A Quick Status Update

I’m not dead. :-) More seriously, I’ve not been blogging as much as I used to for the past year or so, really down to more use of Twitter plus spending a lot more time off the computer than before (which is a good thing!).

Why?

Well basically just over a year ago I spent several weeks in hospital following what was meant to be keyhole surgery to remove my gallbladder, only to find out when I woke up I had a 20cm cut across my stomach. My bile duct was found to be adhered to the gallbladder with scar tissue and had to open me up to sort it all out. That started a rollercoaster of an ongoing bile leak, IV antibiotics, a nasal-stomach tube, hospital transfer, another operation to wash out my abdomen, more drain tubes, MRIs, saline drips, confusion over whether I had a post-op infection or a reaction to the bile leak which still wouldn’t go away, another drain tube in my back, ECG plus a drip in my other arm for a day following high K in a blood test and eventually a gradual recovery to the point where I could go home (complete with the original drain tube, though the others had come out). One night after minor surgery had turned into over 3 weeks over 2 different hospitals. Oh, and Donna being told at one point I had a 1 in 10 chance of not making it.

The day before I got out of hospital I tweeted what I’d realised was important to me whilst I was laid up in bed all that time:

Thought for the day: life is all about having experiences, you need to make the most of the opportunities whilst you can

We all too often let life fly by while concentrating on the immediacies and we forget to stop and smell the flowers.

Within a few weeks of me being home and recovered to the point of getting back to work Donna found a lump. That lump started off another whirlwind of mammogram, biopsy, doctor, tears, breast surgeon, mastectomy, recovery, several months of chemotherapy, recovery and finished off with a prophylactic mastectomy. The original tumour was a nasty and aggressive mixed type, it had grown to 3cm in the space of a few months (usually it’s about 1cm per year) and had a 50% chance of return to the same breast and 40% to the other – so no time to be sentimental.

No sooner were we through that than a tree fell on our house whilst we slept. Fortunately the damage was minimal, though the fact that it landed on our bedroom roof and then rolled off gave us one hell of a wake up call at 3am! It’s all patched up now.. :-)

After all that we decided we wanted to get closer to our local community. We’ve both started to get involved with local groups for different things, Donna has found that she’s now eligible to go to U3A at a number of places and is rapidly booking herself into fun stuff. We’ve found a poetry group and writing group we both go to which is quite fun (and very different to my usual stuff).

I’ve gotten involved with the Mount Burnett Observatory, a community group dedicated to restoring the old Monash University observatory at Mount Burnett – it’s already functional and there are members nights every Friday with talks and the chance to observe when the weather is good (which being Melbourne can change in the space of a few minutes).

I’ve also gone back to archery – I did try it for a while during my first year of university and I did like it but for some reason now lost in the mists of time I didn’t go back to it. Now I’ve found the Sherbrooke Archers not too far away and went along to their “have a go” sessions with Donna and decided to take it further and did their beginners course, even managed to get my OzBow 20m qualification. :-) The archery bug has now well and truly bitten me and I’ve now bought a horse bow (classed as “barebow recurve”) along with arrows and the rest of the essentials and I’ve just now joined Sherbrooke Archers as a full member so I can go and shoot there at any time.

I’m still doing my photography, whether it’s at local events, places, or even work!

Amazing Fire Baton Throw - Belgrave Lantern ParadeFire JugglerDiscarded LanternThe Dalek, the UFO and the Olympics..Italianette Maroondah ReflectionsWalk Into The LightVLSCI IBM BlueGene/Q "Avoca" cabled up, powered up and in testing in just 5 days!The big red #EMO button, for depressed equipmentNearly there lads!Melbourne summer morning

Of course we’ve got more stuff we want to do – there’s a heap of work needed in the garden, I’ve built up almost 30 days leave at work which I need to start getting into and there are friends around Victoria we want to go and visit..

So all in all we’re having a great time. Don’t forget to sieze the moment, because if you blink you might miss it, and it may never come again..

Donna and Chris with rainbow over Cardinia lake