Saturday, April 27, 2013

Oncology results 24 April 2013

This week has gone very quickly.  Our elderly neighbours (he a retired pilot & she a retired flight attendant) returned home 4 yrs ago after travelling/working overseas and decided to sell their home.  It was on the market for just over 2 years and finally sold with a substantial loss recently.  They are down sizing and moving to an historic little town called Castlemaine where there is a small hospital, shops within easy walking distance and a local pub for counter meals!  Historic Castlemaine, a bustling town renowned for its eclectic arts scene, rich gold rush history, and growing reputation as a fine food destination.

Both Keith and myself gave them a hand to move.  Keith assisted with putting rubbish, old furniture and contents of 2 outside sheds in the rubbish skip.  I sorted and packed boxes, then cleaned the large home for a few hours a day for 5 days.  These neighbours have looked after our home, watered our garden and most importantly taken care of Lana (my previous siamese cat who died in Jan 2012) and our current siamese cat Charles (Charlie).  It is nice to be able to have helped them out this week in return.

Anzac day we visited Woodend (20 mins from here) a beautiful village atmosphere where we watched the Anzac parade then met my brother, sister in law and nephew for coffee/tea and chat at The Chamber cafe (formally council chambers) - a beautiful building that now is home to the cafe and art gallery exhibitions.  Our friend Phil Holgate runs this business and according to Keith - makes a great coffee!

Keith had a visit on Tuesday in Melbourne to see his urologist for a 3 monthly follow up after his robotic prostate cancer operation in January 2013.  All on track and his psa reading was 'undetectable'.  He had bad vibes about this follow up visit and thought for sure he was going to get negative results!  He was relieved and so was I!  He can breathe again!

Now ... my visit on Weds to see my oncologist Allan Zimet and see what the medical round the table team at the Austin Hospital had to say ... .  Basically the jury is out ... they cannot decide/agree what to do - operate/chemo ..  Malcolm Feigen was there and put his hand up ... for me to come and see him in May for an appointment and discuss radical radiation treatment to the diaphragm area for starters.    As Allan said 'quality not quantity and cancer still growing ...'.  I am happy for the moment and most importantly IN CONTROL!  At the moment my pain is on hold and breathing ... I am working through this atm! 

Tomorrow evening 7.30pm we sail across Bass Strait (Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the south of the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria) to Tasmania.  We are taking our car and leaving Charlie at home to be minded by family and good neighbours/friends.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This week catching up with friends, family and those whose lives have been touched by asbestos.

This week has flown!  Monday I caught our great country train to Melbourne then the suburban train to stay with Keith's sister (Linda) and husband for the night, also caught up for a chat/coffee with my sister who is not very well at the moment.

Tuesday into the city, lunch with Linda - a French mini high tea at a Chinese cafe!!!  As it was Linda's birthday recently and mine TOMORROW we both paid for each other's high tea as a gift.

I then went to see an elderly neighbour Marya in hospital, who fell down an escalator recently.  She arrives home today on a walking frame.  Her and husband Ian are moving home after 40 yrs this week.  Then I caught the tram/train to stay with my daughter Jo, David and little grandkids (Ruby/Henry) for the night.  Weds morning a visit to the park and little cafe there with Jo and kids, before catching a train and bus to a hospital and while there caught up with a beautiful lady and her gorgeous family while she was having chemo for mesothelioma treatment.  Rod and Karen my dear friends and (Bernie Banton Foundation) joined me there.  It was great to connect with this family who are just trying to stay sane through the helplessness of the situation.  Just to have support, and us to reach out to them and know that they are not on their own is so important.  I hate to think of those families who we cannot reach out to due to them and just getting lost in the trauma of diagnosis and treatment without ever getting the support that they so need.

After my visit, a bus then country train home after 3 wonderful and busy days in Melbourne.

Thursday I spent at my elderly neighbour's home packing a few boxes of their personal items, then putting some of their furniture on freecycle and gumtree websites - I have found homes for most of the items.

Today we are going out for a coffee, pickup our post box mail and also a parcel that is waiting for me at the post office!  As tomorrow is my birthday - I wonder what it will be!

Warm and sunny day here, a good day to do some outside stuff like gardening, bringing some firewood up to the veranda for the cold nights ahead.

