My Village

The past month has been one of a million revelations for me…

I found out I had cancer.  I found out I am a pretty hard woman to shock.  I found out I can make some seriously confronting decisions.  And I found out about my village.

Do you know what I mean?  Someone mentioned at some stage during my two recent surgeries that I seemed to have an amazing village – support crew and network.

And I stopped for a moment to breathe and look back over the hugs, phone calls, Facebook messages, blog replies, cards and word-of-mouth support and take stock.  I think it’s pretty much the only thing that has really made me cry (happy tears) through this whole process.  Realising just HOW extensive my network is, and how strong the combination of my family, real life mates and online friends really is.

A force to be reckoned with.  Unstoppable. Unbelievable.

From this guy…

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Axel Rose, who shadows me whenever I am home and pines in his own sweet Great Dane way (while generously allowing others to enter his house and care for him while I am gone).  There is no love quite like the devotion of that dog who BELONGS to you…

To my Mother and Aunt…

mail_0062 eThe former of whom has dropped everything to help out and worry and reassure as only a mother (who has already walked the breast cancer path) can.  And the latter (who is also a neighbour) who manages to be a friend and quiet support whenever the chips are down (that is her sweet purple bouquet with the bear who saw my Mum through her cancer event).

My sister who took a day from her hectic life to do a 500 km return-trip by train JUST to visit me.

My son…

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Who always knows how to make me smile with his gorgeous grin and generous nature… cheering me up and welcoming me home with makeup!

My daughter…

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Who gave me her own treasures as a welcome home and whose dimples reassure me beyond measure…

My Brisbane friends, who rallied and visited and brought me flowers and food and laughter during my hospital stay…

10526021_709173735816912_4348877169844423601_nMy cousin Bec who called by on a flying visit to share precious time and this beautiful mini bouquet in the sweetest bottle…

10361400_708602495874036_1429954123378214694_nNot to mention the amazing Nursing Staff at the Wesley …

10527379_708576822543270_2191628605884913119_nAnd yes it was a special dress-up day – they don’t always wear tiaras!

My in-laws (S &P) who offer unmatched open-door hospitality with benefits (of the medical kind – one is a doctor, one an intensive-care nurse!).  Our friends for taking Dash and Violet in to help keep a rhythm in their schooling lives, distracting them and caring for them and making them smile.

My husband for his indescribable, endless brand of wonderful including MANY hundreds of kilometres of driving…

10563110_711800452220907_2067098147334388972_nWith five 1100km round-trips to Brisbane negotiated in the past six weeks!

My darling cousin Em…

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Who bakes cakes like this (I know – made me cry) and was part of a seven-woman crew who overhauled my kitchen, fridges pantry, bathroom and storage areas before I got home.  I barely recognised the place and although slightly horrified at the state they may have found the place in, I am so grateful for A) their hard work and B) their motivation to WANT to help me out.  Sisters-in-law, neighbours, cousins, friends…

My pen pals…

mail_0131 eYoung and old, new and long-term, real life and online… there has been a little avalanche (this is only a portion) and each has been read and re-read and treasured.

mail_0111 eSome with thoughtful, touching little offerings like this one… gorgeous.

This one made me giggle and well up a little too:

mail_0102 eFrom my mate Kylie, whom I met at the QRWN conference last year and who is organising this year’s event in Charters Towers – something I had BIG plans on being part of.  Until my oncologist vetoed it completely (I will be smack bang in the middle of my chemotherapy). *sigh*

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A little Charters Towers ‘sparkle’… and I especially loved the words she sent with it.


…Like life, the sparkle isn’t always easy to see. Also like life, the sparkle is always easy to see after rain or in the brightest sunshine!”

Perfect.  So true.

And words penned by a seven-year-old second cousin, which made me feel so loved…

mail_0134 eYou can see what I mean now, can’t you?

In the words of one of my dear (new) friends Pip Courtney:

“I couldn’t have fallen… even if I’d wanted to.”

I know what she means – each word of support, each ‘like’ and message on Facebook, each note, each word passed onto my family, every little offering … it all adds up.

It’s a good part of the reason why I CANNOT fall, and WILL NOT despair.

I am completely cushioned by my village.

And I have never felt luckier in my life.

36 Responses to “My Village”

  1. Although we have never met I am so grateful that you have such a wonderful village. My thoughts will be with you over the coming months. You are an amazing woman!!

    • Not so amazing Heidi – I think there are very many just like me. I just happen to share my story. Thanks for your support too – it’s all precious. xx

  2. Oh WOW.

    You are a super strong woman, but by golly you have a super strong support team. So glad I too added a bit of a smile.

    much love to you all.

  3. Wonderful village you live in. Think of you every day, and I am glad that you are home. Jack’s makeup kit was the sweetest thing ever.

    • LOL – I know. He’s hilarious and cute beyond words. You know you are a VITAL part of my village too, right? :-)

  4. You’re amazing. Totally love your blog and sending all the positive thoughts your way.

  5. Amanda.. I’ve been checking your twitter account with baited breath each day.. I am so glad you have all the love and support from your very special village! You are an incredible person who is setting a beautiful example for your children by showing such strength and selflessness at what must be an extremely tough time for you.. Not only for your children but to all others out there on similar journeys judt by sharing your story is giving encouragement and hope!! I truly hope that you get through all of this with the best possible outcomes!! Your village needs you!! Stay strong,, Marla

    • Oh that is so lovely Marla – I am such a bad tweeter these days… I should point out that I do have my ‘ordinary’ days like everyone. But my kids help me be strong too… I am definitely not an island! :-)

  6. I think of you often and wonder how you are faring. No matter how many have successfully walked the same road before you, it can’t be easy or done with any confidence. Just to have your whole life turned upside down and the vulnerability must be trauma enough. You are fortunate to have such wonderful people around you and an awful lot to live for.
    Andrew´s last blog post ..Sunday Selections

    • Andrew – I love that you think of me. That makes me smile. The vulnerability IS tough – for me, who loves helping others out to let people help is a bit harder than I imagined. I do have an AWFUL lot to live for (like so many) and I am lucky my outlook and prognosis is very good. Thanks for caring. xx

  7. Hi Amanda; Dexter’s family is always thinking of you, we are a part of your village and wish you the best outcomes. Hopefully the worst is behind you now so stay focused. love to you and your family.

