Saturday 28 September 2013

In Which It All Gets A Little More Serious

Hello there internet, welcome back to The Bunker Girls. It's been a while: I suppose we had the natural tailing off of things - waning enthusiasm, less of the new etc. However I am resurrecting the blog for rather different reasons now, and it's up to you whether you care or not. I know many of you really really do, so I'm going to jump in and see what happens, classic Bunk style. If you don't give a shit, don't bother reading any further; this is not for you.

Firstly an apology: many of you message me regularly for updates and I am sporadic at best in reply. Rest assured all of you that if I had the time, energy and wherewithal I would reply to each one of you individually. However I think we must accept this as the second best option, and the one which stands the most chance of happening regularly. Please please please don't stop messaging me, I thrive on your communication; also please feel free to leave comments on the blog or FB, I absolutely love getting any kind of message from you all, really truly. 

For the uninitiated the reason behind all this is that Keith my husband and the father of Darcey and Florence has been diagnosed with secondary liver and lung cancer (from a so-called unknown primary source). We have known since the end of June - it's been a fairly whirlwind existence since then. He's been having chemo for a few months now, but it's not been working as well as they (the powers at the Prince Of Wales hospital in Randwick, Sydney) would like so his chemo regime is changing as of next week. Not knowing the primary source makes it harder to target so there is an element of trial and error (albeit the most educated and probably the cleverest trial and error I have ever witnessed). However despite the fact Keith's cancer has not been staged (to us anyway) the chemo cannot be curative - it is terminal.

We're kind of OK ish in the broadest sense of the word. There is very very little point wailing and screaming and wondering "why him/why us" because quite frankly there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. I haven't the time to spare naval gazing and dwelling on it all: I've work/kids/house/life shit to deal with and if I spent the rest of the time feeling sorry for myself/us I wouldn't have any fun. It's not that I don't hate it, of course I do! But I won't let it take over any more than it already has. One of us has to attempt to remain sane through all this, and it's never likely to be Florence. Keith is, well, fairly crap. He feels really tired/sick/occasional awful pain and the chemo is pretty brutal and full of rubbish side effects and mostly just drains him completely. He will still work (very occasionally) but it's all quite a struggle to do anything. We have moved (which was fun - oh wait no it wasn't) but it means we have lots more space now for Keith to lounge around in the daytime, lots of lovely Sydney light and a view of Waverley cemetery, so that's been a good thing. Mostly though we operate within the bounds of the 'take each day as it comes' cliche because a) we have to and b) we have to.

The girls are completely awesome as always. They are very aware something is going on, something is different. There seems to be little point hiding anything from them, they are kids and will see straight through us if we do. Floz in particular enjoys a good old jaunt to the Oncology Day Centre (she is a big fan of the blood tests - she was named after Florence Nightingale in fairness). They know he has chemicals in him every so often and they know he is poorly so has to sleep lots (although he was already labelled Lazy Daddy so that's not much of a difference tbh). Sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world being with them and knowing how poorly Keith is, but then they will ask me to put Avicii on and want to draw rainbows and it's all fine again. They're kids, they ground us, and they are what will pull me through.

As it stands we're staying in Sydney. We have only been here a year, but it's where we want to be. Keith's treatment takes centre stage and at the heart we like it here. We're taking the laughter with the tears, and he is feeling SO MUCH LOVE right now. If you know Keith you know why: he's one of the best men you will ever have the privilege of meeting. He's certainly the best father my girls could ever want. There has been something of an outpouring from old/new/lost friends everywhere and it really makes him glow each time. It's wonderful from my perspective too, to see him moved by the emails and your communication. I will aim to update this regularly with all the news so you can dip in as you wish. Nag me for updates: if you ever want to talk message me and I will send you my mobile number. 

Time to sign off for now - I think this is as much as any of us needs on this occasion. I don't believe in fate or karma: I don't believe we live a predetermined existence, or that anyone or anything else has the power to define our lives. I believe you get out what you put in; I believe in hard work and the laws of physics. This is a thoroughly shocking state of affairs but there are as many highs in this as there are lows (and I don't just mean the morphine, although he is on that, and I am very jealous). It can't be changed but there are elements of this that can be embraced. Newton's Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Harness the energy folks. Keep us smiling.

Signing off from No.1 Beach Street, Clovelly, Sydney.

Helen xxxx