Sunday, 30 November 2008

Hay While the Sun Shines

I've worked out what seems to be wrong with Monkey ... he's scared!!

The poor little sweetheart. If he sleeps through, til about 4am, he's fine. If not, and he wakes up any time before then, it's a screaming frenzy. It happened just then ... I went in, and he grabbed my hand in a panic and drew it close. He's so scared, and wants me near. I stay near.

We'll just fumble our way through, as usual.

In other, even more fearful news ... Mr TC is worried. He doesn't look good, has a big lump on his face, and today he asked me to feel his tummy for any tumours. His scan is in a few days, so I guess it's just on his mind. It must feel very strange, after chemo, waiting on scan results. Is that a lump? Am I sick again? Why do I feel so crap? Who was the second gunman on the grassy knoll?

Mr TC wins the husband of the year award this weekend! Both mornings he has got up to Monkey, took him and Tiger out for a walk, and at 9am, arrived back home to wake me up .. with a soy latte AND the paper for me. Motherfucking hero! Then, we just had family time all weekend! And, he was interested and thoughtful, bought me a bunch of flowers, and told me how sexy I look lately!!! WTF!

Last week, Tiger said "Mum, I really want to see the movie Australia." So last night I took him. Just me and Tiger, on a date. I vowed to spend more one-on-one time with him. Time is hard, these days. Parenting a baby, small child, stepson, wife of a sick guy, trying to work from home ... no wonder I kept blowing fuses. I had to pray and be gentle with myself, all weekend. Feeling SO much better.

Now, as for watching the film "Australia" last night ... let's put it out there, I do not think Nicole Kidman can act for shit. I see her on the screen, and think, oh look ... a wooden, stilted person who is trying to act. HOWEVER ... Australia was fucking wonderful, and she was really good in it! I was so, so proud to see the film focus on the whites' treatment of Aboriginal Australians.

It's the most expensive movie ever made down here .... us Aussies have a nasty habit of cutting down all our tall poppies, all the people who make it "big" and daring to give things a go. Baz Luhrmann has been castigated for audaciously naming his film, and the press are itching to call it a flop. But it won't flop. I loved it. Tiger loved it ... I was so proud of him, sitting there next to me. He was enthralled, and didn't get bored once. I kept kissing him and stroking his arm. Fuck I adore that boy ADORE.

Afterwards, we played air hockey, pinball, and a shooting game with rifles we re-loaded and hunted grizzly bears in the forest. PISSING ourselves laughing.

I had the best weekend. We are so fortunate. Yes I have felt the Big Fear around Mr TC again, thoughts flying around our heads. Yes the news of Patrick Swayze jolted us both, sitting at the park today, reading the newspaper together.

There has been so much sad news, lately.

I had the strange, unsettled feeling that I had travelled back in time from the future to today, so I soaked and drank and inhaled it in ... I kissed and kissed and kissed my boys, all weekend.

Whatever happens, I am one blessed motherfucker. I don't want to forget that.

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Terrorist

Every single night for the past seven nights, Monkey has awoken and screamed, screamed and screamed. Fed, changed, patted .... finally, if I walk around and stroke and whisper to him, he has drifted back to sleep. Until he screams again.

Poor old Michael Finnegan Begin-again. That was my brothers favourite song when he was little.

Ummmm - I'm tired? I have ended up giving up and hopping into the single bed with him in his room, holding him close. His piece de resistance was last night, screaming blue, bloody murder for three motherfucking hours straight. Nothing would help. Nothing seemed wrong. His crying was trying. I ended up shooting myself in the head, and am typing this from hell. (Tee and Rex ... Dad says hi!)

Not really .... but close.

He cried every time I tried to make him have a nap today, and putting him to bed tonight was a freaking nightmare. I was trying to get writing work done for my new job, had a deadline ... and just fucked it up. She sent it back to me three times to be re-written. She wasn't happy. "I'm usually really good!" I wanted to say. "I promise!"

I wailed to Mr TC, gnashing my teeth. Cried to stepson. Sniffled with Tiger.

Hello controlled crying ... how YOU doin'?

I've always thought that I could never, ever do controlled crying. With Tiger, a mere whisper of a murmer and I would run in to his room. Monkey? Poor sweetie has had crying issues since day one. Obviously my head is trying to make it somehow my fault, but I am beginning to see that sometimes babies just CRY. It is what they DO. And, I get the feeling if I do not nip this in the bud now I am sharpening a MASSIVE rod for my back. My back is stooped enough as it is.

So fucked. I need to work on myself more ... lately I have grown more angry, bitter and venomous than I have ever been in my whole life. It doesn't feel very nice, my dreams are getting dark, and my Higher Self is sitting out on a rock ledge somewhere, twiddling her thumbs, bored as all fuck.

I guess I'll read some baby books tomorrow, because I have utterly no idea what the fuck I'm doing. Seriously.


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

And the Nominees Are ....

About two millennia ago, the kind Rachel Inbar nominated me for a Kick-Arse Blog Award. Actually, it's Kick ASS Blog Award, but we all know arse has an R in it. Rachel sometimes leaves a comment here, which I do appreciate. Once she left one on a particularly disturbing post - probably about heroin use (mmmmm, heroin) ... she said how "boring" she was. Rachel you are not boring ... I wish I was more sedate, more even-keeled. Like you!

