Thursday, December 07, 2006

24. Wizard of Oz

Photos: Matt at Jacobs Creek; My big bro Nick, Claire & Hayden; Kas & Hayden; The Gun Show with Kas, my wee sis Tash and Tam; Group Photo at Jacobs Creek; Mum, Kas and Dad enjoying some wine...

I never thought I was going to make it. I’ve sat on the dreaded London to Sydney trip plenty of times before and experienced the numbness of the journey…but this time I swore the seat in front of me was much closer to my face than ever before. I’m always one for encouraging people to come and visit me in bonny Scotland but I would strongly recommend a few glasses of red wine with your airline meal (can you call it that?) and pop a sleeping tablet to get you through the trip. As I write this, I’m determined to stay awake until at least 9pm tonight and try and sleep past the early 3:30am that my jet-lagged body decided to get me up at this morning. I’m also writing this with a big smile on my face…if I had a glass of champers right now, I’d say cheers to an unreal couple of weeks. Two weeks in Oz with Kas…priceless!

It was brilliant to be met by Mum, Dad, Tash and Grandpa at Sydney airport…my bro Nick, Claire and the wee man Hayden were going to meet us at my sister’s pad. Through all the emotions, hugs and the way you surprisingly tell people the flight was ‘fine’ thoughts were still about getting my hands on my wee nephew Hayden He was now 6 months old and growing into a little boy more and more each day. I could see that in the photo updates I receive. There was also going to be the time I meet my wee sister’s new boyfriend Justin. It was all going well until we were playing golf and he accidentally hit a rebounded golf ball that flew back off a tree and straight at me… I just managed to dive out of the way! Not too sure about him now…she may have to find a brother friendly boyfriend now.

As you can imagine, I hardly let Hayden go in the week that we spent in Sydney. I’m just glad I finally got to meet the latest member of the Sinclair Clan, it was a bit sad at times too when I knew this was the only time I’d get to see him as a wee baby…part of me prays that my Leukaemia tests will come back fine so that I can see him more often.

My mum had organised a huge family ‘get-together’ at a BBQ site near the Blue Mountains. Surprisingly everyone came and joined in the celebrations, park cricket, cold beer and a chance to see people on this rare occasion. There were relatives I didn’t even know I had (maybe they weren’t, could have been there for the booze!). The only thing that struggled on that day was my Scottish pasty skin when it was introduced to the hot Aussie sun. Not sure why everyone called me Casper

After the farewells, and emotional ones at that, we were back on board my good friend the aeroplane and off to Adelaide to start the wedding celebrations for Drew and Alana. As it was Karen’s birthday the next day, we decided to head out into the city and I could take her out for an early birthday meal before the hectic few days ahead. It was so good just to mill about with my boardies, thongs (or Flip Flops for the Poms), t-shirt and sunnies…even at night, minus the sunnies. The next day was all about the catch up with all my mates, two had even just flown in from UK that morning, and get started on the Stag Do for Drew! What goes on Tour, Stays on Tour: so I can only add that we dabbled in a little Go-Karting, Coopers Brewery Tour, Barefoot Lawn Bowls, a Night Club where I once again tore the dance floor up with my robot moves and then to the Adelaide Casino. I can say that the next day, I was the only one without a booze induced hangover as we all lazed down on the grass at the Adelaide Oval….not too much was said or drunk as we lazed in 35 degree heat and watched the Aussies tear into the Poms. Casper was the call once again though…

Then was it was time to almost get serious and start preparing Drew for the wedding the next day in the beautiful Barossa Valley. More and more people started to arrive for the big day and it wasn’t until a phone call from Drew on his wedding morning to run through his speech, did I realise how much of a big day this was for him.

