Day 332 - A Gift Box from Ogilvy (and an IBM’er as well). These people are amazing, the team and the individuals in it. They just keep giving and giving and GIVING. I got so many excellent treats, and it warmed my heart to get some NYC kit for little Wally Riggins! 

That night I cracked open one of the best chocolate pretzels. They’re not really a thing in Australia, but I love em!

Day 332 - A Gift Box from Ogilvy (and an IBM’er as well). These people are amazing, the team and the individuals in it. They just keep giving and giving and GIVING. I got so many excellent treats, and it warmed my heart to get some NYC kit for little Wally Riggins!

That night I cracked open one of the best chocolate pretzels. They’re not really a thing in Australia, but I love em!

Day 331 - Rest. After a few busy, excellent days, I was right up for a sleepy, rest and recover day. I had three visitors, Tric, Celeste and Sarah. The kind of visitors it’s totally ok to be in your PJ’s for. And of course my mum continues to wait on me hand and foot day in and day out. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not completely grateful for her xx

Day 331 - Rest. After a few busy, excellent days, I was right up for a sleepy, rest and recover day. I had three visitors, Tric, Celeste and Sarah. The kind of visitors it’s totally ok to be in your PJ’s for. And of course my mum continues to wait on me hand and foot day in and day out. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not completely grateful for her xx

Day 330 - birthday celebrations continue. Waking up in hospital yesterday versus waking up in the Pullman, looking out at the bridge chatting with my BFF, having room service eggs beni today, chalk and cheese!!!! We had a late check out then lunch at one of my fave lunch spots (Flat White).

When we got home in the early evening I was inundated with flowers our dining room quite literally looks like a florist, thanks to Ann, Kristy, Ann, Mike, Denny’s, Charlotte, Lisa, Ogilvy, Jane / Ian. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. I also opened a raft of other unnecessary but generous gifts. I’m so spoilt!

Right, now I need about a week to recover!!

Day 329 - My Birthday. Brace yourself, this will be a long one. I’ve been waiting for a few photos to come in before posting, and now that I have them, here goes….

Waking up in hospital on your birthday is probably not the greatest way to start the day (especially when you’re not sure if you’ll be discharged), but pretty quickly this birthday turned into one of the best ever. Here’s how the day goes…

I did my usual wake up, roll over, social media check in. I then first saw a message was from my friend Jess in the US. As part of her HBD wishes I caught my first glimpse of a pink banner - “Happy Birthday Nicole – We love you”. Sweet, but a little OTT I thought (and said in IM to Jess). You aint seen nothin’ was the spirit of the reply.

These banners kept popping up all over my news feed as my friends changed their cover photos on Facebook. There was a social media take over of sorts, unfolding from the comfort of my hospital bed. I actually got quite overwhelmed and very emotional (in a good way).

First the cover photos with the banner, then came profile pictures. A photo shoot had been arranged on the front steps of the Ogilvy New York offices. My work friends had a group shot with the birthday banner and I don’t know, over a hundred pink helium balloons in hand. This group shot become the profile picture of I don’t know, 40 or 50 people. However many, I certainly couldn’t miss it!

On top of this group effort, lots of people posted videos to my wall, which I loved, and regular messages. When I first saw my brother later that day in Sydney, his first words to me were “you’ve gone viral”. I certainly felt that way.

So away from the digital world, my physical world birthday was amazing. Mum booked us a suite in the Pullman hotel on Sydney Harbour, looking straight out at the bridge. We took the afternoon to chill out there, in supreme indulgence before our dinner later that evening.

On top of the spray tan, mani, pedi in the hospital last night, Celeste organized one of her TV mates / make up artist friends to come to the suite to give mum and I a little make over. My mum hardly wears make up, and as Eliza worked on her, I nearly cried, she looked so beautiful. I then got the full makeover with lashes and a wig styling, It’s true what they say, when you look good, you feel better.

Then the dinner. My very best girlfriends. The ones that are like family. And of course my actual immediate family too. There were a couple of super close friends missing (Emma, Yvette, Julian and Michael) - they very kindly made me some excellent videos to play through the course of our meal. I’ve watched them about a 150 times since then too. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE good food. And the food at Aria was very, very, very good. Everyone raved.

So all in all, a pretty perfect day for me. I won’t lie, I had some concerns going in. Concerns that there would be an undertone of sadness. Lots of heavy hearts around the possible reality that this will be my last birthday. But my birthday wasn’t like that, it was fun and a celebration and exactly as I wanted it to be. Thanks to EVERYONE for making it so, I feel so loved and so special. For that, I’m very grateful!

