Life at No.22, New Zealand

Hello, 2019 – We CANcer vive!

Time to celebrate the arrival of a New Year by turning the last digit to 9.  With the chance of another day, week, month and another year.  In which most of us will get an opportunity for a fresh start in 2019.

This coming year will be strides apart from our usual years of past.  We don’t feel like it’s a fresh start or something to celebrate.  Last night, it seemed more important for us to just “be,” to talk when we wanted too as well be distracted by a movie.  Then, later on, admire the colourful fireworks from our balcony.  Not sure when we will feel like celebrating this New Year.  Just not yet.  Maybe never.

Getting bad news at any time of the year is never welcome.  It’s arrival during the festive season.  Sucks.  Being unwell during the festive season is a significant downer when it feels like a requirement to have a cheerful disposition before stepping out the front door.  It has made me feel like Mrs Grinch.

Our Grinch-like thoughts, feelings of anger, sadness and wanting to do a F*cketlist all started a few months ago.  When the Squire went for his yearly medical, if you don’t want to be sick, don’t go to a doctor.

A medical, nothing extraordinary about that.  The findings were to be astonishing and hold a few surprises.  What the tests confirmed was that the Squire had an enlarged spleen and liver.  Then came the multiple blood tests, more scans and the big mama of all excruciating pain, a bone marrow biopsy.

Not long to wait.  Just weeks.

I scream he is too young, only 60.  He is my gentle indestructible giant.

Les by the kiwi Christmas tree

We lived in denial.  Nothing is wrong.  We have hope.

One day at a time.  We repeated it on a daily basis.  It was our mantra. 

Don’t plan.  Just yet.  Time is on our side.

Don’t google.  It only creates more questions.  It answers none at all.

Just wait.

We can do this.  We are strong.  We are a team.

Before we knew it, the Squire had an appointment.  The 31st December was to be “D” day.  The day after International Bacon Day.

With a few large shots of caffeine and an even more significant amount of apprehensiveness, we are ready as we would ever be to make those final steps into the Cancer Centre.  It seems quieter than usual as we greet and meet with a few pleasantries while at the same time screaming “Well come on, tell us for goodness sake”.

I jest of course as I don’t want to hear what she has to say.

Yes, I do.

What did she say?

No, I don’t want to know!

In my mind, my hands are covering my ears.

She quietly spoke the test results; now it’s a reality.

Please, can you write it down?

It’s name is Myelofibrosis.  It is an uncommon type of chronic leukaemia.  Very rare.  We don’t do things by half measures!!

Is it now time to write up that  F*UKetLIST.?


Maybe it’s time to reflect as reality slowly penetrates our fog filled minds.  Time will tell.

The days have muddled all together had to know what day it is!  So, what have our days been like since we got back to New Zealand and before the diagnosis?

Most days, the Squire looks like any regular guy. It LOOKS like we are living La Vida Loca in laidback Bay of Plenty with good health. Like everything in social media, we all share our highlight reel, don’t we?

The truth is, behind the scenes, it is so much harder than that.

Monkey on your back⠀⠀
The reality is that he is ill and has been for a while.  He is tired all the time.  I scream he is too young, only 60.  How come my Squire has aged so much.  Of course, I know the answer, I still ask the question. He was indestructible or so I thought.  He is my rock. Why him?  Why not me?

I ask a million times, “Are you OK?”

It used to be, “Of course, just the usual back pain.”  Now that conversation is extended to more areas of his body.  What can it be?  Could it be? I can’t fix it. I struggle to WRITE those words.  I have no right words.
There will be more days that we will bury our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t there.

If we can’t physically see it.  It won’t hurt us. ‘Build that Bridge’ is our attitude.  Inside I quietly cry because I’m scared.  Right to the core. I don’t always feel strong, writing this has made me realise that today is one of those days or I should say early morning.  The time to be precise is 4 a.m., who needs sleep.  This is my truth.  My reality.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Okay, this just got way too serious and sad.

I don’t usually write about life being too serious and sad.  That’s reality and life for too many.  This blog will still be about us, walks, warts and all.  Perhaps not travel for a while yet.  Too soon to sort that one out and too much else to organise.  I shall write more about New Zealand and our neighbourhood.  With inclusions of dust covered posts from previous years highlights that I still haven’t completed.

We won’t make cancer our story.  

It isn’t our story.  

It is just there.  

Now we need to write up that F*UKetLIST.

Where to start?

More sunrises.  Break more rules.  Don’t put off doing things.  More sunsets. More icecreams.  

Me and Les eating ice creams

Maybe more in my next post.  I can’t think straight at the moment.
Thoughts on what you would put on that list? Besides deleting me from your bloggers’ list?
What tricks do you have for getting through the tough times?

Hello 2019 - We CANcer vive!

88 thoughts on “Hello, 2019 – We CANcer vive!”

  1. Firstly Jo, many apologies for the late reply. New blog more posts going into the spam folder. Very annoying. What heartache for your friend. Yes, there is no cure for the Squire and we will make the most of his time, and hopefully many more sunsets and ice creams 🙂 Funnily enough weight concerns are no longer an issue for him, so for once he is enjoying small amounts of the naughty foods 🙂 Yes, we still have our sense of humour. I love that we can take about his cancer and it is not the elephant in the room. Some days are better than others!!


  2. Thanks very much, Denyse for your comment and your openness about your condition. Life certainly has a way of blowing the wind out of our sails. I am pleased to hear your husband is a great carer and I wish you both all the best in your journey. It is so sad to hear so many people being affected by cancer. Kia Kaha.


