Monday, March 26, 2012


6 months have passed since we last posted anything. Since then our beautiful little girl has grown into a larger beautiful little girl who smiles with her whole face. She is so very happy and peaceable and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter - and sister.

Charlotte is well on her way to developing her taste for solids and it looks as f she will enjoy her food as much as her big brother. She loves a good giggle and chat and any opportunity to play with her feet.

Oliver adores his little sister. I can't wait to watch them grow together - the kisses and cuddles, the games, inevitable fights, the critique of boyfriends and girlfriends. I know I have a weapon to use against any boys that come to my door in search of my daughter.

Oliver has started kindy. He goes 2 days a week. They are tiring for him, but I think he enjoys them, even though he seems very non-chalant about it. I think Karli enjoys the time to spend with just her little girl. And although it's hard to say goodbye in the morning sometimes, he always has a wonderful cuddle to give in the afternoon.

Ollie the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Our big boy playing with Nanna's iPhone.

Karli is being kept busy with our 2 little ones. I don't remember a lot of what Ollie was like when he was 6 months old, but Karli seems to be acutely aware that Charlotte is very different. Of course, it was around 6 months that Ollie began to get sick. So although we've already had one child, it feels as if we are doing this for the first time somewhat.

I started at Hollywood Private Hospital as a Registered Nurse at the end of January. I am doing a graduate program and am currently on an orthopaedic ward. Mostly hip and knee replacements. My next ward will be the cardiac ward. I am thoroughly enjoying my job. Partly it is the job, and partly the great group of people I have the pleasure of working with. I still hope to end up working in oncology, but am unsure if I will make it all the way into paediatrics.

This past week I have been put in contact with a family who's 22 month old son has been diagnosed with an aggressive type or brain tumour that has a very poor prognosis. Though I feel some guilt at the positive outcome that we experienced in comparison to the bleak outlook this family face, and the difference in cancers and treatments that our children faced, I want to ensure that this family have the same level of support and care that I experienced, and that whatever their decisions, that their little boy has a life of joy and happiness.

On another note, Karli's brother Jarrad married Aimee, his girlfriend of some 11 odd years, last Friday. It was a great time. I'll try to organise link to some of the photo's.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A different tale to tell

We have news - Ollie is a big brother to Charlotte Grace Roebuck. Charlotte burst onto the scene 2 weeks early at 1158pm Tuesday 13th September. Karli has a story to tell, but I'll leave her the opportunity to regale you all when she gets out of hospital. She is doing well though, and in much better shape than after Oliver.

Charlotte weighed 2.41kg (5lb 5oz), 46.5cm long, 32.5cm head circumference. She has spent her time in the neonatal nursery so far. Initially she needed some help with her breathing, but is now keeping warm and receiving some precautionary IV antibiotics. We hope to see her move into a normal crib tomorrow, then up to our room the next day. If not, we will probably go home Saturday and hopefully bring our new little bundle home on Sunday or Monday.

Ollie has been staying with Nanna and Grandad (lifesavers). He came in to visit today and was very upset that he wasn't able to give his little sister cuddles and kisses, and that we weren't all going home together. The present Charlotte bought for him helped calm the waters. He continues to be an amazing little man.

I'll go now, as I'm having troubles with my connection, but I'll be in touch again soon.

A proud mum with a content little girl.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

An anniversary - of sorts

It has been exactly 3 years since Oliver was first diagnosed with cancer.

I have been aware of this day approaching over the past week and at times have felt quite teary about it. Today, strangely, I completely forgot about it until now. First, a picture that speaks a thousand words.

Our little boy is so far from cancer today that it is hard to believe he was ever sick. You can tell he is a strong, robust, beefy, HEAVY, joyful, cheerful, cheeky, happy, loving little boy. He is such a blessing to us, and continues to bring joy and happiness (coupled with the expected 3 1/2 year old trials) into our lives.

