Monday, February 17, 2014

Travelling to Tasmania and arriving safely!

Yesterday morning we were up early 4.30am and left home with the car packed at 5.30am - headed to Port Melbourne where the beautiful car ferry Spirit Of Tasmania was docked.   We arrived there at 6.30am and got in the line of waiting cars and caravans to load onto the ferry once we were all cleared through customs.  We eventually parked our car on the ferry at 8am and set sail by 9am.   A good calm crossing arriving in Devonport Tasmania around 6.15pm.   While on the ferry we had an ocean recliner at the back of the ship and were able to rest there, have a cuppa, read the newspaper and look out to sea and enjoy the views of passing thru the heads about an hr out of Melbourne and waving at various friends and family who live there!
We even watched a movie in the cinema on board.  Oceans 13 with George Clooney.

We cleared customs upon our arrival into Devonport about 7.30pm and headed for Green's Beach and the beach shack.  Stopping in the town of Beaconsfield where the only shop open was a pizza take-away, so we grabbed a pizza and headed towards Green's Beach which is 20 mins/20 kms from there.   As it was dusk there were plenty of little pademelons (Tasmanian small marsupial) about on the road along with heaps of big wombats so the journey was very slow with spotting these wildlife critters and saying to each other 'there's one!' whenever we saw them and this was every few metres!  Lucky no road kill for us!

Pademelons are small marsupials of the genus Thylogale. They are usually found in forests. Pademelons are one of the smallest of the macropods. The name is a corruption of badimaliyan, from the Dharuk Aboriginal language of Port Jackson (Sydney region).
Pademelons, wallabies, and kangaroos are very alike in body structure, and the names just refer to the three different size groups. Originally wallabies were divided into small and large wallabies, but a more suitable name was needed to differentiate between them.
Besides their smaller size, pademelons can be distinguished from wallabies by their shorter, thicker, and sparsely haired tails.

Tasmanian pademelons in Narawntapu National Park
Red-necked Pademelon
 Once settled into the beach shack, lying on the bed with my computer listening to the gentle sound of the waves and looking out the window to see the lighthouse light flashing I fell into a very peaceful sleep waking at 6.30am.   An early morning walk on the beach for Keith and myself.  The tide was out so we were able to walk right out on the smooth sand.  We passed just one couple who were walking their dog.  So peaceful and quiet.  We called into the general store/cafe said hi to the owners who hadn't seen us since we were last here in June 2013.  We had planned to return for a visit last September however due to my chemotherapy from August to November last year we postponed until the last daylight sailing of the ferry that was yesterday.

We then drove to Grindelwald, the beautiful Swiss villlage (located 15 minutes north of Launceston) and had a walk around Lake Louise.
Grindelwald is a mock Swiss village, the heart of it being Aspect Tamar Valley Resort, which includes a Swiss Shopping Village with souvenir shops, bakery, coffee house, restaurant, Edelweiss Function Centre, lake and mini golf.  Grindelwald village was the idea of Dutch immigrant Roelf Vos.  He styled it on Grindelwald in Switzerland. He built two man-made lakes, which are nice for walks around the lakes and a little chapel on Lake Louise. 
A visit to Legana shopping centre nearby - Woolworths for grocery provisions and a visit to the organic fruit shop for some beautiful local fruits including apricots straight off the tree and blueberries picked this morning!
Another evening walk on the beach here at Green's Beach - this time seeing a lady walking on her own and then a couple with their dogs walking and the labrador with them running in the water and swimming to retrieve a ball they owners had thrown out to sea for him.  As there is some nice seaweed being washed up - I was able to gather some for the garden here - it is a good mulch and helps to keep the weeds down.

On that note I will sign out and get some sleep - it is nearly midnight!  Goodnight!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fires, floods, winds and snow - 4 seasons in 1

By being connected through social media we find out and √©xperience' where others live around the world without actually leaving home!   That is what makes social media so fascinating - the fact that we can keep in touch thanks to modern technology, being connected to the internet and even seeing/sharing immediate pictures of our lives and day to day experiences.  Fires have been near here the last few days, floods and strong winds in UK and heavy snow falls in USA and Canada.

