About Me

My photo
Single Mum of teenage chef, affectionately known as The Brat. Have started a new life at the tender age of 44, embarking on a relationship with my childhood sweetheart... I know cliche central, but so far it works for us! New job, new friends, new challenges. Life's GOOD!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Well it IS about time....

Finally, some 3 and a half months after the big move, I am reconnected, other than via the iPhone. Many of you have a rough idea from Twitter, of the twists and turns of the last little while, however for the non-twitterati, a recap.

Trip down was fine, very rushed and a straight through drive. One day to recover then into the new job. A bit tiring, but I gradually regained my equilibrium and all was going well. The job is great, and I really feel I can finally have the career I want with this organisation, but more on that later...

J and I are still adjusting to living with each other. He had been living alone for about 15 years, while for me it had been roughly 20. When I say alone, I mean unpartnered, I have always had The Brat, and at various times my sister and brother, whilst he has lived with his sister's family, as well as with his Dad. As is to be expected I suppose, we've had a few little issues, but at least this time around we are mature enough to discuss them, compromise and get past them. I don't for a second believe it will be smooth sailing all the time, but from my (admittedly limited) experience, I don't think any real relationship is! Suffice to say that we are both happy with our current arrangement, and don't see that changing any time soon.

My health has been the major issue since the move. As was necessary, I investigated the options for my continuing Cancer follow-up. Arranged a referral from my GP to The Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, and liased with them about retrieving my records from The Mater. Also made arrangements to have my first annual Mammogram. That's where the fun started. Doc reading the mammo decided that there were a couple of grey areas, and an Ultrasound was called for. The report indicated that he was merely being thorough due to my history. Okay, gotta be happy that he wasn't being casual with my health, but mildly concerning. Then the Ultrasound a couple of weeks later. This time a little more concern. Two distinct areas of suspicion, biopsies of both strongly recommended.

I received the Ultrasound report only the day before my scheduled appointments to meet with my new Surgeon and Oncologist. It was supposed to be just a general checkup, but instead my poor Surgeon was thrown in the deep end, with immediate investigations to be arranged. She cancelled my Oncology appointment, and instead raced up to Radiology (herself), to BEG for immediate biopsies. This was accomplished, and a nervous wait for results began. J was amazing.... dealt brilliantly with my mood swings, constantly reassuring me that it would be okay regardless of the results, getting me to appointments as often as he was able, and just holding me as I cried!

My sister actually accompanied me to the Surgeon for the biopsy results, J had planned to meet us there, but was unable due to a work situation. He was still on his way, when I phoned to let him know that the results were good, but to be completely safe, my Surgeon wanted to remove the offending lesions anyway. Again, fantastic commitment by my medical team, my surgery was scheduled for two days later, and the fun began again. I always knew that the likeliest outcome was that everything would be alright.... but that little niggle of doubt and worry just doesn't go away! Until you get that final result... ALL CLEAR!!! Have continued to have some minor issues, a mild infection, followed just this past week by a fluid buildup, but problems easily rectified, and non-lethal. Just PAINFUL!

My employers have been FANFKINGTASTIC throughout. I have been paid for every hour I've been away from work, and there have been many of them. On two occasions, managers have arranged cab vouchers to get me home when my ambition exceeded my capability. (Total cost $120.00). I've had training in areas that will take me off the phones, so that if I'm a little off-colour I can continue working without actually interacting with clients. I have been offered support, counselling, extra break time, shoulders to cry on, and basically anything I need. When I express my gratitude, they tell me that I've earned it, just by doing everything I can to show up and perform my role to the best of my ability at that given moment. That's wonderful to hear, but doesn't stop me feeling somewhat guilty...

So health-wise, almost back on an even keel. relationship-wise, steady as she goes. My finances are still  slightly out of control, but light at the end of the tunnel. The Brat has had some issues, a licence suspension due to DUI, then loss of another job, and his girlfriend moving away to Ireland, have all contributed to some rocky times for him. Luckily Mum has been there every step of the way for him, and things are improving. He has steady work at two restaurants owned by the same guy, and he is scheduled to be qualified on the 25th of July, a week after his 20th birthday. I miss him terribly, but hope he can get down for a visit fairly soon. I'm also thinking about heading up to Brisbane late November or thereabouts, as I won't be there for Christmas.

So that's basically it! A rambling post to be sure, but I figured a catchup was needed. I'm having thoughts about the direction I will take with this Blog from here on in... I'm going to keep it, and maybe even the other one as well, but I may tinker with the content. Either way, I'm back..........