And yet, he is not far from cancer. On Wednesday we go back in for another check-up, and as cliche as it may be, I love to see peoples reaction to how he has changed since they first met him at 8 months old. Each time I change his clothes, the scars around his chest remind me of his treatment. A couple of nights ago Ollie prayed for Angel Immie. And of course, my current studies reflect this change of course in our lives.

The reality is that we juggle this dichotomy - in one sense, we don't want him to be reminded, or even educated given what he may remember, of what he went through. We don't want him to think of himself as 'the kid that had cancer', or to limit himself in some way because of his lymphoma. We don't want cancer to define his life. And yet, it is what it is, and cancer has become a major driver in our lives. I want him to understand what he has been able to overcome, and what others have valiantly fought. I want him to understand the meaning and hope he brings into our lives, and maybe to the lives of others.

I can look back on Oliver's cancer, with him being where he is now, and identify all the positives that have come from it. The friends we have made, the lesson's we have learnt, the adventures we have been involved in, the changes it has brought in our lives, the relief we see when people hear his story - and I can almost say it has brought good in our lives.

But only because he is where he is. If he were still sick, still fighting, still enduring chemotherapy, maybe radiotherapy, maybe a bone marrow transplant, maybe a last ditch experimental effort. If we were considering more comforting measures, having lost any hope of cure. If we were trying to celebrate his short but wonderful life. Then all these things - the friends, the lessons, the adventures. They would all mean nothing to me - because I would have lost one of my dearest treasures; a piece of my heart would have been permanently carved away; I would give up all the friends, the learning, the adventures, to have that which I miss the most back in my arms - back laughing and giggling, and being disobedient and drawing on the walls, and snoring peacefully, and waking at ungodly hours, and bringing great pride and great embarrassment.

And so I sit here, three years after my amazing little boy began a victorious 12 month fight against cancer, and I celebrate his life - and the joy he continuously brings to our lives.

And I weep for my friends who have lost their children in this short time, and for those who I may not know so well, but who's loss weighs heavily all the same.

To Angel Immie, Angel Evie, and Pirate Angel Elliot - we miss you and what you may have been in our lives.

To Fiona & Jason, Kody, Ashton and Nic; to Michelle & Alison; To Rick & Emily, Hudson and Harry. We think of you often, and we will never forget what you have lost.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

WOW - it's been so long

I finished my last blog by saying I'd be back soon. I don't think 5 months ranks as soon in anyone's vocabulary. Sorry for being so slack. I've had great intentions, but the motivation has been severely lacking.

A lot has happened over the last 6 months. I'll briefly let you know what, and elaborate over coming entries - I promise.

Since my last entry, Ollie has had his 3rd birthday; celebrated Christmas at his Uncle Jarrad's house with Aunty Aimee's family as well (and he was very spoilt - as he should be ;)); spent a long hot summer in Nanna and Grandad's pool; he has begun attending a playgroup on Wednesday mornings at the local pre-school; Karli has enrolled him in kindy for next year; swimming lesson's on Saturdays; a new synthetic lawn for him to play on in an unused area of our backyard was put in Tuesday; and he continues to take his regular 3 monthly check-ups in his stride.

For Karli and I, nothing much changes in our lives - well, nothing that seems as interesting to report. I'm still working and studying, and looking forward to a change in both in the coming 12 months. This year will be my last at uni. I am waiting on a reply from Hollywood Hospital regarding an application for a graduate program there. Karli is being a fabulous mum, keeping our little man in line and showering him with love.

Sadly, the little boy who was the impetus behind the Mont Blanc Project last year passed away in February. Elliot was such a battler, possessing so much of his parents strength, courage and determination. Thanks to his mum and dad, Emily and Rick, Elliot's name will be linked with many advance's in childhood cancer treatment in the years to come.

We do have a little bit of news - we hope to have a new addition at the end of September. Oliver is pretty keen to have a little sister. This evening, before he went to bed, he sang 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' to Karli's tummy and gave the baby a kiss - such a gorgeous little boy.

Here are some photo's of our ever growing little boy. We'll be back soon.

Snuggling with mum.

I love playing in dirt!