Valentine's day yesterday was interesting as to how it is celebrated globally.  What is extra special is seeing not just it being celebrated with couples in love, but also families counting their blessings having the love of children, friends and other 'friends' they have met through social media.   We reach out and our lives are enriched by doing this.   Without this we could become caught in day to day living and never experience the world as a united one!  Connecting in this way is so important!

On my Asbestos in the News group page today someone posted that even though their family is touched by mesothelioma it is a 'taboo' subject that is not discussed.   By having social media 'friends' we are able to connect, share and at times ease the family's distress that comes with a diagnosis of mesothelioma by giving them space and the freedom to decide when they want to talk about mesothelioma and anything to do with the word asbestos!

We are busy packing for tomorrow as we are catching the last of the daylight sailings to Tasmania.  We were there last June and had booked to return last September, however due to me having chemotherapy from August to November it was postponed until tomorrow.   The ferry sails at 9am, however boarding commences at 6am so an early start from here - 5.30am!   With packing almost done, the car is loaded and ready to head off in the morning.

Our place is being looked after by family and our good neighbours next door, Charlie will be well looked after and fed/cuddled while we are away!  Our plants watered on the patio and hopefully the fires will not come near here!

To all the warriors doing it tough at the moment my heart goes out to you.   Remember you are not on your own!   There is always someone on facebook 24 hours a day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Christian Olsen and Michael Bradley - 2 young guys battling mesothelioma

Both Christian and Michael are brave mesothelioma warriors who both live in the USA.   Michael is 29 years of age and Christian has just celebrated his 34th birthday with his wife Lisa and their 2 small children.

Michael is at home after a few days in hospital to get his pain under control.   He is doing it tough at the moment - however he know has his own wheelchair and is getting out during the day to his favourite places with family and friends - there is no tying Michael to his bed!
(This link below is for Michael's facebook page)

Christian is due to start chemotherapy tomorrow morning cisplatin/alimta.   I have been speaking with him today and he has been asking relevant questions that I have been glad to answer.   He is a very brave warrior and with the love of his family and friends plus the support of all the warriors he will make it!   Below is Christian's facebook page and info.   So please take a moment to look at it and 'like'.
Christian Olsen VS. Mesothelioma


Cure Mesothelioma - Christian Olsen VS. Mesothelioma Facebook Page

Spreading awareness, and helping to raise funds for Christian's doctor bills.

On December 23rd, 2013, I received final confirmation that my worst fears had been realized. I, Christian H. Olsen Jr., 33 years old, was diagnosed with an extremely rare and fatal form of cancer in both my chest and abdomen regions - Mesothelioma. Nearly all of those affected with this extremely rare and fatal cancer have it in their chest OR abdomen, not both. I have no idea where... I was exposed to asbestos (as this is the only known cause for Mesothelioma) or perhaps it was caused by some unknown source. Most are able to pinpoint direct exposure.

My hope and ultimate goal is to stick around this earth long enough for a cure to be found.

With that said, potentially curative surgery is the only thing on my mind with a 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter at home, kids that I would like to see grow up. The surgery is extremely invasive and complicated. I plan to undergo two major procedures followed by a harsh chemotherapy regimen. The surgery, recovery and all needed support is extremely expensive and I am without adequate insurance coverage for out of state treatment caused by my inability to hold a full time job due to my poor medical condition.    PLEASE help spread the word! If you are still reading, I hope you will consider supporting me even if you are not in a position to donate.
Christian Olsen & Family

How were they exposed?   It is a mystery!   Just maybe they or others their age were exposed by:

As a baby or a young toddler playing on carpet or lino with asbestos underfelt, maybe in the womb of their mothers - who knows - no one knows - it has not been fully proven for others diagnosed with an asbestos related disease such as deadly mesothelioma.   I do know of a case where perhaps as a baby in the womb they were exposed due to the mother inhaling invisible asbestos fibres a few years before falling pregnant.

As with current do it yourself renovation projects - people to save money will do the job themselves and that could include coming into contact with asbestos - perhaps used as an insulator wrapped around pipes, in asbestos fibre sheeting when they demolish a wall, strip back wallpaper - asbestos in the glue, take up old carpet underlay where asbestos was used in .... the list goes on and on where deadly asbestos has been used in the home.

