Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Doctor Visit

Went to the doctor today to get that spot on my arm checked. The one I talked about in my last blog post. Got the all clear on that one.

He wants to do a biopsy on another one though, high up on my back. Constantly exposed to the sun. Above the collar line of the tops I wear.  So I have another appointment booked in a couple of weeks to have my whole body checked & any biopsies taken in the same visit.

So, fingers crossed all will be well. He printed off some info to take home about the different types of skin cancers.

The most common ones are Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC), which are the ones that rarely spread & once they are chopped out it's gone. I think that's what my one 21 years ago must have been because the doc then told me it was all gone & not to worry about it & I'm still here to tell the tale!

The next kind of skin cancers are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC), which typically develop on the face (although they can be elsewhere) & grows & if untreated, can erode you nose or ear, etc. It can also spread around the body. With these ones, the doctor said chemotherapy is usually required.

Then there are melanomas, which are particularly nasty. They can even develop on areas of skin not often exposed to the sun. My doctor told me there is no proven treatment for these, however radiation and/or chemo therapy would be the expected path of treatment.

The "take home message" from today's visit is:

See your doctor if you develop an abnormal lump or patch of skin which does not go within a few weeks. See you doctor if you develop a lump or patch on the skin which you are unsure about, or if a mole changes its shape, border, colour or size.

So please, check your skin & your family's skin (get your family to check the areas you can't see) and make an appointment if you are not sure about any spots. You are not wasting the doctor's time, you may be saving your life. Or someone else's.

And please leave me a message to tell me you have checked yourself. This is a serious health issue.

Thanks and good luck to you all,

Karen. xx

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Skin Checks. Gut Instinct.

I live in Australia. The Lucky Country. The Land Down Under. The Land of Sunshine.

Alas, along with all that sunshine (which, God, has been seriously lacking this summer) comes the risk of skin cancer. Apparently we Australia dwellers have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

I grew up in a generation that sent their kids outside to play. Nothing wrong with that. It's called being healthy.

A generation that had not learned the concept of Slip, Slop, Slap. For those of you playing along, that means "Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen and Slap on a hat". Over the years, this simple saying has expanded to include "Wrap" (wrap some sunnies around your eyes) and now we are being encouraged to stay out of the sun between 10am & 3pm and to stay in the shade when we do venture out.

My first skin cancer was removed from my back 21 years ago. Yes, I was 21. I am fair skinned, which makes me a high risk candidate, and my skin burns quickly. I haven't had a bikini body since I was about 10, so my back was fairly well covered over the years by my one piece swimmers. However this little sucker's seed had been planted and developed on a piece of skin that hadn't seen the sun for years. Who would have thought?!

This time last year (almost to the day - it was 25th Feb), I went to my doctor with a list of minor ailments, as you do once you are on the "mature" side of 40.  Blood tests, pap smear, skin check, all that kind of stuff. What I call a "grease & oil change". Got the all clear.

Found this on my upper arm this week. A piece of my body continually exposed to the sun as I wear short sleeved or sleeveless tops. Every day. Except in winter. Don't wear sunscreen every day though.

The dark dot in the middle wasn't there last week. The outline wasn't there last week. If I touch it I can "feel" it, you know how if you touch a mole you can't "feel" it? It's not pain, but it's just there.

So it's time to book myself an appointment to get it checked out. I think I will get it removed anyway, just to be on the safe side. I was lucky I sought a second opinion 21 years ago, as the first opinion told me it was nothing to worry about. I might not be here today if I hadn't trusted my gut instinct.

When did you last get your skin checked? Have you ever?

Wish me luck!

Karen xx

Monday, February 20, 2012

Small touches

The small yellow flower was given to me by Missy Megan (4), from our back yard.

The frangipani was given to me by Liam (9), collected on the way home from the bus stop.

It's the small things like this that mean so much to me.

How do your kids show their love?

Karen xx

Monday, February 13, 2012

Teary Teary Me

Today I collected the application form for Missy Megan to start school next year.

Is it too early to cry?!

Karen xx

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do you Immunise your Kids?

Today I am taking Missy Megan for her 4 year old immunisations. Yes, I know she is 4 & 1/2 but I am old school, in that you immunise your kids before they start school, not as soon as they turn 4. So, consider me getting in early on this one, as she doesn't start big school until next year.

I have been dreading this day as I don't want to inflict pain on her. I remember poor Liam crying for half an hour after having this immunisation.

