Tuesday, January 30, 2007

27. Australia Day

Photos: Dawsie, Darren and I at Australia Day BBQ; Jas and Aussie Dog Lucy; Snow time behind my house - Freezing Geese; Queens View looking up to Loch Lomond

The weather wasn't what we were used to for this time of year. For most of my life, I've spend Australia Day enjoying a few cold beers and cooking a BBQ feast in the hot sun - the middle of January can send down a few scorching days. But with a little persistence, endurance and the thought of a nice charred burger, us boys stuck it out in the cold winter of bonny Scotland and turned out a pretty tasty BBQ. Most of the neighbourhood probably thought we were a bunch of nutters but while they were inside munching on their haggis, we were enjoying our Scottish version of Australia Day...gold!

The first few weeks of January have proven to be pretty quiet over here and that's given me some time to get sorted for my accent up Mount Kilimanjaro. As I've said all along, I will properly commit to it and the end of next month when I need to hand over the cold, hard cash. That's when the fun will begin... My goal is to raise at least £15,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust as most of the other fundraisers I've done were for Leukaemia Research. We're slowly putting together a team of my mates...even my old man has put his name down for the stagger up 20,000 feet. Watch this space for more info...

I've only discovered recently the amount of people out there writing blogs about their CML experience. Obviously I would never wish this upon anyone but in a way it's good to know there are others going through the same thing as I am - tests, PCR's, hospitals, crazy nurses. I guess the fact that it's been about 15 months since I was diagnosed, has meant that most things in my life have been forced to continued as normal.
The first months after diagnosis is all about the shock of what has been told to you by the docs, the next few months after the that are usually to show your positive outlook and strength, most will try fundraising for their chosen Leukaemia charity, then before you know it's been 6 months and you're still stuck with it. As the year progresses, most CMLers are equipped with enough haemotology knowledge that would put some normal practisioners to shame and it's something you eventually become quite comfortable talking about. I noticed myself chatting away too freely on the odd occasion, only to be met with a confused, blank look. Then the 1 Year Diagnosis Anniversary roles around eventually - for most people, they are still feeling well enough to continue their job, sport and hobbies but it's about now that you realise that this will stay with you for life. The disease and the experience.
I'm lucky that I have great support around me and I also feel lucky that I can now go out with most people and the words CML or Leukaemia won't get mentioned. I'm somehow bordering on the line of normal and the cancer sufferer...
But as I've written time and time again, it's the attitude you take that will determine whether something can grab and pull you down with it or you can take a positive stance and push yourself in every way to overcome what has been put in your way. The choice is there, laying in front of you.

For me I've chosen to kick the shit out of CML and my buddy in doing this will hopefully be my new medication I am to start in 1 1/2 weeks time - Nilotinib. Dubbed "the son of Gleevec", it's made by the same company Novartis and it's been made 30 times more potent that the wonder drug itself. Fingers crossed...

* In the meantime if you get a chance, check out Shira's website - she has just gone through her 3rd bone marrow transplant and she is doing really well..


* 3 Year Old Eva is in desperate need of a Bone Marrow Donor. She has a rare form of Leukaemia and is awaiting someone to come forward and join the Anthony Nolan Registry:

Keep the messages and emails rolling in...


Anonymous said...

Hey Matty, its your cousin Tommy here. Good to see you didn't let a bit of cold weather get in the way of a good Ozzy Day Bbq, did you pull out the Oz Day Beer Bong??? Hope so!!! We're all lovin your website Matty, keep those posts coming. Who would have thought you would be a world famous author at the age of 28??? Say g'day to your scottish fam for us all.

Anonymous said...

G'day to you too, Matt

I was hoping to read all of your blog before replying to your comment on my blog, but thats not happened yet - there are just not enough hours in the days :-)

What a rollercoaster you have been on - I sincerely hope "son of Gleevec" kicks that cml of yours all the way down - way, waaay down!

I have to say that since Steven was diagnosed, I have had more hope, love and living in my life. And he says the same has happened for him. Strange, hey?

Keep your wonderful attitude -and I love your style of writing.

Love and light

Annie (Steven's mum)
(and from the Steward clan)

Annie Baggett
United States

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

Glad to hear that you're doing well too. Good luck with nilotinib, I hope it does the trick for you. Thanks for checking in on me, I really appreciate it! Hey, when you get to the top of Mt. Kili (I too hope to ascend that moutain one day) give yourself a big pat on the back from me! And you're right, it's all in the attitude with maybe a little help from modern medicine.
All the best,

Shira Weisbach
Oakland, CA
United States

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

I had heard about your diagnosis through the ever reliable Cowra grapevine. What a shock, but after reading this blog I can see that you have approached dealing with it like you always did everything else: with a super positive attitude and a superstar smile! This is seriously inspirational stuff Matt. And just quietly, I don't think Captain Sam Galactic himself could top it....

Best wishes and a speedy recovery

Hayley Dean

Hayley Dean hayleydean@gmail.com
United Kingdom

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, we have only just found your site, we have read it and Jack has looked through it, we wanted to say Hi to you and keep going, x www.caringbridge.org/visit/jackmcgrath

us lot xx squirtno1@aol.com
United Kingdom