I was born and raised in north Queensland. Spent my summers hanging out around the Harbour in Mackay. Ahhh….to be a young girl again. ;-) After leaving high school after Year 11 I studied Pre-Vocational Business at the local Mackay Technical College along with several other girlfriends who had chosen to opt out of the school system in favour of finding work. …it was here that I made some strong friendships. My first job at the age of 16 was as a medical receptionist to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). I made a hop down the road after 8months to an x-ray centre and with my parent’s word echoing in my head I sort a better paying more stable position at the local Westpac bank. I worked there from 1986 until 1992. The training I received there is the backbone of my attitude to professional presentation and great customer service backed up by excellent product knowledge.
After a solid six years in the finance industry I met some wonderful friends that were planning a trip overseas to London so I threw in the job, bought a ticket and joined the Aussie pilgrimage to the UK.
After 12mths I was home and hopped and skipped through jobs at a blinding speed ....a concrete manufacturing plant, another Bank, delivering pizzas part-time, another finance company and then a mining related company. By 1994, I had met my man and we were living together engaged to be married. . . So while happy in the latest job I followed my now husband to a tiny railway town west of Mackay in the now booming Bowen Basin. (booming with coal) and took up a job at the tiny school there. I have stayed within the Education Department ever since and have even been lucky to find employment in Bowen at the High School when we moved again in 2002.
A highlight of living in Bowen has been the wonderful beautiful friendships we have made that have lasted seven years. We all have our children in common as we met when they all started pre-school. It has been a lifeline to find girls that you can compare notes with on child raising and all the little adventures that happen along the way. Nowadays are kids are in Year 7 at Primary School and will move on to High School next year. Our babies have grown so fast.
Of course, as we all know there must be balance between light and dark. Last year I think we got more than our share of darkness….and it turned our lives upside down. Cancer moved into our house and took over for the last 12months and it has still not let us out of it’s clutches. Everyone has ups and down but my fairly smooth life’s path suddenly turned frighteningly bumpy and the rain clouds decided to let loose!
I share my “story” as a carer, I had a role to play but my husband took on the battle of his life. Today he is remission. He is not cured and we have the prospect of the cancer returning in 10 or 15 years.
So right now remission means two monthly chemotherapy treatments until December 2013, Stem Cell harvesting took place in March 2012 and hubby returned to work around the same time.
As family we are trying to live a healthier life, laughing more, building memories of our little family, exercising more, eating better, stressing less and getting on with things. There is so much more to what we went through in this period but I do not feel that I need to relive that and give cancer back its position as the primary focus in our lives, but I do hope that if there is someone out there who has or is currently trodding the same path I did…I want them to know that they are not alone.
So we continue to fight the battle one day at a time…taking great joy in each and every hurdle that we clear.
I learnt that being a carer is a tremendous role. I still had to be “Mum” for our son, the moral support for my husband and work five days a week. I threw myself into work to numb the pain which only increased the amount of stress that I bottled up inside of me.
Where was I to let out the stress? I did no exercise (I thought didn’t have time), I couldn’t let my sad face show at home, my hamily lived over 200 kilometres away, no-one seemed to know how to provide me with advice or comfort at work and to be honest I was not looking to workmates for that.
So I continued to try to please everyone at work and at home. Occasionally I would get out for a coffee or lunch with friends but I was petrified of being away from my so sick husband. And on and on it went for about eight months juggling being employee, carer, mother, wife, with my life was finally spinning so out of control....unhappy at work, unhappy at home, arguments with family over minor incidents, making errors of judgement, exhaustion from travelling 600km round trips for treatment and specialist appointments, battling my own health problems that I was trying hard to ignore (nothing was a major as the cancer....I would survive) that finally my family doctor intervened and gave me the help that I couldn’t seem to admit to myself that I needed. Along with other things I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it it's physical manifestation was not pretty.
That’s when the miracle of rest, exercise, was able to give me a peace of mind that I needed and I started to get the opportunity of working on me. Don’t get me wrong…I did not go willingly, but my life was so far out of control that even my stressed out, strung out brain somehow knew I had to do this and decided to stop battling against everyone.
A second chance….
So I took leave for work and now I am starting to feel like a new person. Actually not a new person. Now I feel like I am me. The symptoms of stress on your body have never been so apparent to me and this time has allowed me a chance to get myself back on track. But because of an amazing AMAZING family and my wise insightful GP who all continuously supported me, I have been given that second chance at putting my life back on track. I have to acknowledge the support of my friends at this point and the generosity they have provided in the form of childcare, meals and laughter and more than one occasional glass of wine or cup of coffee. The present and future….
This website is part of that new life. While I took time off from work I have been able to be the person I always wanted to be. I have been there to support my husband as he made his return to the working world, I have been able to support my son during his important final year of primary schooling, but one thing that was crucial for me was that I needed tofind my passion and pursue it! After a few stops and starts, I feel I have finally found that passion I’ve been searching for through this blog. I have a firm belief that I have guardian angels looking over me and that they are members of my family that have already passed. I named my website in honour of all of my ancestors who worked seriously hard and pioneered for the betterment of Australia.
I hope to add little bits to my blogs that add comfort, information, and love to my reader’s lives. The only thing that could make it better for me is if you find it useful! I hope you do!
So there you have it, a little about me. Hopefully it will help someone, somewhere, to know they are not alone, they are not “the only one”. Believe me, I know how that feels.
Please feel free to share your story with me, I would love to hear it.