So, I'm passing the award on to a few bloggers. Now, I don't really like doing this, because I don't like to be exclusive. I'm sorry if I hurt anyones feelings - if I could nominate 57 people then we'd be sweet. So, I've decided to give a shout-out to those people who I have only started to read recently. Say, when my life got all fucked up back in May. A lot of people have come here and given their support ... I am eternally grateful. I'm so sorry I've not reciprocated much lately. My motherfucking useless modem hasn't helped. The very raw truth is ... lately I have wondered if I am:

a) Having a breakdown
b) Am depressed
c) Have post-natal depression
d) Want a divorce
e) All of the above

So that's my excuse. I could sit here and write a post on all my angst and demons, or I can take the motherfucking focus off myself and direct it to some others.


Palemother. Oh my God she is so wise and mysterious and cool. She has fish on her blog that you can feed. She knows stuff. She "gets" people. She has beautiful children. She can spot dysfunctional family habits at 10 paces. She. Rocks.

Flicka at Vacant Uterus. I thought she really did live in Greenland! I am an idiot! Flicka is real and raw and post pics of sparkly hair clips she has put in to cheer herself up on a fucked day. Her hubby Sarge and her have been through the wringer, back out, then around again. They adopted Sam, who is Monkeys peep. Flicka, never stop blogging. Please!

Annacyclopedia. She makes BORSCHT, AND she is cool. Hot hair. She looked around for a Womans Circle, couldn't find one .... so started one up. A person who IS the change they want to see in the world. Anna has taken a few beatings, lately. (From life ... not her hubby.) I told her recently that she is going to be an AWESOME mother someday. And she is. And I will be here, willing and cheering her on. I heart her.

G at Makes You Stronger. Hands down, has the best IRL name EVER. The fires of hell have burnt her. And yes it's making her stronger but I wish it didn't have to happen. She deserves EVERYTHING GOOD to now start happening. Truly a Kick-ARSE blogger.

R.A.W. (PWP) I think about RAW all the time. She is taking a break from blogging .... but her generosity and warmth meant so much to me at a really hard time.

Mrs Spock A wonderful and wise peep, who genuinely gives a shit. She totally must have known I was doing a thousand cries today ... for she emailed me THIS. Can't believe she took time out to edit pics of me and Monkey. Made me laugh and laugh, freakin' hilarious. She is wise, kind, and thoughtful.

A special mention to Nancy ... although I connected with her last year, I cannot NOT give this award to her, for her blog truly does Kick some Serious Arse. Nancy is unshockable. She stirs the pot ... went to a scrapbooking convention and women grabbed their children tighter, probably due to her cool tattoos. She's opinionated, strong, and very fucking pregnant.

I've already gone over quota - I wish I could choose more. Thank you for your support, all the peeps above and beyond, out here in Blogland. Your positive thoughts have helped me through the mire. XOX

I'm still mortified at the pic I posted yesterday. (Thanks for the lovely anti-uglynose comments AHEM)

Here is another, to prove that I actually am cool now. (Obviously Mr TCs tattoos help with my cool quotient).

At least my fucking nose looks semi-decent in this one. I smell coffee .. IN BRAZIL.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

This morning, when I should have been working, I found the glasses I used to wear in high school, put them on, took a photo, and posted it on my blog.

Yes, yes I did.

No WONDER I never had a boyfriend in high school. I cannot BELIEVE my mother made me wear them. I am re-enacting photos taken of me as a teen .... the face is smiling but the eyes sure as hell aren't.


*** Admiring my own handiwork and congratulating myself on being SO hilarious, I was studying the picture for a while. For too long.
Ummm, MY NOSE LOOKS LIKE A CAULIFLOWER. How can I be 36 and never TRULY know how big and ugly my nose is???? 

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Big Reveal

"I got lizards and snakes
Runnin through my body.
Funny how they all
Have my face."

- Sweet Dreams, Tori Amos

The day before I turned seven, I slipped up some thin, rusted metal stairs outside our house and sliced my shin straight open. You could see the bone. Blood curdling screams …. I remember my mother running outside with lots of teatowels. She said later that she knew she needed them because of the awful sound I was making. Sitting in the doctors surgery, I got my leg sewn up with no painkillers. It was horrific … I ended up with seven stitches, one for each year I had lived. I still have the scar, I can’t stand to touch it. Every time I look down it’s there, smiling creepily at me.

One day next week, Tiger will wake up and be seven. He will open all of his birthday presents. Then, his dad will hop in his ute and drive down to the BIGGEST hospital, and get a PET scan to finally see, if all the tumours have gone. Like on a home renovating show, being blindfolded and waiting for “The Big Reveal.” We have to wait until around the 16th of December for the scan to be read.

I can’t believe that Universe would give Tiger bad news for his dad on his birthday.

Obviously, I have feelings around it. Everyone asks me when the scan is, and can’t believe we have to wait so long. I’m actually fine with the waiting. For here, in Waiting Land, lies the possibility that his scan will clear .. like a two week wait holds the possibility of being pregnant.

It feels like the worst is already over – we are now just mopping up the aftermath. My marriage has taken a huge beating, and I know we need to re-connect somehow. Can we? We drifted so far apart.

But, whatever happens … the shock and trauma of it all has worn off. We got used to chemo. Monkey is bigger now. Life marched on, like it always does.

I’m having huge dreams. Huge. I do a lot of spiritual work and healing in my dreams, I always have.


Last week I was with Tee, and we had parked in a big carpark where everyone fights for a space. Walking back to the car, we noticed that a car had parked illegally behind me. So we were stuck. It took me SO MANY FUCKING tries to get my car out. I told Tee I wanted to smash the fuck out of this idiots car, slam into it like a monster truck rally. She goes ... "Do you want to leave a note?"


We dealt with our anger appropriately, and left the note. Laughing so hard so I could a photo of it, to post here and show the internet.

