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A return punch after ten years

return punch

This blow has come out of left field.  Not a complete KO, but it has definitely shaken up the ground below.  I find myself in an unusual territory.  Logic is refusing to stay put in my head.  I keep pleading it to stay put, but unknown to me it keeps escaping leaving a stuffed dummy in its place.

Well, I know I am genetic mess.  But, the realization that I could have passed on this mess to my kids seems very hard to swallow.  No one is blaming me, especially my kids.  But I wish they would just scream at me.  Show me that they are angry for what I am going to put them through.  But they joke and carry on like nothing.

It is probably going to be nothing.  And I am worrying over nothing.  Why am I being such a pessimistic heap of mess?  I know the logic, let’s do the test and then worry if we have something to worry about.  That would be the advice I would be giving someone else in that situation.  I am no stranger to waiting for test results.  It has never worried me, but this time I am a mess.  I have to be strong for the boys.  I will be.  Just give me today to rant and rave.

I was supposed to be a miracle for my parents.  When I survived the horrible cancer, once again it was considered a miracle.  Yes, I could either be called “special”, “unique” or another apt word “weird”.  I am a genetic error.  This is not me blurting out in anger. That is the scientific word used in my report, I have a genetic error.

All I ask for is to leave my kids alone.  I will go through anything, I am happy to say “Que sera sera” and deal with absolutely anything, I will endure anything, just leave my kids out of it.

To the man up there, just in case he doesn’t get it.  A mother goes through nine months of pregnancy and then hours of horrid labour, she endures it all, so that her child will be born unharmed.  From day one her model was built to protect that child.  She was programmed to fight for her child no matter the size or might of the opponent.   She has no turn off button.

So a word to the man up there, you are lower than a tadpole when you do this to a mother.  Ask any mother, they will happily take the plague or worse, if that would save her child.

Final words to the man up there, “leave my kids alone” – PLEASE.

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My wish today: Acceptance

This is from Olivia Swan

Olivia Swan

No matter what people say it really comes down to actions that define what type of person you are.

There are some days I am simply stunned at how people act and treat others – hurtful, spiteful, full of envy, and the list goes on. I often try to stop and analyze “why are they like that?!” but in reality it is a waste of time to try and sort out other people’s problems.

I really wish there was a way we could all look past the physical attributes of people and stop comparing who has the best body, hair, home, relationship. It’s silly. All that matters to me at the end of the day is my well being and those of whom I love. Regardless of this truth I am still human and it hurts sometimes…how people treat me. People who are supposed to be family, friends and generally care overall.

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Under the Big Top…..

Not My monkey, I am just going to walk away

PTSD - The Long Journey Home


Life is like a circus

Baboon bosses totally losing their shit

Lions circling and feeding off the weak

Tight rope walkers just trying to survive

Ring leaders trying to control the masses

Elephants trudging through the cement jungle

Tigers feasting on human gazelles

Bears dancing through the city streets

Monkeys stealing wallets to buy their bananas

Clowns clowning around with people’s minds

Then there is the audience sitting back in awe

At all these tricks being performed for their

Benefit on a daily basis….

©Shelley Brant – 2016


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Posted in True Story, Inspirational, Uncategorized

The Dreaded “C” Word (part 7)


Relationship with my mum was getting a lot better.  Mum was already a volunteer worker at St. Vincent De Paul and World Vision.  But after she moved to her new place, she had started to work at the Cheltenham Community Centre as well, teaching sewing to migrants.  She was starting to enjoy having her freedom.  Mum had also started to going for computer and swimming classes.  We would visit her every Saturday for an authentic Sri Lankan feed.  Our kids would go and spend a night or two during school holidays.  Both parties enjoyed playing scrabble and monopoly.  They were very proud to see their grandmother on face book. They would help her with technical issues and so on.

Adelaide was having a horrid summer.  This was almost the 5th day of a heat wave.  Nil by mouth on a day like this was extremely hard.  Anyway went under the knife, around 4.00pm. Not sure how long the surgery was for. First night was in the CCU (Critical Care Unit).  Next morning I slowly walked to the toilet to have a wash and change with the help of the nurse.  I was a bit sore but I was able to talk and I was on my feet, I was rather radiant and happy.  It could have been the effects of all the morphine from the night before.  Just after the wash I threw up.  I usually have that reaction the day after anaesthesia.  I guess most people do.  So no big fuss about that and I was now transferred to the normal ward.

