Saturday, 21 September 2019

Keep Calm it's the Final Countdown!

We only have 12 days, 11 hours and 45 minutes to go till we take off from Brisbane airport for what will be the trip of a lifetime.  I think it would be safe to say I have never been so frightened in all my life! But underneath the terror is a relief that at last we are nearly at the point where I am going to finally get the operations I need. 

I want to say a quick but massive thank you before I move on to today's blog, to everyone who has given to our Go Fund Me Page.  I would also like to thank those who although they couldn't donate have helped us by sharing our story far and wide.  Every donation whether that's $1 or $10,000 is helping us to get to Switzerland and really I can't thank you all enough. 
As you know, we need to raise $140,000, which is an insane amount of money.  We have raised nearly $30,000 through Go Fund Me and through private donations.  But with $110,00 still to raise we frankly need a miracle, but I live in hope that there is someone or many someones out there who will be able to help us.  This operation will change my life and the lives of my family.  I know there are many good causes out there and in the scheme of things I am not very important, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to help us. If you would like to make a donation click here.

Moving on, this week I have been lucky enough to speak to a number of patients who are either in Switzerland at the moment or have just left after similar or identical operations as the one I am having.
In particular, I would really like to thank Robert Shattuck.  Robert arrived back in Missouri on September 6th and although he is suffering with some 'distraction' pain, he says he hasn't regretted having the operation for a second.  It has been amazing to talk to someone whilst they were going through treatment.  Robert has been so kind and honest, which I really appreciated.  I hope I will be able to return the favour to someone else who is awaiting treatment and needs a friend to talk to. So, if you are reading this and need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Robert has shared his highs and lows with me and it has left me with an honest idea of what to expect and what not to expect.  He has been so generous with his time, writing to me the day after the operation and the days that followed. 

Craig and I have spent this week packing and then unpacking.  I just can't make up my mind what we need to take?!  It's so hot here at the moment it is hard to contemplate going somewhere cold, and are we talking cold or really cold?  I have asked google and it predicts that the temperature will be around 7 to 11 (brrrrrr), which lets face it to us Gold Coasters is bloody cold!!  We went thrift shopping and between Mum and us we have picked up some cheap jumpers to take with us and two coats.  I have even managed to dig out a couple of hats and scarfs! According to google, Germany will be even colder so I hope we have the right clothes with us!
This will probably be my last post before we head off.  Then we will both be blogging and vlogging when we can to keep everyone updated, so please become a follower of this page, that way everytime we post you will be notified.  We will not have our normal phone numbers so please be aware that from October 4th - November 11th our numbers will have changed.  If you want to ring us, PM through facebook and I will give you the new number.
We want to spend these last days with the girls and not waste a single second of the time we have left together.  I think it hit all of us this week and there have been tears all round.  I am dreading dropping them at Mum and Dad's and heading off, it's going to be a really hard day for all of us.  We are dropping them off on the Thursday and having dinner with Mum and Dad before we head off.  It's so hard because really if money wasn't as issue we would all be going together.  I am going to have to find and pack my big girl pants to do this without them by my side!

I am so grateful to not be doing this alone though.  Knowing my supportive and loving husband, Craig, will be with me every step of the way is very comforting.  We will also have some visitors whilst we are there including my Uncle Bob and Aunt Maggie, my beautiful sister and my buddy Andrew.  So we won't be completely on our own and it will be quite a treat as it has been a number of years since I have seen some of my family.

A month from now this will all be over and I will be in hospital recovering, it seems a little surreal!  I hope this journey finally ends this episode of my life and we can get back to the job of living!  I feel like my kids have had a Mum who has been missing in action for too long now and it is time to get back on track.

Well folks, this is me, Kate signing off till we fly.  Thank you again for all the support, love, kindness and generosity. I hope that when I am back to my old self I will find a way to give back to my community, friends and family and everyone who has made this possible.

With all my love

Kate x

Monday, 16 September 2019

Three Week Anniversary

This last week there hasn't been much to celebrate, our beautiful family dog Millie had to be put to sleep due to liver failure and then Craig having to have more spinal injections it's been a pretty shit week.  Then our beautiful wedding pictures arrived in my inbox and gave us something to smile about, really smile about. can't thank Gemma from 'When Jenson met Deliah'  enough. Gemma is our next door neighbour who kindly gave us a wonderful gift, donating her time, by giving us a record of our day, with her beautiful photographs.  Thank you is not a big enough word for the pictures and your generosity.   Please folks check out this stunning photographers work, I cannot recommend her work highly enough.  One of my loves in when taking pictures is candid photography, it was always my job when my sister and I used to photograph weddings.  Gemma has such a talent and her work speaks for itself.

We have been married three weeks and two days, and I couldn't be any happier if I tried.  I was worried when we decided to get married in such a rush, that we would regret not having the big wedding we had planned for next year.   

