Musings

What I learnt in 2016

At the beginning of 2016 I began twelve months long service leave from my part time job in local government. Taking the year off work meant that I could take my son to and from kindergarten and spend some quality time with him before he started school. I’m so glad I took that time. I’m glad I was able to be there. 2016 was a year of change and realisations for me, here’s some things I learnt:

  • We were wasting a lot of money: I took my LSL at half pay, which meant that I was on half the income I had been on for the past five years. It surprised me how little this affected us. I found myself wondering what I used to do with that extra money? It made me realise we can always live on less just by making a few minor changes. It also made me realise how lucky we are. We are in a fortunate position. We aren’t rich by any means but we live a comfortable life. We have big plans for that extra money when I go back to work. We know we can live without it now so will be saving it and making some good investments for the future.
  • Working from home doesn’t work for me: I hadn’t planned it, but I ended up working from home for the majority of this year. I fell into a few opportunities and also chased some. I always thought I would love working from home (it’s the dream right?) and I did but it also has its own set of challenges. I realised I like getting up, getting dressed and going to work in an office with other people. Working from home can get lonely. It can be hard to switch off, the lines between personal/family life and work life become blurred. And it’s super hard when you have a kid to look after at the same time. Kudos to all you work from home parents out there!
  • I am a writer: I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to say that and not feel like an absolute fraud (ok maybe I do still feel like a bit of a fraud). This year I started to make money from my writing but more than that I had other people tell me that I was a good writer. People outside of my own friends and family. I became more connected with my writing and came to understand just how important it is to me, how much a part of me it is. How much I truly love it.
  • I can’t just be: I am forever doing stuff. I can’t sit still, I can’t switch off. I’m always doing more than one thing at a time. I feel guilty when I relax, there is always other things I ‘should’ be doing. This is something I know that I really need to work on.
  • I learnt what true friendship is.
  • Time goes fast: I mean I knew this, we all do, but wow, I actually can’t believe it’s been a whole year! I can’t believe our little man will be at school next year. I can’t believe I’ll be back at work soon. Sometimes I look back and think what did I do with that time? Did I achieve enough? Did I make the best of it? But it is what it is. And at the end of the day I was there every day to pick my son up from kinder and that was what it was really all about.

I learnt a lot in 2016 and I’m sure I’ll learn even more in 2017 because in life you never stop learning and that’s a great thing!

What did you learn in 2016?

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Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety

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Since writing this post about my recent struggles with anxiety I’ve had many people email and message me suggesting different things to try that might help. I am always open to suggestions and have tried many different things over the years and will continue to do so. I am not anti-medication and I do believe that for some people, this is needed. For me, I knew a couple of months ago that I was in need of something more. I was struggling with everyday life, struggling to leave the house and that just wasn’t ok. So I went to my GP, we discussed it and I am now on some new medication. It is helping but that doesn’t mean I have stopped working on natural ways to manage it. I guess I just want to be really open about the fact that I am taking medication because I’m not ashamed about it and I don’t ever want anyone else to be either. The only thing I will say is that if you do ever decide to take medication (for anything really) is it important that this is done in partnership, and under the close supervision, of a trusted doctor. It is important to understand what you are taking, why you are taking it and the risks associated. Always follow the dosage your doctor prescribes and never start or stop without first seeking medical advice.

Ok, enough about that, what I really wanted to share with you today is some other things that I have tried over the years to help manage my anxiety. Some have worked, some haven’t. But I share them here today in the hope that if you suffer from anxiety, maybe they might just help you! Please remember, I am not a doctor or an expert, I am just somebody who has lived with anxiety for many years and am still figuring it for myself.

Research and understanding: Over the years I have done a lot of research on anxiety. I’ve found the more I understand it, the less afraid of it I become and the more confident I feel in managing it.  My favourite book of all time on the subject is Power Over Panic by Bronwyn Fox. It’s an easy, relatable and informative book that I had reread a number of times. There is also a companion book called Working Through Panic. I would highly recommend both. My advice is to stay away from Dr Google; the internet can often be unreliable and overwhelming but you can try asking your doctor their suggestions for helpful websites and online resources. My GP recently gave me a list of websites which provide information and free courses for people experiencing anxiety that you may like to check out:

mentalhealthonline.org.au

moodgym.anu.edu.au

mycompass.org.au

Counselling: I have been to counselling on and off for several years and I am not ashamed to admit that. Personally, I think everyone can benefit from counselling. When it comes to managing anxiety, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is highly recommended. This type of therapy helps to unlock and challenge the negative thoughts you may have that are causing your anxiety. At the end of the day I really think talking helps and having the guidance of a professional who understands anxiety can be life changing. It’s really important to find a counsellor that you feel comfortable with so don’t be afraid to try a few different ones (I have!) until you find one that you really like.