Hubby came to see me with a paper article in his hand.  It was Arj on the paper, he had given an interview about the short film he had done a couple of months ago.  I proudly showed the article to the nurse.  The vomiting continued.  I couldn’t keep anything down.   Throat surgery and vomiting doesn’t go hand in hand. I was put on anti nausea medication.  I was now moved to a private room.  I was meant to be going home on the 4th or the 5th day.  It was now the 5th day.  The vomiting hadn’t stopped and I was still on IV Fluids.  So they decided to have me in for another couple of days.  Adelaide heat wave was still ramping up.  Even the hospital A/c was finding it hard to cope.  The heat, vomiting and pain all combined I was struggling a bit at times.

It was probably the 5th or the 6th day. The doctor came around lunch time, about 1.00pm to see me.  This was rather unusual.  He normally sees me in the morning.  I was on my own. Hubby only comes in the evening with the boys.  He smiled and asked how I was doing.  I said “not bad”, he gently started to talk.  My test results of the Thyroid lump had come through.  Well, I have Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma.  A very rare type of thyroid cancer.  He sat on the edge of my bed and repeated “bugger, bugger, bugger”.  Not exactly professional for a doctor.  I’ve never seen him like this.

On the contrary I was rather calm.  I am really not sure how or why.  I guess I already had an inclination, that maybe this could be it.  To a certain extent I felt relieved.  We finally found it.  So I asked the doctor rather calmly “what next”. That’s pretty much me at most situations, “Madam your flight has been cancelled” and I would say “what your next flight?” then the rest of organising, I would let the pickup person know etc. You have to be practical about these things. I usually don’t see the point in fretting over things. So the news of cancer got the same treatment. Dr. Kollias either thought that I was a fruit cake or he was relieved that I was not bawling my eyes out. He straightened up.  He told me that he had already spoken to my husband.  The next step is to remove the rest of the thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes etc. And he went on to say that this totally explains the raised CEA marker.  I asked him if I had to go through Chemotherapy.  He said that Chemo and radio therapy does not work with this type of cancer.  At that stage I didn’t really understand the full extent of this particular cancer.  I didn’t realise that if it had spread then I wouldn’t have much of a fighting chance.  The talk of cancer had become so routine I was treating this as another procedure for a scan.

So the next surgery was scheduled in two days.  I had to go in for another scan and a few more blood tests.  It was the day of the second surgery, I was in immense pain already, the thought of the doctor opening up the same wound and fiddling around, made me feel nervous.  My blood pressure was sky rocketing.  I took the last sip of water before the NIL By mouth curfew sets in.

I looked at the picture that was hanging on the wall. It was the picture of Venice. It was of a couple on the gondola. Venice has been on my bucket list for a long time.  There are many beautiful places in the world and I would love to see them all.  However, Venice is the only one I have put on my Bucket List. Well I haven’t crossed that off the list yet I thought.  I stared at that picture again.  I thought to myself, “Nah, It’s not my time yet, I haven’t been to Venice” I imagined the “nah” with an Aussie accent, well pretty much the whole sentence in the most bogan accent.  Rather laid back, but with conviction.  Not sure if the big man up there had a part in placing that picture, or just a mere coincidence.  But the picture served its purpose.  Your inspiration or conviction can come from anything.  And it doesn’t matter where it comes from.  It could be a picture of Venice, it could be the picture of the flower that blooms only once a year or just the thought of your kids. Just use any lame excuse to say “I have to be here”.

When I got wheeled in for the surgery I met the whole team the Anaesthetist, the Surgeon and the nurses.  I was probably prepped a little bit so I was already rather happy and mellow.  The surgeon mentioned to Anaesthetist not to use the same medicine as last time as that didn’t agree with me, and the Anaesthetist said “I am well ahead of you sir, I have a different plan this time”  and I asked him “what to knock me out with a frying pan”  We all had a chuckle.

