Saturday, December 25, 2010

Meeting someone

It is so ironic how life works.  On Thursday I met someone here at Blanco. She has a brain tumour and was diagnosed just last week! What a co-incidence, she also lives in PE. The story is that her husband is on contract here in South Africa but they are actually from Peru. They were thinking twice about coming to Blanco after hearing the news but decided that perhaps it would be good to just have a break.

When I found out that she has a tumour, I felt that I MUST talk to them and approached them directly. I gave them a copy of the book and over the last 2 days they have been reading it together. We have spent much time over dinners and lunches chatting to them.

As I have said, I feel that this is where God is leading me and this is just a wonderful example of it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Leo @ Blanco

Here at Blanco the kids and adults eat at different times and venues. This is a problem because Leo honestly deep down in his soul does NOT believe he is a child. Last night after many explanations, debates and bargaining, Leo ended up in the kids lounge. He wouldn't look at me when we went into the room to fetch him. He then asked why God takes so long to make him big.

Today was totally different .... firstly he is not a morning person and was very perturbed at being woken at some early hour (7am) to go to breakfast. He usually only eats at 10.  By the time the lunch came around, in different rooms, he was not going to take it lying around and broke down shouting "I WANT TO BE A MAN!!" I was both amused and heartbroken. I then had to spend the afternoon trying to explain to him why it is nice to be a child. (I had to dig deep) James and I took him to get an ice-cream which softened the blow and he fell fast asleep. I think this whole dining room, early mornings and not being "a Man" thing was just too much for him. Just before he slept he said - "Can we just go home now, I am finished with holiday"

Anastasia and Adam have been playing pool, table tennis, swimming and "chilling" and only got into bed at 12am this morning. They are trying to beat me at all these games and as of today I am still ranked tops in the indoor games. I did feel a little dizzy and my hands started shaking from all the exercise and decided to go for a nap at 11!

Time for another afternoon nap now - we aren't "allowed" to use technology in the venue apart from our rooms so this is it... I sneak it to do a bit of catch up and make a couple of calls!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A change of plans...

I am always scared to say something because inevitable plans change. We will be open over Christmas but James & I are taking the kids away for a holiday to Blanco. They had a cancellation about 30 minutes before my call this afternoon. They are generally very booked up. I think it would be good to have a break from it all.

Sean and Teresa feel they would like to run something on that day. So I leave it up to them! Quite a bold move to let your baby sleepover with someone else for the night - but a relief non the less.

Today I had a headache - I think it might also be a bit of tooth ache as well as a bit of family quarrel. This, I suppose, to be a occasional occurrence in most families - but not nice to say the least.

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Year at The Grove

On the 15th of December we celebrated being open for a year at The Grove. I can't believe I actually made it! We have had some hard times and some really good times. I have learnt a few things along the way. There are things that I don't like... accounting, shopping for food, cleaning and grumpy people. Things I love ... the parties and celebrations, the open spaces, good food and a family feel.

There was one particular old lady, that came with a group, who really needed a better attitude! Bear in mind that I really DON'T make any money out of these functions and it is more of a donation than anything else. She was so difficult that we took turns in serving her because EVERYTHING was wrong. I wanted to ask her to leave she was so annoying. I kept quiet  (as one must). Eventually Paul (my brother) said to me that he could put her out of her misery. Of course that make us all laugh and feel better.

Isn't it sad that she have managed to live a full life and in the last days she is so BITTER. Everything is a problem and a complaint. Everything gets criticised. Everything is an effort and nothing is good enough. And most of all she doesn't look around her and see where she is and those who are serving her. Yes, that is SAD.

I have learnt a lot from the old folk and I do enjoy talking to them. It is quite strange that they always in a rush. Paul's theory is that "They don't have long to live!" Perhaps we should live it up while we still around too!

Only a few days to go till Christmas. We will be having a family dinner at The Grove... I "plan" to sleep in on the 25th! (we are closed) This year I am going to plan 2011 to the best of my ability!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adam Valedictory

Well Adam finished junior school yesterday! It was a lovely service and then the mom's enjoyed a lunch with their boys. It is traditional that the boys have a swim in their school uniform! Which delighted them!

I really can't believe how quickly the time has gone...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book signing 10 December

Join me for complimentary snacks and cocktails on 10 December. Let me introduce you to the book and share stories.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December!

Tomorrow we are entering the last month of the year. To say it has gone quickly is an understatement. I am now facing my normal fears and opportunities for the year to come.

I have to look around and ask where this experience is leading me. It is quite scary to know that I am going to go into the New Year with no formal income and James scaling down his operations. It is an absolute walk in faith. I know, however, that God has given me tools like my book, my coffee shop,  talks, James' talent etc to work with. Now it is time for opportunity. I do believe I am lucky in life. So now I have to send my requests for a GOOD YEAR.

I've been thinking about what it is that I would like to do that would really make me happy. Many people say that we all have a passion that we should pursue, but I have SO many things I enjoy doing and don't want to only focus on one thing at a time. I am hoping that something will turn up to be more prevalent both in income and significance next year.

