Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Digs

I'm not sure what's going to be happening at this blog, but I do have a new blog

See you there.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Surefire way to get me to write a blogpost

Hacking my Google account seems to be the easiest way, apparently.

Round about 2pm this afternoon, I got an email from someone asking why I was commenting on a website I said I would no longer comment on.

Red flags went up. I haven't commented anywhere on anything since last night, and that was on a blog post about a Kindle. What comments?

Before I got a chance to reply, I got an email through to my iphone, with a comment left on my blog. By me. From MY Google account. Alarms were now sounding. I haven't written anything at all on this blog for months.

I immediately turned to the fount of all knowledge technical, Twitter, and asked if anyone knew if there was a way of using someones Google account to leave comments - people have left comments in my name before, but they've never included my picture, or linked to my profile, or sent a freaking email back to me - other than hacking someones account. Before the answers even started coming back (CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD, CHANGE IT NOW. LOG THEM OUT), Jeremy rang me asking if I had sent him an email, the text of which was "How do put up with me being such a fat, whiny, bitch" or words to the effect.

I tried to log into my Google account, and the password had been changed. Worse still, I couldn't reset the account using my alternate email, because I've forgotten the blinking password.

Luckily, Google suspended the account, and on me providing enough information to identify me (Actually, they requested enough information to be able to write my obituary, wedding speech or dating profile), reset it. Looks like whoever it was got in through the security password, which to my shame turns out it's fairly easy to guess.

The message here? I have sent one personal email today from my gmail account, and that was to Jeremy. If you received an email from me today, it was not from me. If someone spoke to you on Gmail chat, it was not from me. If a comment has been left on your blog, it was not from me.

Oh, and check your security question. It doesn't matter how secure your password is if your security question is a doddle.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Who gets to decide what a family is?

Families come in all forms. Young married people with children, biological or adopted, same-sex couples, unmarried parents, grandparents or extended families living in a cohesive family unit, seperated and divorced couples raising their children separately, re-married couples with children from multiple marriages....

I think you get the drift.

If you look at the the organisations out there who claim to speak for families, they're by-and-large talking about one type of family; man, woman, children. There's no room for anyone else at the Christian Value Family table. Same-sex and raising a child? Nope, sorry, one of you needs to have the opposing genitals to the other. Don't ask why. Divorced and parenting co-operatively? Nope, you're ruining society with your children from broken homes. Unmarried and parenting with no rings in sight? Don't you realise that a marriage certificate makes you a much better parent? There's a secret instruction manual handed out on the Big Day!

As far as I am concerned, the only people who get to decide what a family unit is (or even what the best family unit for their particular situation) is the family concerned. All very well for the God Squad to preach from the plinth what is best for society (usually based on studies that do not stand up to any kind of scrutiny, or based on "self-evident" truths); the rest of us live in the real world. The world where more than half of marriages result in divorce, where same-sex parents have been demonstrated by several long-term studies to be as good at parenting as heterosexual parents, where more and more parents are parenting equally, either from the necessity of needing two wages or the realization that Dads are just as able to raise a child as a mother (sans breastfeeding, of course).

Families are awesome. They're an endless source of support, camaraderie, learning and love. My own family wouldn't fit into the Australian Family Associations incredibly narrow definition of a family. My parents are re-married, I have five step-siblings, and I'm engaged to a raving lefty, and we firmly intend to share the parenting responsibilities equally when the time comes.

Further, we don't live like we used to. I grew up in a mining town in Wales, and my great-aunt lived three doors down, my other great-aunt lived a street away, a third great-aunt lived a street further up and my aunt was also within walking distance. We wandered in an out of each others houses and some of the closest bonds I have to this day are with my great-aunts and second-cousins. Families lived closer, and the family "unit" was larger, and included a greater diversity of extended relatives. The old adage "It takes a village to raise a child" has never been more true, but the availability and willingness of that village to get involved isn't there anymore. The inter-generational care and bonds dilute as we live further away from each other, and place more and more responsibility on the primary care-giver of a child (usually the mother) for the upbringing of children. Further narrowing the definition of a family adds to that pressure. We need to step in and step up with each other more. I want my children to have that same bond I have with my aunts and uncles and cousins. It's sad that we're losing that as a society.

The motives for keeping the definition of Family "Pure" are fairly obvious. Take the Australian Family Association as an example. On their "Your state" page for Victoria? Links on how to elect Pro-Life MPs and "Protecting religious freedom in Victoria". On their main page is a link to their current campaign on preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

All well and good, they're entitled to lobby for whatever they like, but I don't see anything, anywhere declaring them to be an organisation based on religious values. It's not anywhere. The aim? You don't associate them with any church, or religion, you associate these views (These religiously informed views) with "Family". I also see nothing encouraging an increase in funding and awareness campaigns for parents of intellectually and physically disabled children, which if you "believe in the sanctity of life from conception to death", presumably you'd be screaming for. They're anti-abortion, but not campaigning for increasing adoption services, or increasing funding for disability support services. They're anti-euthanasia, but there's nothing about increasing palliative care funding, or aged-care funding. The care they demonstrate ends at the delivery room door and a long way before the grave.