Thursday, February 24, 2011



  • Get a job
  • Find a GP
  • Find Specialist to take over my cancer follow up care
  • Find a hairdresser
  • Move end of March / early April

  • Got a job (Official once references checked).
  • Got a GP
  • Finding specialist being undertaken by GP
  • J's sister is a hairdresser
  • Job starts on 15th of March so planning to arrive on the 14th.

So what now? Welll I'm nervous (terrified actually) and excited at the same time. I'm also incredibly proud of myself for going after what I really want. I'm concerned about The Brat, he's been out of work again since the floods, but now that situation is looking up, with a trial at one retaurant tomorrow night, and an interview at another if that doesn't work out!
I have a little over two weeks to pack up my stuff, and arrange transport for one or two household items. I have to try and sell some things, I'm tempted to donate it all, but the extra cash will be very necessary I'm afraid! J plans to fly up on the 12th and we will drive back to Melbourne with any items I can fit in the car.

Last, but certainly by no means least.... a final catchup with all my Brisbane Burger friends. Of course I'll be back to visit, and we'll have the odd Mayhem Day (Sorry to steal that Chaz)! It's possible that lunch is going to be difficult, so I'm thinking Friday the 11th for drinks/dinner????

Oh! And I have to tell my parents. They know I had interviews while I was away last week, and Mum at least, is NOT impressed! Once the reference checks are completed and I have an offer in writing I will let them know....

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've just read a story (read it here) about medical students here and in the UK, performing intrusive examinations on anaesthetised patients without their consent. Comments on the story ranged from "outrageous" and "Rape" to "how else will our Doctors learn?"

It got me thinking. As you know I've recently undergone extensive treatment for Breast Cancer. That treatment included surgery. Does it bother me to think that there may have been a number of students lining up to palpate my breasts whilst I was unconscious? Not really... if nothing else, they may have learned that not all lumps are detectable by physical examination. Mine wasn't! Even with scans providing a roadmap for him, my surgeon was unable to feel the cancerous lump in my breast!

But what if I found out those same students performed an "internal examination" which had no bearing on my current condition? You know what? I still don't think I have a problem with it. I mean, I line up voluntarily every year for these procedures, more frequently if there's any kind of issue. What if one of these "unnecessary" examinations uncovered a problem? Am I going to sue the hospital for allowing the medical student to perform this "sexual assault" (thus potentially saving my life)? Not a hope. So why would I have a problem with the student ascertaining that there's NO problem. Short answer... I DON'T!

I've had experience with medical students in potentially embarrassing situations. While in labour with The Brat, the OB doc and I were at odds over whether or not I needed a Caesarian. (For the record, I was right, I didn't, The Brat was born naturally, if painfully). Anyone who's given birth knows that there's no dignity in childbirth anyway, and I've read the opinion that a labouring woman is in no way fit to consent to anything (you might be surprised!), but honestly, I REALLY didn't have any issue, and still don't, that The Brat's arrival was witnessed by a somewhat larger audience than originally planned. If nothing else, I hope those students left the room appreciating that it's always a bad idea to ignore a patient when he/she suggests that they have half a clue about their own body.

I think for me, and you may have a different view, it's the assumption that performing these procedures does NOT provide any form of sexual gratification for the Doctor, or the student Doctor. with no motivation to acheive sexual gratification, can this be considered sexual assault? Sure, I know we read about Docs being disciplined for inappropriate conduct towards their patients, but seriously, these are in the minority. I just can't imagine that there are too many people out there who are so twisted that they are prepared to spend thousands of dollars, and years of their lives, looking for an "easy" way to indulge their sick fantasies.

An element of trust is necessary when we ask virtual strangers to take such intimate care of us. I just can't be bothered believing that everyone out there wants nothing more than to do me harm. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

OH FFS....

Within a couple of hours of my publishing the previous post, The Brat arrived home to announce that he has once again joined the ranks of the unemployed!

In their wisdom, his latest employers have decided to can ALL of their apprentices, and staff the kitchen with only their 3 qualified chefs, and a casual. He's gutted! He was really enjoying this job, and they were paying well too. He has a plan though.... The head chef had previously let him know that he was leaving, moving to Darwin. Given that he is one of the 3 qualified chefs, either he will have to delay his plans, or the restaurant will need another qualified chef in a hurry. The Brat will ask them to keep him on, help him qualify early, and so become their 3rd chef. We'll have an idea today as to whether or not that plan will fly.