Home renovators will continue to be exposed and so too will their family and friends until asbestos assessment is free, asbestos removal is heavily subsidised and disposal free and must only then be removed and disposed of by fully qualified and licensed asbestos authorised removalists.

So many home renovators at the moment think ''ah just a little bit of asbestos - what is everyone talking about - it cannot harm you that much!"   So they put a 'mask' etc on and do the job themselves, little do they know that invisible fibres are escaping and they are possibly inhaling them, they shake their hair when the kids cuddle them and invisible fibres could be being digested by their kids/wife ... !

There is no safe asbestos- asbestos kills!   We need to be diligent when it comes to asbestos.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fires, lazy weekend and brave warrior widows
Victorians are bracing for some of the worst fire conditions in five years with dozens fleeing their homes and others warned about out-of-control blazes that may flare up during the night.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley warns that everyone should keep their mobile phones close to them while they sleep in case emergency warnings are sent out.
Several extended heatwaves, followed by the current high temperatures, have pushed the state's fire danger rating to extreme in six districts, he said.
Temperatures are also forecast to remain above 30 degrees overnight, meaning firefighters won't see a lull in fire activity before temperatures rise again on Sunday morning.
"Anywhere in Victoria, fires will run and they will run hard," Mr Lapsley told reporters at the state control centre.
"They will be furious. They will be fast. They will be out of control and people need to be very aware of that."
He said the hot weather is then going to be further bolstered by a strong and gusty Sunday afternoon wind change.
"If there are fires, they have the potential to run during the night, and that's something that isn't necessarily familiar to most Victorians."
Fires burning in remote bushland in far East Gippsland have also sparked an evacuation warning, with many of the 60 residents of Goongerah and Martins Creek deciding to listen to the advice and leave early.
Fire authorities warned that Goongerah will likely be hit by fire within 24 hours and emergency services crews may not be able to help residents who remain in their homes.
Several fires near the Snowy River National Park have also triggered an emergency warning for the communities of Buchan, Buchan South and Sunny Point.
"Spot fires and ember attacks may impact the Buchan area from dawn Sunday," the Country Fire Authority (CFA) said in a statement.
Four other fires prompted watch and act alerts on Saturday night, including one for residents of Hernes Oak, near Moe.
Officials said a possible overnight thunderstorm, followed by the forecast wind change, could push the fire further into the area.
Fire danger ratings on Sunday are rated as extreme, one level below code red-catastrophic, in the following districts: Central, North Central, Northern Country, North East, West and South Gippsland and East Gippsland.
The rest of the state is listed as a very high or severe fire danger rating.

We are in Central Victoria about an north of Melbourne.   One road in and one road out, it is very very dry here and if someone were to light a match just for the hell of it - we would be in trouble.   On high extreme days like tomorrow's forecast we will leave in the morning and return when safe to do so.

Yesterday was 5 years since our horrible Black Saturday fires where so many people lost their lives mainly staying to defend their homes or being inside and not realising the fireball was upon them so quickly.    5 years ago Keith and his son Elton (my stepson) stood watch on the hour during the night in case we needed to evacuate.   We were lucky the fires did not come out way - the winds changed and went to Kinglake area however where the damage happened.  We had bad fires in 1983 when most of the mountain and surrounds of Mt Macedon were wiped out.   We have a fire plan in place, we will ring on the phone chain our neighbours and they in turn will ring their neighbours, we continually watch the CFA (Country Fire Association)'s website for updates on fire activities in our area and surrounds, and leave early in the morning if we need to, rather than a wait and see attitude.

This morning we woke to the news that Keith's daughter Renee (my step daughter) who lives interstate had given birth to a very healthy and beautiful little baby boy - Ryder, a brother for Hunter.   So now we have another grandchild.   My eldest daughter Jo gave birth in August to a beautiful little boy, Oliver.    We now have (me - 5 grandkids), (Keith - 8 grandkids and 2 great-grandkids) who we love dearly.  Ages ranging from a few hours old to late 20s!  