Swimming lessons.

Like my hat?

Doing a puzzle with mum.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Overdue Update

Well, I should have written this over a month a go.

Last time I wrote, Ollie had just been given the one year all clear. Well, we've since been in again for a checkup, and I'm pleased to say that he continues to bring smiles to the faces of doctor Angela and the nurses and staff on 3b for more reasons than just being adorable. he is a strong, boisterous and talkative bundle of energy. He will be 3 years old in two weeks - so very hard to believe. It's probably time we started to consider pre-school.

We also took a trip to visit Dr Lindsay Adams, the paediatrician who first joined all the dots and sent us to 3b in the first place. We didn't go for anything specific, just to touch base. If Oliver get's sick again Lindsay will be our first stop, although one of the GP's in the practice we frequent (not our GP though) is fabulous with him. Anyway, we had been meaning to go and see Lindsay and to thank him for identifying Oliver's predicament for some time. I think he was glad to see how well Oliver was, and was genuinely happy for us and to receive the card we gave him. Thanks Dr Lindsay - you may have just been doing your job in your eyes, but in our eyes you saved our little boy.

It's been over a month since I returned from France where I was one of 19 climbers to attempt the summit of Mont Blanc as part of a fundraiser for the children's cancer ward at PMH. Initially, when asked how it was, I had been telling people 'It was good, but...' Now, I've changed to 'It was a dismal failure!' We didn't make the summit due to high winds (65km/h+ I believe), low cloud (making for very limited visibility on a fairly steep ridge), and some fairly sick team mates who really needed to get back down. I was absolutely gutted when we were turned around. I had pinned my hopes on making the summit and doing something concrete for my little boy and our little friends. I wanted so much to fly my flags on top - Ollie, Tom (and the Keenan clan), Immie (who passed away on May 1), Evie (who passed away only 3 days prior to our summit attempt), and the kids on 3b who placed their names and hand prints on a big 3b flag. I know in my head it doesn't make sense, but in my heart I was again left helpless and at the mercy of something much larger than me. Most importantly, of course, thanks to the generosity and hard work of the other climbers and everyone that supported our fundraising efforts, we have raised over $800,000, with the aim of hitting $1 million by the time we hit Christmas and stop fundraising for this specific event. Thankyou so much to everyone who has given so very generously.

You know what, I could go on, but I won't. I struggle with long blog entries, so I'll leave this one here, and I'll be back soon.

I had photo's, but the website doesn't want to let me load them up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sweet Relief

Sorry for not writing sooner.

Last Wednesday, we were back in at PMH to receive the results from Oliver's 12-month post-treatment CT and PET scans. Our amazing little man is still clear of any cancer, and must now only have a finger prick blood test each time we head back in, which will be progressively less over the coming years.

I was surprised by the amount of relief the results gave me. Oliver has been so very well over the last 12 months, and in fact has effectively been cancer free for the majority of his treatment. I didn't realise how much his cancer sat on my shoulder, taunting me, whispering in my ear 'maybe that sniffle is because of me' - 'he's not looking so crash hot, maybe I'm back'. But Oliver continues to go from strength to strength, from cheekiness to cheekiness.

I adore my son. Yes, I am so very biased, but he is the cutest, funniest, most intelligent and sharp little boy I know. Tonight as he fought going to bed, he cried from his room - ' Mummy. Daddy. I need some milk.' When we didn't respond, he didn't keep calling out for it, he matter-of-factly said ' You're supposed to give me some milk.' As if to say, I've asked for it, it's your job to give me what I want.

I love that he asks me to sing to him - to sing 'Morningtown'. This is a song I hoped he would grow to love - a lullaby about little boys and girls snuggling in to bed on a train trip to Morningtown. Now, he sits on my lap as I rock him back and forth, and we sing together. I feel as if I could hold him forever.

