Refugee Sponsorship Diaries

August 31, 2020 at 10:55 am (Entries that matter)

I wrote last entry about the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, which is all about having a small group of people look after all the needs of a refugee or refugee family for their first 12 months in Australia (everything from English lessons to introducing Vegemite to helping them look for work and settle their kids into school).

This is so very much what I want to do, and it doesn’t hurt that I speak (extremely rusty) Indonesian.

The CRSI has a kind of pilot program (they call it ‘mentoring’ to distinguish it from full-on ‘sponsorship’) beginning this October, which runs for just 6 months, costs much less, and assists refugees who are either already in Australia or already approved to come here (so they’re probably skilled migrants).

I am deliriously excited about all of this, and I’m a massive over-sharer, so (within ethical boundaries) I’ve decided to blog about the experience.

I am a disabled and mentally ill bisexual Christian woman with two kids, two cats, and one husband. I’m an author of fantasy novels and interactive novels. For 12 years I prepared to be an aid worker (specifically a teacher) in Indonesia, visiting various provinces a total of seven times.

So far I’ve gathered a group of seven core sponsorship individuals. We’ll all be trained (via CRSI) and we’ve all submitted current police checks and Working With Vulnerable People cards. I compiled and submitted a form with all our personal details plus relevant skills. The group includes Chris and I, my mum (who’s acting as treasurer), two of my mum’s friends from her church, one friend from my church, and a man that none of us have met before who is studying refugee resettlement. We’re all facebook friends now, and there’s also a wider group that is following along with the mentorship via a facebook group (including many people that do want to meet and help the refugees but don’t want to be part of the official core group).

COVID of course will limit what we can do, and my own chronic illness (including being immunocompromised) is always limiting. I am way more functional if I’m in my (temperature-controlled) house, so I’m hoping we will be able to settle the refugees very close by, so they can easily come over (and hopefully go to the same school as our kids). We’ve been given a car (!) so we’ll teach them to drive if they can’t already.

I’ve raised about $5000 in Phase 1 of my fundraising plans, which fundamentally involved asking almost everyone I know for $100. (Phase 2 is a facebook fundraiser, Phase 3 is a GoFundMe, and Phase 4 is a Gift Shop made up of donated items for people to buy.) That is way more than we need for the mentor phase, but for the full program we need to have a bit over $42,000 in a trust before we can get started. That’s… a lot. Most of the core group is teachers, retirees, and… me. None of us earn much, so my mind will be full of fundraising for a long time to come. The up side is that, if the trust doesn’t get used up by one family it can be rolled over to the next refugee family. It’s still a lot, though—and that’s not counting things like setting up house and paying for airfares to Australia. (Setting up house is something that will be enormously fun and will cost very little as three of us are connected to Buy Nothing groups that are absolutely fantastic for toys, clothes, and furniture.)

CRSI will be in contact by 10 September, and I don’t know if that will be to set up our training or to tell us a little about the person/family we’re matched to, or both. I’m of course terrified that we won’t be matched to anyone and will have to cool our heels for months to come. But I think, rationally speaking, that we’re sure to be matched with someone… and I can’t wait to find out a little bit about them.

This is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

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Racism Island

June 6, 2020 at 4:22 pm (Entries that matter)

Buckle up.

In my 20s I did a lot of home tutoring. One day a student was studying some stats, and I glanced over them and then stopped and looked again. I had never seen stats like that, and I began to cry. They showed some very basic quality of life measures: infant deaths, average life expectancy, and the odds of a woman dying in childbirth. The ones for the general Australian population weren’t surprising. As a nation, we’re doing pretty well. We don’t expect to die in childbirth, or to experience the death of our precious baby, or to die ourselves before we see that baby grow up. My life isn’t easy but I have a safe place to live and mostly-healthy kids. I’ll probably have grandkids one day; maybe even great-grandkids before I die.
The graphs that showed the exact same stats for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders read like stats from a third world country. They still do today. Aboriginal people inhabit the same nation as me (although they are more likely to live in the country than in cities), shop at the same shops, and walk the same streets, but they live in a parallel existence that is much darker and harder in every way. Here are those three comparative stats, with links to their sources. If you think Australia is doing okay by the people groups that actually belong here, you are wrong. We are doing very badly indeed.
Others are sharing stats on people literally having their children taken away (if that doesn’t make you sick, you’ve forgotten Australia’s history as well as general human decency), and on police violence towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and on the rates of incarceration for non-white people, and on the shocking number of Aboriginal deaths in custody. It’s not just police and jails though, it is? It’s doctors and midwives underestimating the pain of Aboriginal patients, and failing to treat serious medical conditions. It’s employers automatically trusting white applicants more than Aboriginal applicants for jobs (as well as other people of colour, for all of this). It’s white mothers not making friends (and growing vital support networks) with Aboriginal mothers. It’s me feeling more awkward than usual around people that don’t look like me, and talking to someone else instead.