We felt SO much better.

Lately I have felt my skin crawling, like I can’t stand living in it. I went to a meeting in Sydney last week … fucking awesome. One guy shared before me – about how he can’t stand himself lately. I SO understood. He was talking … “I mean, I’m just so sick of my own bullshit. My defects, my fucked-upness … I can’t stand myself. I really can’t. I hate myself. I just want to vomit all over myself.”

Everyone PISSED themselves laughing.

Yesterday, I looked at Mr TC and he looked sick again. Yellow, like how he looked before we found out he was sick. It rocked me to the core, the possibility that … well, you know.

Soon we shall all know.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Happy Half Birthday

I got to Sydney and promptly fell apart.

But I don't want to blog about that, about how I feel a huge ball in my chest, and I, the recovering, in-tune person that I am ... cannot for the life of me work out what is wrong. But I am not ok. And in that ... the admitting that I'm not ok, makes me feel so relieved and better. I am NOT OK! I feel SHIT! Post-traumatic stress? Depression? Anxiety? All of the above? Who the fuck knows .... I just know that I am not ok. Paradoxically, that makes me ok.

I don't want to go home tomorrow, but I have to. Then again, I don't want to stay here, either. You know that feeling where you don't want to be anywhere?

Yesterday I walked down to glorious Bondi Beach, Monkey in his pram, soy latte at hand. I felt emotional. So much has happened. What a most intense year it has been. But, I am SO SICK of myself. Just get the fuck over it already. 

My baby turns six moths old today!

I told his naughty, wonderful cousins that we are to have a Half Birthday Party for him tonight, after dinner. We shall sing "Happy Half Birthday, to you ....". I bought cupcakes. (He won't have one, we shall eat them in his honour.)

I feel like somebody has pushed their hands through the clouds and handed me a six month old baby. I have a baby. He has not been my priority. I solemnly swear, from now on, that he will be my priority. I whispered in to his ear, today .... "Mummy is going to watch you and listen to you and love you so, so much!!"

Cancer is a thief.

I give him three thousand kisses when I put him in the car, and seventeen thousand when I get him out again. I marvel at his big little feet (like blocks of cement, he has feet like his mama). People stop me in the street, to comment on what a beautiful looking little guy he is. His hair has gone from red to golden ... my Golden Boy. He rolls over, but is not interested in crawling yet. My Laz-e-Boy. Just like his mama! He can cry real tears, kicks like Ian Thorpe in the water, has been known to eat and crap at the same time. His personality is starting to come out ... he is really "here".

At mums most favourite cafe in the whole world ...

I love him.
I am so relieved, to love him so.

He looks at me adoringly, and breaks my heart. Tori Amos once sang that she has enough guilt to start her own religion. Hello.

The next six months will fly, so quickly. If I am thirsty .... then I shall drink him in, this most spectacular, amazing little human. I am blessed to have him. I feel blessed to love him, and not ever want to let him go.

Happy Half Birthday, my Wonderful Monkey Star. Thank you for teaching me The Way. You are heavenly, and magical, and sacred. I promise to celebrate that, my sweetheart guy. I am so sorry, about everything. I am flawed ... we all are. But I love you deeply. And that really is all that matters.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Feet on the Fairy

Tomorrow I shall make my escape.

I am going to my sister Tees house, down in Sydney .... I haven't been to her house since April, since I was very pregnant. Since the pre-cancer days. (Pre-cancer days! How I miss you!)

I. Can't. Wait. I need to sloth and not cook and read BLOGS and get my google reader sorted once and for all. I need to watch Tees cable and fart freely* and ponce around the Eastern suburbs in my gold sandals, pretending I am someone.

Now I just need to wrap up all the little pressies I bought for Tiger .... with little notes from me. He can open one a day, just so he knows I am thinking of him. He has found the transition of his big brother living here again a bit hard, lately. They have been clashing, and I see Tiger get upset because he just hates how much power the older sibling has. I get triggered badly, because of my own childhood issues .... sometimes, something innocent or even just "kid-like" can alert my bullying radar. I hate bullying, hate things not being fair. I've had to rope stepson in a few times, nicely, but just let him know I am on to him.

I was worried, about leaving Tiger here with stepson and Mr TC .... so I have done what every good parenting book would say ... and resorted to bribery. I told stepson that if he takes good, proper care of his little bro ... ".. and I mean proper! Because I will KNOW if you don't." - Then I will bring him home a set of earphones he wants for his iPod. (For, he always wants SOMETHING. But, don't we all!?)

Here is Tiger and stepson, mucking around directly under the Harbour Bridge:

I am an arsehole mother lately. It's true - I am. To both Tiger and Monkey. I am short on patience, frustrated, a little bit yelling. I really need some more Mo in my Jo. I need to love them and be nice and know how lucky I am.

I have had a post brewing about my feelings for Monkey, for months now. But I have been too gutless to write it yet. I will, because it keeps tapping me on the shoulder, demanding to be written. It's muck, that I need to shine a big fuckoff light on. It's hard and it's sad, that he got so tangled in the cancer web when he was born. But it was the truth then ... not now. Things are different now.


Last weekend, I made us all drive down to Sydney. To park at Manly Beach, and catch a ferry over to Circular Quay. (Circular Quay is where the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are.) Tiger called it a "Fairy" (as I did, when I was a kid). He kept asking if we could buy fairy floss to eat on it.

We had a pretty cool day. Meaning - we were all getting along well. It is so dysfunctional, my family. Usually, one of us has the shits. The others rally around and try to pull the shitty person out of the slump. We take it in turns to be the shitty one. 

