Monday, January 19, 2015

Fire and Rain

I'm home from my Melbourne jaunt so pop the kettle on and settle yourself in for a good long read.


It's no understatement to say that cancer is the gift that keeps on giving in its vast and varied forms.

Most of cancer's gifts come wrapped in pain, frustration and deep fear, but there is one I'm particularly grateful to receive. A lifelong membership to an exclusive club. Members have been through, or are going through, the baptism of fire that is cancer treatment and regardless of prognosis, each continues to shine fierce and bright.

Initially I was a little hesitant to join The Cancer Clique.

At the time, just prior to my second mastectomy, I felt like I was almost at the end of the cancer journey and didn't know if I wanted to immerse myself back into talk of chemo and hospitals and life expectancy.

What I found was immense support in shared experiences and a commeraderie that was warm, easy and uplifting. I also came to realise after my mastectomy that once you jump aboard the cancer train, you're on it for life, however long that may be, so it's better to ride it in numbers.

I shake my head now when I contemplate the thought of missing out on such incredible friendships.

It was nothing short of a privilege to meet up with our group in Melbourne on the weekend. I loved how easily the conversations flowed, how nice it was to give everyone a real hug instead of a cyber one. I've only known these gorgeous girls for 7 months but it felt like I'd known them for years.

Six of us kicked off the weekend with Yum Cha on the banks of the Yarra river before bundling into a cab to visit our darling Deb in hospital.

Seeing Deb and being able to give her a bloody good squeeze was one of the highlights of my weekend. It seems like such a ridiculous notion that she doesn't have much time left. How do you reconcile such a vibrant women with the end stage of cancer? I loathe this disease for what it steals away but I will be forever grateful that I've come to know Deb.



After firmly establishing ourselves as the rowdiest room on the ward we bid Deb goodnight and headed back across the river for dinner in South Melbourne.


We caught up with Jules, another Clique chick, at Big Huey's Diner. It was a great night...the cocktails were chilled and the food was fabulous. We also talked about the impossibly hard decision Jules had to make regarding her long awaited liver re-section.


Saturday morning I spent a couple of hours wandering about the city by myself enjoying coffee at my favourite cafe and a spot of child free shopping.
Then it was time to jazz ourselves up for high tea at The Hotel Windsor
It was more than a dash of was the sweet birthday treat I'd been saving myself for.
(The Marvellous Meg.)
Jo's wonderful Hubby was brave enough to join us for the afternoon and it was a delight to meet him.
Our group has a very particular type of black humour which seems to follow us wherever we go. Posh hotels are no deterrent.
(Jo Jo and Julie on their best behaviour...)
What a smashing time with a smashing bunch of girls.
L - R Meg, Julie, Jo, Sherie, Em, Antoinette & Jules.



Deb wasn't able to escape hospital to join us so we snuck some scones into our bags and brought high tea to her. On our way over we also got five precious minutes with Nat, another beautiful Clique member, who was undergoing treatment at another hospital.



Dinner was a quiet affair at a Greek restaurant just a stones throw from my hotel in Southbank. I felt emotionally spent that night. It had been such a lovely day but the reality of how beastly cancer can be drained me dry.

Sunday morning we brunched in South Melbourne and had a little wander about the South Melbourne Market & Coventry Street...




...before bidding our fond farewells and flying home.

Thank you so very, very much Meg, Julie, Jo, Deb, Jules, Nat, Antoinette and Sherie for such a wonderful weekend. And to the girls who couldn't make it, thank you for your incredible humour and support online.



In the immortal words of James Taylor...


I've seen fire and I've seen rain.

I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.

I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.

But I always thought that I'd see you again.


xx Em



















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