Meditation and mindfulness: I know this can be so helpful in managaing anxiety. I also know I’m slack and just don’t practice it enough…but I really need to start to make it more of a priority. Learning how to breath properly, slow down your breathing, be present, be aware of your thoughts and learn to stay in the moment is key to combating anxiety and it’s all learnt through meditation and mindfulness. There are some great free apps and podcasts out there that provide guided meditations that you can listen to and do anywhere. My current favourites are Calm, Smiling Mind, and The Meditation Podcast.

Get healthy: You need to look after yourself. It’s as simple (and as hard) as that. This is something I am constantly working on. Healthy body equals healthy mind! You need to eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. I always find my anxiety is worse when I’m tired. Get outside, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine..I find that always helps.

Herbs and Tea: A few months ago I visited a Naturopath and was given some herbal supplements (in tablet form) to take. Apparently turmeric is very good for anxiety. For me, I didn’t find it made a big difference but my anxiety was really quite high by that point so maybe if I had gone earlier it may have helped to prevent me getting to that point.  I’ve also been drinking herbal tea before bed each night to help me sleep. I’ve been using Sleepy Soul from Love Tease.

Crystals: Some people might think it’s a load of hippy crap; me? Well I’m willing to try anything and figure it can’t do any harm so why not! I recently purchased some crystals and often carry them with me. I’ve been told the best place to put them is inside your bra. For a list of crystals that are believed to help anxiety see HERE.

Oils: Many people swear by the healing powers of oils…and they sure do smell nice! My favourite calming scent is lavender. I burn it in a diffuser every night before bed and also carry a vile of it to sniff and dab onto my pulse points if I’m feeling anxious. I’m told Doterra is the place to go for essential oils.

So that’s a few of the things I use to manage my anxiety. Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other suggestions?

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True Friendship

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They say there are three types of friends in life; friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime. Growing up I always had friends. I wouldn’t have ever called myself popular but I always had friends, at least the type of friends one has when they’re young; friendships that are fickle. One day your ‘best friends forever’ and the next day you’re not. I’ve had many friends come and go over the years.

During my teenage years I had a close circle of girlfriends, we’d have sleepovers and pass notes to each other in class. Towards the end of high school I moved to a new town and changed schools and it left me in no mans land. I tried hard to stay close with my friends at my old school but always felt a bit out of the loop. I tried to make friends at my new school but never felt like I really fitted in.

Friendships in my twenties consisted of my then boyfriend (now husbands) friends and the people I worked with. Conversation basically revolved around what had happened on the night out before or work; even outside of work. But then we grew up. People broke up. Others finished their uni degrees and moved on to different work. To this day I remain in contact with a few of those original work friends, and one in particular has gone on to be one of my closest friends…we still bitch about work but our friendship these days is based on so much more than that.

Now I’m in my thirties (and a parent) and I feel like I’ve finally hit the golden years of friendship. It’s the years when you discover your best friends really are your husband, your mum and your sister. It’s the years where you figure out who you are, walk away from toxic friendships and have no time for people who only ever call when they want something. I’m surrounded by good people, good friends. There are those friends that I may not see that often but know if ever I need them, they’d be there in a second. We can go for months without seeing each other and it’s like time never passed.

Then there are those friends that I see more often, on a weekly or sometimes even daily basis. These friends have been my saving grace these past few months.
My bestie (who I’ve written about here before), she’s the one who waits for me in the car park everyday at kinder because for me, just knowing she is there if I have a panic attack is enough to make me not have one. She’s also the one I called the day I had a massive panic attack at the check out at the supermarket and I had to walk out leaving my trolley full of shopping behind. She was there within five minutes to pay for and collect my shopping. No judgement. Ever.

Then there’s the new friend I’ve made this year (who also happens to now be my boss) but who I feel like I’ve been friends with forever. She’s the one who’s reintroduced me to the art of the telephone conversation. When I first started working with her I would email her (having worked in local government for over a decade, that’s just the way we communicate) and then she would call me. I would text her and then she would call me. I pretty quickly figured out she liked talking on the phone, a rarity these days and so it was a weird for me to start with. But now? I love those daily (sometimes three or more times daily) phone conversations. We get each other, without need for explanation and that’s a really nice thing to have.