Humour is very important to me.  I find this eases me and as well as those around me.  When you are going through something serious, it’s the big elephant in the room, and no one knows how to talk about it. I guess they don’t know how to behave around you.  But if you show them that you have the capacity to laugh then they will join you.  Then it becomes a happier place. A place where it’s filled with positivity and no room given for negativity or self pity.

The Anaesthetist also knew my name meant goddess of the earth.  He had Asian features. I asked him if he was from Thailand as there are many Hindus there. He said he was from Singapore and he is Chinese, however was very interested Indian culture and its stories.  I don’t remember any other conversations after that.  He must have got hold of that frying pan.

to be cont…  

Posted in True Story, Inspirational, Uncategorized

The Dreaded “C” Word Cont (part 6)


It was now a few months since my surgery, another blood test. The CEA/tumour marker was not down, instead slightly more elevated.  Not by much, but the main concern was that it was still present.  Some doctors were wondering if I still had scar tissues from the recent surgery and hence the raised tumour marker.  But Dr. Lynch was adamant that I see Dr. Martin Tan.  You could tell that he didn’t believe the scar tissue theory.  I was very annoyed.  I was on top of the world and this guy was talking utter rubbish.  But I thought I will just humour him and went to see Dr. Tan. He looked me in the eye and said “I am sorry Mrs. Ganesan, but there is a malignancy somewhere and we need to find it” rubbish I thought, but never mind I will do the tests and prove that I am fine and you lot are wrong.

So they started with the most probable and were going to work their way up.  First stop the stomach region.  So it started Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, scans and MRI’S.  Sometimes, four procedures on the same day.  The procedures itself was not painful but the preparation, fasting and eating jelly day after day was just becoming tedious, and then the concussion that they make you drink before the procedure was even worse.  That stuff was making me sick.  Barium!! Keep away from that.  To put it bluntly you start shitting bricks.  With all these tests, I was either constipated or down with diarrhoea.  My stomach was churning with radioactive isotopes.  It was a wonder that I was not glowing in the dark.

glow in the dark


Hubby didn’t bring me roses, instead he would bring me sushi.  Because he knew that was the only thing that I was able to keep down.  Everything else churned that stomach even more.  He didn’t sing me any songs (thank god for that) instead he would just be there for me, telling me that I was strong and doing great.

My advice to the young ones, don’t look at the size of the diamond, just look into their eyes and see if you see kindness.  When the chips are down, diamonds and muscles wouldn’t matter.  You need someone who would walk the journey with you.  Find that rare diamond. 

I met with the school teachers and explained that there is a bit of a concern with my health, and if they could help keep an eye on the boys, watch them for any behaviour changes, empathy etc.  They were great, they were amazing.  One teacher in particular, who was also a mother in that school, met me after Hari’s soccer game.  She came up to me and asked if she could give me a hug.  I didn’t even know her that well.  She gave me the biggest hug.  It was so sincere and genuine.  This world is a beautiful place and that is because of these angels. Don’t be afraid to give a stranger a hug.  It may not mean much to you, but to the receiver it is thousands of unspoken words.  Ranges from, I empathise you, I feel for you, I am there for you in any small way I can, have hope, everything is going to be okay, you have a friend in me and you are not walking alone.  It means everything to know that you are not walking alone.

Most of the tests came back negative.  Some of them highlighted the fact that I am indeed a unique person.  I had a few extra bits and pieces inside.  I guess it makes up for all the stuff the doctors removed out of me.  An added attachment near the naval area, an extra spleen to name a few.  Finding the extra spleen was a string of  interesting tests.  One of the scans showed that my pancreas was of an odd shape.  By this time there was a pool of doctors who were working on my case.  Initially they thought that it was possible to have a slightly different shaped pancreas and nothing to be concerned about.  But it didn’t sit right with some of the doctors.  One of the doctors had this silly idea that I may have two spleens and one may be sitting in front the pancreas and hence causing the picture to show an odd shaped pancreas.  So they took my blood, added radioactive isotopes and after a couple of hours injected it back into me.  Then another scan.  The spleen works as a blood filter.  So when it filters the blood, it would trap the radioactive isotopes and be rather visible on the scan.  So, yep I had two places gleaming like the Christmas lights and the conclusion I had two spleens and nothing wrong with the pancreas.  Phew.