And so now, our lives go on. Oliver will continue to grow and charm his way through life, oblivious to this chapter until a time when he can maybe comprehend it. Karli and I will continue to struggle with putting this experience behind us, to not listen to the voice in our heads saying 'MAYBE, JUST MAYBE!' To free our beautiful little boy from being our baby with cancer, and to let him be a little boy - no labels, no past, just a bright and unwritten future for us to encourage and support him through.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Thankyou for your support. For your prayers, your meals, your generous gifts, your encouraging words. Thankyou for enabling us to be able to focus all of our energy on our son.

In 4 weeks I will be off to France with 19 others as we attempt to climb Mont Blanc and raise money for the children's cancer ward at PMH, but that can be another blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What's going down in Roebucktown

It is now 2 years and 10 days since Oliver received his diagnosis. We are back in to PMH on Thursday for his 12 month post-treatment CT scan, then off to Charlie's for his PET scan next Wednesday. Then it's back in to PMH the next week for the results, and then we start a new leg in our journey. We will still have 3 monthly checkups for a while, but no more scans for at least 4 years, if they're going to be necessary ever again.

I must admit, there is still some trepidation going in for his scans, always a little uneasiness, but we have no reason to think that our little man will give any cause for concern. That said, we recently had to pay a GP a visit about a rash Oliver had developed, and he informed us of cutaneous lymphoma. Needless to say, he was tested and come back clean.

We have all just returned from 3 weeks in Albany. I had a nursing prac placement down there, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to have a break, for karli to catch up with friends, and Oliver to spend time with his Oma, without having to squeeze it all into a weekend. It didn't all pan out as we had hoped, but it was nice to get away, and equally nice to be back home.

I am now officially 1 year into my course. My grades were (mostly) great this last semester, and I am enjoying my study and the time spent in a more clinical setting on the wards. I'm dropping a unit this coming semester to give us all some breathing space and be able to be more available to Karli and Oliver, plus I will be able to work more too.

In September I'm off to France to climb Mont Blanc. I am part of a team who are climbing in order to raise money for Ward 3B at Princess Margaret Hospital - the children's cancer ward. Less than 8 weeks to go. I'm really excited about getting into the mountains, and am looking forward to spending some time with the team I'll be climbing with. As part of my fundraising efforts, Noel - my mother in law, has organised a quiz night on 21st August (our federal election), so unless you're keen to sit around and watch while they count the votes, I'd love to see you there. If you can't make it but would still like to support me, please follow the links on the side of the page. All of the funds are going directly to 3B for a 3D molecular imaging machine to improve treatment of brain tumors. It's an expensive piece of machinery, but I'm confident we can raise the necessary funds.

Not much else is happening for us. Oops, almost forgot to update you on the monkey.

In my sandpit at home. Thanks for the shade Oma.

Oliver is a medicine ball of energy - those of you that see him regularly know why I've written medicine ball. No, he's not fall of medicine, but he's a pretty hefty little package. He is doing everything a little boy should do - he loves his cars and trucks and trains, he loves to throw things, he loves being loud, he loves his sand pit, he loves the park, he loves the playground, he gives great squeezie cuddles, and he knows his mind. His language skills are fabulous, though he can be a little difficult to understand sometimes - but then he isn't yet 3. He's not so fond of using his potty, but he is using it, and we are getting some measure of success. Two and a half years and we are still celebrating poo's.

My bath at Oma's.

Recently, he has been having monster issues at night, and he tells us that some things on the TV scare him - like Lightning McQueen and Mater going tractor tipping in 'Cars', or gopher in 'Winnie the Pooh', or when it gets dark at night on 'Chuggington'. So comforting cuddles are the order of most days, and 'monster' spray has also been useful at night before bed.

In my sandpit at Oma's.

I love to sit and watch him. I wonder what goes through his little head. I feel sad that we have been unable to get him into a regular group where he can play with other children his size (well, his age at least). And I hope that in his little heart he feels safe and secure in the arms of his mum and dad - even though he's usually pretty squirmy.

I still love my books.

I'll try to get Karli to write a bit over the next few days so you can get a take on our life through her eyes. Thanks for listening. Thanks for following our journey.