I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and I know the people who are in my life are meant to be here, right now, for a reason (and hopefully a lifetime). I now know exactly what true friendship is and I’m lucky to have an abundance of it in my life.

Are you surrounded by true friends?

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NaNoWriMo- What I Learnt

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As many of you would know, this year I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) for the very first time. The goal? To write a 50,000 word manuscript during the month of November. I managed 12,227 words. Now, for me it was never really about the words, I said that right from the beginning, it was more about the experience. I have never written a book before, I’ve never even tried, so I was really interested to see how I would find it. NaNoWriMo was something I was using to hold myself accountable, to at the very least, make a start. I started off great, managing to keep up the first week or so but then it all got pushed to the side when my mental health took a nose dive. Then, the most important thing for me became that. The story went out of my head, the characters left because my mind was focused elsewhere, it needed to be. And that’s ok, life happens. I learnt so much in just that one week and 12,227 words that I certainly don’t regret signing up and I am far from feeling a failure. Instead I’m thinking about all the things I learnt and how they will help me become a better writer in the future.

Here’s what I learnt: 

I learnt about the gap. If you’re not aware of what the gap is, let me explain. The gap refers to that space between the story in your head and the story on paper. It goes like this: you think up this story is your head and it’s amazing. The characters are so real, the story is captivating. And then you go to write it and it just doesn’t come out the way you picture it. You can’t find the right words, the right description, it just doesn’t seem…right. Writers hate the gap. It’s our goal to close the gap. And for me, I discovered the gap was large. I had/have the story in my head, the characters are all there, major plot points etc but when it comes to actually getting that out…it all came out a bit wrong. Closing the gap is something I really need to work on.

I learnt writing a book is hard. I mean of course I knew that, if it was that easy everyone would write an award winning novel and get it published straight away. But as I was writing I was really wondering how people do it; like literally. Not only does it take time and talent but also a lot of patience and perseverance. I’m not sure that I will ever have that type dedication. I mean writing a draft is one thing but then reworking and rewriting that draft, pulling it to bits and then having others pull it to bits, sometimes often for years, well, I just don’t know that I’d have that in me. It just makes me admire my favourite authors even more.

I learnt the need to put perfectionism aside. Particularly when writing a first draft. At the beginning it was slow going, I kept rereading over what is written, fixing up parts, trying to get the words just right. Then I realised if I ever wanted to finish I just couldn’t do that. It’s like Shannon Hale said “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” I like that.

I learnt I need to work on my creative writing. Everyday writing, blog posts, opinion pieces, social media, that all comes quite easily to me. Creative writing? Not so much. When I was a kid and into my teenage years it was the only way I would write. But it’s been years. Maybe I’ve lost that, or maybe I just need to find it again. Maybe I need to do some short courses, polish my skills or maybe, just maybe creative writing just isn’t my thing. Time will tell I guess.

I learnt there is always time for writing. Even if your life is busy, you work,  you have kids, whatever; you can always make time for writing if you really want to. Simple as that.

And so, that’s what I learnt. If you joined in NaNoWriMo this year I’d love to hear how you found it. What did you learn?

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I will be ok

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So much to say that I don’t really even know where to start….If you follow me on facebook or instagram you will probably know that I have been struggling a bit with my anxiety lately. Truth is, I’ve been struggling a lot. Sometimes I really hesitate sharing things like that. I’ve always be very open about my battles with anxiety (and in the past, depression) but sometimes I worry. I worry mainly about what people will think of me; that they will think I’m crazy, unstable, weak, weird or unhappy with my life. But actually, none of these things are true at all. And I guess that’s why I choose to share my experience. Because I want to reduce the stigma, I want people to understand that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your life is like; anxiety can affect anyone. Men, women, mothers, children, professional people, doctors, lawyers, confident people…anyone. Anxiety is real, it is common and it can be really debilitating. So yes, I’ve been struggling with anxiety and I’m ok with admitting that.