For some reason I was a bit anxious the day before this test.  Not sure why, but the whole procedure freaked me out.  My hubby kept saying, “don’t worry, this is nothing, you will be fine”, I didn’t want to hear that, his words were just irritating me, I thought “what do you mean this is nothing, this is big, have you done anything like this, this is freaking me out and you are trying to make it look like I am fussing over nothing”, he knew I needed someone other than him at that time, he suggested “why don’t you ring Merryn and see if you could catch up with her”.  So I rang Merryn, she was going to drop everything and come to see me.  This was all happening in the car.  I didn’t want to see her at home.  I didn’t want the kids to see me like this.  We decided to meet in an hour’s time in a restaurant.

I am not sure if I believe in Telepathy or not, because it seems almost impossible to be just a coincidence.  A few minutes after I planned this with Merryn, one of my old friends from Sydney rang, they are heading towards Adelaide and wanted to catch up.  They have been on a road trip for months.  The last time I heard from her was from Broome in WA.  Now she was going to be in Adelaide in a couple of hours.  I was so excited.  I had not seen her in years. Tears to cheers in two minutes.  Cancelled the plans with Merryn.

Kylie’s husband is another that I have always admired.  He was struck with a rare type of Kidney decease.  He didn’t stop living, as a family they did everything.  They had to alter a few things to accommodate his treatment.  But they wouldn’t settle for just moping and coping.  There were road trips, fishing, camping, cooking and a whole lot of entertainment. Joe had gone through a similar test and he said “honestly, it’s not nice”, you could see in his eyes that he empathised with me.  Somehow, I felt less freaked out after hearing this from Joe.  The carer’s job is such a hard one.  You have to know when to say “you are going to be fine”. And sometimes you have say, “this sounds really horrible, I wish you didn’t have to go through this”.  But hubby was great in knowing that sometimes, he had to allow another person like a friend or my cousin to take on that role.

Test after test went on for about 2 years.  At times they had to stop as I had too much radioactive garbage in my body and scans were not clear.  I requested a small break and we went to Queensland for a holiday.  We had the best time of our time.  In spite of all the tests we tried to live a normal life as possible.  Holidays, inviting people over for meals, kids activities etc went on as normal.  Just took a bit more planning and organisation on my part.  I couldn’t feel the cloud over my head.  Remember I was doing the tests to prove everyone wrong.  But on my part I thought if I didn’t know either way that would annoy me even more.  Tests became almost routine.  I had become an expert at the fasting procedure.  Being without food was not that hard, but no water is harder.  I will push the envelope to the last possible minute for that last sip of water.  Test after test came negative.

It was now Dec 2008.  I was referred to Endocrinologist as one of the other scans indicated that I may have a cyst in my thyroid.  Ultra sound to the thyroid revealed that it was indeed a rather large lump on the right side of the thyroid (it could be the left, any way one of them).  I was back at the St Andrews radiology the next day for a biopsy of this lump.   By this stage I was on first name basis at St Andrews Radiology.  There were a few people in the room.  One was the ultra sound technician from the day before who was doing an ultra sound to show the other two where to prick me to get the cells for the biopsy.  The other two looked like characters from Sherlock Holmes, brief case and magnifying glasses.  Someone taking a needle to my throat didn’t sit well with me.  I thought the best thing to do is to make light of the situation. I told the other two that they looked like they are from Sherlock Holmes.  We had a chuckle. Dr. Watson turned into Dr. Vampire. First set of cells were taken.   Ultra sound guy was holding my head or hand not sure what, but he was a gentle soul, who was almost apologetic for the procedure. The other two Sherlock Holmes Characters told me to stay put until they checked to see if they had enough cells.  Nope, they need to go in again.  They suggested that they give me a local anaesthetic as they were probably feeling guilty for sending a needle through my neck.  I was very happy.  My happiness didn’t last long.  The local anaesthetic goes into the neck as well and that hurt more than the other needle for the biopsy.  Once the numbness set in I didn’t feel anything and not sure how many more times they went in. I didn’t care, I didn’t feel anything.

