Monday, September 23, 2013


It’s holiday time for me now Term 3 is done…massive term!

I did say that Lisa was writing the next blog entry, but she will do the next entry.
I am doing really well… we have just returned from a wonderful family holiday in Palm Cove. It was a fantastic break for all of us. The girls loved the time, swimming and mixing with other children at the resort.

Lisa needed this break and I think she was relaxed and has come back recharged.
I have come back recharged also and feel more relaxed.

The girls travelled really well and enjoyed the flight. The trip home was a little different. In the last hour of the flight, Kalita was ill and vomited all over Lisa. The cabin crew were amazing cleaned everything up and assisted in getting rid of the smell. This was the only spoiler of the trip.

It was great to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while. On the plane I bumped into an old Uni mate Scott O’Keefe who was staying in Palm Cove also. Another old school friend who I do see back in Melbourne was Scott La Faletta and his family. We ended up catching up with them for a few swims, dinner and watched the hawks cats game with them. Lisa, the girls and I also caught up with a colleague Vikki Porter who head to Palm Cove twice a year.

I don’t believe in rituals or superstition… and I hope it isn’t something that can occur for me….in the next few weeks/months.

I am coming up to 12 months since my terrible Stage 4 diagnoses and to say I have mixed emotions is an understatement…..It appears patterns are following the same as last year and I hope the final pattern doesn’t occur like last year…… Here is the pattern so far that is almost the same as last year: - family holiday same time last year (Different place), Lisa and I are training hard for Melbourne Marathon events, Lisa the half and 10km for me, have been doing some presentations to schools or conferences, the last one is that my team the Mighty Hawks are again in the Grandfinal and I have a ticket again from the same person as last year. Hopefully they win this year…….they owe me one. Also Lisa’s Birthday is coming up. I think you can see why I see it as déjà vu…..and hope the pattern stops there.

I am excited and thankful for all that has been achieved since my diagnoses. I am really thankful each day of how lucky I am to be in this situation and current health and how well I am progressing. I only have one tumor left, compared to 6 or 7 this time last year.  
Reminders of 12 Months ago 
Reminders of 12 Months ago 
My Support and will to beat this disease. 
I have been training really well, riding an average of 140km a week with some solid rides and combining this with running 15km a per week and pushing some good times and distances. I am nowhere near the form or fitness of previous years. The Melbourne 10km event is on the 13th October and I am excited to be running this with a good mate Matty Jones…..the aim is to finish and hopefully run under 45min. It is hard to accept this time given my PB for 10km is 38min. But at the Late Great Jim Stynes said, ‘When faced with death your ego takes a back seat’. And this is true. I need to put my ego and former glory running days behind me and be appreciative of actually being able to run, ride, work and spend time with my family.

Melbourne Marathon organises wanted me to do an article for our local paper based on the event theme of ‘Anything is Possible’….. so I decided to it…..the only regret I have is the ridiculous photo that was taken and published for his article….I have copped grief for it and rightly so….see for yourself.
Article in the Manningham Leader Newspaper. Yes a very ridiculous pose. 
What’s next?
I have blood test and results in two weeks…… an educational presentation to a school during the holidays……watch the hawks hopefully win the 2013 premiership…… spend time with the girls……celebrate Lisa’s birthday which I was in hospital for last year and understandably forgot her birthday. This year I want to make it up to her ……. I am also presenting my story a local gym and their members and this should round off a busy month.

I do have to ask myself….if I actually have Cancer…..there are days when I feel flat and less active….but is this because of what I am doing or my body fighting Cancer and the determination to fight on….. with all I do and how I feel I seriously think life has changed and I know I am not where I used to be…..but the body is slowly returning to its former self……. Fitness is my bench mark for me…..if I feel fit and active I feel the cancer is not there…..and this is why I question, do I have Cancer? It is a mind set that has placed me in this position of feeling really good.

Remember to hug your loved one's. Love to all. x

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Scans and meeting other Melanoma Fighters/Survivors.

September Scans and meeting other Melanoma Fighters/Survivors.

 As the title suggests I have had my September scans. As always nervous and worried about the out come….. It doesn’t matter how many times you have scans, the feeling remains the same, Scanxiety, gut wrenching, nervousness and the unknown question of ‘what if?’

Drain for Iodine injection during scans
I drove away from work to see the oncologist, after another busy day at work, I cracked up, The Queens of the Stone Age, to calm me down or some would say fire me up.