So this day, no-one was particularly shitty. We were all happy that Mr TC was feeling so good - if he feels good, we all feel good. A few more weeks, and it wil be the longest amount of time with no chemo in him. YAY.

Look - the Sydney Opera House is growing out of Monkeys left ear! Clever boy!

I LOVE this photo ... however, I don't love the gut overhang flapping over my jeans:

For more Show and Tells, check out Mel at Stirrup Queens HERE.

*Ummm, I fart freely anyway. I have to - if I didn't I would blow up like a blimp and float over the Southern Hemisphere forever. Mr TC is disgusted, because, obviously I fart louder and stronger than him. He thinks women shouldn't fart. Obviously, he married the wrong woman.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Playing in the Dirt

So where do I start? I've had a crap, awful week. So sorry about the disappearing post. Had the worst night and day with Monkey the other day, involving him crying and crying .... then me falling over while holding him, then a shopping trip where he banged his head and his pram upturned ..... ending with ME crying and crying, having lost any semblence of Patience and Love and The Milk of Human Kindness. Mix that with the WORST week of arguing with Mr TC, and Presto! You got yourself one fucked up Redhaired Vengeful Topcat!

It's tiring, to be me ..... the lows are so low, but the highs are phenomenal!

I haven't even mentioned the new job I got. As a copywriter for a website company, writing website text for different businesses. I have training next week. They received 150 applications, and employed 6 copywriters from all over Australia. I was one of six chosen. Fucking outstanding ... ever since Mr TC got cancer, my writing has taken off. So strange ... it's like, something so BAD happens, so something good has to happen, to balance it out. It's so good to keep earning money from home.

I haven't told my new boss that I have a baby ... minor detail?! And, I kind of don't really know how I'm going to write more than usual and mind Monkey as well. There's only so long I can stick him in front of the TV for. (Joke. Kind of). So, controversially ... I'm thinking of putting his name down for a daycare. Only for two days a week. The company I work for is only brand new, and still getting their web system up and running, so we don't know how much work will be there yet. I'll get paid per website, and it took me one and a half hours to write one. So, we shall see.


Hey so guess what look at this:

It's a photo of a girl who is seeing her father for the very last time.

I was around eleven ... my sisters were thirteen. Our real dad came to visit us at our house ... I remember being SO excited, and nervous, as I didn't really know him that well. My mum and stepdad let him in ... it was so strange. I had pictured that he would come in to our house, all the adults would talk, it'd all be chilled. SO not. Mum and stepdad were playing pool, acting cavalier and odd. Me, my sisters, and our dad, sat down in the adjoining room, having a stilted conversation. Can't remember where my brother was .. having a sleep, probably.

I quickly realised he didn't want to talk to me, only to the girls. At one point, I ran off to get my coin collection to show him, and sat there, patiently waiting with it on my lap, as he was talking to Tee and Rex. I never showed him.

He asked mum if he could take some photos of us, across the road. We all stood in a row, while he snapped away. Then, he wanted to take some pics just of Tee and Rex. It took a LONG time. I wandered off a bit. At one point, I crouched down and started swirling my hands through the dirt. He said my name and I looked up. That's when he snapped the photo. The look on my face ... I didn't know I was getting my photo taken. There I squat, in my ridiculously dorky green velour tracksuit, with a smile pasted on my face because I just wanted him to like me.

I know I have tremendous abandonment issues, however, it really is rare that I feel the raw gaping hole, left by dad - both of them, anymore.

Yet, I have felt it so many times this year. So close to losing Mr TC. So close, that it constricts my heart, re-opens a lot of old painful wounds. I am strong and I am tough and full of bravado .... but fuck it HURTS like a BITCH, that most of the important men in my life have just not given a flying fuck .... couldn't get past their own problems. I see friends of mine, and the relationships they have with their fathers .... and something in me stirs, so exquisitely painful.

My real dad snapped that pic of me, playing in the dirt, waiting for him to see me .. he was dead from the booze a year later. Four years after that, stepdad kills himself.

It's enough to drive a girl to drink!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Two Photos

I took this photo from our back deck, a few weeks ago. We were all watching TV, and I happened to get up and have a look. It was STUNNING. I grabbed the camera, and snapped. Made me feel silly ... that I was inside watching TV like an idiot, and Nature had put on this beautiful display.


My Tiger, making orange juice in striped pyjamas. Note the determination on his face! The mussed up hair! I love him with such an ache, that my heart hurts. I know we have met before. We recognise each other, talk the same language. He is my Shining Star. Shining.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry

Hi. It's me ... the arsehole who never comments on anyones blog lately, because she is so self-obsessed. I have been absent. I haven't wanted to blog ... because I feel messy. And when I blog when I'm messy, it always feels like I have hung all my washing out on the line, made some crackers and cheese, and asked the whole neighbourhood around to watch my big baggy yellowed undies flapping in the breeze.

Feels like some huge waves are crashing down on me, just as I was about to make it to shore. I am not on my computer, so I shall keep it short and sweet.


TIGER: Yesterday he handed out all of his party invitations at school. But he told everybody it was a "Mario" fancy dress party. They can only come dressed up as a character from Super Mario Bros. Which means, all the girls have to come as Princess Peach. I told him to tell everybody today that they can actually wear ANY fancy dress costume and maybe, not all girls want to be princesses?

MONKEY: The baby in the cancer ward. He is almost SIX MONTHS OLD. Soon I may even write a post all about him. Who knew? People say to me ... "Six months!? Wow, hasn't that gone quickly!?" I say ... no, no it hasn't, actually.

STEPSON: Broke my laptop ..... however, we are getting on very, very well. I love him.