I have met so many people through this book who have had some experience. It has made me realise what a huge need there is for someone to talk to. I must say that I don't feel qualified to answer questions or give advice - I don't have much tact and tend to be too opinionated. But if you are looking for straight talk then I will be happy to answer you.

Another thing that has come out of this is that I don't really like talking about the brain tumour since I put it in book form. It is the strangest scenario. I am finding my own story a bit boring (remember I have read it 1000 times!) and like to hear more about others. Even blogging is difficult and it is something I absolutely love to do. I will just have to find another topic. So I think a website update is inevitable!

Leo has discovered an iPod! It is amazing to see how quickly he picks it up and navigates it. Father Christmas is coming to his school tomorrow so Mommy Christmas is gonna have to organise some gifts! Adam is in this last weeks of junior school and Ana may move to another school next year! So it seems like all the kids will be in different schools next year...

Last night we had a function at The Grove. I really do love the parties and celebrations! (but what a lot of work it is)

I will be doing my LEAST favourite thing tomorrow and that is to see the Dentist!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Birthday

Today is my birthday. As usual it is filled with mixed emotions, generally I don't like having a birthday! Mostly because I find it a bit disappointing. This year knowing I am 35 is a bit of a shock! Life is just too short. I feel like there is just no time to get things done! I am in a constant rush to meet my goals - to my own detriment!

So today I've had to think long and hard about being grumpy on my birthday. Even though I hate the prospect of turning old and wrinkly, I have to admit that I am happy to get through another year!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Comments from the book

Well I think it is time to revamp the website... the days have been SO busy. I have had very good responses from people reading the book and it is so encouraging. Like I have said before, it is very scary putting your personal life and feelings out into public domain.

I love the feedback, good or bad (good is preferred)! As you may have realised, "Brutal Honesty" is best. Please leave your comments on what you think of the book! Appreciated...

Thank you everyone for sharing this with me...
d:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On Algoa FM



Well I was honoured to be invited to talk on Algoa FM today. Thanks to Lance the DJ  (www.algoafm.co.za) and Ed (edlunnon.wordpress.com) who speaks every Wednesday between 10:30 and 11:00. Ed suffers from Corticalbasal Degeneration (CBD), a rare neurological disease. Thanks guys for hosting me!

For those who wish to purchase the book, it is available on Amazon, Kalahari, Exclusive Books etc

BUT I am offering a special of R130 if you order from me directly (South Africa Only)

www.fogartysbookshop.co.za are also offering the good price for the book and will be available during my book signings in PE.

How much my life has changed... those of you who have followed my battle will know this!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My book signing!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snowballing into Christmas

I can't believe how quickly this year has gone. It is strange, when I was going through my treatments, my goals were just to get out in tact! Now I have to look at the bigger picture and it has all of a sudden become really hard. I prayed about it today and just asked God to make it a bit easier and guide me. I don't want to feel like I am struggling anymore. I sound like a baby but I do think I have good cause for feeling like that!

The other day I met someone that had read my book. I don't know him particularly well. He started chatting about some of the things in the book - then I realised HOW PERSONAL writing is. I might not know the person, but they know a lot about me! I also don't know much about that person so that makes things uneven.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be writing! But here I am and WOW what a lot to learn.

I am feeling fine which is a good thing - when I talk about the tumour I find it more scary than just knowing. I just keep praying that God will bless me with a long life and thanking him for it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A glass of wine

I am happily sitting here with a glass of wine (diluted of course) and I can slowly feel my muscles relaxing (including my eyes) Last week I had a glass of wine and passed out only 25% down the glass. I fell asleep for 10 hours, in my clothes, I didn't brush my teeth or wash my face. I couldn't believe how absolutely tired I was.

So now I have decided that after another busy week, I will do the same and already I can feel the effects. I have also realised that going off my meds for a few days didn't help my moods (had to go off for a bit from the vertigo) I do think I suffered from a bit of withdrawal. I definitely felt my crying come on faster than normal. I am on a lower dosage and today I got a bit worried because I felt like I was going to have a seizure. Poor James has a druggy for a wife! I suppose having wine is not a good thing when you feel an aura! Also I got hit with a headache - which ironically the wine helps with!

I have decided to start a support called "My Brain Matters" for all of us wondering out there in the dark! So all of you who have brain disease, helping someone with brain disease or want to help in anyway, please email me: deirdre@kohlerprojects.co.za

The purpose of the group would be to bring people together to share their knowledge and questions with fellow members. There isn't much help out there so lets try support each other, answer questions etc!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trying to take a break

I haven't gone to UK - yes it is very disappointing but I actually don't have the energy to fight anymore. This past year has been tough on so many levels. I think when you are under financial strain it just magnifies the stress.

The vertigo is definitely better after I lowered my medication dose. I must be honest, I am still a little shell shocked by the whole episode. I wish I could relax but my mind just constantly goes in loops and "To Do" lists. If anyone knows how to delete a "to do" list from a woman's mind, please let me know.

I met someone from CT, Sarah, who also has a brain tumour. It was nice to catch up. It just makes me realise how little is available to us here in SA. I am fortunate because I spend so much time on the net that I can swim my way around better than most.