  3. My heart hurts for you, hon, and I’m so sorry it’s taken until now for me to read this. I had registered some change, in my cloud cuckoo land fashion, but hadn’t realised the gravity of the situation. Everyone’s worst nightmare. Many make it through. More and more over time, but nobody wants to go there. Just last week a walking friend had the heartache of losing a daughter after a 5 year battle. We all hope it won’t touch us. Sunsets, icecreams, shared music… I wish you all the strength in the world, Suzanne.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. I was reading your post about turning 60 then I saw this link. I send warm and caring greetings and well-wishes to you both across the Tasman. Receiving news like that takes us down so many different paths of thinking…as a carer and a patient.

    I was given that new in May 2017 and continue to do well after multiple surgeries and treatments of oral cancer. My husband is an amazing carer because he is not like me. I would be not so good. He is measured and calm and very helpful and supportive. I would be that without the calm.

    You do all you can to help but also remember you, the carer needs respite and times out of the C-word zone.

    Denyse #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sorry about your husband and I know exactly where you are coming from. I cried as I read your words, those 4am wake ups are killers. I have cried and screamed and pounded things but the fact is my husband has bad cancer also. It will be a year for us next month and I am discussing our journey on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks George and you are right on all counts. It’s just another part of the journey and won’t be as pretty as the travel segment. Though I will think of other things to write about as we deal with it. Keeps me more positive engaging in other topics with you all on my blog. We shall never lose our sense of humour, well maybe I should say most days 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh thanks very much Sam, smiling and tearing up at the same time 😘 I hope you realise you make a difference with your support my penpal 😊. Yes, I hope we do get to meet again. Not all my friends can be here with us as they are spread all over the countryside so keeping in contact long distance can’t be helped. Received the lovely package of positive vibes and good wishes. Thanks again Sam Xx PS looking forward to seeing the ski photos soon 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is the second time I’ve read this, Suzanne. I was travelling the first time I read it and Jon had asked me why I was so quiet. You are such a good writer and describe the pain and frustration you are going through with humour and honesty. You are one of those bloggers I call a friend Suzanne, and I do hope we get the chance to meet up again. You know I wish you and the Squire all the best wishes and positive vibes in the world. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Only just read this. So very sorry to hear this. What awful news to hear at any time, especially Christmas.

    Your strength and resolve do you both credit. Breakthroughs are happening every day in this field. Stay strong and positive. You are right. Cancer doesn’t have to be your story. Take care of each other x

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well you two don’t do things by half but you do tackle things head on. And writing your feelings even in the wee small hours will keep you both strong for the 2019 challenge of ticking off your F*UKetLIST starting with that yummy Kiwi ice-cream. Sending our love to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I saw the very sad news of the dreaded C diagnosis last week while I was traveling. You have both been on my mind ever since. This is a beautiful, heart felt blog post and it touches my heart. You and the Squire have inspired many people, including myself, to live life with gusto. The older we get the more it hits us to do it NOW, don’t wait because health is never guaranteed. I have no doubt you will both continue to live with gusto but perhaps at a gentler, deeper pace for the time being. Keep the strength, comfort and love from people all over the world close to your hearts! Hugs – Yvette

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So so sorry to read this dreadful news ! OK, I won’t say “Be strong both of you” – because of course you will. I won’t say “Fight this shitty disease” because of course you will. I won’t say “Keep going, hand-in-hand” because of course you will.
    But what I will say is – “Tell all your fears to the sky, loudly, in a scream if necessary”. I had some really bad news a few years ago and instead of bottling up the words, the sky was my listening ear. You had to vocalise this, bring it out into the open, just to hear the words you thought could never be said – and I promise you, it will help (a little) in the long days, weeks ahead.
    My love and thoughts will be with you both also xx

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes, that´s true, we are all prone to take most things in life for granted which we should not. Staying positive requires a lot of strength sometimes but it´s well worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Oh thanks very much Sarah, your comment is much appreciated. Yes, it is our reality now, no getting rid of it, it is here to stay. Definitely into talking about cancer and it’s affects on people and us. It just won’t be our focus or a focus on my blog. We need to stay positive and enjoy what time we have together. As we have always done and which we all should not take time for granted. It is easy to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Kia Kaha, my friend! I’m so very, very sorry to hear this terrible news. And never think you should be cheery and upbeat on your blog if you don’t feel like it – your blog is part of who you are and there’s no need to hide the sometimes ugly face of truth before your friends here. In fact I encourage you to use it as an outlet of sorts, as I know that writing helps, and sharing even more. Sending you big hugs, Suzanne! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Suzanne, so sorry to hear about this terrible news. Sending you lots of love. My dad had cancer back when I was in school and it was scary to see a parent go through that and to now live a life forever in ‘recovery’. Looking forward to hearing more about your list and future posts! x

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Now I am the one with tears. Thank you so much for sharing your story Liesbet, it was very reassuring. I have always valued your comments, so again thank you. Too many people are being affected by cancer, it is very scary and very sad. Though with each sad part there is always a happy one, as in hearing about the successful ones that beat cancer. It is like many things in life it needs to be acknowledged and talked about when needed and not to be an “elephant in the room” situation. We do have wonderful people around us that also understand and are still going through it. Yes, once there is plan there is a purpose, love that and it is so true. The hard bit is adjusting to having no plans or the ability to not plan. One day or ice-cream at a time 🙂
    Wishing you both the same, and thank you again Liesbet.

    Liked by 1 person

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