My heart goes out to those mesothelioma warriors who are doing it tough both here in Oz and around the world - I love you all and am holding your hand all the way.

Luv and hugs Lou xx

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Meeting Linda Thomas from UK

Linda sadly lost her husband Dave to mesothelioma and through Facebook we have stayed in touch.  She was out here visiting family and we caught up under the clock tower/Flinders Street Station, Melbourne.  A 'tourist' visit to Young & Jackson's Hotel  for lunch - This is Australia's and of course Melbourne's most famous hotel. The Young and Jackson Hotel (Y&J's) has stood beside Melbourne's busiest crossroads for nearly 140 years* emerging from humble origins to become an icon for the city.

It is home to the beautiful Chloe, a stunning 19th century French academic nude painting by the Master, Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. Until the 1960's Chloe was a rare opportunity for adolescent boys to view a naked woman - many men later recalled sneaking a peek at the curvaceous brunette. Batman purchased the Young and Jackson site at Melbourne's first Crown land sale on 1 November 1837. Already standing on the site was a home used to accommodate Batman's children and governess. Upon his death in 1839 this building became Melbourne's first schoolhouse.

In 1835 Melbourne founder John Batman became the only native born Australian to found an Australian capital city. Batman was a contradictory figure in history, instrumental in both conciliatory campaigns and in killing expeditions against the Tasmanian Aborigines. Batman forged a sinister reputation for himself as evidenced in an inscription by his neighbour, the well-respected artist John Glover. Glover saw Batman as a 'rogue, thief, cheat and liar, a murderer of blacks and the vilest man I have ever known'. Batman died at the age of 38 from syphilis, contracted in the brothels of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania).

Melbourne, in 1861, was recovering from a recession following the 1850's gold rush, with the young and vibrant city growing to a population of approximately 500,000 people. A sense of belonging was beginning to emerge among the city's young and vigorous population. Graham's corner shop was in a prime position to capture passing trade, close in proximity to the train station, docks and markets - a perfect position for the establishment of a public house.

On what we now know as the Young and Jackson Hotel site the Princes Bridge Hotel opened its doors to the public on 1 July 1861 - although this particular public were not of the genteel kind. On 19 April 1861 The Argus newspaper recorded that 'the style of the fittings shows that it would be nothing more than a low bar, of which we have too many already. Stale beer, tobacco and choice language, would then be the first greeting many thousands would receive on coming into town in the morning.' Naturally the hotel flourished.

In 1875 two successful Irish diggers became the licensees of the Princes Bridge Hotel - Henry Figsby Young and Thomas Joshua Jackson. Young and Jackson began improvements on the hotel. Over a period of 50 years all five separate buildings that presently comprise the Young and Jackson Hotel were incorporated into the hotel proper and the bluestone exterior rendered and altered to create a seemingly unified appearance.

Young and Jackson were in partnership for a period of 15 years but their name has remained associated with the hotel since. Upon dissolution of the Young and Jackson partnership Young carried on as publican until 1914. During this period he built up a fine art collection that, from 1909, included the fine work and Melbourne icon, Chloe. Chloe continues to reside in the building and has a scandalous history of her own. During restoration, however, she has been on exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The history and drama that has unfolded before Young and Jackson's over the years has been immense. Wars, peace, victory processions, the passing of kings and queens, the growth of a settlement to a multicultural city, and every year repeated visits from ordinary people who hold both Chloe and Y&J's dear in their hearts. Having put up with each other for almost a century, Chloe and Y&Js have become inextricably linked as part of Melbourne's heritage. The National Trust and Heritage Victoria decreed in 1988 that they remain bound together forever.
Photo: been to melbourne city today there i meet a lovely lady called lou williams who has had meso for 11yrs she is amazing  god bless u lou and all the work that she does to make people aware of how dangerous asbestos is x

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lou's Washington DC Asbestos (ADAO) global conference speech

Hi all

Well I am back home safe'n'sound after 11 wonderful nights in America!  As part of the Bernie Banton Foundation team (BBF) we all met at Melbourne airport on Tuesday 19 March 2013 7am Geoff Fary, John Carter, Rod Smith, Karen Banton and myself.  After a quick check-in and through customs we were ready to board our 10am flight (Qantas A80) bound for LA.   Thanks to John, Rod and Karen I was able to secure 3 seats together making the flight bearable to lie down, sit up and more importantly stand up when I felt my breathing getting tighter.

