The splintered Wood

10603176_10152348560474506_144051450_nThis story will prove to you that a splinter in the finger is more serious than cancer… or anything really.

Last Tuesday, the MOTH begrudgingly went out into the garden to do some major pruning, which he hates. After an hour or so he arrived at the door with a sore finger. He thought there might be a splinter in it but I couldn’t see one so I put a bandaid on it and he went back out and continued. Nice try Col… I know you don’t like gardening but that’s a pretty lame way of getting out of it.

The next night he asked me to see if there was a splinter in there and if I could cut it out. I got out my craft knife and sliced across it but he couldn’t take the pain so I put detol on it and a bandaid and he went to work the next day. I made an appointment at the doctors for him for Friday morning and off he went.

The doctor took a look at it and said ‘I think you’d better go to casualty. ‘But it’s just a splinter!’ Colin exclaimed.

Casualty at Maroondah had many people in it apparently. He met a man with chest pain and got chatting to a woman sitting next to him who had a broken ankle. Guess who got taken in first? Colin with the splinter in his finger. He kept saying ‘but it’s just a splinter!’ but the medical staff could see the serious nature of the injury.

Most of you know that he is the only person in the world who doesn’t have a mobile phone. So the woman (patient) sitting next to him took this photo and sent it to me with no explanation. I received the photo and thought ‘WHAT????’ I was incredulous. Why are you in plaster up to your elbow with an IV in???? Well I would have asked this but of course, he doesn’t have a phone so I couldn’t.

The doctors were very concerned. They told him he needed two lots of surgery and to stay in hospital for 3 days. He would need at least a week off work. So I went in to casualty to see the poor man with the splinter. This was a little problematic because I had my car as well as his parked in 2 hour spots at the hospital and it was 3 hours before we were meant to go away on our family trip.

In casualty, the MOTH was creating a circus. A nurse had growled at him and told him to sit still because he was wandering around, the other medical staff were all looking ‘amused’ at the performance he was making about the splinter. He was behaving like Croc Dundee in New York. Having never been in hospital in his life, the novelty was wearing very thin.

After a short while, the porter came to take him up to the wards. Colin held his arm up and said to her ‘I’ve got a splinter!’. She was most concerned and offered to get a wheelchair.

So he settled into bed with a TV and a paper and INSISTED that I went to Rosebud without him. I felt a mixture of amused, sad that he missed out and incredulous… even annoyed at the amount of fuss they were making. He was fasting for surgery and like a tiger in a cage so it wasn’t too difficult to wave goodbye.

Ashlee came and helped with the cars and Soph and Jarrod drove me to Rosebud where we all worried ourselves sick about the splintered finger.

 What was all the fuss?

Apparently the splinter was near a tendon in his finger which could give him a stiff finger or at worse he could lose it because the infection could eat it away. They were talking plastic surgery, skin grafts and so on. Later that night they took the splinter out under local anaesthetic and cleaned it up. No plastic surgery or skin grafts and the wound looked fine. Apart from them putting the anaesthetic into the wrong finger all went well, According to Colin the splinter was 20cm long. Given that it was going across his finger which is 1cm wide that’s what remarkable (said with a touch of sarcasm). He spent 24 hours on an IV drip and then DROVE himself to Rosebud to join us. He has no plaster now but his ‘rude finger’ (middle one) has a big bandage on it and he very rudely sticks it up at us at any given time. He announces frequently that he ‘has a splinter’ and can’t possibly get himself coffee, water or any other thing and needs to sit in a chair all day.

PLUS… the district nurse is coming every day to change the dressing (!!!).

I am almost speechless. It seems like a candid camera episode or something. Do I sound unsympathetic? Well part of me wondered if there was missing information and perhaps I should be worried but I just couldn’t find it in myself. My brave fireman had a splinter and it just seemed so… well… trivial. He told the nurse it was worse than my cancer and she agreed! Of course he thinks it’s as funny as the rest of us and it’s now his talking point whenever we meet people.  So glad I haven’t got a splinter like he has he he.

I’ll leave you with my favourite YouTube clip which will amuse most of the women in this world…


MS fun walk/run

Some of our ‘Are we there yet?’ team did the MS fun walk/run on Sunday to support our dear friend who has had MS for 21 years. She is such a trouper. She walked the 5km’s, taking regular rests like a good woman and made it around the whole course. I’m so proud of her!

Cheif running MOTH

10440853_10152212061764506_6969246208604146620_nThe MOTH decided to be my jogging partner (with a little prompting) because Sophie couldn’t. Given that he hasn’t run 5k since the MFB recruits in 1904BC he was a little dubious. His crew at work told him that they would have the MICA unit ready for him.

In typical fashion, he ran the 5k without even getting puffed out or looking at all exerted. He still had his jacket on to keep him warm. I was conscious of keeping up with him the whole way even though I’ve been training my butt off! Grrr. To top it off he went through the finish line one second faster.

The only consolation is that he is walking like a 99 year old man today and has lost the spring in his step. I do appreciate him coming with me and it was just as well he did!

 I found my boundaries


First aid in the background just in case

My oncologist agreed that I should keep up the running while I’m having chemo but not to run until I can’t get my breath. Oops. It wasn’t the MOTH needing resuscitation it was me! I got to the 4k mark and felt very weary so I began to walk but after 5 steps I got dizzy so started running again. For some reason I wasn’t dizzy when I was running. I had run 5k on the treadmill twice during the week so it wasn’t a big challenge.

I got over the finish line and suddenly couldn’t breath so had to take a trip in the wheelchair to First Aid. That kind of took the elation of going through the finish line away. Boo!

