Friday, July 12, 2013


A blog update with the lot! I am going to write about the many things that have happened over my two-week break from teaching. Mid winter holiday break. Lisa and I made a focus of making the most of these holidays; we had no intentions of heading away. Just spending time with our beautiful girls and doing many different activities as possible with them. As most of you will know I have three gorgeous girls less than 6 years of age.

I am feeling like I am about to write a recount piece of writing that most teachers get their students to do……not me though.
On the HOLIDAYS……..

The holidays began with a Wiggles concert at the Comedy Theatre. This was the new version of the Wiggles. It was interesting to see new members fronting the group. It was good the girls loved it especially Zahlia our youngest. (Images below).
The next girlie activity was three days later, headed to Disney on Ice. Parking was a challenge, but my dad was to the rescue. Allowing us to park at Parliament House, (he works there) it was a short walk to the concert.  We decided not to take Zahlia as she was too young and would be restless for the 2.5hour show. Once again the girls had a fun as I did too. I was amazed at the strength of the men lifting the princesses above their heads.
Disney on Ice
Ariella and Kalita at Disney on Ice.
The next day trip was to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. The drive was not too long and the in car DVD player kept the girls quiet. Allowing Lisa and I time to chat, which is usually a challenge with girls under 6 hanging around and wanting our attention. Wouldn’t change this aspect of our lives though. We got to the zoo within an hour after it opened and the line to get in was looong. We stayed in line for about an hour and half. We met our friend Melissa here, who has been a great support for us during the hellish journey. Our girls were very exciting to see her girls and this made the day even more enjoyable for all.

The girls had a fun walking around exploring the zoo and travelling on the Safari Bus to the Open Park area, Zahlia especially. She named every animal she saw. It’s moments like these that I lock into my memory bank and hold onto for along as possible and hope the girls do too for every moment I spend with them.

This is my big fear about my illness, is whether my girls will remember me? If I happen to pass away…..I just want them to remember me….I don’t care if they remember me as the dad that farts, burps or does other disgusting things or the dad that can’t fix things or the dad that tickles them all the time chasing them around the house or just the dad that reads stories to them…..I just want them to remember me and I want them to know my love for with never die and I will always be there with them…….We hope this never happens!

The girls have had a few play days at parks and spent time at friends houses and vice versa.

I also took the two older girls to the movies; ‘Despicable Me 2’. Kalita loved it! Ariella thought it was good. As for me, I loved it. But I am a big kid. Lisa went shopping and took Zahlia.

The next big thing on the holidays to happen is Kalita’s 4th Birthday…..Tomorrow, 13th July she is the last one of the girls to celebrate their birthday, hard for her to comprehend this and be patient. But it is finally here a Barbie party!! Not a BBQ party a Doll Barbie Party…..I cannot escape the girlie themes. But again wouldn’t change anything! Keep you posted with how it went. Lisa has obviously out done herself again. Pictures in the next post.


Since being diagnosed with Stage 4C Melanoma I have been telling my story or sharing my experience to various groups…..I was on these holidays lucky enough to present to two different groups. I am used to presenting and being in front of an audience…..but this is different to presenting about E-Learning and education.

My first presentation was to my former local football club Templestowe, I played 147 games over 9 years; as a Senior Player and was asked to talk to the Senior playing group before their game against Doncaster. It was an honour to be asked to talk to the boys. I presented my story and put some messages into the story about determination, resilience and bouncing back from terrible situations. I think it went well and the boys got something from it. The coach was appreciative of my time and what I had organised. Unfortunately the boys didn’t win. Which places them in a tough situation heading to finals.

The other fortunate presentation I did was to a more high profile football club. The Melbourne Football Club, in the AFL. This was organised by my good friend, Andrew Nichol who works as their development coach and advisor. This was an honour. Melbourne is currently struggling sitting second last on the ladder with 2 wins for the season. The aim of the presentation was to talk to the playing group about my story and building resilience in tough times. Presenting a completing different presentation to this group as I compared to what I did to Templestowe.