MR TC: His PET scan is booked in for early December. We should have the results just before Christmas. So, it'll either be a very great Christmas, or, not so.

Mr TC has now added going to the gym to his list of after-work activities. Every single day, he is either at soccer, or footy, or the gym. He told me that he is not going to change anything in his life, post-cancer. Told me that I was the one who wanted the baby, why should it change his plans.

I handled it very maturely. I threw every single bunch of flowers he gave me in the bin. Except the beautiful Peace Lily, that he thoughtfully chose for my office. I ripped that one out of the pot, flung it around, and scrunched and ripped it to shreds.

THEN I threw it in the bin. I can't tell you how much better I felt. Seriously.

Crackers and cheese, anyone?

Friday, 7 November 2008

Just Keep Laughing. What the Sisters Did Part Two

Ok so where was I? Oh that's right, bringing a new life into the world, just as I thought my husband was going to lose his.

It kind of ended up that Tee stayed with me up in my hospital, and Rex went down to Mr TCs hospital. Rex was my lifeline to Mr TC. He is such a bravado, "I'm fine" macho guy .... like that Knight in that Monty Python movie, getting all his arms and legs cut off, but still wants to fight. "What, this? It's just a scratch." Until in the end, he's just this talking, bloodied head on the ground. I know that Mr TC would tell me he was ok, even if he was in agony and secretly scared shitless. But Rex was with him ... and Rex told me the truth. Her truth was that he was going to be ok ..... how I clung to her words, every day! She did everything for him that I could not. He had the worst bed in the worst ward, PUTRID. Talk about depressing. It was dark and dank, and there was a contaminated water scare, in his hospital. Nii-iiice.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ..... Tee was the only person I wanted to see. She brought Tiger in to visit, every day. She brought nipple shields and expensive creams, chocolate, clothes for Monkey. We sat and waited and worried together. I took a photo of myself, in the middle of the night, once. I don't know why I did ... maybe because I couldn't get out of bed, and wanted to know what I looked like. What a person in so much pain looks like. Quite strange really.

It's a terrible photo. I would lie in my bed for hours, in a trance, holding Monkey .... frightened isn't even the word. In shock. And horror. Then Monkey would stir and I'd look down and see him, as if for the first time. "Oh, hello lil guy!!" Kept forgetting about the baby.

In the mornings, Tee would come in, and I would talk to Rex, and I had hope again. Just a bit. It was around that time, that my catchcry started. If I got a shit lunch in the hospital, or when I complained about nobody sending me flowers ..... I would harrumph, exasperated. "Geeez! Don't they know my husband has CANCER!!??" We couldn't find a car park? My husband has cancer. Bringing firewood in at home? My husband has cancer. Telemarketers? Sorry, I can't give money today ... my husband has cancer.

I got out of hospital on Friday, Tee drove me straight down to see Mr TC. To the hideous hospital, where you need a machete to fight your way through the haze of cigarette smoke before you go in. I saw where he had been sleeping all week and just wanted to cry. We STILL did not know what kind of cancer it was, or how to treat it yet. Fuming. I sat in a chair next to his bed, Tee gave us some space then came back and cracked jokes. Suddenly a tribe of doctors appeared out of nowhere, doing rounds. Tee and I went for the jugular .... Tee, mainly, as I was breastfeeding a four-fucking day old baby. She hammered questions to them .. What type of cancer. Why don't you know. When will you know. How long in hospital. What can he eat .... on and on. Mr TC sat, bewildered, watching a ping-pong ball game of questions and answers. I'll never forget the doctor .... who had given us the bad news only days before .... turning to look at me. And he saw me. A breastfeeding, broken wife. He promised to speed things up - and he did.

Tee and I drove back home. Leaving Mr TC in the shitty hospital that day, was one of the worst, awful days of the whole fiasco. I felt sick, putting Monkey in the car ... to finally take him home. Without his dad. Happy homecoming, baby. We drove and drove ... right before we got home, the doctor gave us the news. "Non-Hodgkins."  We were beside ourselves with elation. We went crazy. Finally, after all this time, we KNEW WHAT HE HAD. For some inexplicable reason ..... Tee and I had a competition, to text as many people as we could, to tell them. And, to count how many replies we got back. "NON-HODGKINS!!" Texts started arriving to out phones ... "That's great!" "Awesome news!" "Ohh, what a relief!" We high-fived and nearly did cartwheels. (Tee won the comp ... I was spewing!)

Suddenly, something swam to the surface of my brain. "Ummmm ...." I said to Tee. "My husband has CANCER." It was very surreal. I lost it, and went quite loopy, laughing hysterically. "Wait! It's ok! It's NON-HODGKINS!!! Wooo-hoooooo! Yeeee haaaaa!! Unreal!" I started tapping it out in morse code on my breast pump .... great news, husband has cancer!

Tee suggested I go to bed. I did.

I went to my lonely bed, and the baby cried and cried and drank me dry, and I got so stressed and worked up. I was crying bad. I did not want to do this anymore. I cannot handle a baby at this time. Tee came in .... and made me go upstairs to SLEEP, while she minded the baby for the rest of the night. He wasn't hungry ... just picking up on my stress. I needed that sleep like nothing I'd ever known.

Here is where the real work form the girls came in .... they taught me how to look after a baby. Especially Rex, the Sleep Nazi. She was forever getting me to swaddle Monkey and put him to bed. Always. They gave me tips and advice, on everything. I was amazed. At one point, Tee turned to me, and said "Mate, what the fuck did you do with Tiger when he was a baby?" I thought, and realised."Well, basically just stood to his attention for three years. Whatever he wanted!" We pissed ourselves laughing. Rex got me onto the magical solution of preparing six bottles at once, so I knew exactly how much Monkey was getting in a 24-hour period. What a fantastic concept!

