Tuesday, February 19, 2013

March Against Melanoma.....

March Against Melanoma and other events

In two weekends time I will be participating in the March Against Melanoma on 3rd March at Catani Gardens, in Melbourne, Victoria. This event was suggested to me by my wonderful and loving sister Olivia calling me and asking if I'd be interested in setting up a team for this event. 

So we set up a combination team of Family, friends and colleagues. Our cousins the Huckstepps, have joined this event and they will be representing their late father, my uncle Leeroy Huckstepp, who passed away in 2012 of Melanoma, he fought hard. Therefore our team name is Huckjonesstepp.

This event is to raise awareness and funds for Melanoma research; and as a result people can donate to this worthy cause. My sister and I are super impressed with the donations so far. We are currently at $1720 and all of this has come from many sections of the community. I have posted on Twitter and Facebook the link in on this page and as a result had many walks of life donated. This has impressed me a lot. The March Against Melanoma link 

At this stage my whole family, close friends, colleagues and others will be walking with us on the day. The more people we have the happier and all are welcome to join or donate. I am looking forward with excitement walking with my beautiful wife and children, as well as others!

One of the families from my school have also decided to join this event and started their own team. Once again this has impressed me and made me feel like I am having an influence on life.

To add to the events of the week ahead I was asked by the Chaplain at my school to participate in the Middle school Chapel service based on ‘Hope’. I am looking forward to presenting my journey and sharing with past students my situation. I will keep people posted with how it goes. 

I also have my 6-week blood check test this week. Again I will keep you posted on how this goes. My neck tumours that were present on the last scan are shrinking and not sore anymore. I think the drug is doing some serious damage to this nasty cancer.

Being back at work has lifted my zest for life. Mixing with staff and students makes me realize how much I love teaching and educating. I am also enjoying my time back on the bike with mates. I have been averaging 110km a week and hopefully next week I’ll be back running. The mind and body feel really good.  The bike fitness is a little off my race pace and think I am a few weeks away from racing. 

My four brothers and sister at my brothers wedding last year. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What a week, First day of Prep/Kinder, back to work, scans, bloods, some big rides.

What a week! First day of Prep/Kinder, back to work, scans, bloods, some big rides.

My first week back teaching full time was combined with many challenges/emotions. Our eldest also started school for the first time and our middle child started 3YO Kinder, which has been a count down since Christmas. They both had a ball and can't wait to head back to school/kinder. I also had my 8 week scans which equals 8 weeks on the Dabrafenib BRAF drug. I’ve had very little side effects from this drug. The week began with our national holiday to celebrate Australia Day. I had my first two days back at work with positive education Professional Development at our Middle/senior school campus. It was great to see so many people and glad to be back getting into routine of full time work.

The week had been going well, until the middle of the week. I discovered a lump on my neck; this concerned me and made me rather uneasy. My concern was that the drug isn’t working and that I’d be heading back into hospital. All I wanted to do was teach and get to know my students. Not put pressure on Lisa to look after everything.

To ease my concern I went to the oncologist that after he felt the lump. Which by the way was tender and sore. The oncologist felt it and he believed it was an infected lymph node. This didn’t sit well with me, as I was feeling great and had no idea why a lump has appeared. To ease my concerns the oncologist rescheduled my scans from the Friday to the Thursday. Thursday afternoon came and I took the usual drive to the hospital, this drive has now become an ‘auto pilot trip’ for me.

All I was hoping for was that no other new tumours would be present. Clearly the new lump was concerning, I sat in the waiting room drinking the worst tasting drink to assist with the scans. I have no idea how pregnant women drink this drink. It tastes terrible. The scans took about an hour and half all up.

The next day was my oncologist appointment. My wife and I went to our daughters school in the morning this milestone was a great start to the day and one that took our minds off everything, Ariella did exceptionally well and enjoyed her first Prep day.
FIRST Day of Prep. Back in October when I was ill and in hospital this was my goal to see Ariella head to school. 

All we hoped was a perfect end to the day also. This was not to be…. My appointment was good and bad. The neck lump is a result of dying tumours, however, there was a new tumour that has appear behind my sternum. This disappointed me, the drug is working, but a new tumour to me is like a set back. Blood results presented very well. I am keeping positive, but obviously disappointed. He did point out the other tumours present had reduced in size. I should take this as positive news.

My first day teaching was busy and very enjoyable. I have also pushed myself on the bike throughout the week. Clocking up 150km this week. All rides completed with good friends.

On another note my hair is slowing returning. It looks like a ‘fluffy duck’.

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support and asked about my progress and health. Your thoughts and prayers are a great support to me and my family.