Wish us luck, after last year we had both hoped for a better start to 2011.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


So.... It's here finally (already).

This year, I move to Melbourne to begin the next phase of my life. I think there are some who doubt my committment to the endeavour, but I can assure you all, this IS going to happen.

  • Get a job
  • Find a GP
  • Find Specialist to take over my cancer follow up care
  • Find a hairdresser
  • Move end of March / early April

So far I have applied for 10 jobs. Most of these positions are advertised via recruitment agencies, so even if  none of these vacancies are suitable (particularly in regards to timing),  at least I am now on the books to be considered for any other jobs that become available. My boss has already advertised my job, with the assurance that if I change my mind or my timetable, I stay as long as I need to.

I will be visiting Melbourne from the 12th to the 20th of February, hoping to meet with prospective employers at that time. I'm prepared to do Temp work when I first get there, that may make it easier to organise permanent work if I'm not interstate and don't have any notice periods to worry about. I'm even prepared to pull beers at our local for a while.... it's been a few years, but I'm sure I'll manage, and I've been assured that the work will be available if I need something to tide me over. Tomorrow I will phone my contact at the Fund Manager we use for a lot of our business. He has told me previously that he may be able to organise something for me at their Melbourne headquarters.

Sometime this week I will call J's sister and ask her about her G.P. If I can get an appointment for while I'm there in February, I may be able to arrange referrals to various specialists. I need to have somewhere for my records to be sent. She may even be able to point me in the direction of a Breast Cancer specialist. Given that their Mum died of Breast Cancer 20-odd years ago, both J's sisters have regular checkups.

Other News:

I think, in my last update The Brat was out of work again. Well he started a new job the week before Christmas, and as usual seems to be going okay. In huge contrast to his previous position he seems to be getting paid well above the odds. Excellent, given that my move to Melbourne means that he too will be moving out of this house, and needs to save some coin to get himself set up elsewhere. he's REALLY looking forward to it, had planned to be out of home a while ago, but put his plans on hold so that he could be here to support me through treatment. Some of the time he has been spectacular, some of the time, not so much. He's on track to finish his apprenticeship about a month after my planned departure, but as he has completed the classroom elements of his apprenticeship, may be able to qualify early. This will depend on his being proactive enough to get his head chef to sign him off on all of the incomplete practical elements of his training log. He's done them all, but he needs a chef to sign that he's competent. I'm hoping that with a month or so in his current position he will do that, because apart from allowing him the freedom to work anywhere (at the moment he is tied to host employers who deal with his training organisation), he will get a few dollars from the government for qualifying early. That will help him with his moving costs, and ease my concerns a bit too.

J's Dad has rallied. He is now in Palliative Care at the Werribee Hospital, but they are making noises about discharging him. His kids are trying to make alternative arrangements, they feel he would be best off in a nursing home where he access to 24 hour care. Failing that, I believe J's sister is considering having him back at her place. This is NOT an ideal solution, as she and her husband both work, and he really needs someone there at all times. All of the kids work, so unless there is a way to arrange a roster so that one of them or their spouses can be available at all times, I can't see it working. If that's the way it's got to be, I will take my turn along with everyone else. At least I am not a stranger to him, he's known me 30+ years.

I have not discussed my plans with Mum and Dad. I just don't have the energy to fight them on this. I have enough drama in my life right now, and am concentrating on what's best for me. I know that Mum has been told (by my sister - with my permission), but she has not spoken to me about it. Maybe I'm just burying my head in the sand, but in a couple of weeks, when my treatment is finished and my burns are healing, I will hopefully be strong enough to tackle the issue head on. Mum's response when my sister told her of my plans, was that my relationship won't last, and that I shouldn't be moving so far away from The Brat. Who knows? Maybe she's right about me relationship, but I'm CERTAINLY not going into this with the expectation that we will fail, or even possibly fail. A lot has happened between J and I over the last 18 months, a lot that I haven't shared, but I believe with every fibre of my being that this WILL work, as long as we work at it. From my observation, given that I've never been in this position before, I think ALL relationships need the partners to work at maintaining them. As far as The Brat is concerned, I should do what makes me happy. He doesn't really plan to stick around long once he qualifies anyway, though whether or not he gets himself organised to get out and experience the world remains to be seen. I hope so!

Wish me luck folks, and any and all employment leads will be gratefully received.