The wedding was set in a stunning old winery, Chateau Tanunda, in the heart of the wine region. We were set up casually on the croquet pitch, rose petals were strewn from side to side and the sun even seemed to ponder in the afternoon sky in an attempt to see Alana climb out of their 1920’s car. The ceremony was nice and relaxed…I was so stoked to see them get married that day. With the scares of potentially requiring a bone marrow transplant at the same time, I was glad that my body was settled enough for me to come back to Oz and see my good mate get married to Lanski and be surrounded by all my closest old mates…

The remaining couple of days in the Barossa were spent checking out a few of the local, and not so local wineries. My parents flew to Adelaide and then drove themselves up to meet us and enjoy some more quality time before we headed back to the European winter. Jacobs Creek was a highlight, not only because I work for them here in the UK, but that it was our last day together with everyone. We were sampled plenty of free wine and were given a tour around the Winery….not a bad way to finish up.

Then it was back to the Adelaide Airport, said a some more undesired goodbyes and we were back on the flight to Scotland. The only good thing about this flight was the captain’s update as we came into Singapore – Aussie’s won the 2nd Test and Shane Warne is the Wizard of Oz! The trip has been such a good one, extremely busy but definitely glad we managed to come back to a couple of weeks and see and do so many things. As I wanted to keep taking my medication at the same time of day my body has gotten used to, I then had to get used to taking them at night. This made me almost forget out having Leukaemia and I managed to get on with a relatively normal life on my holiday…lucky for mum’s texts at night to remind to take the Gleevec though!

It’s been such a good way to ‘escape’ this dodgy cancer. Even though I know it came with me, it’s more that I managed to escape everything else that come along with the Leukaemia ‘package’…doctors, PCR’s, oncology wards and to some extent my CML Diary (although I’m very happy to be writing in it again). I’m only human; I think I will just need a break from it all every now and again…

Now it’s back to life as I left it a couple of weeks ago – plenty of Scottish drizzle, the busy period at my work, doing what I can to raise awareness for Anthony Nolan and Leukaemia Research…and then back to the docs next Wednesday for a very important PCR test. Fingers crossed…


Anonymous said...

mate, great to catch up with you and the bonny lass. lanski and i had such a great day, and it was unreal that you guys could be a part of it. shame you had to leave adelaide so early - lan, dawsie, ben, sarah and i snuck down to the cricket to watch the aussies best ever test victory!

Anonymous said...

G'Day Mate,

It was bloody good to see you again at Drews. I was glad to see the same old mate I grew up with, not much has changed. You are doing some good things here mate, for yourself and others. Keep up the fight! I'll see you in Scotland during the World Cup


Daniel Kelton

Anonymous said...

Hey Matty,

These are the first photos I've seen of Drew's wedding... It looked fantastic! It was a bit of a whirl-wind trip, but it was great having you and Kas stay at my place in Sydney... Even if I did lose my bed!!! Can't wait to see you both in July '07.

Love your wee-sis, Tash

P.S/ Justin said it's a shame the first shot didn't connect. Next time he'll aim better! ;-)

Anonymous said...

We give thanks for daffodils,
for butterflies and fragrant hills,
for spring’s new gifts that bring us joy –

We give thanks for Matt...
We give thanks for fireflies,
for hummingbirds and starlight skies,
for summer’s bounty , big and small –
We give thanks for one and all.

We give thanks for crunching leaves
for football games and longer sleeves,
for harvest moon and candy corn –
We give thanks for this autumn morn.
We give thanks for Santa’s elves,
for shopping trips and jingle bells,
for twinkling lights and manger hay –

We give thanks on Christmas Day.
(Author Unknown)

Wishing you many blessing’s of
Strength, Determination, Love & Health This Holiday Season……

Best wishes to each of you this Holiday...and I think I am going to head over yours and Martyns guys have more fun drinking then us Americans do.

Love, Stacy

Stacy Dvorak
Shakopee, MN
United States

Martyn Coyne said...

Hello Matt and family,

I have to say you are looking very healthy. I saw your post on CML support and from what I know when someone is in your situation they increase the Glivec before looking for alternatives. You PCR results haven't changed a great deal so I wouldn't worry too much.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a very healthy new year. Sorry I haven’t popped in for a while life has been too busy; it’s nice to have a little bit of time now to chill!

Thanks for your support over the last year it’s really appreciated by me and my family.

Take care,