Monkey sleeps pretty bloody well now, due to their baby whispering skills. Once, Tee even stuck her boob in the pump, to show me how it was done. Now THAT'S sisterly love!

When Monkey was two weeks old, it was Rexs turn to be here. It was an awful week. I could not talk to anyone, answer the phone, or go anywhere. She was like, my total bodyguard. She'd answer the phone, say the persons name out loud ... and depending on my head nod or head shake, hand the phone over. One morning, I got up, and was getting brekky. She was chatting away, looked up to find me crying. She gave me the biggest, best hug, and told me she doesn't even know how I am getting up in the mornings. I wailed to her that I didn't want to go and see Mr TC that day. I didn't want to see him like that. She understood, and talked and talked. Suddenly, a car drove up. "Fuck!" I hid. It was the florists car. "Oh NOOOO. It's the fucking florists!"

(They are busybody, fucking idiots.) Rex goes, I'll handle this.

And she did. She got stuck talking to them for ten minutes, answering all their stupid questions. I was cracking up, having laughing convulsions that she was being so polite. She told me later they were ITCHING to come in, and she felt like a goalie in a soccer game, keeping them out. They wanted to "give me the flowers themselves." She said no.

I kept pretending to Mr TC that I was ok, but I couldn't pretend anymore. I was fucked up.

Rex sometimes still asks me ..... how's those GIMP florists going?

My sister Tees present for me, when the baby was born? A FORTNIGHTLY CLEANER. FOR SIX. MONTHS. Yes. Can you believe that? My house gets clean every two weeks. NOT by me. Frickin' awesome.

Once, the cleaners were due when I was feeling so crap. I text Tee .... do you think the cleaners will mind if I sit on the couch and play Mario? My husband has CANCER, you know.

She told Rex, who told me to ask the cleaners if they could wipe my DS Gameboy screen, as I was sitting there. And if I get out, say "Ohhhh, CLEANERS! I was up to World SEVEN! My husband has CANCER!!!"

Dog whistle laughs all round.

The mums at Tigers school organised a cooked meal dinner roster, every single night. Whichever sister was there with me, would get excited come afternoon time .... ooohhh, who's on tonight? Oh, it's Jo! She makes the BEST lasagne!! We were all solemn and quiet, when they came, then they would go and we would rip it open, to see how good the meal was. Oh my God I'm laughing right now. I love every single woman who was on that roster - it was such an amazing thing to do for us. But sometimes ... the meal wasn't very big. Or good. And we would mock-complain. "Geez!" The girls would say. "Don't they know your husband has CANCER!"

When I was here by myself for a few days, Tee and Rex would text - what's for dinner tonight? To see what they were missing.

One night, Tee asked me. I was rather quite disgusted, and rang her.


Tee was outraged and laughing, all at once. "What did you do with it?"

"Mate, even the fucking DOG didn't want it. It's sitting outside in the casserole dish. Maybe some wild animals will come and eat it. It was filthy, I mean, come on. My husband has cancer. I'm going to have to go to school assembly, and announce over the loudspeakers that I need some decent food, not no sausage bullshit."

Tee couldn't talk for five minutes. The next morning, I get a text from Rex. "So how was your sausage hotpot HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH."

Tee said to me one day, that after this is all over .... I could still use the inappropriate excuse, just change the tense. "Oh, you can't give me a parking ticket! My husband had cancer, you know!!"

Sometimes, even long after Mr TC came home .... I would call one of them. And they would know something was wrong. And I would just say ..."My husband has cancer." And they knew and understood and brought me back time and time again.

Because .... Mr TC did come home. And he went through eight chemos, every three weeks. And now they are finished. And now we wait for the scan. I can't even look ahead, in my mind. To see what I think his scan will show. If I try to picture it, I just fall off a big cavern. So I can't. I think I believe his scan will be all clear. I think. We have an appointment with the doctor - the one who noticed me breastfeeding that day - next Tuesday.

Every day, since the diagnosis .... is a gift. Even though sometimes we very nearly ripped each others heads off ..... he made it back home. He's in with a fighting chance.

It's odd, having him "present" again. I have been alone since May.

Except for my sisters. I have called them Tee and Rex .... as in T-Rex, the dinosaur. For they have such puny little hands, compared to my big manhands. Their hands are pathetic. It's hilarious. My sisters real names both start with the same letter. They are kind, wise, wonderful human beings. We have each other. We have each others backs. I would do the same thing for them in a heartbeat. (Heaven forbid I'd ever need to)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

What the Sisters Did. Part One

Ummmm, hi .. it's me again. (waves). I'm having an intense time lately. I started writing something else, but the story of my sisters came out instead. I also possibly need to get some things off my chest, before Mr TC gets his scan. Just so I can process shit. Because I can't afford the money or the time to do therapy. I hope that's ok.

When I was young, I had such a raging, burning hatred for my sisters. It was terrible - we were all terrible. We were all taught to hate each other. Not in your usual "sibling rivalry way". It was psychological, systematic, and cruel. They have both been dealing with a lot of our childhood crap for the past few years. They wanted to stop the cycle of abuse, instead of passing it on to their children. It's hard, getting real. But they have done it! And I am so, so proud and amazed and happy for them. I cannot believe how close we three are. I never would have thought this could happen .. not in a million years. They are my mainest peeps. My blood ... the Source of Much Sass.