We landed safely on Tuesday morning (LA time) after a 15.5hr flight and a taxi to the beautiful art deco Georgian  hotel.

The Georgian – A Storied Santa Monica Luxury Hotel

Spring of 1933 was The Georgian's moment. The coastal expansion of the late '20s was just reaching its peak, and innovative business-woman Rosamond Borde was looking to make her mark on the Pacific coastline. Her inspiration became The Georgian, an art deco masterpiece recognized as one of Santa Monica's first "skyscrapers."
Just like the era's film industry mavens, our historic Santa Monica beachfront hotel has played a variety of roles. From exclusive escape for American a-listers, to restful oasis for the global elite, The Georgian has proven itself a discriminating host of taste and class.
Complete with glamour, grace and speak-easy intrigue, The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica draws vacationers from around the globe looking to bask in exclusivity and classic Hollywood ambience. This first "Lady" of the Santa Monica skyline is a graceful representation of classic style perfectly entwined with contemporary chic.

As we had arrived around 9.30am we were able to check our luggage in and one room was free .... so we went up to the 2nd floor to check it out, put our luggage there and sit around in comfy chairs while we worked out our itinerary for the day.  Upon opening the door - the staff had kindly allocated a beautiful suite to ME!  I immediately felt Greta Garbo floating around there and experienced this feeling during my stay.  I was so lucky to experience this beautiful art deco suite!

We walked to the mall with our 'tour' guide Geoff Fary and had brekkie at a lovely French outdoor cafe.  An afternoon tour was arranged to explore Hollywell, downtown Beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive .... .  That evening we dined on the Santa Monica pier at a lively mexican restaurant before all of us retired to our rooms and no doubt passed out with exhaustion!

Weds morning we flew to Washington (Ronald Reagon) airport and checked in at 9pm to our conference hotel rooms at the beautiful Marriot hotel.  What a HUGE hotel!

Thursday we had a free day to explore downtown Washington, and again our kind 'host' Geoff put us on the metro and we proceeded to do a walking tour past the White House and eventually leading to the

  1. The world's largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world. - Cached More results from »
    By this time I was quite weary so Rod/Karen and myself found the cafe and ate lunch while Geoff and John went exploring the Insitution.
    The ADAO 9th conference officially started on Friday, however by being there a day earlier we were able to make contact with lots of wonderful people who were attending the conference so by the time the conference started we were all old friends who had actually met in person rather than on facebook/emails.

    Friday part of the conference was a wonderful tour of Capital Hill.  - What a wonderful experience that was! 
    Capitol Hill, aside from being a metonym for the United States Congress, is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along wide avenues. It is... - Cached
     A beautiful dinner was held on Friday night for guests and speakers - a 5 min walk from the hotel.  Beautiful food, company and lots of lovely memories.

    Sat morning breakfast, registration and 30 speakers from around the world.  A very proud moment when Karen was presented with her inspirational award. Geoff was the last speaker and was absolutely wonderful in what he presented.  Australia is really at the forefront of asbestos education, advocacy and awareness!

    Sunday brunch with keynote speaker Karen presenting a wonderful insight to her life with Bernie.  I followed with my speech and then presented an award to Linda Reinstein on behalf of all the mesothelioma warriors around the world.

    A great conference to raise global awareness and one that I am so proud to have been able to attend.  I feel that our BBF team did us all proud and it has continued to keep Australia on the global map with raising awareness, advocacy and support.

    We left Washington late afternoon bound for New York where I then left BBF and stayed with my wonderful 'Aussie ' New Yorker' friends Kez and Mike in West New York for 4 days before flying home.

    When I checked in at JFK airport, New York I approached the manager of Qantas and kindly asked if there I could have 3 seats together for both flights home.  This wish was granted, thereby making my flights much more comfortable.  (NY to LA 6 hours) (LA to Melb 15.50 hrs).

    I arrived home Sat morning and after a few days of resting and almost back to normal!

    Weds (tomorrow) evening I will see my oncologist Allan Zimet to decide when I will commence some chemotherapy (alimta/carboplatin) for pain and breathing relief to give quality and hopefully more quantity of life.

    I would like to thank BBF and ADAO for giving me the experience of a lifetime to attend this wonderful conference.  I believe on a global front we can all make a difference.