Anxiety has been part of my life…always. It has come and gone in different ways and levels of severity over the years. There have been times when I have gone years without a panic attack and other times when I have been so crippled by them that I couldn’t leave the house. Before having my son, I think I had probably gotten to the place where I was able to talk myself through a panic attack. I would focus on my breathing, do a bit of positive self talk and eventually it would pass. If all else failed I could crawl into my bed and sleep it off. But since becoming a mother I’ve found that my anxiety overall has gone to a new level. I guess it’s the fact that I have this entire other little human being that I am completely responsible for. And of course, as mothers, we always put ourselves last, we run ourselves into the ground, spend a lot of time worrying, looking after everyone else…and feeling guilty. And no longer do I have the opportunity to just sleep it off! When you’re a mum you just have to keep going.

So how did I get here? How did my anxiety get so bad? Well I could tell you the long complicated story of my life, who I am and where I’ve come from; all the things that have made me the type of person who is susceptible to anxiety. Or I could tell you about all of the things that have happened over the past year or so; the big things and the small things that we’ve dealt with that have maybe contributed to my anxiety…but I would be here all day! So instead, let me just try to explain to you what’s been going on the past few months and how my anxiety has spiraled.

One day a few months ago when I was driving my son to kinder I had a really big panic attack. My hubby had recently had gastro and I had been feeling a bit off that morning. The drive to kinder from our house is about fifteen minutes. As I drove I started to feel more and more sick, I felt like I wanted to vomit, or run to the toilet or pass out. My son was chatting non stop (as he does) asking a million questions and I was just trying to focus on driving and not being sick. And then I started to panic. There was nowhere to stop, what if I didn’t make it to the toilets at kinder on time? What if I passed out while driving? What if, what if…and so my mind went and before I knew it I was having a full blown panic attack. By the time I pulled up at kinder I was shaking so bad that I had to get a friend to walk my son into kinder for me. And then of course my son started to panic too; he kept asking what was wrong with me, I just told him I was sick. And then he started to cry “Mummy, when you feel sick I feel sick too.” My heart broke. From that day on, every time I drive to kinder I get anxious and usually end up having a panic attack. I have to take that trip six times a week. It’s exhausting. And now of course I’ve become trapped in that vicious cycle…afraid of when the next panic attack will hit. What if I’m at the shops and it happens? What if I’m driving my car and it happens? Of course the more I think about it and worry about it the more likely it is that it will happen. And so it has. The panic attacks have been coming thick and fast. I feel like I’m standing in an ocean and the waves keep coming. I get knocked down, I stand back up, only to get knocked down again.

I’m pretty good at seeing the warning signs, I know when my anxiety is getting out of control…I spoke about it here not to long ago when I made the decision to give up all the work I was doing from home, thinking this would make a difference and relieve any stress I had…it didn’t. I’ve tried a number of other things too; things that have worked in the past and also new things; from meditation to herbs to crystals and essentials oils and everything in between…. I’ve tried it all. Last week, it eventually got to the point when I knew I needed professional help and so I made myself a doctors appointment. My doctor agreed that at this stage I probably need medication. The thing is, I will need to slowly wean myself off my current medication to then start a new one. Unfortunately this means things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But that’s ok, because if there is one thing that I have definitely have learnt through all my years of suffering from anxiety it’s that I will be ok. This too shall pass. It may get worse, I may have to take some medication short term, I may have some hard work to do but I will get through it. And I will be ok. In the meantime I have a fantastic support crew; my husband, my mum, my sister, my bestie, my boss and all my other friends who have rallied around me these past few months and of course, my lovely blog readers. I know I have lots of people I can call upon, talk to and ask for help if I need it and for that I am forever grateful. Yep, I will be ok.

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Neighbours

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It’s been over ten years since we moved into our home. We were the first people on the street after building in a brand new estate. In the following few weeks we were joined by three other couples, all around the same age as us at the same stage in their life; moving into their first home, excited and full of dreams for the future.

It was summer and we would often spend our evenings sitting our front in the street chatting away. Time went on. One couple split up and moved out, another couple sold their house and moved to a different town. Today, only two of the four original couples remain, one being us. Our street has slowly turned into a revolving door of renters. The couple who fought loudly all the time, the young group of friends who threw parties and played loud music every weekend, the guy with the loud car that he would start up at 4am every morning, the family who we never saw. They’ve all come and gone. I find myself not even bothering to say hi anymore. I walk quickly to my front door from my car not wanting to make eye contact or engage in conversation. I can’t be bothered and don’t want to be bothered.Part of me doesn’t mind. I quite like just keeping to myself. Our home is our sanctuary and my retreat. But the other part of me is a little sad, that our son isn’t growing up in a neighbourhood where there are other kids his age that he can play with or neighbours that we know well enough to call upon in a time of need.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about moving. It’s an idea we’ve kept coming back to for many years now. And we probably will eventually. This was never meant to be our forever home. But it’s also a scary thing, to leave a home you’ve been in for ten years. And we know that we will struggle to find (and afford) exactly what we want. Blocks of land are so much smaller these days and I think, isn’t it funny, that we’re all so much closer yet more disconnected than ever before. Do you agree?

