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Author Archives: pipsky

New Year

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I guess my absence from writing my life is a sign that I have been living it fully! This has to be a sign of health. I have devoted much time to community groups in 2013 and while I have resigned from most of my volunteer activity to devote myself to house and garden hoping to sell and move this year, I am proud to say that the groups that I have given my time to are both receiving awards at the Australia Day ceremony in Bundaberg: Woodgate Community Events for the Easter Fair and Pilotlight Productions for community theatre and choral work. Health-wise I am receiving iron injections fortnightly as iron levels are very low and red blood cells down. However all tests are clear and there are no signs of secondaries. So I am getting on with it you might say, assimilating the small indignities bequeathed by surgery and chemotherapy: stiff legs, oedema. I have attained some notoriety with my breast-replacing celtic dragon tattoos through an article in Take 5 magazine. All positive and I do love my dragons! Sending you all my very best wishes for 2014.


tatts in technicolour

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My good friends who have followed the journey, I have finally got around to photographing the tattoos as promised. I have not regretted the decision to tattoo the scars for a moment (despite the agony of 5 hours drawing and 5 hours coloration)!  The difference it makes to my feelings about the space of emptiness and loss represented by the bi-lateral mastectomy is quite remarkable. I do not see the scars, which were a bit uneven and uninspiring when you walked past a mirror- I smile instead at the dragons and have the secret of knowing what I am hiding under my singlet when addressing a serious board meeting. A friend said to me recently when i told him that I was nervous about a particular meeting; “But you are taking 2 dragons with you!” Okay I thought  – that is the truth! Empowering thought!

I am exercising twice a week at the moment and doing far too much as the stage manager for a youth production of Peter Pan- oh the stage set boxes are so heavy! (Who said I shouldn’t be using the left arm after the nodes have been removed?) Surviving so far but know I am walking a thin line and don’t need this much physical and mental stress at this time of my life. I also think you reach an  age when you become invisible to young people no matter what you can offer them. Then it is time to bow out and exit stage left running all the way – dragon propelled!


After this Sunday I get my life back and go to Cairns for the Ukelele Festival and then to Melbourne to see John. So lots to look forward to.

Back to work?

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The absence of posts is a sign of lack of time to reflect on my existence because I am working my butt off as a community volunteer- oh and on one paid project even! I did have good news that I wanted to share though- the first ultrasound since the surgery was a week or so ago an the surgeon called with the results and there is no sign of the cancer in the rib cage, chest wall or lymph nodes. That is very good news because the rumor is that the first year is the riskiest time for recurrence. I did give myself a hard time leading up to the tests mainly with nightmares about going through chemo again! I went to the Cancer Group in Childers and the women there were marvelous and gave me heart- they all feel a bit crazy around test times! I have also been getting a bit more function back in my feet and legs thanks to some hot physio and going back to exercise classes- light aerobics and aqua aerobics.  I seem to fill every hour of every day at a pace that would exhaust fitter people I am sure! Have managed the sponsorship program for my local Woodgate Community Events, scored three lots of funding for the community theatre group I am with Pilotlight productions (‘like’ us on facebook!), the last one from the Industry Development Fund with Arts Queensland has me organizing 4 flood relief benefits across the Wide Bay Burnett! The good news is I get to sing in them with the mob! Have a contact with Creative Regions to produce three short films with local farmers to go on a new portal celebrating the food/culture and commerce of the region. Loving the creative work on that. Have managed flood well in Woodgate. We put the house on the market this week to attract the Easter crowd for a peek- probably take 5 years to sell n the present market here. Hope you are all well and happy

Memory Lane

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Had a wonderful experience on the weekend attending Brian Gagen’s 80th birthday in Brisbane. Brian has been a true friend that has been there for me in all the milestones of my life. Not only was the occasion  infused with 40 years of memories but the real bodies that had shaped that time were there for hugs! The scary bit was seeing the youngsters that had been around the table 20 years ago there with their partners and offspring! A little reminder that time has not stood still. As my sister Maureen, who was with us said: ‘There was a lot of love in the room!’  It was also a reminder that we should create events to celebrate our lives more often! Hooray for a beautiful life Brian Gagen! We are holding you to a pact of unconditional love! I am feeling stronger today on a week long course of steroids so watch out I might make that 80th year as well!

Scar tattoo

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One New Year event for me will be getting ‘the tattoo’ over the mastectomy scars. I thought this was an original idea until I saw the website with images of hundreds of women who got there before me. Deciding what permanent marks to make on my body however is not so easy for me.  Angel wings, birds, butterflies, Chinese dragons, a phoenix,  guns and roses? If I were Maori I would know exactly what was appropriate to identify my lineage and occupation (I asked Manus, a visiting Maori master potter what the tattoo on his arm meant -“It says that I am a potter”). Fair enough, that makes sense. What authentic roots do I have that might help me create a meaningful image that would reclaim my chest area and that I could live with? I am going to do some research into Celtic design for example (Mike has already checked out the Pippen Kings and it is all about terrifying religious iconography- that has already been seared onto my soul thanks, no need to print it on the surface as well!)  If any of you have a suggestion I would be grateful for guidance!

New Year’s Greetings

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The fact that I haven’t posted on the blog for a while is a sign that I have immersed myself in my characteristic busyness once more which I guess is a sign of health! I can boast of being a cancer survivor of over one year now! Despite still having numbness in my feet and joint pains I have been recovering my old energies and even taken up a project for Creative Regions. The fact that I couldn’t walk after one of the days on the job demonstrated to me the real state of my readiness for active service! Along with some suitable things, Mike gifted me with a coughing virus for Christmas so am wheezing my way into the new year, but determined that 13 is going to be my lucky number. Thanks for sharing the journey this year. I have treasured your comments and felt your positive energy around me all the way.

2012 in review

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.