Met Lisa there…we walked in and sat in the waiting room…in between patients my oncologist gave us the thumbs up and a smile. This was a welcome relief. All seemed ok from this sign….we entered his office and my oncologist used the words everything is stable….. NO NEW TUMOURS!!!!! The one that is left is still in the lymph nodes behind the chest cavity…..and is the size of an olive. He is not concerned about it and he going to keep a close eye on it……so all in all, I am doing really well….STABLE in fact Love that word…..Can’t wait to hear NED (No Evidence of Disease).

It is hard to express my excitement and relief in words…..all I can say is that someone or something is looking after us.

Lisa and I are so relieved…. we are almost at the 12 month mark since everything changed our lives…Which brings me to the that 12 month mark…..I have asked Lisa to write the next blog entry…..which I will add a small part to, but Lisa will write from her perspective of the last 12 months.

As a family we are heading off to Palm Cove for a well-earned family holiday. This will give us a chance to recharge and enjoy family time…..I am very much looking forward to this magical time…..I will keep out of the sun…but enjoy the warmth of Palm Cove.

Since the last blog entry many things have happened……Kalita had her Father’s Day evening at her kinder. We spent time doing kinder activities….she was so excited and had made me a hand print and worded phrase written by her teachers about me and from her thoughts….there is an interesting line in it (see image)….about me having lots of beers….mind you I have a beer here and there….not often and watching the Hawks. It was interesting to see what children observe and how much they do take in…..we have an impact on them in many ways and need to realize this and embrace it when we can.  
Kalita's Father's Day evening. 
Kalita's Gift to me. Well worded. 
Our backyard is finished; we have access from the deck to the back yard and grass. Thanks to our good mate Adam Grills for getting this moving and finished. Also Shane Parke for the fence and grass. We really appreciate it and love it. (Image below)

I also had the privilege of meeting some fellow Melanoma Warriors and people who have been affected by Melanoma in someway. This was a great night out…..we had dinner and shared stories and lots of laughs.

Jay Allen, who I have mentioned before, came down from Sydney for the weekend……he is a Stage 3 survivor and works for Melanoma Australia in Sydney. As part of his role and passion for supporting Melanoma Patients, he hosts support group meetings once a month….Andrew Rust was the another gentleman at dinner who I also met……he is a 10 year Stage 4 Survivor…..a larger than life guy who has the best daughter and wife as support. Chris Bradley was also at dinner he lost his son who was 32 to Melanoma. Nicole Miller, a beautiful lady, she was there supporting Jay and Chris, but also had her own personal story, supporting her father who has Melanoma. All of these people are inspirational and the most down to earth people, I actually felt like we had all met before.
Fellow Melanoma Warriors
As a result of meeting Jay, and my eagerness to start a Melanoma Support group here in Melbourne….Well it is happening,…. Every 2nd Wednesday of the month I will be hosting a meeting at my school to chat and share experiences with other Melanoma Warriors….Our First meeting will be the 9th October 7:30pm…..all Melanoma Warriors welcome.

Aside from the excitement of my results I want to share how I am travelling with my fitness. Riding has hit a new level and in fact my riding partner Matthew Collins is having trouble keeping up, sorry Matty had to add this…I am riding an average of 145km a week we have had some big long rides on most weekends. Running has also stepped up….The Melbourne Marathon 10km run, is only a month away….Lisa is training hard for the half and I am hitting around 15km a week and running around 4:15min/km pace…….Not where I used to be, but I am so happy to be running again and at a reasonable fitness…….the time away will see Lisa and I running more. The plan is to run the 10km at Melbourne Marathon and hopefully break 43minutes….After this event I am planning to race some cycling races.

Forgot to mention how excited I am about the month coming……would love to see all of my goals achieved, health improve...... as well as see the MIGHTY HAWKS win the flag!!!


Remember to hug your loved one's. Love to all. x

Sunday, September 1, 2013



Special times/event in people’s lives are different from family to family…..Father’s Day has been something that I have acknowledged when growing up, but since being a father I have valued it even more…..since having cancer I have valued it a lot more….I feel that I should cherish them even more and hug my girls longer and harder on this day and share my love with my own father, who was sleeping during the day, as he was working night shift this Father's Day….but when I saw him later in the day it was great to see him and spend time with him. I had the best Father’s Day….. it was my first since being diagnosed stage 4 Cancer…. also my first with a child who could go to a Father’s Day stall at her school to purchase a present.