We have explained that the doctor will poke a needle into her arm, press it to put the medicine in there & then take the needle out again (can't have her thinking she's going to be walking around with a needle in her arm), so she doesn't get some sicknesses when she starts big school. Her only question was "What if I move?". God love her!

The needles at age 4 are intended to immunise against Diptheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (whooping cough), Measles, Mumps, Rubella  and Inactivated Poliomyelitis (polio).

To view the current recommended immunisation schedule in Australia, follow this link, which will take you to

In Australia, we are given a financial incentive to immunise our children and help stamp out certain illnesses. Details can be found here.

We are lucky, we live in a country where we can choose whether to immunise our kids or not. You may still receive the incentive payment (it's called Maternity Immunisation Allowance), but you need to fill in a Medical Contraindication Form or a Conscientious Objection Form, which both need to be filled in by the immunisation provider (as proof you have made an educated choice), or if your child has a natural immunity to a disease or the vaccine is unavailable you can request a letter from them stating this. Or if you are a member of the Church of Christ Scientist, you can provide a letter from your church (see here).

To check your child's immunisation status, refer to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

Immunisation status can also affect Child Care Benefit payments. One of the reasons you need to show your child's blue book when you enrol them in daycare. Details can be found here.

All three of our children are immunised. Ray & I were both immunised as children.

Are you an immuniser or a non-immuniser?

Love to hear your thoughts!

Karen xx

Picture credit: here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday = Grandma Day

I haven't blogged about my Grandma for a while. We used to spend every Tuesday together.

There are posts here and here and here about her.

Life changed in a massive way for her last year when she fell at home & fractured her pelvis.

Mum & I found our way through the Aged Care system here in NSW, which can be quite confusing at times.

Grandma is now safely residing in one of the nicer nursing homes in the area and can I say, thank goodness for the respite care system - they get to try before they buy, so to speak. When the elderly go into care directly from hospital, it is a crisis care situation and they are placed wherever there is a vacancy, which is not always close by. Grandma was placed in our local area but the nursing home was not very nice. Sure it was fairly new but it was noisy and I had heard reports of not so safe practices going on there. But there she had to stay until Mum & I were able to prepare her house to be sold to pay for a permanent room in a nursing home of the family's choice, with input from Grandma. I say it was the family's choice because Grandma did not want to go into care. But she was no longer able to stay at home on her own and was not prepared to pay for any further services to help her remain "independent". (She had 5 friends and family running around doing stuff for her so she could consider herself independent, so she wasn't really independent at all).

So, now that she has a new permanent place to live we are back to our Tuesday = Grandma days. I am not physically able to take her out yet, myself recently recovering from a minor workplace injury and the fact that Grandma is wheelchair bound means she needs more assistance than I can give (she can't get in & out of a car without virtually being lifted by whoever is with her - she will not move her feet to help herself as she is afraid of falling) plus I have Missy Megan in tow, who at 4, cannot assist me with Grandma.

So we go to her. Here are a couple of snaps of our girls' day yesterday:

Have you had any experience with the Aged Care system wherever you live?

Would you ever consider being the primary carer for an elderly relative, or would you place them in care like we did?

I would love to hear your thoughts.......

Karen xx

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Real Women Can Too Be Sexy......

Definition of sexy: sexually interesting or exciting; radiating sexuality; excitingly appealing (from; having sex appeal.

Check out this photo of some friends of mine:

Now, THAT right there, is sexy.

And what man wouldn't find the ladies in this photo sexy?

All the men I know would.

Look at those beaming faces. Look at the joy at being in each other's company. Look at the self confidence. Real women living real lives. (I can vouch for this as I know them all). They are just like us. Balancing a household, husband (including a soon to be), kids, work, study, the list goes on....

Do not let the media dictate what is sexy. We don't need supermodels or magazines to subliminally put pressure on us to be a particular weight or eat particular foods.

Be comfortable with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Smile. Engage your self confidence. It shines.

Happiness is contagious.

It makes you sexy.

I couldn't resist this next clip. By a bloke who gets better with age. He can leave his boots under my bed!

What do you think makes someone sexy?

Have a wonderful day. I will be out for lunch, celebrating being sexy on my 42nd birthday today!


Karen xx

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What your tattoo location says about you

A tongue-in-cheek look at where people have their tattoos:

Heard it being discussed on breakfast radio this morning so went googling & found the above chart here at

I have no tattoos. I like to admire them on other people but don't want to go there myself.

Personally I don't understand the lower back tattoos, you can't see it yourself so it's only there for the "look at me" factor. But each to their own.

Do you have or would you ever get a tattoo? Where?

Karen xx