Hubby came to pick me up.  I was chatting to him quite well.  Half way through the journey, it was like someone had an on/off button and flicked the switch, sudden pain took over my mouth, throat and neck area.  I stopped talking midway through the sentence.  I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva. I had gone through so many tests until then, they were uncomfortable, some a little painful, but this was the first time it was just unbearable.  I just cupped my neck with my palms hoping the warmth of my palms would make it feel better.  Hubby drove the car very gently, avoiding all the bumps and ruts on the road.  We got home and I slowly mumbled, “This is it, no more”, tears escaped and ran down my cheeks.  Hubby said gently “just rest now, we will talk about that later”, I kept saying “no more”, he gave me a hug and asked if I wanted a cup of tea, I signalled that I can’t swallow.  He went to pick the kids or return to work.  I am not sure, I just wanted to be left alone.  I put a pillow between my neck and chest and held on to the saliva in my mouth.  I couldn’t swallow it.  Severity of the pain subsided by night time.

The test results came back saying “inconclusive” My specialist suggested that I see a surgeon at the earliest and said due to the size of the lump it is probably advisable to remove it. He made the appointment with the surgeon.  Dr. Kollias  was fully booked.  But he still managed to fit me in by coming in early to the surgery and hence creating a spot.  This was on X’mas Eve 24th Dec 2008. He suggested that we remove one side of the thyroid, the side where the lump was.  He was looking at the first week in January for the surgery.  I requested that it be after the 19th of January.

Our wedding anniversary falls on the 19th of January.  I knew a surgery like this would mean I would be on baby food the following days.  I wanted to go out on our anniversary, wine and dine with my man.  Hubby was anxious, he would have preferred it to be sooner than later.  Dr. Kollias was not so worried and we set the date for the surgery end of Jan 2009.

I was feeling fine overall, however, the lump was now becoming a bit more prominent and I could feel its presence when swallowing.  Not exactly painful, but it was there just a minor irritation.  At times I felt extreme tiredness.  I put this down to be being a working mother with too much to do.  None of this stopped our way of living.  We had guests, we had dinner parties, a whole lot of cooking and our house was an absolute entertainer’s paradise. My end of year party was a blast as usual.

Someone asked me recently how on earth did I drag the attention to the day to day chaos and happiness even though I was going through a horrible ordeal of my own? I think for me it is the day to day chaos that got me through all this. There was no time for self pity. I believe that idle mind is a temple for negativity.

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Life went by, never did I ever stop to think of my purpose. I always thought these were just words that was hashed about in a bible class.  It was eyeball rolling moment whenever someone starts the  sentence with Phrases such “Purpose, Journey and Destiny” .  Here we go again.  Forgot to mention, I was born a Hindu, in a Buddhist country and went to an all girls catholic boarding school run by nuns.   It was an interesting childhood needless to say.

Then came the possibility of having Cancer.  Then the diagnosis of a horrible cancer… This was the first time I realised the true meaning for the word Purpose.

My purpose was to live another day, my kids were far too young to lose their mother, I had to fight.

I had a PURPOSE,

My life had PURPOSE 




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Long blog

Sorry guys the last blog was very long.  The dreaded C word part 5 …  Well this is what happens when you let cancer sufferers live.  They never shut up.  Stay tuned guys …

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Blank … Canvass, Cheque

If I was a modern art, artist I could have just left a blank space, blank blog, my blank canvass, and still could have received a blank cheque.  Makes me wonder why we pay so much for art that we really don’t understand.  Reminds me of the story where the king wore nothing but everyone pretended that he was wearing clothes made out of invisible threads.  Why do we pretend?  Does the artist pretend too, when he hangs a dead horse upside down in the middle of the Gallery and relates it to his mothers death?  Why does the rest of us who cannot fathom the relevance still nod our heads and keep the pretense alive?  Next time you see a big white canvass with a little red dot in the middle, know that the artist just had a blank moment. Nothing more, nothing less.