I have also realised how needy I am of the internet and blogging as a form of expressing my feelings. Whenever I get upset I seem to rush for my laptop.

PLEASE SUPPORT MY BOOK! Now that it is ready!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bad news

I heard this evening that the exhibition has been postponed indefinitely. This was quite shattering. After the hard time I get getting to this point, it is terrible to be disappointed like this. I feel like I also have let everyone down. I suppose it is another reason why this is not a good idea (duh)

I just don't know what to say or to do. Now really isn't a good time to going on an expensive holiday.

"Dispair"

My book is printed for what it is worth! :( :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nearly there!

Well my tickets are booked, my passports have arrived, so now I am just waiting for my UK Visa. (A very important thing in this trip!)  I still have this flu thing and the vertigo (in my opinion) is definitely due to the anti-seizure meds. Every time I take one, within 40 min I start rolling around like I am crack or something.

So after contacting Dr Butler, he has reduced the medication. Then there is the other problem that this will increase my risk of a seizure - which is really bad timing considering I am off to the UK this weekend (visa permitting)!!

I am looking at this as a working holiday. Which between the talks, travel, exhibition and book, I don't think anyone could argue this fact. Not normal earning work but rather something that requires my attention. I have this continuous need to think of ideas / goals and aiming for them. It is to my own credit and demise. I said to my mother yesterday that it is so frustrating that my body doesn't co-operate with my will. I cannot stop the creative side so by body stops it for me!

There is so little happening in SA to support Brain Tumour Victims. It is actually quite scary. This fact, combined with the relatively small research funding on brain tumours verses other cancers, makes someone being diagnosed left totally in the dark. In chatting to James this morning, I said to him that most people who hear you have a brain tumour think that "this is the end" This causes an apathy towards helping patients heal. I must be honest, I thought this way about people with liver cancer.

So I hope this trip will give me some ideas of how to help in South Africa.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vertigo Panic

Well the arrangements are in swing for the trip and the weeks are no less than FLYING by. We are still trying to get our Visas sorted out, man everything requires more time than you think! So yesterday I just prayed and said to God that he needs to take control of the situation.

SOOOO... last night I got the worst vertigo and even battled to turn in the bed. My stomach started cramping really badly along with its twin, nausea. I felt my brain holes (which as some of you may know, I use as a gauge) and they were slightly more swollen than usual. I went into a flat spin imagining brain surgery and chemo standing at my front door. Needless to say my prayers went something like this "Dear Lord, I only want to die when I am really old - and without pain"

At about 5:30 I spent a bit of time thinking it through. Wondering if I should cancel my trip etc etc ... THEN I REMEMBERED. The late Mark Miller's blog had an entry about a year ago where he described the same symptoms. Apparently it is a side effect of the epitec I am taking. When the toxicity levels in my body get too high, then the body fights back. Thank goodness I read that post and he shared it with us. Another good thing about the blogs - even after I have been battling with the losses.

So like I said, I am now in rehab (that being my bed) with nothing to do or eat (don't tell my mom I am on the computer). I don't even get "happy" recreational drugs first to make this fair.

Every time I get up I have to hold onto something.

Oh dear ... all in a days work!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Still here

Every time I check on a fellow brain tumour blog I get more and more depressed. There are some of us that are still fighting fit and others that are slowly going down. I take it absolutely personally.

I got bad news today. The money I have been waiting for, from the sale of my house, has yet again been delayed. I actually burst into tears, to the shock of the staff. I have been on a knife edge financially (as I am sure many of you have) and was planning to use the money to pay for the tickets for the trip to the UK. It seems like everything has just been so difficult this month. I slept for 4 hours yesterday from pure exhaustion.

I have LOVED giving the talks and feel that is what I should be doing. Can you believe that for the first time since my operation, I actually watched the video my mother did of the first week in hospital. I am going to try get it onto You Tube. For the first time I saw James walking behind me hiding the tears.

Watching people die (online) is HORRIBLE. So even after a hard couple of months, when it comes down to the very core, I am still here and just have to thank God for that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fashion Show

Last night I was invited as a guest speaker in a fashion show to raise awareness for cancer. My talk was much "lighter" than I normally do - considering the function. I had such a good time. Finally I was a ramp model!  ( I had to give my talk from the ramp) I am so short that I was only slightly taller than the average sized folk - even being was on the ramp!

Talking about it is so strange, the whole thing is bit of an out of body experience. I can't believe what has happened in the time since I had the tumour. It was amusing seeing the audience gasp when they saw the size of the tumour on the screen. I have a bit of a wicked sense of humour!

Today my mom pulled up a video that we did when I was in hospital. Do you know that I haven't actually watched it (yes ever!) So today I had a look at one of the videos. The thing I noticed today in the movie was James' face when they were pushing me into surgery. It just reminded me why I love him and that I am loved. I also noticed I am looking a bit older these days! NNNOOOO ...