Graph 2: Child Mortality Rates, from the ABS and AIHW analysis of National Mortality Database via

Graph 3: And the rate of maternal death in child birth, which is chilling for anyone with a mother. From the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare at

It hurts to look at these graphs, but I bet it hurts a whole lot more to be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander living in a stolen land, recovering from a Stolen Generation, and knowing your future and your children’s future is also in mortal danger of being stolen without any chance of justice. (Shout out to all people of colour in Australia and beyond, but focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders today.)


People call Australia ‘Racism Island’ and they’re not wrong. We are no better than the US. And we’d better fight just as hard to make things better.



It is unbearable to think that Aboriginal children must slowly come to the realisation that their lives are considered less valuable than the lives of white children.
How old are they when they know? Five? Seven? Ten?
Definitely no older than ten.
Their lives matter. And their hearts.

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The Virus Diaries: The Kids are Better than All Right

April 5, 2020 at 12:40 pm (Cat pics, Entries that matter, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff)

My kids are 5 and 8. It’s TJ’s first year of school; a moment that I have looked forward to with GREAT excitement for many years. He’s done plenty of day care and preschool, but Kindy is different. Apart from anything else, his education is finally in sync with Louisette’s.


It’s kind of nice, to once more be the world expert on my kids. I mean, I was still the expert when they went to school but there was a huge chunk of every weekday I didn’t see or even know about. Because of COVID-19, I am once more the absolute centre of their world. Even when I’m not actively doing anything and/or when Chris is taking charge of everything kid-related, I can hear them and I know what’s going on in their lives every hour of every day.

I saw TJ’s face as his first tooth fell out.

I planted potatoes with Louisette.

I finally read one of my own books to TJ, and he loved it.

I’ve gotten back into reading with Louisette.

I’m almost as good as TJ on MarioKart.

Louisette is getting good at her times tables because of me.

Never forget that the reason your kids misbehave so much is that they know you’ll still love them no matter what they do.

This is the first generation in a long time to spend so much time with their primary caregiver/s after they reached school age. Years from now, the kids—mine and yours—won’t remember COVID-19 the way we do. They will remember wearing their PJs for weeks at a time, and sleeping in every day, and never having to rush to get to school. They’ll remember the time you got sick of education and watched a movie with them instead, and the time you burned popcorn together and stunk out the entire house. They’ll remember countless hours spent becoming a genuinely skilled athlete thanks to your cheap plastic basketball hoop, and jumping every day on the trampoline that they’d forgotten existed. They’ll remember eating wraps for lunch instead of regular bread, and drinking juice instead of milk—we’ll know it was because we couldn’t find the groceries we needed, but they’ll just remember how fun it was—and they’ll forget the day they screamed because there was only half a fish fillet in their dinner instead of a whole one. They’ll remember lying in the sun at lunchtime with you, talking about nothing because for once you had nothing better to do and no one more interesting to talk to. They’ll remember how you coloured in next to them, and the day you whispered that you can never remember your eight times tables either. They’ll remember being with you, day in and day out; being at the centre of your world and knowing they’re surrounded every second by the ones who love them the most. They’ll carry that feeling of love and connection for the rest of their lives.

Kids who experienced 2020 will be kinder than other kids. They’ll know to check on the elderly and the chronically ill, and will consider it a normal part of everyday life. They’ll always smile at strangers, and will never hesitate to help someone in trouble. They will never take hugs for granted. They will always know that they are loved at their worst, no matter what, and at the same time they’ll know that their parents are sometimes scared or tired, and sometimes not even very good at being parents. They will reflect our own exhausted 2020-style love back to us when we’re too old to care for ourselves, and in those future days they’ll be the ones putting up with our eccentric clothing styles and constant whinging for treats.

They’ll know that no amount of money or possessions can stop a person depending on other people to get through the hard times, and they’ll live in a serene faith that when the chips are down, all of humanity can cooperate, and all of humanity actually does a pretty good job of looking after each other. They’ll know that even the most vile and selfish politicians eventually do the right thing because there are enough good and clever people in the world to sway the balance of public opinion towards facts and scientific truth. They’ll be more empathetic and flexible than other generations, and more connected to the global community. They will be the generation that sees the world take united action against Climate Change, because they’ll know from experience that the whole world can achieve amazing things. They will be the best adults this world has ever seen.

Resource of the day: Your kids are surprisingly resourceful. What’s something they’ve always wanted to do but you never had time for?

Recommended donation of the day: Who can you ‘donate’ time to today?

Personal action of the day: Find a different song to wash your hands to. Anything that takes twenty seconds is good, and that’s the length of many popular choruses.

Hoarding item of the day: This is the final day for hoarding, as grocery shops will start restricting customer numbers from tomorrow. Maybe get a haircut, since everyone’s trying to get in one last shop today (before the queues start)?

