Friday, March 22, 2013

Scanxiety week and more.

Scanxiety week and more.
Almost on holidays and trust me looking forward to it. Term 1 2013 has been extremely busy, rewarding and personally challenging at times.

Here's the short version of what has happened in Term 1. Last week at assembly I was involved in the promotion of the Tour de Cure (TDC) ride, which one of the dad's(Dennis Gentilin) at school is heavily involved in. As a school we had a yellow casual clothes day to raise funds for the TDC ride. It was a great fundraising event and a very exciting assembly. The group met me at my house and we rode into school together. Great privilege!
The Elevation Chart for one of my rides during the week. 

This week also held significance, with scans at the end of the week, hence the word scanxiety, the timing is as follows, 5months since cranial surgery, radiation and 12months since original diagnosis and lymph node removal. I was hoping these scans show shrinkage and no new disease. I feel great and have been working hard teaching, and back riding some big rides. Rode 90km in one hit with a good mate of mine, John Stevens. This ride was tough but has given me more confidence and fitness. During this week also saw me rejoin the Peak Cycle boys. This group is quick and fit. I lasted and enjoyed being back with the 'fold'. This brought my riding weekly average to 115km.

As this week has moved forward things have become more complicated. Wednesday as usual I rode to work, enjoyed the ride and a coffee with my riding mate Matthew Collins.
I got to work and begun the day. It was our campus open morning and the place was a buzz. At some stage in the morning I wasn't teaching, therefore I went and spoke to a few colleagues. At this time I had a seizure and was taken to hospital. Scans done on my brain. The staff at work really did a great job looking after me, till the ambulance arrived.

When I came to, my first thoughts were I've got a new brain mass. However, scans have shown no active or new tumours on my brain.

Lisa came to the hospital and I was admitted for the night, for observations. This disappointed me as I wanted to go home. I stayed the night and had my scheduled scans the next morning. I waited for my oncologist to deliver the report, and to my surprise the brain has no new tumours just scar tissue that may have caused the seizure. The CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis are clear, and the spots that were present on last scans have reduced from 18mm to 13mm and the other from 16mm to 15mm. With no new growth. From the nasty seizure has come good results. These results pleased my wife and I, therefore the dabrafenib drug is doing its thing.

The family is doing well and clearly concerned about the seizure. I am now on anti-epileptic medication. This hopefully will prevent any other.

Not the best shot, but the hair is growing back slowly. 
Before the seizure I was flying, feeling great getting strength and fitness back. The hair is also growing, looking more like a fluffy duck.

I have also registered myself to present at a number of educational conferences about the iPad curriculum, this will get me back on the education presentation circuit.

I trust everyone is well and looking forward to Easter.

The other exciting thing that may happen this year for me is being a guest rider on the TDC signature ride. This will be exciting if it happens. Keep you posted.

Another motivational aspect I found out about was my dad's two sisters who are unfit and one smoker, have entered the Conquer Cancer Ride, in October. This is a huge surprise to me and my family. I am keen to do this ride too with Matthew Collins.

Tour de Cure at Assembly. 
Recent Hospital stay. 

Tour de Cure Riders who joined me for the ride to work and assembly. 

What I have loved doing this term.....Teaching! It's good to be back. 

My brother Kalev, his wife Kim and their new born Flynn. 

Yard Duty and the gear I wear to work. The Kids give me grief about it. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Against Melanoma and more

March Against Melanoma and more.
What a great morning for family and friends get together at the March Against Melanoma Fundraiser. My wonderful sister, Olivia Jones organised a team for this walk and this was a successful gathering of friends, family, work colleagues and people who have supported me during my terrible journey

The Walk was held at Catani Gardens in St. Kilda. The morning was brisk to begin with, however the weather was magic by mid morning.
Balloon Tribute magical morning

 We had a team of about 50+ involved and the fundraising for this event was competitive. Not to mention families from the school I work at forming teams. Team Huckjonesstepp did exceptionally well, raising $4955. This placed us 2nd on the overall team fund raising chart. The leading team was hard to beat. They raised $9500. This fund raising was a big effort and hope that it heads towards some well needed research towards a cure.

Our team was called Huckjonesstepp. The name is a combination of my family name, Jones, and the Huckstepp name as this is the family name of my uncle Leeroy Huckstepp who passed away in July 2012 from Melanoma. These combinations of families have clearly been effected by Melanoma.

It was a fantastic morning and my family and I enjoyed the time to spend with each other and our friends.
Good Mates. These guys are true mates, played Footy with them and spend a lot of time together. 

To keep you updated with my progress. I had blood tests a week ago and a visit to my oncologists to find out my result and discuss my progress. In his words, my bloods are ‘pristine’. He was extremely impressed with how I looked and progressing. I now have scans at the end of March. My oncologist has mentioned that if my scans are clear I might have 6 month scans; this makes me excited, but nervous at the same time. I would be comfortable with bloods every 6 weeks and meet the oncologists every month and scans every 4 months. The Dabrafenib Drug I am on is working well. I hope it stays this way.

Another part of my journey that has occurred in the past month was presenting to the Middle School Chapel Service, this presentation was based on my journey so far and the ‘Hope’ and ‘Determination’ to push through my disease. It was a wonderful service and something I found moving at the same time I was unsure of how my story would be received by the students ranging from 13YO to 16YO.

My beautiful Girls. The best wife and my best friend and our three gorgeous girls.
Once again life has improved and I am feeling very good. I am riding 110km a week on the bike and plan to run in the next few weeks and this will be interesting considering I haven’t ran since 29th September 2012.  Work is great! Enjoying the time with my class. The iPad’s are a huge hit and the students are doing some mind-blowing work on them.  

In the next few weeks we have a lot on, The Tour de Cure ride team made up of Parents from school are coming to visiting on 18th March and sharing what they are doing for Cancer they plan to present at assembly. I have been asked to join them for the assembly and the ride out of the school in the morning.

Our Huckjonesstepp team. 
Keep you posted about my next scans at the end of March. Love to all.