Do you live in a friendly neighbourhood?

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Taking Stock

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A quick catch up today as it’s a public holiday here in Melbourne (Cup day) and also officially the first day of NaNoWriMo. I have no idea if I’m going to be able to keep up with blogging or if I’m even going to feel like writing after attempting to write 1500 words everyday so if things get a little quiet around here you know why!

But before I jump head first into the month long writing challenge I thought it was a good time to stop and take stock with Pip’s Taking Stock list. Here we go:

Making: An indoor herb garden. It’s on the to do list for this week! I’ve got herbs, just need to buy the pots.

Cooking: Nothing much exciting lately, I’ve been in a bit of a slump but that’s gotta change! Anyone got any great simple recipes to share?

Drinking: Freshly squeezed orange juice with my breakfast.

Reading: These books. I’ve also just finished The Dry by Jane Harper which I loved. I’m not sure if I’ll get much reading done in the next month though.

Wanting: My anxiety to fuck off.

Looking: Forward to summer and Christmas holidays.

Wishing: My anxiety would fuck off. (Noticing a theme here?)

Enjoying: Daylight savings.

Waiting: For our great bunch of friends to come over and celebrate Melbourne Cup day with us today.

Wondering: How our little man will go at school next year. I hope he loves it!

Loving: My friends. I’ve called on two in particular in recent times, they get my anxiety and have really been there for me. Thank you. You know who you are.

Pondering: How I’m actually going to manage to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

Listening: To Smiling Mind meditations at bed time.

Buying: Christmas presents. I started last week, determined to get it all done early this year!

Watching: Some good new Aussie dramas- The Wrong Girl and Doctor Doctor. Who else has been watching?

Cringing: At the recent online drama. between two bloggers That’s all I have to say about that.

Needing: A nap…always.

Wearing: My PJ’s

Knowing: It will be ok. 

Thinking: too much. It’s a problem of mine.

Getting: Sick of hearing about the American election. Is it over yet?!

Bookmarking: House floor plans. We’re dreaming of a new house again!

Disliking: Spam, auto bots and the follow then unfollow trend on Instagram. Annoying much!

Giggling: At our lil mans dance moves. Crack up!

Feeling: Loved.

Celebrating: Melbourne Cup day! And lots of little ones birthdays this month.

Embracing: The next three months at home with my boy before I go back to work next year! 

For those of you that read my post last week and are wondering what the results of my biopsy were, at this stage, it’s still a bit unclear. Pathology results came back as not being skin cancer however the specialist was not happy with some parts of the results and still wants to remove the lesion. I’m currently seeking a second opinion. Whilst I know it’s better to be safe than sorry with these things I have also unfortunately had bad experiences in the past where I’ve undergone procedures that just weren’t necessary, so I’ve learnt now to question things. I won’t be cutting anything off my face unless I need to and will also be asking for a referral to a plastic surgeon if that is necessary. Thank you to everyone who commented, called or sent me a message after my post, I really really appreciate it.

And that’s it from me for now. What’s new with you lately?

’til next time

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Book Reviews- October

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It’s been all about non fiction books for me this month. Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Gut, The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ: Giulia Enders

Giulia Enders is a German writer and scientist who has been studying the human gut for years. In this book Giulia explains in simple and often humorous ways, the inner workings of the gut and how it affects so many aspects of our health. I found this book really interesting, in particular the relationship between gut health and things like anxiety and depression; it’s definitely opened my eyes to some things. If you’re into learning more about how your body works and how to manage your health in more natural ways then this is a must read!

On Writing– Stephen King

I’ll admit upfront that I’m not a Stephen King fan, as in I’ve don’t think I’ve ever read one of his books or watched any of the movies. But I certainly respect him as a creative mind and even more so since reading this book. It is part memoir and part instructions on writing; and the two blend perfectly together. Because I didn’t know much about him, it was interesting to read Stephens life story and he has some really great, practical advice on writing. I also love how he is straight to the point and just tells it like it is. Every writer or aspiring writer will find pieces of gold in the book, I’m sure of it.

