Duck Shooting and Boot Skootin’

Oh my goodness, they think I’m one of them, waiting to be pushed, I’ll never see Gary and Sienna again, but someone began pushing me and it wasn’t the Brave Man or the Besties. Oh for heaven’s sake what do I do? “Brave Man where are you?”

To be continued……

So once Gary discovered that the cost of the ‘Shooting Ducks’ at the Colac Show, had gone up substantially since he was 7, he gave up. It was only then he realised his wife was about to be wheeled off with the local, Colac Health Travelling Circus. (No doubt they’d heard I could juggle). My Brave Man dove for my wheels of the ‘black chariot’, and got me back in control. It was an elderly lady who had evidently hooked the ‘kerb climber’ from her new electric model into my ‘footplate’.

The show bags which had been chosen with such careful consideration, were soon thrown out after we discovered that the ‘now’ white coloured ‘used to be milk coloured’ chocolates had melted at least 3 purchases ago and the little plastic bits and bobs, that look like treasures, fell apart within the first four minutes.

So we bid the Colac Show good-bye, and made our way to our retreat in Johanna. That afternoon the girls rested, while the Brave man and his Man Troop transformed the barn into a ………… errrrr….. a barn?? Mmmm.

Ok so they put up lots of decorations, it was the best feeling seeing tonnes and tonnes of my online shopping going into place, just like I had imagined. It will be a birthday barn dance to be remembered.

As usual, we had the loveliest time with our friends, laughs, cuddles and love. The next day, we said farewell to our Besties, whose poor little chooks were quite sick and needed to be in their own beds. The Brave Man made the final touches for the fabulous Farm Party. Then a couple of days later we were back on the road to Melbourne for my Fairy’s Ballet Routine. Her and her besty junior Troop CC, had meticulously practised for weeks to perform in front of the School at Assembly.

I was mesmorised by this beautiful little pink girl , I just found out where my litttle girl had been whilst I’d been sleeping for the past 3 years. She’d been growing up, she was no longer the little piece of ‘valcro’, that stuck to me because she was so nervous going out from under the ‘mum zone’.

They danced a self-choreographed ballet routine, that they had been practising every week, to part of Tchaikovsky’s, Nutcracker. Watching their beautiful posture and sweet smiles as they pirouetted across the stage. We couldn’t have felt more proud than we did right then.

We were also just in time for me to have my first visit from my, palaeontologist, or pathologist, pantaloons wearer, parakeet plucker. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t say the name. Eventually I settled on Paella Carer*. It sounds warm and comforting!

A Paella Carer moderates pain or sorrow (usually by drugs) by making things easier to bear. They are currently coming each week, to check on me and see how I’m coping, how I’m getting around etc…. Even though I was very anxious about the visit, it turned out not as scary as I thought.

At the moment I don’t have pain. Although a couple of times I’ve woken up with the most excruciating pain in my ankles and shins. The pain was so intense that it had me in tears until my Brave Man came to the rescue with pain medication. After 20 minutes, the pain subsided.

I’m also feeling some dull aches in my liver, which is not so much pain, but a reminder that something is not quite right.

My head is probably the hardest to manage, as I’m getting many headaches. My Fairy asked me what it feels like when I have got a head ache. All I could answer was that it is like, “A big volcano sitting on the top of my head about to erupt, the pressure getting stronger and stronger until it feels like it is about to explode, blowing my ears off and sending my eyes popping across the room.”  Too much??? Not sure that was the answer she was expecting.

Most of the time it feels like I’m listening to a big sea shell along with a few high pitched fish, an orca whale and a small version of Moby Dick stuck inside it.

I called on my two Besty Troops today, to come on a ‘secret mission’ with me. It was a couple of days until my fairies’ Farm Party and I really wanted to get a touch of ‘farmer in me’. I borrowed our familie’s, local scarecrow’s red and white gingham shirt. A little bit of his straw fur chest and was hoping to find a cute little set of plaits, to go. Just as I was about to step into the ‘wigs are us’ shop, another wobbly leg episode was happening. With superwoman strength, my two besties tried with all their might to keep me up. As the tremours subsided the girls looked very hot and bothered, I was just in a zone of confusement, probably the ‘twighlight zone’.

As I eventually walked in, I did think it rather ironic that I had chosen this song to hum in my mind….

“I would not be just a nuffin’
My head all full of stuffin’
My heart all  full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If  I only had a brain

Music does the funniest things, it can conjur up, all old and wonderful memories or some sad ones as well. I was able to listen to some old music during the week. It reminded me of the happiness I had when I was a little girl. Watching my Mum and Dad and their friends playing and singing around the piano. The sound of my Dad’s beautiful deep singing voice always gave me goose bumps. My mum is very talented and can play anything on the piano.

Whilst many of my friends were playing Blondie, Duran Duran, and The Eagles. I was still rocking on to David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and James Taylor, and I still love them today as much as I loved them when I was little. It brings great love to my soul!!

I had a bit of a ‘sit down fall today’……. All I needed to walk was 6 steps and my legs just told my brain to forget it, they can’t be bothered. So after commando crawling back to my bed and dragging myself back up onto the bed….. I felt like I’d just climbed Everest, when in fact I’d scaled Sheridan (my sheets).