Today we went out as the weather was warming up and the wind was starting to stir slightly, took a drive up to Mt Macedon and on to the lovely village of Woodend, then called into see Keith's daughter (my step daughter) who had just returned from their 25th wedding anniversary first ever European trip - they absolutely loved their holiday and we were able to see their wonderful photos on Karin's ipad.   I want one lol!

It is so so dry here, a few months ago we have beautiful green grass and my garden was so pretty with all the flowers - today it is almost bare dirt, the grass is so dry and yellow, my garden is dying and the kookaburras and other birds are just so hungry and coming around for water and feed each evening.  (I am trying to load a picture of the kookas feeding however it won't load from my phone to here, so will try again tomorrow).

Charlie our Siamese cat is feeling the heat - he wanders from room to room and then outside to where ever he can find a cool spot.   He has just taken himself off to bed as it is now 12.37am!   Keith is watching the movie Braveheart on TV and I can hear him snoring while watching the movie lol!

On another note with some who are having treatment for mesothelioma it seems as though our options at times run out and the good doctors/specialists have no further answers for treatment other than to say 'leave it for a while, or maybe they will suggest some further chemo/radiation/trials''.   It is all a hit and miss for mesothelioma, though mostly a big hit until it really stumps the medical field when they cannot follow the run of the mill treatments.   Thanks to us warriors who keep them on their toes and seem to be their guinea pigs with regards to further treatments and living longer than anticipated we are the driving force for them to do further research into asbestos related diseases (ARD), thus creating a pathway for the future generations of those diagnosed with an (ARD).

To the brave warrior widows/widowers who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives without their loved ones - I take my hat off to you for continuing to 'live and get on with your life even though it is so hard without your soulmate by your side, knowing through no fault of their own their life was cut short thanks to asbestos greed'!

I will try to post the kookas picture later today.

I am off to bed now - good night! 

Thinking of all the brave warriors around the world who are doing it tough at the moment, especially our beautiful Michael Bradley who is only 28 years old.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Computer literate again! High tea and good bye to a beautiful mesothelioma warrior and dear friend.

Hurrah!   After 3 weeks of putting up with our ancient computer that failed recently due to an electrical storm we have bought a new computer and Keith set it up last night.   So much quicker for everything.    For those that are MAC freaks I hate to disappoint you - we have another PC!

Last Saturday 1 February 2014 was the inaugural Ban Asbestos Conference to be held in Pakistan thanks to the Syed Fareed Ahmed Memorial Mesothelioma General Hospital Foundation and in particular Syed Mezab Ahmed and his father who bravely took on the cause/case after their uncle/brother died of tongue cancer caused by exposure to asbestos while working in Pakistan.  It is a credit to both of them holding this conference and showing much needed awareness and education.   Small steps become bigger steps.    Linda Reinstein (ADAO - America) and myself both presented via video raising further global awareness, advocacy and education towards a global ban on asbestos. 

On Monday 3 February a beautiful service was held for our brave warrior who recently lost her battle with mesothelioma.   Jan was my friend, we supported each other and were both not afraid to speak about the ''end''.   Last year Jan supported me through my chemotherapy of 4 months, and there were times then when I did not think that I was going to survive the treatments again, however Jan was always there with encouragement, same as I was for her.   We both could lay our inner thoughts on the table, speak the truth about dying/living and knew one of us wasn't going to make it.
Tragically, Jan Egerton lost her courageous mesothelioma battle today. Please join ADAO in sending sincere condolences to Gary and her entire family. Jan was dearly loved and respected and she tirelessly helped patients and family members around the world during her mesothelioma battle and lived her words, "Don't be alone in this battle. We are all here to help each other...” Jan, I will miss our Skype calls, seeing your smile, and reading your inspirational and courageous blogs. We will miss you forever and a day. With love, Linda
 RIP beautiful lady
Yesterday I caught the train to Melbourne city, walked along Southbank and our Yarra River with all the tourist boats gently cruising along the river, to the beautiful and old world Langham Hotel where I met my lovely sister in law as it is her very special birthday, for a tiffin high tea at 11am, 3 hours later after sitting there and chatting to each other we left and wandered around Federation Square - a true icon of Melbourne. 
A toast to Linda's birthday
  • Federation Square
  • Federation Square is a civic centre and cultural precinct in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was opened in 2002.