The Australian Family Association is also hella misogynist. In it campaign to increase funding for mothers to stay home, there's plenty of mother-blaming in the argument that kids in all-day daycare fare worse than those who don't. The mother should be staying home to rear the children. The mans job is to be the bread winner. Direct quote from the about page of the Australian Family Association;

"Society should recognise the different biological and psychological functions of the mother and father. It should require the latter normally to maintain the family by virtue of his work, which society should reward with a minimum wage or salary sufficient to maintain a family. The maintenance of the family should be the financial responsibility of the father and not of the State, unless the father proves incapable of fulfilling his obligations. The law should not inhibit the legal or ethical right of the mother to engage in outside employment. Society, through its systems of taxation, family allowances and endowment, and similar provisions, should ensure, however, that no mother is forced to engage in outside employment through economic pressure."

So the definition of a family narrows further. It's not just man, woman, children. Your roles are defined by this group as rigid and inflexible, taking into account none of the individuality of your family, your careers, the opportunity to equally parent. It's not up to you. They know best.

I believe that the best people to decide how a family functions, how it changes, how it is defined, are the family. That the government should support families in all their forms, and that pushing "Religious Values" in the name of "Family Values" is dishonest and destructive, and we need to take back the word family to ALL it applies to, not just the Righteous, noisy few.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Blessings

Yesterday afternoon I had a wide excision on the upper arm to get rid of the rest of any Liposarcoma lurking around, and give us a nice margin. I went in at one, and was out by four. I cannot thank Peter Mac and the awesome staff there for getting me in two days after the final results came through, and by-and-large being awesome. I wasn't completely put under, it was a twilight anesthesia, and I've had problems with Local anesthetics before, so they were looking for me to tell them if and when I had issues with the local, which I did, briefly, but they were on top of it. They sent me home after a bit of a rest, with instructions to take Panadol six hourly.

They gave me a long-lasting Local, so the pain didn't kick in until about 8pm, but when it did, Boy, did it kick in. My arm started swelling, so I was straight onto the number for patient liaison, who clucked at me being given nothing but Panadol, and advised me to see my GP in the morning if I could last that long, or the hospital if I couldn't. I went into the Doc first thing and he all but laughed at Panadol being prescribed, and wrote out two scripts for something stronger. It took the first two doses to get on top of the pain, but now that I have, it's bearable. Moving is still painful, but as long as I rest, it's bearable.

More than anything, I'm glad it's gone. And that I've got such a supportive partner and family. What a Christmas present!

I hope everyone who celebrates gets what they need this Christmas, whether that's a particular present or time with their loved ones, and those who don't - enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pace is the Trick

If you're wondering why there's been no news on the Exploding Arm CancerTM*, it's because we're basically in a holding pattern. Our Exploding Arm Cancer Doc, because of the rarity, doesn't trust anyone but his pathologists to give him a clear picture of what we're dealing with. Fair enough, says I. So far this has been looked at by no fewer than four TEAMS of pathologists. There's bits of me growing in labs in three states now.

That DOES make me slightly edgy in terms of delay. It's still in my fricking arm, but I'm sure that they wouldn't leave it in there unless there was damn good reason to. Basically, if they take it out and it turns out they should have done something first, they're going to have put us far further behind than if we wait another few weeks. We're still operating under the assumption that it's only going to be a slash and stitch job, and that this'll be done early next year, but it just depends what the final pathology turns up. Unfortunately it looks like this hasn't been seen before in every doctor who has seen it so far.

So, we're basically at Hurry Up And Wait. Most days - unless it's a day where my arm is incredibly itchy or we're expecting results back - I forget about it. The fact that I know we've got the very best looking into it, and I've got the best chaserer-upperer in the business fielding the phone calls in Jeremy means I've been able to be pretty chill about it. After all, they wouldn't be leaving it in there if there was a danger to my health beyond the obvious.

*Exploding Arm Cancer is Jeremy's name for it. Personally, I've found it helps to make as light of it as we hope it will be. Particularly when it's incredibly itchy or gets sore, which can be worrying. Since there was no margin we're also operating at the assumption that it's still in there since my Doc only took out what looked like a cyst, and it's highly unlikely that got it all, but as we caught it so early we can afford to be conservative in terms of treatment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Had my first appointment at the Peter Mac institute today, and the news was overwhelmingly good. Yes, I have Cancer. Yes, it's a Liposarcoma. But because we got it so early, I'm only going to need surgery. That's it. That will, in the specialists opinion, cure me.

It was the best news we had any right to expect. All I'm going to have to have is more tissue taken out, and I'll end up with a six to ten centimetre scar. The best bit of the appointment was the bit where he had to examine the rest of my upper body for anything suspicious looking, and when he noticed my stomach and chest scars, he said "Well, I can see the scar on the arm isn't going to trouble you too much" He was efficient, professional, knowledgeable and - a quality I'm rapidly finding essential in a medical professional, blunt.

Compared to the treatments other people have to go through to stay healthy when they discover Cancer, what a small price to pay.

I'll take it. What's a ten centimetre scar for my life? Nothing. A day or two off work, a week or two out of the gym. Nothing.

And now we know where we are, on to the wedding planning! And maybe I can get back to sleeping now. I think that's been the worst bit of this for me - trying to operate and cope with stressful news without sleep. It puts you so far behind, trying desperately to cope with a head full of exhaustion-fog. I felt - this is the only word I can think of for it - fragile. Everything was just harder whilst I didn't know.

But, onwards.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Good News

Verbal results from lab in Perth this afternoon; Primary Cutaneous Liposarcoma. My GP thinks I may be able to get away with just some more surgery on the arm to give a margin (At the moment we don't have a margin), but he's deferring that decision to my surgeon, who is experienced in this kind of Cancer. We should know tomorrow what his thoughts are (He's out of town today) and whether I will be under his care solely, or will need to be referred on for further treatment.

Fingers crossed its the former, but this is some fantastic news.