The day began with a short spin on the bike with my riding mate, Matthew Collins, then home to very excited girls waiting for me at the door. They had made cards and Ariella had her present ready to give me….as did the other two girls. The day before (Friday) I attended my first Father’s Day breakfast at Ariella’s school. Later in the next week I will be going to Kalita’s kinder for a Father’s Day night….both girls have been very excited about these events.
My present from Ariella was a picture framed with the girls and I; this will take pride of place on my desk at work. She also had a pen for me which had ‘Super Dad’ written on it…… also a business card holder for my desk. All very much treasured gifts.

The other girls gave me liquorice, two pairs of thongs and the a most beautiful mosaic framed photos of the girls and I….. this present did make me very emotional and yes had me in tears….. when I look at this it brings back many memories of the girls growing up and makes me fight harder to see them grow into young women.
We had lunch at home with Lisa’s Parents and brother. This was a very nice quiet lunch on our deck as the weather was amazing…..The girls played and enjoyed the day. Later on in the day I went to see dad. 

I should’ve started this blog with the weekend was amazing and busy…. Lisa and I had a very rare opportunity to spend time with each other….child free. We had purchased a package deal to attend the Musical Production of King Kong and stay the night in the city at the Grand Hyatt. The whole night was amazing. My old school friend Glen Moriarty organised for us to have dinner at a very cool and incredible restaurant called Coda in Flinders Lane. Thanks Glen for this suggestion and booking.


King Kong was unbelievable and the spectacle was well worth seeing.  Lisa and I had a wonderful night together….. a slight sleep in…..then a run together, something we have not done together in many years. We headed home to pick up the girls and when home the hotel rang Lisa to say I’d left my wedding ring in the room…. This meant I had to pick it up.

Great opportunity to take the girls into the city….so back into the city with the girls this time and pick up the ring….. after this I took the girls to a park for a play and an ice cream…. A Sensational Saturday…. Time with Lisa, then time with the girls.

In the title it mentions my time off work…… This is true and not anything to do with me being unwell….in fact I have never felt better. I was off work for 8 days in total….. reason was a Measles outbreak at school and my immunity was low….therefore the Health Department and school suggested I take time off to avoid catching this illness…..I was very much appreciated what my work place had done to warn me and look after my well being. So I guess I was on forced leave and feeling great….. I took this as an opportunity to do things I cannot do when I’m at working full time. I did the school runs for Ariella, ballet drop offs and pick ups, watched swimming lessons, went to Gymbaroo…. generally my plan was to assist Lisa and give her a break and time out from her busy schedule… also go for a few more runs and plenty of cycling…I guess I wasn’t off work because I was ill, therefore I’d make the most of this time….a mini break from school.

This time off also gave me an insight into how busy Lisa’s week is with driving around dropping off the girls here, there and everywhere. She does an amazing job being a mum, businesswomen and keeping a supportive eye on me.

In my time when I was at my worse in October, Lisa had the hardest job of all and she did and does this in a superhuman effort. She deals with my illness in such a way that I cannot comprehend; she manages to get on with the everyday runnings of life as well as the emotional battle of my illness and the shortcomings of what might happen if I become sick again. She is my emotional sounding board when I am stressed about little lumps I feel here and there, she calms me when I’m stressed about my scans. She manages to 'put up' with my mood swings. She is my rock and best friend…. Lisa I love you so much. Below is short clip that shows images of Lisa and I over the years. Again a time capsule moment….
I have fears of what might be in the years and months ahead. My wish is that Lisa and the girls are happy and are able to deal with what might happen.

I am fighting fit and never been healthier. I have scans in a week and feel all should be ok… but you never know. Fitness is the best it’s been in months…. Riding an average of 140km a week managed a 100km ride with a fast group of riders a week ago and now have been running between 5 to 8km a week.

The Melbourne 10km run is looking good. I am not riding the Granfondo as we will be away for it. I am reading a book at the moment; called ‘Men Surviving Cancer,’ it has stated many times in the book to keep exercise up during cancer treatment or illness and have a focused mind. This applies to everything in life…cancer or no cancer!

If there is anything I have learnt so far from this terrible journey is that: ‘attitude everything’. Believe in what you are going to do is achievable…..believe you are going to beat this illness and you will….believe and everything is achievable.

 Remember to hug your loved one's. Love to all. x