Thursday, February 5, 2015

yay for holidays

Early in 2014 (before I was diagnosed with breast cancer) Beth, Mikey, Holly and I planned and booked a December holiday in Melbourne. We wanted to spend Christmas together as it was the tenth anniversary of John's death on Christmas Eve. We love Melbourne and thought it would be a great place to be together to remember, celebrate and toast the best husband, father and man that we've known.

John Russell McIvor
Kind, loving, generous, supportive, honest, 
funny with a wicked sense of humour, 
a great friend and all-round good guy!

So even though I was still not feeling 100% and was wondering if I was exchanging a couch in Auckland for a couch in Melbourne, we stuck to our plan. As a precautionary measure, I did pack a variety of (legal) drugs into my suitcase just in case my health went south! Beth, Mikey and I only had a few hours flying while Holly completed a 30+ hour flying marathon to get there from London! But we all made it! We had the loveliest Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was profoundly moving to share our special memories and what John still means to us individually and as a family. The past ten years have gone by very quickly and excruciatingly slowly all at the same time. It seems like such a long time ago and just yesterday that John left us. We are always holding him close in our hearts.

Our annual Christmas hat photo!

It's amazing what a holiday can do! It was great to be somewhere interesting and different. It was nice to be out and about - exploring, shopping, eating delicious food, laughing and generally having fun with my favourite people. I managed to do way more than I thought could and came back home with a real boost to my spirits. This has stayed with me and has enabled me to face the next phase of my treatments with a much more positive frame of mind.

Enjoying summer fun times with ice creams!  

I have started hormone-blocking therapy and radiation therapy. The hormone-blocking is in the form of a daily tablet that I'll take for the next five years. Radiation is five days a week for four weeks, with the weekends off. Both therapies have side effects but these are very manageable in comparison to my experience with chemotherapy. And nothing beats the boost of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that it's all coming to an end very soon. Yay!

Christmas Hat photo credit: Thomas Finn Stewart

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