Thanks to Lindy and Gareth for organising the function. You can look up blushing bride on facebook for more info...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What to do

I was chatting to James... saying that it is really hard to run my blog now as there is not much brain tumour stuff to talk about. Sad but good for me! I have been looking at a couple of the blogs that I have been following and got more bad news today about a blogger who died after a long fight with a brain tumour! SO not having any news is definitely a good thing. I really hate brain tumours (I think this is probably the first time I have said this online) The last couple of months I have been pretty preoccupied with work, coffee shop and talks.

I am wondering where life is leading me these days. So much has happened since the tumour and so much more good than bad. It does sound like a clique. I have done so much more than I every thought possible. This is probably because the fear that we have in changing our lives disappears.  Your illness tells you, in no uncertain terms, that you HAVE to change.

I am really looking forward to going to the UK at the end of this month. We have big plans to travel around the world. Sometimes I do wonder if what I have been through is for a higher purpose. I suppose we all wonder "meaning of life" questions. I do believe that God leads us. We just have to get onboard! Perhaps getting sick means you have absolutely no control over your life and hence you don't have any problem with being lead.

BTW Leo told me he had a headache in his bum (had a bit of gastro!) - I think he is hearing way too many "brain" references! LOL

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Uniting People

I will say, that the more time I spend on blogs, I realise how much it brings people together. Society tells us that we don't talk to each other anymore, I don't believe this. I have been able to be in contact with people from all over the world who are experiencing what I have been going through. I have also realised how lucky I am in my journey when I read about the trials others have gone through.

I know some people might say that what I have gone through is also pretty hard (I agree) BUT I have such a good support base.

Another thing that has really struck me today is how many of us have found a higher spiritual journey. Personally I have questioned, cried, pleaded and thanked God in my quest to have a relationship with God. I know the promises He has given me and everyday I ask Him  "meaning of life" questions. (kinda like the questions Leo asks me) I still don't understand much.

I read a blog tonight about a Jewish lady who is struggling with a brain tumour, lung cancer, breast cancer ... can you imagine? Besides the hardship of her story, she has a relationship with God. Not only have our trials joined us, but also our belief in God - beyond religious differences. Isn't that what all religions are meant to be about "Love thy neighbour as you love thyself"

This is why I believe that we all have the right to a personal relationship with God without the judgement of others. Wouldn't this solve so many problems?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Release

Well FINALLY my book is at the point when it is going to print! Yay Yay Yay! I am having a few copies posted to me for review. I can't tell you how excited I am. It actually feels unreal!

Talking about unreal ... about two weeks ago, someone(s) broke through our gate. What happened...  I needed to go to the bathroom at about 11:30 (not usual) I dragged myself out of bed and as I turned the light on, I called James and said "I hear a car" Now we have 2 gates. A small one and then about 2 car spaces to the big one. Our bathroom is very close to the large gate. He looks out of the window and says "There are a lot of OSTRICHES!" NO I AM NOT MAKING IT UP! We looked out of the window and there they were 14 ostriches. When I had turned on the light, we think it scared the thieves off and I just hear the car pulling away.

James wondered around with his rifle and I tried to use the local farm radio ... I had no idea how to do the "foxtrot charlie" thing so I eventually just said "HELLO can someone help, we have a few Ostriches ..." One of our neighbours thought I said "Sausages" and wondered why I was putting that on the radio.  Farm patrol, nitres security and the police all came. They couldn't really do anything because nothing had been stolen and in fact we had ended up with "free" livestock. It turned out to be my neighbours ostriches. The thieves had tried to use our gates as a holding pen till the truck arrived.

It is the first break-in that i know of that someone has actually left something instead of taking something!

I think God has given me interesting Angels to watch over us - that have a bit of a sense of humour!

Here is my latest commissioned painting - delivered last week!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What it is like living with a brain

Well I decided not to add the "tumour" word to brain today. It does get a bit tiring thinking about it all the time! The past few weeks I have been very busy. I have had a couple of talks, travelled to JHB, worked and been running the coffee shop. SO all things considered I got a bit TIRED today! After a good 2 hour afternoon nap I am back online! People don't really believe me when I said I had a brain tumour!

My frustration, at the moment, is my book. It is SO close to being printed but there is always just another thing to do before I get there. The other thing is that I really want to organise my trip to the UK and the money I was expecting from the sale of my house is tied up between strikes, lawyers and deed of sale transfers.  SO I am needing to make some kind of plan. VERY frustrating.

I have been thinking so much about where my life is going lately. Old Mutual is hosting two talks for my next week, one in George and the other in PE. I really do enjoy the talks and often amazed that people think it is inspiring. Honestly I don't think anything has been amazing. I am SO excited to FINALLY see my book finished. I have dreams of travelling around doing book launches!

Sometime in my life I am going to need to pay a visit to the dentist! I joined dance classes and haven't even gone yet! I have such good intentions ... sigh! Oh yes, I have just finished and sold another painting! It was very liberating!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brutal Honesty - Talk

Well I am doing a talk on the 1st of September! It is a breakfast 9:30am for 10am. It costs R45 per person. It seems to be a motto : why sleep when you can work! It does make me laugh!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brutal Honesty - Book cover photos.