They got me through chemo ..... and it wasn't even my fucking chemo. Actually, to backtrack ..... they helped me get through my pregnancy. I keep forgetting I was pregnant ... seems like a world away now. Halfway through my IVF, I told them I had a blog. So they started reading it. And we seem to have gotten even closer since then.

Their hearts were broken, back in May, too. They stopped their whole lives, just for me and my family. If I didn't have them I would have run screaming off a cliff. They have talked me off the cliff many times.

My mother was the first person I called, to tell the news of Mr TCs diagnosis. Mr TC and I were two stunned mullets, driving back from the cancr clinic with the free sympathy parking. You know what he was babbling? How he had lived a great life, these past nine years. That was our mentality .... that he was going to die. I phoned my mum, so she would hear it from me. I lost it halfway through, oh how hard it was to say the word lymphoma to her. It took three tries. She was calm, asked did I want to call her back, as I was so upset. I said no. I hung up, and noticed a white van behind us, in the busy traffic. It was John, one of Mr TCs drumming buddies, waving gaily at us. We waved back ... how strange it was, that he had no idea what we had just been told. By the time we got home, we had a whisper of a grip, but not much. I picked Tiger up from a friends house, took him home and got him ready for bed. Me and Tiger stood next to each other in the bathroom, brushing our teeth together. I looked at myself in the mirror, thinking, wow .... I look exactly the same, but my whole heart has been ripped out and smashed. Tiger had no idea. I had to protect him. My sister text me ... any news yet? Shit, I hadn't told them yet. I rang Tee, she answered. I simply said "Bad. It's just really bad." And told her all we knew. I asked her if she could ring and tell Rex, as I had to put Tiger to bed. Rex sent me the most soulful, heartfelt text, telling me she loved me, over and over again.

And then one of the worst nights of my life happened. And then Thursday was here, and I had to have a baby on the Monday, and I ummmm, neeed help. (Thank God, THANK GOD I had a c-section. Mr TC couldn't have handled a full-on labour and natural birth.)

My sisters wanted to come up straight away, but I put them off. Because I thought it would be the last time I would have my husband and Tiger together, in the same house. Ever. So they were to come on Sunday.

The next few days, were just heavy. Like, we needed to be pushed around. Mr TC was in agony, the tumours so aggressive they seemed to be growing daily, pressing on all of his internal organs. How frightening, to have something growing in there and not know! And cancer is so common ... it's only a matter of time before somebody else we know gets it. Insidious.

My sisters rang and text me, those few days. Constantly. More people started to find out. I kept thinking I was ok .... then I so, so wasn't ok. SO NOT OK. There was just no thinking my way out of this one. I kept doing half prayers .... "Dear God, Please protect my ....... OH THAT'S RIGHT! YOUR'E AN ARSEHOLE! FUCK YOU, C*NT!!"

And I sulked to God, and refused to pray. For a while. We are back on speaking terms now, but my Faith has taken a battering.

Mr TC and I were in K-Mart on the Sunday, buying a car seat for the baby who was coming the next day. Because organised. My phone rang. It was my sister Tee .... she had arrived at our house, and wanted to know what she could do. She sounded really fucked up and didn't know what to do. I said .. "Ok, mate. Can you get the vacuum out ..." I heard her say "Yep. Sure."
I continued ... ".... and just start vacuuming, and vacuuming, and just vacuum the fuck out of the floor, for like, all day!!"

Cue maniacal, crazy, LOUD laughter. Me, nine months pregnant, in the middle of K-Mart, and her, standing in my house, at a loss, not knowing what to do to help. The first of the Thousand Laughs That Got Us Through.

Then Mr TCs phone rang .... it was his big official hospital, he had to go there immediately, to claim his bed. We rushed and rushed, not knowing if he would make it back out for the birth. We drove down together, all the nurses were waiting for us, knew who we were. Like celebrities, for a really bad reason. I imagined them, going home to their families that night, sharing stories over dinner about the poor couple who came in heavily pregnant, and the dad has cancer. Tsk tsk. What a story.

It IS a big story, isn't it? If I were reading it in a book, I would scoff, and think, well that's just STUPID. That wouldn't happen! Ha. What a way to find out how random the Universe can truly be. My mantra at the time was ..."It's not good, or bad. It just is."

It took four hours for him to get admitted. I curled up with him on his bed, and we both had a sleep. I broke the news to him that he was on a cancer ward. "What! What the fuck ... no I'm not, hon."

He was. Bald heads, vomiting, and skinny pale faces everywhere. He did NOT BELONG THERE. Then .. Mr TC was allowed one more night at home! Hurrah! I was so fucking grateful he could come to the birth. We drove home, to Tee and Rex, and tried to be normal. Rex brought Angel cards, and matching bracelets, and a heart full of love. I played card games with my Tiger, poor sweet guy. He has had his whole life turned around this year ... gone from being the only child to the middle child. The next morning, the sound of my two sisters laughing together upstairs, warmed me. They were SHRIEKING with laughter, at a comment that Stacie had left on my last post. They brought the computer down, to show me all the love and support you all here in blogland gave me .... I was, and still remain, blown away. By how much it helps ... to know somebody, out there, gives a shit.

Then I left home, and had a baby. And my sisters were Shining Beacons of Love and Strength, who laughed inappropriately and insanely with me, during the awful times. But I will have to write that next post, because this is way too long already. And if I don't shut my computer off right now, Mr TC will roll over and wake up and say "Fucks sake, hon. You STILL on that thing." And we're getting on so well lately I don't want to have a pseudo fight at midnight over my furtive blogging. XOXO

....... to be continued ...........