By the time the medics got to me I was breathing fine but giddy so they did blood sugar, oxygen tests and blood pressure. I think they were excited to use all their equipment ha ha. My oxygen levels were down but they came up again when I took deep breaths. It’s amazing how that works. I have no idea why that happened but I guess I’ll chat to them at chemo tomorrow or ask one of my running friends for advise.

The best part of the First Aid tent was that Rosie and I managed to do a strip tease behind a blanket and change out of our wet tshirts.

Thanks to Tony for driving us all in. We had a lovely warm coffee and a free tour of the city afterwards. I can’t wait for the next one! Next time I’ll take it a little more easy.


Breast cancer post #2

I’ve had a very busy and social weekend with my wonderful family and friends. It can be exhausting to experience the emotion of others when my own emotions are soaring in different directions but I am finding the courage to do that and it’s getting easier by the day.

People have been very supportive AND practical which is a huge relief to me. Paul,  from Forest Edge Stone, for example, has extended my art exhibition to May 1st (3 extra weeks) for no charge so I don’t have to worry about it. You can find out more about that here. What a man!

It’s odd but I feel surprised by people being emotional. It’s not that I’m not touched (afterwards) it’s just that it confuses me for the first few seconds. I automatically think ‘I wonder why she is upset’. So in true Bredle family (mothers side) style, I’m breaking the ice with humour. It shocks people sometimes but if I can make people laugh I feel happy and so do they. I’m also perfectly comfortable to speak openly about the ‘other feelings’ so it’s not that I’m in denial. Mostly I feel quite enveloped in a calmness and peace, mixed with a positive and fighting spirit and I am touched by the empathy others feel comfortable to show. No behaviour is wrong or right. Feelings are feelings. I have found enough grace to understand that how people react (or don’t react) isn’t always an indicator of how they feel.

So as well as catching up with loved ones… I’ve discovered that there are now half a dozen ex/current Swinburne staff with breast cancer, diagnosed in the last month or so and many who have had it in the past 2 years. I could make comment on that but let’s leave it alone:) I’m catching up with a couple of them for coffee next week so we can support each other.

1901973_753528051337655_193389831_nIn the quiet moments I’ve included a tad of artwork. I began drawing again at 1am Saturday night when I couldn’t sleep. One of them was very bleak and I’m going to ‘bin it’ and others were introspective. The plan is to ‘half complete’ a pile of drawings and finish them off while I’m on the chemo drip.

This one (above) is probably expressing more than my words can say but even though it is ‘sad’ looking, the wings are a symbol of ‘hope’. They are also breast cancer ribbons which are a bit cliche but… meh!

Warning: my humour can be black

So my new plead with the MOTH (Man Of The House) is ‘If you loved me… I’ve got cancer you know’.  So far I’ve asked for a Ferrari, a house down the beach and I asked him to shave his head when I do mine. He was shocked at first but now he is responding with ‘I don’t love you that much’.

Last night we were having dinner with a bunch of my wonderful friends and I extended it to request many things on behalf of others. ‘Colin, if you loved me you would buy Janet a house, Gail an iPad etc etc.’

Anyone who wants to get in on the act can slip me a commission of 25%. Now that I’ve got no job I’m becoming entrepreneurial.

French Lentils have the power

The things I love to eat (apparently)…

Broccoli, Walnuts, Beans, Garlic, Mushrooms, Broccoli sprouts, Pomegranates, Lentils, Blueberries, Spinach, Eggs, Salmon, Rye bread (whole rye flour), Sweet potato (all yellow veges and fruits), Kohlrabi, Whole grains, Flaxseed

No high fat dairy or processed meat

Keep off the processed food



I figured if I looked up power food for fighting cancer and stick to a diet (loosely) I will have some kind of control over my body. So I printed out the list above. The MOTH has been very diligent and wanting to do the right thing by me (apart from the Ferrari) and went on a hunt to buy everything on the list. Some of those things were pretty challenging but he also managed to make the ‘normal’ things more difficult. He couldn’t just buy lentils from the supermarket. He had to buy FRENCH LENTILS from the health food shop. They are sure to work better. So we had very posh FRENCH LENTIL BURGERS for tea. Voila!

I wondered why Rye bread always has wheat flour in it so I decided to make my own ‘cardboard-tasting-solid-as-a-brick’ loaf. It didn’t rise at all and it made me gag to eat it. All is good. WIth my french lentils and my cardboard brick Rye loaf I can conquer all.

Tests and stuff

Today I have a Gated Heart Pool Scan and a full body CT scan. The heart one is to check if it will stand up to one of the chemo drugs which they use in the trial and the CT scan is to check for cancer locations in soft tissue. I had the bone scan last Friday and we should get the results when I see the oncologist tomorrow.

I have to have a biopsy next Friday so they can tag the tumour. Perhaps they want to track where I am so I can’t run away (microchip). Then I have to sort out wigs, bras and where and when I will start chemo. I’m happy to be doing the trial (see blog post #1) as it means I will be closely monitored. Shrinking the tumour before removing it just makes sense. So let’s hope and pray that I will be a suitable candidate.

I’m so blessed to have Colin, my kids and their partners and a huge network of family and friends who are all with me on the journey. If I don’t respond to your messages or have that promised coffee it’s not that I don’t appreciate you.

The purpose of this blog is to inspire others and not to get pity. I hope that regardless of tomorrows results I can do that in some way. If not, just let me make you laugh so we can all feel OK about it. Maybe some days I won’t be laughing and you can pay me back;)

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Jenny Wood breast cancer

A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realise how blessed you are.