We planned to save like mad and hire a pretty little chapel and have all of our friends and family were going to fly over from the UK and we were going to have a party to end all parties. 

But you know what apart from so many friends and family missing, it couldn't have been any more perfect and if I had my time all over again I wouldn't change anything, except of course sharing it with more of our friends and family.

It was incredibly intimate and special night.  Craig's vows were absolutely beautiful and I thought in this blog I would share our vows to each other laced with pictures from our magical day.

Craig's Wedding Vows

When we first got together, I described you as the most beautiful soul I had ever met. 

They say you never really know someone until you live with them, and nearly three years later that is still just as true today as it was then.  You have a very kind and giving nature.  You give yourself to people freely and you ask for nothing in return.  You make me laugh every day, you make me smile every day, and every day I wake next to you is another day I love you just a little bit more.

Someone once said that you shouldn’t make promises while drunk, in love or running for office.  Now, I’m not drunk….yet, and I’m not running for office…yet, but I am very much in love.  

So, I could promise you to hold you, to cherish you and to look after you in sickness and in health.  I could promise you the world and I would gladly give it a million times over.  I could promise to look after you in our old age, to kiss you every morning when we wake and every night before we sleep. 

I could make all sorts of promises to you but I’m not going to.  You see, to me this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.  I don’t need to make promises, because for me, all those things are a given.  They all come with what I have.  They come with my heart, they come with my love, they come with my soul.  All I have to give you is me, and that’s already yours.

You have been my best friend, my playmate, my confidant, and my greatest challenge. But most importantly, you are the absolute love of my life and you make me happier than I could ever imagine and more loved than I ever thought possible.  

You have made me a better person, you have given me new ways to view things, new things to contemplate, new things to drive me crazy – like leaving the lid off the Marmite, the empty toilet roll on the holder, and don’t even get me started on tying up the bread!   

You’ve also given me new things to get used to; like some of your little 'Englishisms' and most definitely your Katie counting!

Because of you, I laugh – a lot, I smile and I dare to dream again. You are my crazy English girl and I love you so very much. You get me into stuff that I’m not always prepared for: Lets buy a food truck, she said. Come and be a Funeral Celebrant with me, she said.  It’ll be fun!  Well, you’re right, it is fun.  Every day is fun as long as I’m with you. 

You and I have become inseparable, we spend every waking moment together and even the non-waking ones. We share everything – and now even medications!  But I never tire of it. I never find myself wanting time alone, in fact the times when we do find ourselves apart, I miss you terribly.  It’s like having a limb removed.   

We are firmly and fiercely joined.  Which makes the differences we do have, intriguing.  I learn from you every day, you inspire me every day and I love you more and more every day. You are someone who has far more faith in things than I do.  I tend to be more inspired by science. 

So as a man of science, I’m going to let one of the world’s greatest scientists inspire me further.  When you think of Einstein you don’t usually think of love quotes, but funnily enough it was young Albert who said; “When you trip over love, it’s easy to get up. But when you fall in love, it’s impossible to stand alone again.”  Kate, my knees have been weak ever since we came together.   

Our life is a wonderful journey, and it has taken us through highs and lows and we have more challenges to come, but there is no one I’d rather walk this path with than you, my love.  

To Charli and Rosie, I want to thank you for accepting me into your lives.  You had Mum all to yourselves for a long time and I’m sure it must have been a big change when I turned up. And while we are all still getting used to each other, and we have our moments,  I promise that I will protect you, look after you and love you as my own.  You will always be my lovely Chuckles and my little Pumpkin.  I love you both dearly.  

Vows are promises of a sort.  But I don’t see these vows as promises but rather as privileges: because I get to laugh with you and cry with you. I get to care for you and share with you. I get to run with you  - well shuffle - and walk with you; build a life with you and live a life with you.

I get to have you be the person I spend the rest of my life with. I get to be there for you and support you in everything you do. I don’t have to honour and cherish you – because I get to.  And that makes me the luckiest bastard in the world!

Please be mine Kate, Forever and Always.

Craig's vows were far more eloquent than mine and I suddenly wished I had gone first because after listening to his words I could barely speak let alone compose myself enough to say mine, which suddenly didn't seem enough.  I had cut so much from my vows as we had decided to only have a 800 word count, so instantly I wanted to pause the proceedings so I could rewrite mine!  

Kate's Vows

Firstly, what he said only more. From our first kiss I knew I had finally met my soul mate.  I thought love like ours only happened in the movies.  Yet every morning I wake up and even though I don't think it's possible I love you more.

My life has changed so much since I met you .  For a start I now put the lid back on the toothpaste, I even mostly remember to do up the marmite jar so it doesn't smash on the floor every time you pick it up.  But I need you to know I will never use those annoying little bread tags you love, I am sticking to the twist method and I will always put the milk in first when I make a cup of tea.