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I Wouldn't Trade the Pain for What I've Learned

"Sometimes you think everything
is wrapped inside a diamond ring
Love just needs a witness
and a little forgiveness

And a halo of patience
and a less sporadic pace
and I'm learning to be brave in my beautiful mistakes.

Oh .. I've .. felt .. that .. fire .. and .. I've been burned

But I wouldn't trade the pain for what I've learned
I wouldn't trade the pain for what I've learned."

Pink - Crystal Ball

One night in late 1999 I kissed a boy. A ridiculous, half-pash, that left us both embarrassed. It's hard, to kiss sober.

We got together "officially" in February, 2000. Lived in the flat, to the shitbox house ... to here. The House the Daggy Builder Built.

Sometimes I miss the flat. I miss being a waitress, and being carefree, and having sex in the loungeroom, pretending to be shocked by his porn. (SO tame). I miss pissing off for the weekend just because we can. I miss me. Most of all, I miss my daggy builder man-friend .... the friend that chemo ate.

Three years ago tomorrow, I put on my silver shoes and pink Lisa Ho dress, and thought I would have a panic attack from anxiety. My sisters wore black ..... HOT. We walked up the main street, all laughing together. That's all my sisters and I ever do, now. Laugh together. We have a lifetime together, to make up for the rough start that was forced upon us as children. My sisters are the sisters my husband has never known ... loud, and brash, full of spirit. After this year, they have bonded for life. We can never repay them ... we can only pay it forward.

I walked in to my wedding ceremony, the strains of the song I chose floated through - "No need to run .... and hide. It's a wonderful, wonderful life."

I think I picked that song because for so, so long, I was living the furthest thing from a wonderful life you could imagine. Yet here I stood, triumphant in the face of my past. I expected a quiet crowd gathered .... it was more like a seething mass of humanity. I remember taking the vows, and being shocked at how solemn it all suddenly got. From that moment on, he fell utterly in love with being married - he said it changed everything.

We ate, had speeches. We took private lessons for our bridal waltz ... Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." We would practice at home .... I would sulk like a petulant child and he declared that "if I can't do the fucking dance he wouldn't do the fucking wedding."

My God but how tempestuous we are! We fight big. But we love big too. 

Tomorrow it will be three years since we tied the knot. Since I ended up totally trying to lead him on the dancefloor during our bridal waltz, thus ruining the whole thing. But I made up for it. Mr TCs African drumming band played .... and I had taken my own secret lessons, to dance to an African wedding song. He had always pestered me to take up African dancing, to his drumming. "No fucking way! I don't dance to the beat of your drum!"

Apparently I did, and he was most impressed.

We had both never been married before. Our child, Tiger, was almost four. He danced until 12.30am, until someone told him he was "allowed" to go to sleep. To this day, we walk past the restaurant where we got hitched, and he calls it the "wedding." I can't correct him.

What a year this has been. Continues to be. Nobody could ever accuse us of being boring!

The anniversary card I bought is laid out on the table .... I know he has forgotten, so there won't be a card for me when I get up. But he will be here when I get up .... something I wasn't so sure would happen, just a short while ago.

Happy Anniversary, my Beigest Turdburger. I will always try to lead when we dance. I can't help it.

I'm so sorry for not being able to help him more, this year. But I wasn't waving, I was drowning. Every man for himself. Anyway, love always wins out in the end.


Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Space Between Spaces

I have taken almost every single photo of Monkey .... including the ones with me in it. My manhand easily presses the button, and I try to stage them so that it LOOKS like someone else has taken the photo. Mr TC has been too preoccupied - so if I didn't, we wouldn't have any.

At the exact moment I was taking this Halloween one yesterday .... Mr TC walks past, totally scoffing at how ridiculous I looked, trying to stage my own photo. Look into my eyes! See the total contempt I have!

I went to a school reunion - I NEVER go out. I felt renewed, knowing that I CAN go out if I want to. It was so nice to drive in the driveway, safe in my house, back to my boys.

It is November. There is no chemo this month NONE. Waves of relief are starting to wash over us both. Mr TC feels different. He is still really sick, but he had a spring in his step. He was so very lovely to me today, SO present and in the moment with us. Tiger and I were playing Memory Match for over an hour ... I'm making a conscious effort to do proper "things" with him, instead of just TV or Playstation games. Mr TC came and played with us for ages, laughing and competitive.

Tomorrow I shall smudge the house. I want to bring new energy to it, get rid of all the bad crap hanging up there in the corners. I can see-ee you, negative residual auras!

Right now, Mr TC, stepson, and stepsons friend are all sitting on the couch watching footy, literally having a fart-off. Monkey and Tiger are in bed. We just ate chicken soup, and organic chocolate. We all watched the new Indiana Jones DVD ..... the post title came from a line in it.

We are in the Space Between the Spaces. Mr TC will get a scan in a few weeks, to hopefully see that all the "yucky lumps" (as I told Tiger) .... are all gone.

"But mum, what if the yucky lumps aren't all gone?"
"Well my sweetie, we will deal with that if it happens."
He thought, and looked up at me. "I reckon they're all gone."
"Me too, mate."

Tiger and Monkey's first Halloween together. Awwwwwww .... a baby sacrifice!

Tiger kept trying to scare Monkey. He was jumping around, saying Boo! every chance he got, disappointed that Monkey would only smile.

"He's not scared, sweetheart. He hasn't learnt to be scared yet."

It struck me ..... how we learn things in life, that down the track ..... are better off un-learnt. We learn fear, and anger, and hate.

Look at how besotted Monkey is with his big brother. When we all start out, there is only love.