Ok, the deep-fried Mars bar should be banned from all menus! Chocolate, Carmel and fried batter…this is not a fat-free concoction…who thought to put a candy bar in a deep fryer anyway? Veronica picked us up from the port in Sydney after our 14 day cruise in Fiji. After dealing with our visa at the India visa center (they finally approved us), she brought us to the famous Bondi Beach.
We grabbed lunch, fish n’ chips and a fried mars bar which I completely blame Veronica and Giff for ordering. Veronica introduced it and Giff supported it! We brought our fried food across the street to the beach and found a spot to sit for lunch. The weather was fabulous and people were out and about sopping up all the sun even though it was a work day. I can see by why Aussies love this beach, pretty close to the hustle and bustle of the city is a large stretch of white sand and surfers.
We got settled in at Veronica’s house but not too settled, tomorrow we leave for China! For dinner we all ate sushi and then the adults dug into some ice-cream for dessert. Giff decided it was the perfect night to break out the kava we had purchased in Fiji. We went into the kitchen and Giff and Pat made the batch of Kava Fijian style. The roots were already pounded into a powder, but they soaked the cloth full in a big bowl of water and then we sat in a circle drinking out of the coconut shell. The taste again was not exactly the best flavor I’ve ever had, but we all managed to sip a few bowls before getting ready for bed.
Giff and I were getting the last of our things packed up, our flight was first thing in the morning. We had some clothes hanging on the clothes line outside and it was dark out…Giff asked me to go get the clothes so they weren’t out all night. I told him they were still wet but went to go get them, which ended up being a big mistake. Veronica was asleep and Pat was in the shower…I couldn’t find the porch light so attempted to walk slowly in the dark to grab our clothes. I missed a step and fell hard on some toys twisting my foot on the way down.
Veronica woke up from the loud crash and came running outside, I was on the ground holding my foot. Giff came running out and saw that I couldn’t put pressure on my foot. He lifted me to the couch and after a few minutes, and a stress test performed on my foot by Pat… we decided to go to the hospital just to make sure there was no break. Is this really happening hours before our flight to China?
After too many hours at the very slow Australian public health care hospital, they confirmed with X-rays it did not look broken but was a bad strain and I needed to stay off it for 2 weeks. Ummm…staying off my foot for the two weeks we are in China is not really going to work.
We went back home to get the few hours of sleep we had left before needing to get up for our flight. Giff and I were totally bummed…is this going to totally ruin our trip to China? Why did I not turn the light on outside? Why did I do this to myself?
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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2 Replies to “Day 281 of 400: Sydney, NSW – Australia”
Oh no! I had no idea you hurt yourself. How’s your ankle now? So…what exactly is Kava?
Oh – you poor baby! So sorry that you hurt yourself. did you fly out anyway and how are you now? I miss you guys and cannot wait to see you in March. Take better care!! Love ya!