Seriously though, my life HAS changed.  Just when I thought I was destined to spend the rest of my life as a lonely old spinster, the absolute love of my life walked in and completely stole my heart.  We are a perfect match in every way. 

Thank you for all you do and all that you are, you are such a good man. Thank you for making me laugh everyday, till my sides ache.  Thank you for loving me on the days when I am not very lovable or the days when I find it hard to even get out of bed from pain.  You are so patient, kind and loving to me and I love you so much.

Thank you for challenging me intellectually and never laughing at me when I don't understand something, but instead patiently explaining whatever it is to me. Thank you for loving me so fiercely and protectively, I feel so protected and safe with you.

Thank you for the way you love 'our' girls and for taking them as you own.  You are a wonderful Dad to your beautiful boys and now Dad to two little girls who I know love you as much as I do.  

 I think you came into this thinking you had parenting down pat, but I know you have realised that having girls is a whole new ball game and you have embraced it wholeheartedly even when all three of us are being overemotional at the same time!

To Nathan and Kane thank you for letting me marry your Dad.  I promise that I will take very good care of him and love him to my final breath.  Thank you both for letting me into your lives and I look forward to the years ahead and getting to know you more.

I know both the girls are very excited about getting two big brothers today, although they may not realise yet that means you get to interview any prospective boyfriends!  Your support here today means so much to me.

Craig, my love I hope that we are blessed with many happy years together.  I don't want to waste a single second on things that don't matter or cross words.  Life is way too short to be anything other than madly in love with you for the rest of our days.  Please never stop singing to me.  Forever and always.

My original vows were at least four times as long but I cut them to keep to the bargain we had made!!! I have, since our day read Craig all the other paragraphs I cut from my vows and it was very special to get to do that for just him.

I know we are going to have such a happy life together, because every moment of the last three years has been the happiest time I have ever known in my life.  We are such a perfect match and so completely in love with one another.  We literally spend just about every minute of every day with each other and there is never a point where either of us long for time alone.  In fact quite the opposite when we are apart for some reason we miss each other terribly.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and you will join us for a party next year when I am all fixed up and ready for our first dance.  


Kate x

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Kate's VLOG

Shaking things up a bit with a Vlog tonight instead of a Blog!!

You can donate to our Go Fund Me Page by clicking the link

Monday, 9 September 2019

On a plus note!

Fed up with listening to myself moaning and groaning (as I am sure you are!) I have decided to write this blog about the trip itself.  We are after all, going to be visiting two of the most beautiful places on earth and I am traveling with Craig who has only visited Australia and Vanuatu.  Seeing some of Europe with him albeit under difficult circumstances is still incredibly exciting.  I know it won’t feel like a holiday, far from it, but if we can grab a couple of days when we first arrive, before the big operation it would wonderful and very special.
We leave Brisbane on October 4th and have been gifted two business class tickets there and back, which in itself is very exciting for two people who are only used to short trips to Sydney or Melbourne going cattle class with our knees around our ears!  We are super grateful for these tickets as without them traveling this far would have been impossible for me with my back the way it is.  This means I can lie down for the journey and dose up on medication although I am still absolutely dreading how difficult the travel will be.  Traveling the shortest distances at the moment are problematic so I can’t say I am looking forward to this part of the trip!

We arrive in Zurich on 5th October at six in the morning. We have a car booked to take us to our accommodation which is right in the centre of Zurich, just minutes from the hospital.  We arrive a week before the operation as I have to have scans, medicals and tests in that first week. I have decided that I am going to look at the first week as some sort of bizarre honeymoon! They have told us we will have some time down time that first week and to sight see and get used to our surroundings.  While we may not be able to do much due to my current mobility issues, we will try our best to make the best of it. Tonight, the pair of us sat down and watched You Tube videos and we have completely fallen in love with Zurich.  I mean how many couples get to go to Europe for a honeymoon?!  I am just not going to think past week one and try to enjoy it, hopefully it will take my mind off the scary operation coming up the following week!

We have managed to find a delightful little attic (it has a lift before you ask!) it has a kitchen, bedroom and a balcony with what looks like a view. Accommodation in Zurich is horrendously expensive and this was the cheapest we could find within the area we needed to be. 

We will spend the first week here and then I will move into the hospital ‘The Pyramide’ for six days, which to be honest, looks more like a five-star hotel than a hospital.  Apparently, you can order food from a chef whenever you are hungry and not at set times. Sorry I know weird thing to tell you, I should be telling you about the first-class medical care and nursing staff but come on  a chef that makes you food whenever you want it?! How cool is that?  I just hope I am actually hungry! I have been speaking to someone who is there currently, they said it was wasted on them as they had no appetite for the first week!  Oh well!