On Thursday night we met Wendy Woo Woo and she came with us on the road trip back to Johanna for my Fairy’s birthday party. We were all excited because she was coming to Johanna for the first time. And not only that, the most special treat ever, we promised our Fairy that we could have take-away Red Rooster. And it turned out to be very special indeed. Taking seven minutes to chew through the first bite of chicken (if it actually was real chicken) and a bread roll that tasted like it had sat in the shoes of a tinea suffering person for 6 months. Almost in unison, we threw our buns into the ‘rooters’ bag, swearing, never again, never again!!!

We woke up on Friday morning to a beautiful Johanna morning. Crisp, green, bluesky and taking in the arromatic fragrance of the Johanna mountain air. The smell of the yummiest freshly baked bread drifted through the house as my Brave Man was up getting coffees. The first to arrive would be Sienna’s best friend troop cousins, driven by my brave parents.  My beautiful nieces, troop Billie and my other beautiful niece troop Hannah.


And then a special announcement through FaceBook, heralding the ‘Burns Machine’* had arrived!!  My aunties, and their daughters my cousins, who had come down from Sydney and Cairns. Their brothers, my uncles, who are like protective brothers met them at the  airport for the trip to Johanna. Seven hours later they would arrive at Johanna.

The family were together and we were happy, the Fairy was jumping out of her chaps with excitement.

Let the Party Begin

The day started early of course.  The Fairy and her two cousins were as excited as pogo sticks with extra pogo. 

Our first arrivals were my two Besty Troops, Narelle and Tiffy, both coming early to help.  And that’s exactly what they did.

It wasn’t long before all of the Fairy’s friends started to arrive and the fun began. Choosing beds, filling hungry tummies with yummy lunch and putting bathers on ready for the Johanna beach to be discovered and swooping down the sand dunes. Then off for swimming fun at the local pool.



Treasure Hunt

Ok, so they were really excited about this, but Sienna confided in me later, that the instructions got a little confusing towards the end of the hunt. I did a half smile and knew my troublesome brain had been interfering. But they all got there in the end and found the treasure.


Barn Dance

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Woo was the Barn Dance Queen. She played ‘Walk the Line’ on her Ukulele as the girls walked up on stage. What an extraordinary voice this angel has.

Then there was the chicken dance, the Macarena etc… the girls had a ball. Even I had a dance with Sienna, probably more of a shuffle, wobble, and a whooooaaaa, I think I’m going to fall head first into this hay stack. Sienna thought it was the funniest thing ever.




Bed Time

That night I lay in bed as tired as all hell, even though I didn’t do anything, just watched all the other mum’s, my Brave Man, his mum and my Dad, work so hard to give all the girls a good party. And the girls were so happy and all having a smile from ear to ear. I just felt totally humbled by these lovely people who wanted to help our little family, such good people don’t come around like this every day.

By 9.30pm we had 9 sweet little 8 year old girls and 1 precious 11 year old, sleeping soundly. Well we couldn’t hear a thing, and assumed that they hadn’t slipped out the window and snuck up to the local pub for a beer?

I don’t know if my deterioration is due to radiation treatment or cancer growing. But I’m hoping it’s the side effect of radiation & I’ll slowly recover back like I was told. I would just love a couple of days of feeling good and play with Sienna and Gary or walk down to our favourite magic tree.

But constant dull headaches which are also a reminder of something going on. The blurriness and double vision adds to the anxiety.

I’m sick of cancer, I wish it was sick of me!


9 thoughts on “Duck Shooting and Boot Skootin’”

  1. What a birthday party, and what beautiful memories of her 8th birthday! The photos are too gorgeous for words. You have some lovely angels in the form of family and friends. I love reading your blog. It fills me with joy, promise and passion to devour life, to enjoy the moments. Thank you Rachel. Hope the headaches ease up soon xx

  2. How cute do you look in pigtails?! I’m pleased you had such a lovely birthday weekend and I so wish cancer was sick of you too. Stay strong…actually stay however you want! Thinking of you Rachel. Much love, Deborah

  3. What a great party and some beautiful photos. Your stories are just beautiful and inspirational. I wish for you some of those pain free days you desire. Sending positive energy your way.

  4. What a fantastic party for Sienna – she will treasure that forever! The photos are magical.



  5. Rachel, you’re an amazing woman, i am envious of your ability to be so articulate and creative particularly in understanding what is happening .Combined with Gary’s talent with a camera (i hope he is still enjoying a doughnut or two), the energy you display in your writing is awesome and full of spirit
    thinking of you , Gary and Sienna

  6. I am so moved by this amazing journey, and reminded of how lucky we are. It is such a joy to read, with so much humour amongst the pathos. (and great photos!). Rachel I did not know you but the legacy you have left your daughter and your family is so unique and priceless. I sit here, an Aussie in Dubai, missing my life in Australia. What a fool I am. Your story has inspired me to embrace life more, enjoy the opportunities in front of us, and be grateful for what you do have. (Thank you to Susie for sending me the link).
    I lost my mother to cancer 10 years ago, and understand what a painful journey it is. But I am so grateful to have had the time that you get to say goodbye. Your story is so beautiful, well done. It should be a book!
    As you dance with the angels I wish your Brave Man and little Fairy a safe, loving journey into the future knowing you are watching over them.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top