Bird by Bird– Anne Lamont

This one has been on my ‘must read’ list for a long time after having it recommended to me by so many people. Similar to On Writing, Bird by Bird is a must read for any writer, no matter what level you’re at. It has so many great tips on how to get started, how to overcome obstacles, where to find ideas, how to get those ideas out of your head and more. Anne shares her own experiences on writing and publishing openly and honestly which was a nice reminder that it doesn’t come easy to anyone; all writers have to do they hard work.

Cabin Porn– Zach Klein

This book is based on the tumblr website Cabin Porn which is a collection of beautiful images of cabins submitted by people from all over the world. The book contains two hundred of these images as well as ten ‘behind the scenes’ stories about the people who built the cabins. It makes a gorgeous coffee table book and flipping through it makes me want to runaway and build a cabin in the woods.

What have you been reading this month? Any of these books tickle your fancy?

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One Step at a Time

A couple of months ago I was at my GP, “What’s that on your face?” My doctor asked, squinting and leaning forward. She was talking about this…

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“Oh I dunno” I said, touching the spot “That’s always been there…what is it?”

My doctor said she wasn’t sure, nothing to worry about at all but she could give me a referral to a dermatologist if I liked, they could probably just shave it off, make the skin smooth. Sure, I said, why not. So she gave me a referral and I made an appointment.

On the day of the appointment I considered cancelling it. The spot didn’t really bother me that much so did I really need to go? But I kept the appointment anyway. The dermatologist came in, asked me a few questions then started to examine the spot. He went very quiet. After a while he asked me,

“How old are you?”

“33” I answered.

“Hmm” he paused “So, I think what you have there is skin cancer.”

Say what? Did he just use the C word? I tried not to panic and focus on what he was saying. He explained that he believed it was a BCC lesion, the most common type of skin cancer.  My mind wandered back to just twenty minutes before when we’d been walking down Chapel Street and had spotted Jarryd Roughead, the footballer who’d had a skin cancer spot removed a couple of years ago only to find out recently the cancer had spread. This is what I was thinking about as the doctor spoke to me.

He assured me that it is very rare for this particular type of cancer to spread, it is usually self-contained. The first step would be to get a biopsy, just to be one hundred percent sure that his diagnosis was right. It would need to be removed obviously. Non-surgical removal wasn’t an option, it would need to be cut out and due to its size he recommended that it be done in hospital under general anaesthetic (and we all know how I feel about hospitals). I asked a few questions and the doctor answered them but mainly he just said we need to take it one step at a time, starting with the biopsy. So that’s where I am today, off to get the biopsy done. I’m trying not to worry, of course it would be great if the results come back and the doctor has made a big mistake but if it turns out he’s right…well, like he said, one step at a time.

Regardless of what the results say I’ve learnt a good lesson; something I’ve read about and heard about and been told about before but never really worried about before; check your spots, know your body, get any changes checked out. It is always better to be safe the sorry.

I’ll keep you updated on how I go, wish me luck!

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo, www.saradipity.com.au

Last week I signed up for NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t already know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an annual online event where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in one month (November). I’d been thinking about joining in this year (for the first time ever) when a friend posted that she was doing it and encouraged me to do the same. I’ve always wanted to write a book; there’s always been an excuse not to, but right now, I really have no excuse. I’m not working at the moment so I have the time (albeit only about twelve precious hours a week whilst my son is at kinder) and I do have an idea… of course it’s only fear holding me back. But, like my wise friend said I can not do it and still be in the exact same place in a month that I am now or I do it and who knows….at the end of the day at least I will be able to say I’ve tried.

I am under no grand illusions that writing this book will actually lead anywhere, that’s honestly not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it purely for the experience, to see if I actually can do it, to see if I can take the ideas in my head and put them into words, shape them into a story. It’s been so long since I have even attempted to write fiction. I used to do it a lot when I was younger but now I have no idea where to even start! So I’ve been reading some books, (On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont to start) seeking some advice and then last week I received perhaps the best piece of advice of all from published author Wendy Orr who told me “Support like this is fantastic and these books on writing are great but never forget that it’s your own journey and you’ll find your own path as you do it”. And so I’m going to try really hard to remember that when I start my journey next month (thanks Wendy).

Have you done NaNoWriMo before? Are you joining in this year? Any tips or pieces advice you have for me?

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