I had a make up and hair day on Thursday and my mom and dad took some photos... I will be using the first one as my book cover. (amazing what a bit of make up can do!)



 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shock Memorial Service

I have to say that I am shocked and incredibly saddened by reading a blog today. I have followed www.markmillermusic.org blog for the past 1 - 2 years. I have not been on the website for awhile due to being busy (as I am sure many of us know what that is like)

I went on today and saw that he has passed. I must be honest, it is really hard to see people with the same condition as mine dying. It happened so quickly! He put up a good fight.

The quote on his blog when I looked at it today said:

'When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and  could say "I used everything you gave me" Erma Bombeck'

Rest in peace.

Busy with my book

I am giving my cover a bit of thought and need to have some photo's ... I would share an except with you from the book:

“...I do struggle to think that James will be with someone else (even though he says he won’t / cant) Realistically he would be young and would need someone. It is my belief that we have soul mates in life and at some point we are together again. I feel like this would be challenged if life is shared with another (stupid I know) I am also scared that there is nothing (which I don’t believe but its hard not to think about it)...” Deirdre Kohler

“...several times during Sandy's last year of life she told me, "I want you to love again. Being with someone else will not take away from what we had... Promise me you'll love again." So I lied to her and said I would. And as time goes on, I know for certain that once you've found your soulmate, that's it. The thought of someone "replacing" her never enters my head or my heart. So I apologize to her for saying I would love again...” Dan O’

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Newspaper Write up!

I was in the newspaper today! On Monday I gave a talk called "Celebrating life" where I spoke about the tumour. One of the ladies wrote something and the paper came by yesterday to interview me! I didn't think that it would be on the 3rd page today!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

All Good!!

Well I FINALLY went for my scan! And had absolutely great news!! Everything seems to look good - no growth, stable etc.

On Women's Day I will be giving a talk on "Celebrating Life". I must be honest I am so happy about the results that I really do feel like celebrating! I will be sharing my story since being diagnosed with a brain tumour four years ago... three brain operations, radiation, chemo; visited five countries; had a solo exhibition; written a book; opened a coffee shop…

My book has been sent for printing... I have changed the name to "Brutal Honesty" I will be going to have some photos taken next week sometime!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Susan Boyle and Frank McMahon

Well my Grandad - Frank McMahon (83) has submitted his audition video for her competition. She is offering the winner to sing "Silent Night" with her to be put on her album. He will probabaly be a bit shy BUT hey! He has nothing to lose and has a great voice. Have a look at his You Tube upload
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWlNRPP-P30

Other than that, things are super busy! I travelled last week and it was FREEZING! -5! The coffee shop is getting busy now. I have a new lady - Gen - working for me now. Hopefully she can get a few things in order. Family is good. I can't believe the world cup is Over?

Still need to make an appointment for my brain follow up scan. I know I know - I have EVERY intention of setting it up this week. Promise.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My hair line!

Well my hair is growing well... I can't keep up. Today I moved my hair and saw the scar line. Anastasia took a picture for me! What a nice clean scar and it doesn't show because my hair covers it, even over the ear area. Good job!

We watched "Its Complicated" last night and had a huge laugh. Especially when she contemplates face lift surgery and the doc says it will only hurt for 3 months! Made me think of this scar ... one lifted side and one saggy one!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Next scan

Well I suppose I should go for my next scan soon. I will make an effort to make a booking next week - even though I really don't feel like going. Between the coffee shop and working on another project for a corporate, I am finding very little time to get other things done.

I am loving my new mac book - even though it has taken me a good few attempts to get used to. I am now starting the process of transferring data, contacts etc etc to the mac. To add to my woes, I have changed cell phones to a blackberry so that is also taking a bit of time. My older kids have actually been working at the coffee shop to save up for a new iPad -  I must say it looks really appealing. It costs double here than in the USA even with the exchange rate! - shocking.

James & I celebrate our wedding anniversary next weekend and my hair is just about as long now as when we met! It's like we are starting all over again! What an interesting few years it has been!

I have got into the soccer fever. Now being a soccer watcher, I am amazed at how hooked I am. I haven't been "allowed" to go to any games because James is concerned (a rightfully I suppose) about me having a seizure due to the noise and the crowd volume. So on Wednesday, when England was playing, I got very grumpy that I was working while everyone was at the stadium watching the game. (It was in Port Elizabeth) Its at times like this that I really feel how terrible it is to have something hindering you.

The teams I am supporting - Germany, USA, England - primarily because they are the biggest tourist group to SA and I would like them to stay as long as possible!

The best part of the World Cup in SA - all South Africans working together! What a lovely time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

So quiet!

Well what can I say ... I have been so quiet on my blog! We have been running around like mad people! I am doing a bit of contract work (yes I know - I should take it easy) Every thing just seems to come together at once! I am looking for someone to assist me in the coffee shop...

I am supposed to go for a scan sometime this month. I really don't want to - although I am always curious. I met Dr Dupper - he came to the coffee shop for a snack and he says I should just have it done. Oh the guilt! I suppose I am too scared to do anything. (Can you blame me) My life is going well at the moment.