Day 328 - Visitors + a hospital mani / pedi / spray tan. In spite of the horrible weather I had lots of visitors today. Jane did a road trip up from Sydney (magazines and sparkling water in hand along with an excellent birthday gift of the Kerry Rocks trinket variety). Shelley came in for a few hours. Tommy and Lauren came up for the day (with lots of left overs from their house warming - and a birthday gift that in part gives me the authority to reveal their baby’s gender….). And then there was Skye, and of course Mum and Dad. Everyone is cheering me on for the discharge tomorrow. I still have everything crossed.
Visitors are always excellent, but today I was most grateful for a visit from Julie. I was supposed to go to her for a mani / medi / spray tan. Clearly I couldn’t, so she packed up her kit and came to me!!!!! She is so amazing and kind (and excellent at what she does). I’m sure the very last thing she wanted to do in the pouring rain in the middle of a crazy school formal season was come to Gosford Hospital to hook me up.
But boy, am I sure glad she did!!! Looking a bit better always makes me feel a bit better, and I really do need the help right now.
I’m also super grateful to Mary the nurse, who facilitated the disabled bathroom spray tan. She’s been the best nurse ever. I’ve also been getting some “discharge coaching” from her.

Day 328 - Visitors + a hospital mani / pedi / spray tan. In spite of the horrible weather I had lots of visitors today. Jane did a road trip up from Sydney (magazines and sparkling water in hand along with an excellent birthday gift of the Kerry Rocks trinket variety). Shelley came in for a few hours. Tommy and Lauren came up for the day (with lots of left overs from their house warming - and a birthday gift that in part gives me the authority to reveal their baby’s gender….). And then there was Skye, and of course Mum and Dad. Everyone is cheering me on for the discharge tomorrow. I still have everything crossed.

Visitors are always excellent, but today I was most grateful for a visit from Julie. I was supposed to go to her for a mani / medi / spray tan. Clearly I couldn’t, so she packed up her kit and came to me!!!!! She is so amazing and kind (and excellent at what she does). I’m sure the very last thing she wanted to do in the pouring rain in the middle of a crazy school formal season was come to Gosford Hospital to hook me up.

But boy, am I sure glad she did!!! Looking a bit better always makes me feel a bit better, and I really do need the help right now.

I’m also super grateful to Mary the nurse, who facilitated the disabled bathroom spray tan. She’s been the best nurse ever. I’ve also been getting some “discharge coaching” from her.

Day 327 - “Going out” for dinner. Skye flew in today from Queensland in order to join the birthday celebrations on Monday night. Her, Sarah and I were planning some QT together, dinner, hanging out, the kind of things you do with your BFF’s. 
Unfortunately, I’m unexpectedly in hospital, and they’re unexpectedly stuck here with me. Tric came in for a visit too, as did Mum and Dad.
So, what do awesome lady friends do when you can’t make it out for dinner? They bring it to you, we huddle around a hospital table with me in bed and them on plastic chairs. We surround ourselves with people dressed in hospital gowns and machines that go ping. 
And then I close my night out with a dessert of two more units of O negative - the goal of which is to get me out of here and in reasonable shape for a blow out dinner on Monday night.

Day 327 - “Going out” for dinner. Skye flew in today from Queensland in order to join the birthday celebrations on Monday night. Her, Sarah and I were planning some QT together, dinner, hanging out, the kind of things you do with your BFF’s. 

Unfortunately, I’m unexpectedly in hospital, and they’re unexpectedly stuck here with me. Tric came in for a visit too, as did Mum and Dad.

So, what do awesome lady friends do when you can’t make it out for dinner? They bring it to you, we huddle around a hospital table with me in bed and them on plastic chairs. We surround ourselves with people dressed in hospital gowns and machines that go ping. 

And then I close my night out with a dessert of two more units of O negative - the goal of which is to get me out of here and in reasonable shape for a blow out dinner on Monday night.

Day 326 - Fantastic paramedics. After a day of out of control pain, it got to a time later in the evening (sometime after 10pm) where the on call palliative care nurse told mum she needed to call an ambulance and get me to the hospital.
While the experience is confronting and generally unpleasant, I was guided through it all by two of the most excellent ambos. Not only did they sort out my pain, but I think they even had me laughing, and feeling like I was in very, very good hands.
Friday nights are notoriously hard to get a bed late in the evening - there was however lots of entertainment in the ER while I was waiting for one. I had to stay under the supervision of the paramedics while they continued to deliver me morphine (more gratitude there). They were good company, and just really good people.

Day 326 - Fantastic paramedics. After a day of out of control pain, it got to a time later in the evening (sometime after 10pm) where the on call palliative care nurse told mum she needed to call an ambulance and get me to the hospital.

While the experience is confronting and generally unpleasant, I was guided through it all by two of the most excellent ambos. Not only did they sort out my pain, but I think they even had me laughing, and feeling like I was in very, very good hands.

Friday nights are notoriously hard to get a bed late in the evening - there was however lots of entertainment in the ER while I was waiting for one. I had to stay under the supervision of the paramedics while they continued to deliver me morphine (more gratitude there). They were good company, and just really good people.

Day 325 - Oomph & early birthday flowers. Mum and I were taken to a florist / cafe / home wares store in East Gosford today, called Oomph and it was fabulous. All my favorite kinds of things in one spot. The pulled pork sliders were ace. I’ll be back. Thanks for the intro Kerry and Merrin.

