stayed up chatting until the wee hours of the morning...

Next thing i knew it was... WAKE UP.. it's 0700!!
Time to have Brekkie, and get ready for our eventful day! :)

ok ok.. can not contain it any more...
WE WENT SWIMMING WITH THE SEALS!!! oh and also went snorkling. :) :) :)

Ok so now that is out.. I will explain.

We went to the Dive Centre, where you could get either Scuba or Snorkling equipment. We got all decked out with our Wet-Suits, Snorkles and Fins.
Once we had all put on our wet-suits (so hard to get on!!!! ARGH!!) we proceeded to get on the bus to head to the cruise boat, and start on our adventure!
We all go on the boat, with all our stuff, we crusied about 15 mins to what i think is called "Pop Eye Point"... (someone can correct me on that if i've got it wrong).
We then learn't how to get off the boat and into the water (mainly for those who did not know already)... we were then separated into 2 groups. The Under 13s/can not swim very well, and The 13+/can swim... guess what group I was in. LOL
Then we proceeded to go snorking! :)

After about 20-30 mins of snorkling, we then got back on the boat. We traveled about another 10-15 mins to where the Seals hang out. They have there own hut in the middle of the sea. We were quickly breifed on the rules of swimming with the seal... you were not allowed to touch them as, seals tend to nip each other (like dogs) when they play, and they could mistake you for another seal if we touched them. Especially as we were all in out wet-suits.

Swimming with the Seals was amazing, to say the least!! They copied everything that you did. If you summersulted, they did to, if you did twists in the water, so did they. SO AMAZING!
We were so close to them. They swam around us, underneath us, and even followed us back to the boat. I can not even describe properally what it was like.


After we had spent 20-30mins swimming with the seals, we headed back to the boat and returned to the Dive Centre. We then all got changed out of our wet-suits and headed back to the lodge.

Once we got back to the lodge, we packed all our things, and chilled out waiting for lunch.
BBQ lunch was at 1230. It was yummy :)
Once lunch was over and we had all helped clean up the lodge, and made sure that we had all packed. We started playing a few more games. Games are so much fun.

Over the course of the weekend, we each had a "Little Book of Warm & Fuzzies". Everyone could write in each others book, but not read their own. It was for others to write lovely things about you. whether it was just 'it was great to meet you on the trip' to a simple 'you rock' or what ever you wanted. Such a great idea! I belive it should be intorduced into other things! :)

So once we had all packed, cleaned up, played the last of our games, thanked our volunteers and staff. We all packed up the bus and headed home.

So all-in-all it was one amazing trip!! :)

It was so amazing, fab, cool, wicked, whatever you want to use to descirbe it.
I still am living on cloud-9 because of the trip.
Weeeeeeee! I think the highlight of the trip, besides swimming with the seals of course, was just meeting new people, making awesome new friends, and just learning that i am not alone. I knew that before, but meeting people that have been through similar things to me... is just such a great feeling. I can relate to them on a whole new level, and they truely understand how I am feeling. :)

YAY for an awesome weekend! :)

So Until Next Time... Eat Chocolate!!! (you know you can still eat more after Easter!)

~Amelia xox

Friday, March 27, 2009