There are so many beautiful things to see and do in Zurich and I know with my current mobility issues there won’t be much we can do but I am going to try!  I last went there as a child. I was probably about 10 or 11 years old. My Aunt Magie lives there (my Mum’s sister), so it will be nice to see her again, I think it’s been about 10 years since I last saw her!  My sister is also coming over from where she lives to support Craig for a few days which I know means a lot to him and obviously a great deal to me.  To have my big sister with us is just bloody awesome even if it’s just for the day.  I know Craig is nervous about me being in hospital and knowing Debs will be with him is really helping me.

The hospital is directly on Lake Zurich which looks utterly stunning and I can imagine the pair of us sitting by the water reading our books.  Coffee shops seems to be on every corner but at $7 a coffee I have a feeling we won’t be doing much coffee drinking!!  One place I would love to visit though is the thermal baths, although it will be cold by the time we arrive, around 7 to 10 degrees I think, the water is so hot is won’t matter.  I remember as a child going to one of these thermal baths and there was snow on the ground.  I have heard it’s incredibly therapeutic and healing for back problems.  Hopefully it will do Craig some good too.

There are plenty of free things to do in Zurich (thank goodness) and a place both of us would love to visit is ‘Chocolate World’, I mean come on, they have a chocolate world! (there goes the pre-op diet!!) Apparently, it has an amazing flowing wall of chocolate (2,000 litres to be precise). I only want to visit though so I can get the girls a small bar of Swiss chocolate each…yeah right!

Culturally there is also so much to do.  The Opera House just a short walk from where we are staying but at $300 a ticket it’s off the list unfortunately! Such a shame as one of my very favourite operas is playing ‘Cosi fan Tutte’.  Craig has never been to the Opera and I would love to share that experience with him, mind you sitting through theatre performances is not one of the easiest things to do these days.  Hopefully, after the operation I will be able to once again go to the theatre and enjoy performances, it’s something I miss terribly.

Strangely, one of things I am most excited about is introducing my husband to ‘Rosti’.  I make a version of it myself but it is not as good as the memory of having it as a child in Switzerland.  It’s basically a grated potato, fried in butter……(insert Homer Simpson noises).  My mouth actually waters at the thought of it!  It is literally my favourite food in the world. You used to be able to buy it from the supermarkets in a pouch, in a box, which you just had to tip into a pan and fry.  I am very much hoping that it still exists in that form too!!  We have a supermarket right opposite to where we are living.  I may be living on just potato if they do!  It will be too expensive to eat out, so I am glad we have a supermarket so close.

After the first week I will move to the hospital, where I will spend six nights away from my hubby but after that I will go back to our little love nest, although there won’t be much loving going on after a six hour back operation, in fact there won’t be much of anything going on!

On the 26th we catch a flight to Dusseldorf and then drive for an hour to Gelsenkirchen where I will check into to Medicos AufSchalke, which is a world-renowned rehabilitation centre.  It is actually where the professional sports people, even our NRL sends many of its injured players to get sports rehab here. So, watch out for some selfies post NRL finals!! 

The rehab centre is actually joined to the hotel where we are staying.  Everything is included here as it’s more or less in the middle of nowhere. All our meals, accommodation and rehab are included in the price which is pretty great.  Craig can even have a massage everyday which is rather lovely.

So, you see it’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s important to note we are not there on holiday, I think the back operation will be a huge reminder of that!  After week one it’s going to be the most grueling experience I have ever been through. It’s easy to get caught up in how miserable I am feeling or how terrified the pair of us feel about the operation.  Maybe thinking about this trip as an adventure we are embarking on is a good way of ignoring the fear and doing it anyway!

Back when things were easy!
After all, if this trip is successful it will completely change my life, it will give me my life back. I will be able to return to doing all the things I love.  Working in my role as a celebrant again pain free, going to the theatre, being in plays again, playing with my kids and doing things with them.  Doing simple stuff like cooking dinner, doing the washing and making my bed, it’s funny the things you miss when you can’t do them, you take so much stuff for granted in life.  I know that when I come out the other side of this, I will try my hardest to never do that again.
The future is bright, it really is, I just need to stay positive and know that I am in incredibly good hands and this is going to be a big success!

 Our Go Fund Me page is still going well but we are a long way off the huge target of $140,000 and I fear very much we will not make it to our goal.  People have been so generous, but I think we will need a miracle to reach our goal before October.  I just have to have a little faith and keep everything crossed!

If you would like to make a donation you can do so by going to our PAGE or if you can’t make a donation then perhaps you could share the page instead.  We have had some amazing donations from complete strangers which has been completely overwhelming at the same time as truly beautiful.  Thank you so much everyone!

Kate x