Soccer world cup is gearing up and we are hoping this will fill up the coffee shop a bit. I am getting into the spirit and putting the SA flag on my car and in the shop! We have actually achived alot as a country - no matter what the outcome is! I hope all South Africans will feel this way!

I would like to hear from you for a change so please send an email or a comment on my blog!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mothers Day

I have been so quiet on my blog for a while now. This is for 2 reasons, one I have been running around with the Coffee Shop and the other is that I don't have much news other than work. I actually made a special effort to blog today! We had a very big function this weekend with over 160 people. I was quite frustrated because the heaters weren't operating at lunch time which meant that the microwave was working overtime and the service was slow. I was so upset! Other than that little hiccup, all seemed to go well and people enjoyed the day.

I remembered that I have to have another scan in a month's time. I am feeling so good generally that I only think about the tumour sporadically . It is amazing how our lives swing back. I am still looking at publishing the book but for now it is on the back burner as there just isn't time.

Leo made us laugh out loud the other day. He and Adam were playing outside and after a couple of hours they went inside to rest. As they were lying on the beds, Leo said to Adam : "I am so tired from all that running, my legs are sore and my brain hole is getting bigger" - That from a 4 year old! LOL

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stories from a Coffee Shop

I have been running the coffee shop for 4 months now! (Wow I can't belive it!)  What I have really enjoyed about the coffee shop are the conversations and the social aspect of it. I have heard so many stories, some sad, some funny and others just news.

I thought it would be a good idea to write these down.

It is quite amazing how we live our lives. Often we are going through similar difficulties but we are scared to tell other people!

My biggest problem with running a coffee shop is that my short term memory is so bad! I can't remember from one order to the next. For those who are going to tell me to write things down - I can never find a pen!

But problem solved, I have hired a waitress!

Friday, April 23, 2010

An old diary

On Monday I decided to have a big clean up! What a huge task. Since we moved into our place the same time as the coffee shop, I didn't really get to sort out my house. It was like a gym session on steroids!!

When I was packing out the stuff I found an old journal. I have never used one and only made one entry. (I started to blog in 2008) It was written in 2002 ... I found the entry interesting (also embarrasing to read) because it mentions my headaches and the stomach pains which I now feel are indicators of a seizure. It was actually written just before I had to go to hospital for stomach pain and dizziness caused by "stress".

"...I feel helpless (about the situation) and I feel that no-one helps me. I know that I get stomach pains and headaches from my worries. I try to hide it most of the time..."

So I am sure that stress agrivates the situation but what I was actually having were seizures!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Name - My Brain Matters

Well James is convinced that I should call my book "My Brain Matters". My mother and daughter are in agreement so I have gone ahead with that.


I have a local publisher interested and I have been in contact with a self publishing house in the UK what have given me a quote. Now I need to decide what would be best for me. I am needing to get exposure and I am not sure how to do that. One step at a time...


What a fun thing this has been! I could do this for a living while stepping in and out of the coffee shop.


I have made a few updates to the website - you will see some new pages at the top links. I still have to fit in a lot more.


I am meeting so many people in the coffee shop. I should really start sharing the stories!


I am feeling good today (besides the nagging cough that I can't seem to beat) I can run my fingers through my hair and have to make another appointment with the hairdresser - whoever thought this tediuos action would bring such joy!!


For all my South Africans - Don't touch me on my studio! (For the rest Google it)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Website update

I have decided to do a website update (still trying to figure out when) so you will see a few things moving around a bit! I am looking forward to it!

Yesterday was really busy at the coffee shop and it was only Sean in the kitchen, Patricia cleaning and myself in the front. Phew! So my plans of doing a lot of book publishing or spring cleaning went out the window! But I can't complain. It was nice to know that I had made a bit of money!

James and I have started to (for the first time) pray in the mornings before we get dressed etc. We have been doing it for about 2 weeks now. I had prayed for people to come into the coffee shop yesterday and ... it seemed to have worked! Be carefull what you wish for! Shows God is answering!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Still need a name!

I am thinking of how to publish this book. I am pretty green in this area. If anyone has any advice PLEASE let me know! Also - I still can't decide on a name! nothing seems to stick!

Here is the prologue to my book! It describes what I now know is a complex partial seizure.

Prologue


Why can’t I speak? I think my blood sugar must be low. I should eat. What can I eat? What is food? My eyes are blinking very rapidly. I go to the bathroom. No-one must see me. I feel stupid. It will go away. I don’t know how to lock the door. I sit on the seat so that I won’t fall. If I have low blood sugar, I need to eat, so I look for food. I don’t know what food is. I grab the air freshener and try to spray it into my mouth, thinking it is food. (At least I will have a nice lavender-scented mouth.) Luckily I don’t know how to open it. I experience everything. I am thinking and trying to rationalise what is going on. Although my thinking of what I want to do is there, nothing around me makes sense.