I was very nervous. But took it on as a challenge and experience. The players took a lot from it and the responses were amazing. My friend walked me out afterwards and said that was; ‘A’ Grade and I hit exactly what they needed to hear. I did tell them that they are playing a ‘game of footy’ and they get to press the reset button each week…..I am playing a ‘Game of Life’ and cannot press that reset button anymore, I just need to wake up each day and make the most of my opportunities as you all in this room need to do. I spoke about my teammates being the people who have supported us; their teammates are those in the room and the ones they run out with each week.
Presenting to the Senior Players at Melbourne FC at AAMI Park
Presenting to the Senior Players at Melbourne FC at AAMI Park
Presenting to the Senior Players at Melbourne FC at AAMI Park
Andrew then organised for me to spend game day that week in the rooms before the game and sit with him and some of the developing players for the game. This is something I have never experienced. The boys came up to me and spoke freely about what I presented. It was a great day…..unfortunately they lost the game to last years premiership winners, but only lost by 35points, which they were very happy with as a result.


Lisa organised a birthday gathering at home for me, with friends and family. I am not a birthday person. But it was a great night and thanks Lisa for her hard work and those who came. It was a time to reflect on how far I had come since October 2012 where it looked like I wouldn’t see Christmas or even function like I did before and made me a little emotional thinking about whether there would be more birthdays to celebrate.

My good mate Geoff Little. 

Hawks Colours Lisa's Creation. 

My inspiration. 

The Hawks played on this night against Geelong and I was hoping for a hoodoo to be broken, we haven’t beaten them since 2008 GF. But it was not to be. The hawks lost by 10 points. We are still on top of the ladder 12 wins and 2 losses. They owe me a Grand Final win this year…. I joke that they caused my brain tumours!

One of the presents I received on my birthday was from my uncle, which was a framed 23 Jumper, signed by my two heroes Dermie and Buddy. Image below:


To finish the holidays, I had scans on today, 12th July…. As always I had Scanxiety…. I am feeling good and have been riding a lot about 140km a week. The first day of the holidays I had a great ride with my good friend Geoff Little who took some outstanding images of our ride to the top of Mt. Dandenong…..a 70km ride for the day.

I hadn’t ridden this ride since September 2012. It wasn’t a cracking pace, just good fun……Anyway back to my scans as I mentioned in the last post that had been having night sweats and I was really tired. The night sweats have stopped and I am not as tired. Heading to the Epworth for scans it was still a nervous time.

My younger brother Reardon, came to sit with me during the waiting time. As most Melanoma fighters will know any little niggle or lump you feel the weeks leading up to scans…..this results in one becoming paranoid….I have felt a lump in my groin area and this does have me concerned. I am keeping positive and saying to myself, ‘its out of my control.’ I keep telling myself that I am not loosing weight and look healthy, as well I am not in any pain…..therefore my results should be good. The waiting game begins as I am not scheduled to see the oncologist till Wednesday, being back at work should distract my mind and keep me in good spirits, as I can be rather snappy/moody during scan and results week.

Hopefully the Dabrafenib Medication is still working. It is hard to tell what is happening inside your body. Even when I get a ‘stitch like’ pain, I think the worst. The good news is if the current medication is no longer working then the next drug looks like being added to the PBS by August. It will go from $120000 for 4 doses to about $30 for 4 doses. This is a huge win for me and other stage 4 patients.

I am going to wait for results from these scans to determine my plan of action for my running training and entering the September 120km ride in Lorne.

I do see what has happened to me as a ‘gift’ I know this sounds weird…..’a gift’ that has been given to me and it is up to me to work out what to do with it….. I can sit and wait for it to unwrap and take control of my life or to use this terrible ‘gift’ as my time to recalibrate my life…..enjoy my family, help those who are suffering from this hideous disease, tell my story and hopefully inspire. I met Damien Williams a fellow Melanoma Fighter over these holidays and he is in a similar situation to me, however, a few more tumors than me….not that it is a competition! He said to me that my blog had motivated him and gave him some spark to get on with moving forward and not sitting back waiting. This makes me feel like I am using this ‘Cancer Gift’ as way of inspiring or motivating others to get a health checks or rethink their life choices or just love more and not sweat the small things….I therefore feel I have turned this terrible, negative Gift into a Positive one……then I have achieved something in life.

Recently one of my sporting heroes, Shane Crawford (Former Hawks AFL player), rode from Melbourne to Perth 3660km to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer. He mentioned in one of his interviews he wasn’t just riding for Breast Cancer, but to make everyone aware about all cancers.
 My reason for mentioning him is that when he came to see me in Hospital in October, I found him so motivating, inspiring and caring. He took so much interest in what had happened to me and asked Lisa how she was coping. What he did over 21 days of riding was amazing and makes me want to fight and achieve more in my life.

I will post again next week with my results and photos of Kalita’s birthday.

Love to all and remember to hug those close to you. X

The link to this song something I have enjoyed listening too lately….the words are very powerful words: 



1 comment:

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