Thursday, November 28, 2013

Update on Amy

I went to see my oncologist today with a copy of the latest scans (taken on Tuesday) and blood tests.  The scans showed that there was some progress of cancer in the liver and the blood tests show that my tumour markers continue to rise (the last 3 have been steadily increasing).  So, we are now on to the next treatment. 

I will be going back to a chemotherapy treatment starting tomorrow (Saturday).  The chemotherapy is called Xeloda.  The good thing is that it is in a tablet form so I don't have to go in to hospital for IV infusions.  The bad thing is the list of possible side effects (again).  The worst sounds like possible sore hands/feet (peeling of the skin on palms of hands and soles of feet).  I guess the good news is that I shouldn't lose my hair (although this seems to bother other people more than me - I would happily be bald for the rest of my days if the treatment was working!).  I will do 14 days on the tablets and then a 7 day break.  During the break period I will have blood tests done and visit the oncologist to monitor how we are going.  My white cell count is a bit low at the moment so the doctors are keen to keep an eye on that. 

My first cycle I will only take the tablets for 7 days as I am booked in to have my gall bladder removed on 17 December.  An early Christmas present!  One thing is certain, life is not dull here in the Hickman family!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Audrey's dance school organised a huge end of year show at the Playhouse in Canberra's Theatre. There were masses of children (and eager parents) there and all of the kids performed admirably. Because the dance school concentrates on different forms of dance there was everything from break-dancing to tap to jazz.

Audrey loves her ballet classes. Her teacher is excellent and as the class goes on behind closed doors we rarely get a chance to see her practicing her art!

The school did two performances (at 1pm and 7pm) and Amy patiently sat with Audrey through the dress rehearsal the night before as well as helping out with the preparation leading up to the shows.

It was funny watching the kids enthusiasm - one or two plodded around a bit, but others danced frantically and with huge smiles. Audrey's class was (I think) Act 19 (of about 25) so there was a bit of waiting until we watched her 3 minute show.

Here's a few brief clips though together with the finale where all the kids were on stage. Audrey was so hyped up afterwards and talked non-stop for about 3 hours after the show!

Celebrating after the show (girl power!)

Hula Hoops

A friend of a friend sent us some Hula Hoops from the UK. They're not available in Australia (other than through 'English food' shops of which there are a few, albeit none in Canberra). The Australian equivalent are 'Cheezles' but although they're anatomically similar are quite different in taste and texture.

The kids loved the Hula Hoops, although as there are only 6 packets in the bag I hope they don't get too keen on them!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wonder Woman!

Good use of the indestructible bracelets to deflect the bullets!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eli and the tadpole skull!

[I've not needed to write today's post as it was written by Eli's pre-school teacher, Eloise!]

Eli and Sam discovered a 'tadpole skull' at the bottom of the tank today. They decided to organise a survey and find out what the class thought so they asked each student if they thought tadpoles have skeletons. I wrote out their questions and they placed a dot next to either yes or no depending on what people thought.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Local Gold Guerilla Gigs

Amy was quite ill this weekend. It's worrying for everyone when she's sick and we were visited by amazing nurses late on Saturday night who looked after her.

She was really drained on Sunday and so I took the kids out for much of the day, allowing Amy to stay and rest.

We scooted to our usual Sunday morning haunts of the Southside Farmer's market as well as to Audrey's ballet dress rehearsal. It's never as much fun when there's only 3 rather than 4 of us. Bizarrely our kids have got a fixation about Bunnings - the DIY warehouse chain and they nagged me all day about going there. I think the fact that I've spent so much time and money there during their short lives means that they see it as some kind of home-from-home!

There's always some kind of face-painting, craft workshop going on there, or if not there's always the tiny shopping trollies for them to push round and the well equipped play areas. The people at Bunnings know how to sell paint and nails but also how to entertain little kids.

In the afternoon we went to a Guerrilla Gig. They've been running all year and are funded as part of the Canberra 100 celebrations. They're hosted by the Cashews who I've seen quite a few times (sadly now approaching groupie status) a humourous/light hearted twosome who play guitar, accordion, trumpet and the occasional child's instrument! The essence of the event is that you don't know where it's going to be held and they announce (via Twitter, facebook, radio) in the morning of the event where it's going to be, allowing you a couple of hours to plan to get there.

We tuned into local radio and found the event was going to be at Dickson wetlands and also feature the duo of 'The Sparrow folk"

There were already quite a few people when we arrived and we joined them on a huge picnic rug near the water.

The bands played their jaunty music and we all sat in the sun and ate cake served by a guerrilla coffee shop who had joined in the fun.

We were there just over an hour. Audrey loved the Sparrow Folk.

We went home to Amy who was by the time we got home, feeling a bit better.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Amy's brother comes to visit

Amy's eldest brother, Ivor, came to stay for a few days last week. It was great to see him not least as it was over five years since we'd last been together.

Amy's parents came to stay as well and Amy enjoyed showing them the sights and sounds of Canberra. Audrey had made a big 'Welcome' sign for him (including a number of places to visit) and she delighted in ticking off the places as they visited. One morning was spent at the arboretum and a morning at Canberra's impressive war memorial.

Everyone also came along to Audrey's school assembly where she opened occasions with a short (but confidently delivered!) introduction.

Here's some pictures.