I get tired. I lie on the floor. My eyes are sore and flicker; my head is pounding and the noise is intense. I worry about the baby in my belly. “Dear God please help. I want to get up. I don’t want to ask for help, I feel ashamed. I will just lie here. It will go away. What is happening?”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A bit down

The past week I have had my friend Sandra with her daughter Ella and partner Sven from Germany visiting. She leaves tomorrow. The time has gone so quickly and there is not enough time to really spend with each other. Finances have been tight, I can see the strain on James' face. Not to mention, the politics is a bit tiring for me after the threatning racisit remarks towards whites.

On another more positive note... the exhibition seems to be going well! Here is the link http://www.btbuddies.org.uk/ and some pictures...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Speaking to the masses!

Yesterday, I gave my first talk at 'The Grove' to a group of retired folk. (I did speak at my Grannies church last year as a thank you) Basically I told them about The Grove and how we built it and how my whole family was involved in some capacity. 'The Grove' has given us all some sort of work and income potential. This is significant considering how many people were falling over due to the economic crisis last year.

Then I told the group why we bought the farm.

As many of you many know, we bought the farm when I was diagnosed with the tumour. We did this for a few reasons, primarily to combine resources and to help me during the treatment. At the time there were many risks for me, survival being one of them. The kids would need to be taken care of. I wouldn't be able to work as I had and therefore finances were another issue.

So after the talk, one of the ladies asked if I thought I would still have done the coffee shop, farm thing should I not have been diagnosed. My reply - No. This shows me that God does work all things together for good to those that love Him. He has truly blessed me.

After the talk, a woman asked if I have given God glory for how He has worked in my life. (I felt that I have) She also said that she believes that He will use me. Another woman asked me if I would be willing to speak as a survivor to encourage cancer patients going through treatment. I said to her I am willing to help. I can feel that God is moving me in this direction.

See, God does work in mysterious ways!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

Yesterday at The Grove was crazy. We SOLD OUT - seriously. I only have 3 portions of carrot cake left! We had to eat fish fingers and chicken nuggets for supper ;(

We weren't prepared for it at all! Last weekend we had 2 tables on Sunday and this weekend we had to put people outside. I think one or two people didn't enjoy waiting for service (and that upsets me) But its fresh and there is only so much we can do. Most people seemed happy and had a great time!

I really wish there was an even flow so that I can gauge how to gear up! I was quite tired and am suffering from a headache today. It is so incredibly frustrating to have to worry about my head all the time. Another busy week is in store... my parents 60th birthday party, my friend from Germany arrives today, got old ladies coming for tea ...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book Finished ...

Besides one or two things that I want to edit, I will say that my book is done. Now I have to try to figure out how to get it published. Another problem is that I still don't have a name!! How difficult is it going to be - I thought it would have come to me but alas - still not.

The book has quite a few writtings that was not published on the blog. The other writings deal with a some of my emotions during the period. So some of it is funny and other bits sad...

My head has been a bit sore lately. Perhaps it is because I have spent too much time on my laptop!

Another thing, I need a book cover. I was wondering if I should use my paintings. The painting "life" I did just after my operation and might appropriate. (in the design and not necessarily on its own) But I don't know!

Here is the pic...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Adam a brain surgeon?

Well the other day, Adam (12 years old) and I were chatting. (Anastasia and Leo weren't around so we actually has some quiet time!) We were talking about careers. He said (out of the blue) that he wants to be a brain surgeon! Now Adam is diligent, focused, a bit vague and very intelligent. (We have always referred to him as a nutty professor) One thing in his disfavour is that he cannot handle the sight of blood. A major hindrance to someone wanting to be a doctor. He is like me, we fall to pieces when we see someone bleeding. I feel quite ill just watching a dog cry when it is in pain.

We spoke a bit about what being a doctor entails. I also explained what a neurologist does. We have always believed that Adam should get into stem cell / genetic sciences. He certainly has the "brains" for it!!

Besides all the obstacles involved in being a brain surgeon and whether or not he would still want to do this in adulthood , I was surprised but extremely proud to hear my son say "I want to be a brain surgeon!"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mask Exhibition

Today was Leo's 4th birthday ( I have tried to get picture of him but he and Adam are wrestling and I am not to interfere) It really takes me back! It was before I fell pregnant that I had the first symptoms and only when it got worse during the pregnancy did they diagnose me when Leo was 5 months old!

There is an exhibition in the UK to raise awareness of brain tumour patients. for more information go to

I have done up my radiation mask with a collection of photos (of the times I have been through) it has a light in the middle and actually has MY OWN HAIR (the bit that was shaved before surgery) It is a visual interpretation of what's been going on in my head!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What a weekend

I am realising that I must, in fact, be nuts... this weekend, albeit fun, was hectic. And of course I did have to do two evening functions! What have I learnt? Well having a planned function is good, we were on time, prepared and I could happy act hostess and not waitress. What I won't be doing again is trying to arrange the event myself. The marketing, the disappointments etc is just too much on top of the planning and organising. So from now on, I will be able to host functions, but I won't initiate them!

Sunday was MAD I didn't think it would be that busy! I am in dire need of waitrons.... HELP! During the week it is quiet (except for the 30 grannies coming tomorrow bright and early)...

I have spent 2 days doing my book and my two other websites... One for James (http://cornerstonearch.blogspot.com/ ) and The Grove. So I have been sitting on this chair and feeling the worst for it. But then again I have absolutely no desire to leave!