To top it off, I arrived home to a beautiful bunch of blooms from the Weeks family, c/o Kristy. The week is looking up. Doing a “nice thing” every day, and spending time with people you love certainly helps.

Day 324 - Home delivered high tea, commissioned art, and more love and support. Love and kindness comes in so many different shapes and sizes and expressions. All my inboxes are full, with the kindest and most excellent of support. Yvette writes a great juicy, excellent, encouraging email that makes me feel like we’re sitting in the same room and not half a world away. Emma, also half a world away remembers my favorite cafe and organizes a special and creative delivery curated by Merrin, who knows my tastes well.

And the calls from Sarah, to my brother. Or my other friends to my parents. Grateful is not a strong enough word.

The icing on the cake today, was a beautiful piece of custom art Merrin and Kerry gave me as an early birthday gift. It’s so excellent, I love it, even though it makes me cry. It will take pride of place in my newly decorated room (planning started today). Like I said, it’s an early birthday present, but they figured today might be a good day for it, and I couldn’t agree more (I’ll take a better picture of this when it’s hung).

Day 323 - another almost boycott on gratitude, except for the love and support of my family and friends. 
This is a day that’s held me up from tumbling. I haven’t known how to write about it, so have just been jotting thoughts and notes before I document / publish and move on. It’s fair to say, 323 was a very dark day. The darkest of all. It started with a scan, and results that followed were not only bad, but worse than any of us expected. To be honest, I was expecting disease progression. I’ve not been feeling well. And I just kinda knew.
The fact is, the progression was not just “bad” but has been significant enough to draw the conclusion that I have chemotherapy resistant cancer. Now might be a very good time to decide to have no more treatment. It seems like it’s time to think about quality of life, rather that continue to hurtle toxic and debilitating drugs at my body, when there seems to be absolutely zero benefit in doing so.
I don’t feel like I’m giving up. I feel like I’m actively making a decision. It’s measured, it’s thoughtful and considered and it’s hard. So bloody hard. It’s not irreversible. If I decide to try some other chemotherapy after I’ve had a break and am back on my feet, I can do that. 
But that part of the day was not the worst of it. We talked about survival time. While no one knows with any certainty how long I have, the time seems to be closing in. Months, however many of them is not enough. I’ve got a lot to see and do. I have a niece or nephew to meet. This bit I’m still not able to properly process, so I won’t write too much more about it.
So in all of this, what is there to be grateful for?
The support and love that knows no limit from, Mum, Dad and Tommy. It physically hurts my heart to see how devastated they are. And then there’s the friends that are my chosen family. I hit the jackpot with these chicks (and a couple of dudes). There are those that could be here in person - Celeste and Sarah, who sobbed along with me and said the most beautiful things to try and help comfort me. And those who called and sent messages and emails, not just to me but to my family. And when I don’t return their calls, they just keep on checking in until I’m ready to come out of hiding.
So, in a nutshell, 323, you absolutely suck and and I hate your guts. 

Day 323 - another almost boycott on gratitude, except for the love and support of my family and friends. 

This is a day that’s held me up from tumbling. I haven’t known how to write about it, so have just been jotting thoughts and notes before I document / publish and move on. It’s fair to say, 323 was a very dark day. The darkest of all. It started with a scan, and results that followed were not only bad, but worse than any of us expected. To be honest, I was expecting disease progression. I’ve not been feeling well. And I just kinda knew.

The fact is, the progression was not just “bad” but has been significant enough to draw the conclusion that I have chemotherapy resistant cancer. Now might be a very good time to decide to have no more treatment. It seems like it’s time to think about quality of life, rather that continue to hurtle toxic and debilitating drugs at my body, when there seems to be absolutely zero benefit in doing so.

I don’t feel like I’m giving up. I feel like I’m actively making a decision. It’s measured, it’s thoughtful and considered and it’s hard. So bloody hard. It’s not irreversible. If I decide to try some other chemotherapy after I’ve had a break and am back on my feet, I can do that. 

But that part of the day was not the worst of it. We talked about survival time. While no one knows with any certainty how long I have, the time seems to be closing in. Months, however many of them is not enough. I’ve got a lot to see and do. I have a niece or nephew to meet. This bit I’m still not able to properly process, so I won’t write too much more about it.

So in all of this, what is there to be grateful for?

The support and love that knows no limit from, Mum, Dad and Tommy. It physically hurts my heart to see how devastated they are. And then there’s the friends that are my chosen family. I hit the jackpot with these chicks (and a couple of dudes). There are those that could be here in person - Celeste and Sarah, who sobbed along with me and said the most beautiful things to try and help comfort me. And those who called and sent messages and emails, not just to me but to my family. And when I don’t return their calls, they just keep on checking in until I’m ready to come out of hiding.

So, in a nutshell, 323, you absolutely suck and and I hate your guts.