  8. I am so glad you have your village in many different form. Those who will hold you up when it gets hard to stand on your own, those who bring something you never realised you needed. Enjoy being home and your overhauled areas. The way your village has gathered shows how much you mean to others. Keep seeing the sparkle in your life (love that message from Charter’s Towers, boy I miss that place), keep seeing the beauty and feeling the love and don’t be afraid to lean on your supporters when you need to. Good luck with future appointments, I hope it all goes smoothly.
    Anne@Grit and Giggles´s last blog post ..Ahhh Friday!

    • Thanks Anne… I plan to sparkle (and maybe even glow in the dark, thanks to chemo!) as much as possible. So cranky I am missing Charters Towers though… Ah well!

  9. Wow, I believe all will good. My fingers crossed.Warm greetings from Poland.Gosia

  10. Glad you are home, and hoping the road ahead of you is as smooth as possible. Had my own minor scare a few years ago (from the Dr’s “what IS that?” to surgery was less than 48 hours, which had the advantage of not letting me worry for long) and some of what helped me bear up was online friends. Makes me glad to live in the here-and-now, where I can send a ((((((hug)))))) around the world, and have some expectation that someone there might even deliver it for me, personally. ;-) Thank you, for all that you do, and all that you are.

    • Thanks Gretchen… glad your scare was resolved (as mine will be) and glad you reach out and recieve as effectively as I through this amazing tool we now have at our fingertips. ♥

  11. I often see people saying that you are amazing… Then I see you deny this title. I also see that it seems to make you uncomfortable and you don’t believe that you are.
    I have a theory…
    Could it be that the “amazing” is in the fact you have allowed us into what could be a difficult time that would cause many to withdraw and require privacy? Could it be that you have allowed your fans, who have fallen in live with you, to be the suburbs of your village?
    You are a mum, the same as me. I understand why you deny, for what you do everyday is normal for you. But that you share your story with us.. well… It’s amazing

  12. Hey there darl – good to know that the village is there and comes together when required – but the village is always there :)
    jeanie´s last blog post ..Quite Augusting

  13. You are truly blessed. I’m glad to see who got top billing ;). Animals really do sense our feelings and I’m sure Axel has tried to be a comfort to you.

    You are on my daily prayer list and will remain there until further notice. (hugs)
    Kelly´s last blog post ..The Choiring of the Trees by Donald Harington

  14. OMG! I had no idea. None!! I am so sorry I haven’t been around. xoxo
    K.Young´s last blog post ..Quiet here on the hill

    • I love having your support Kate. I don’t expect everyone to read my blog every day JUST in case I throw something like this into the works!

  15. Oh Bushbabe Your village is awesome. I’m just catching up and saw ‘Jeanie’ mention you.

    You can do this.I wish I could be more helpful, but I’d say the best thing to have is courage and a good support system.

    I am two years post my Breast Cancer diagnosis and my village made all the difference in the world – my village also stretched through optic fibres.

    Laughter! Stock up on it! it works wonders on really bad days. My kids kept me entertained constantly.

    Next Sunday I’m running 14km City to Surf for National Breast Cancer Foundation – running for the cure! Hope for the future for all us.
    Trish´s last blog post ..Older ladies – If you don’t think we rock !

    • “My village also stretched through optic fibres…” love that thought! Mine stetches through satelite dishes.

      Glad you are running now – how amazing that is. THanks for dropping in and sharing your wisdom!

  16. Happy for you for your village and praying for you every day. What makes you amazing is that you don’t think you are.
    Our best to you.
    Judy ( Debby’s friend in PA and yours too!)

  17. Have been thinking of you a great deal over the last month Amanda.
    Wishing you only the best.
    Fiona´s last blog post ..Cakes, Cows, Construction and Kookaburras

  18. I sit here smiling, my smile got wider and wider, my nurse (colleagues) look across at me as I sit here at work reading this post. It makes me happy to read this blog post. Firstly because You ARE doing so well. Secondly because I knew (already) that you are loved..and now I know you do have an amazing support network, and Thirdly, because it smashes some of my pre conceived idea on Patients in rural areas having ‘support issues’ post diagnosis and/or surgery with breast cancer. At least in this case.
    In my Post Graduate Course in Breast Cancer Nursing (at least so far)we are really looking at how we can better serve rural communities in offering support networks and referral areas to assist patients and loved ones. The course is already very intense, but I am so happy to be part of it. I want to make that difference for each of my patients (women and men).
    Love you to the Moon and back BB :)
    You just make me smile!

    • Oh Cazzie – thankyou… I suspect my main source of pain will be the HUGE amount of travel I will need to do. Heading towards 7000km so far and I haven’t even begun chemo…

      Glad I still make you smile!!

  19. Sending love and hugs across that wide wide ocean. So grateful for those who surround you with all you need; it’s strange to be receiving, isn’t it ?~! We learn to Accept during these times and it’s a life lesson which makes us more empathetic people, I think.

    May the Universal Healing Power surround you with light and restoration.
    Lynda M Otvos´s last blog post ..Bread Crusts Make the Best Snacks

  20. This brought tears to my eyes! Your people are gorgeous!

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