Here is a great pic of Ana & I on Valentines evening .... Can you see how long my hair is getting!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Writing a book

I am sorry to say, I have been lead down a path of cliche and have ended up writing a book. (Not finished but on it's way) Obviously I have a few grammar and spelling issues, it probably comes with the story. Now, I have to think of a name... I have NO idea and everything seems a little cheesy. HELP ME PLEASE

Some ideas I have ... Surviving Brain Surgery - for Dummies, How to Blog during Brain Surgery, Thriving on Vague Diagnosis, A Bad Hair Year, The CEO of a Major Operation, Bad Bad Brain Hole...

The content is a collection of emails, reports, blog entries, notes to self as they happened. The aim is to keep it similar to my style of blogging and with humour to make it less heavy yet authenic.

I feel cheesy even telling you! "Oh well, I'll get over it"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tumour Shrinking

I had great news yesterday ... It seems as though the tumour is shrinking! There is no visible malignancy and what is there is either odema (swelling / bruising) or low grade. I have been expecting (hoping) it. I think it has been due to, not only, the medical treatments but also the incredible faith, prayers and support during this time. A real team effort!

I can't pretend that I don't get moments of worry. I think back to the prognosis and it does scare me. I have spoken to quite a few people who have been through treatments and alot of them say they won't do it again. I think that it is quite hard to totally forget.

So life continues, the... mundain, exciting, sad, tired, gifts, pleasures, love, frustrations, rewards, difficulties, pain, tears and laughs. "There is nothing new under the sun" BUT it is all worth it. I am richer for it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MRI Report


This is not a pic of me looking like a chipmunk. It was taken in November. I just want to show off at how fast my hair is growing. I need to try find a latest one...

Well last week I had my MRI. It seemed to all be fine. There was a speck on the other side of my brain (right side) which I don't know what it is. I went to see Dr Dupper and he seems pretty content that things are alright. There doesn't seem to be any indication of high grade. There is still some odema and what might be some radiation damage ... we don't know. He is taking it to the "brainy" doctors on Friday when they get together to discuss it in more detail. Meanwhile, I continue as usual and have just about wiped it out of my mind.
Today I wasn't very happy. I had to make a dentist visit with dire results that is reflected by my chipmunk facial features. I have needed to go for a long time but was told that they wouldn't do any work while I am on chemo. So of course, the problem magnified itself to culminate in a wonderful series of events that has altered my ability to eat. I suppose a forced diet can't do much harm. Although I can still eat the yummy carrot cake to which I have placed a special area onto my hips. Anastasia and I went for our dentist visit on the same day and have ended up looking pretty much the same! Oh to share misery!

What a change of lifestyle I have had over the past years. I can only say that (par a few SMALL things) it is well worth it. I suggest it to everyone! Money isn't everything.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day off

Well this was my "official" day off in 5 weeks! Not that I had much rest though! I had a dental appointment, ran around dropping off and fetching kids, shopped and went to visit a friend (Hayley) Next week Anastasia & I are off to the densist and none of it looks like good news, I must admit.

Hayley had quite a bad fall while hiking. She has fractured her scull and has come out remarkable well. She is being a bit hard on herself wanting to get back into the swing of things , even though she has been given strict instructions to stay in bed in a dark room. I understand what she is going through. We are all happy that she has so few side effects considering the type of injury she has.

It really is quite hard for alot of us to just stop and breathe. We have to get over the guilt of not contributing or show that we are still capable. The house doesn't have to be perfect and the kids can sometimes just have sandwiches for supper. Its being there that is more important. It has taken me a while to stop feeling quilty. I do, however, still believe that we should still do what we feel will contribute to our life and those of others.

Its funny because working in the coffee shop, it is ok if I have nothing to do. I am actually allowed to just sit. Quite a different stance on life!

Get better soon Hayley! d:)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back for scan

Well next week I have to get "real" again! I am going to see Dr Dupper and have another MRI. It is not something I am looking forward to doing, I must admit. (Nothing personal against Dr Dupper!) I also need to visit the dentist. Something I dread.

Coffee shop life is definately not helping the waist! This week has been quiet, probably due to the schools opening. I think I am really going to enjoy my new life. Its quite hard to believe it is 2010 already!

I have known about this brain tumour for 3 1/2 years now!  Well, I still just take each day as it comes and live my life to the fullest as I know how!

I will let you know... have a good weekend
d:)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oh my word!

To say I am shattered is a tad bit of an understatement. We are working our butts off (a good thing I am sure) in the coffee shop! What a year this has turned out to be! I am not sure (well I am sure) if we are making any money yet, but at least there is something coming in. (Still quite a bit leaking out) It always helps if there are people praying for it.

I feel like I have ended up in the middle of a riot somehow. James & I are too tired to think let alone perform any marital duties :) We just lay in bed and stare blankly onto the ceiling wondering what we have got ourselves into! (and deciding if brushing our teeth is at all worth the effort!)

Like I say - you never know where life will take you. I seem to only think about it after I have jumped in!

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