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Big House Idea Update

February 14, 2020 at 10:17 am (Entries that matter)

So I haven’t given up on the idea from the last blog entry.

I’ve learned many things since then, the most notable of which is that major refugee agencies recommend charging a normal amount of rent… which means this ‘big house’ idea is no longer pure charity, but a genuine investment.

I’ve also gained one large piece of the financial puzzle: I have a building designer who liked the idea and will design the house for free.

And on the down side, it’s looking very unlikely I’ll get a large insurance payout, as I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia rather than rheumatoid arthritis.

We have had a tenant in our house for 1 and a quarter years, as we continue to struggle financially. I’ve been doing pretty badly brain-wise for the last couple of years so we had the tenant move out and we got our master bedroom back (the only room big enough that there is enough space to walk around both sides of a queen bed). Louisette was pretty happy sharing the converted garage with Chris (his study) so we left her there, and the “spare” room is mine… sort of. Some of the kids’ toys are in there, one wall is all bookshelves, and there’s a bed. The bed is a miniature version of one part of the ‘big house’ idea—it means we can shelter at least one person if they need to evacuate due to fire/smoke. (Only people we already know who have personalities that can mesh well with ours for a few days in cramped quarters.)

I’ve also begun spreading the word that I’m offering free English lessons for Indonesian speakers, although there are no takers yet.

And I spent quite a quite a while designing house plans, deciding the house should look like a castle, with square towers on each corner (two of which would hold large disability-friendly lifts).

So it’s not the ‘big house’ idea any more, it’s the ‘Castle’ idea.

Things are progressing slowly because, well, I’m chronically ill. I hope to find a large organisation to fund and own the castle and/or a government grant.

So that’s where things are at the moment.

Here’s a cat pic, featuring the newly-painted (by us!) wall of ‘my’ room.

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A Beautiful Dream

January 30, 2020 at 3:48 pm (Entries that matter, Fully Sick, Uncategorized)

I wrote this blog entry on November 29th 2019. It was fairly obvious I was having a manic episode, so I didn’t post it right away. I still don’t fully know if I’m going to pursue this, but although the idea has evolved considerably (more on that in another entry) it is still very much with me. So, without further ado…


Not that long ago, I wrote about the injustice of the developed versus the less developed world, and my ongoing struggle to find a solution to my own white guilt (ideally one that is actually just and fair on a global/moral level, rather than just making me feel better… but also one that made me feel better because why not?)

I may or may not write an article about the other side of that—how I’m marginalised as a woman, as a disabled person, etc. But I won’t write about that today.

Today, I want to talk about my new shiny dream of the future.

This has started because of the above thought trains, combined with the fact that I have a very hefty trauma insurance plan that it seems must surely, somehow, net me some big money sooner or later (just as soon as one of my many chronic illnesses ticks the right set of boxes).

One of the contradictions of my life is that I live in a really nice house, with air conditioning and everything. So I’m rich. But heat above about 20 degrees literally makes me sick. So I “should” have air conditioning… right? But so many people don’t… I’ve personally met many people without plumbing, or a roof, or walls. . .

So here’s my shiny new thought-bauble: If I do get a massive insurance payout (and, to be honest, the maximum amount I could possibly get wouldn’t come close to being enough for this but might be enough for some of it), I would like to buy the house immediately next to ours, knock it down, and rebuilt it as not just one dream house but two, one on top of the other, designed in such a way that the two houses can be divided in a multitude of ways

eg the bottom house is for one family and the top house is for another family;

the bottom house is for two single people living completely independently (ie with their own kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms) and the top house is for me and Chris to retire in while also caring for an elderly relative or two;

Half the bottom house is for a married couple, and the other half is studies for the family living upstairs;

Louisette and Tim house-share the top house, and Chris and I live in the bottom house, but the garage (currently both Chris’s study and Louisette’s bedroom) is converted back into a garage;

…and so on.

So it’s a fabulous, big, health-helping house for me AND an investment property at the same time.

But this is the part that is really awesome: Having effectively three houses, we could use the other two (or part/most of the other two) to house Indonesian refugees for 6-12 months each. During that time they could pay a proportion of their income (zero when it’s zero) and I could help them with English, with schooling, with getting a visa, getting a driving license, etc etc.

I used to speak fluent Indonesian and both Chris and I have teacher-ish brains so we’re well suited to help people transition into Australian society. Which is extremely helpful, useful work—especially as climate change will be making more and more refugees in the near future.

If I (or any of our parents) got sicker and we needed rental income or more space, we’d have it. Hopefully we could coordinate things so two Indonesian families were part of our mini-community at the same time (I’m a benevolent dictator, but I imagine it would be a blessed relief for anyone living here to have someone else they could talk to in Indonesian).

So if this dream came true, I’d have more space in my house (and perhaps a secret passageway or two) and I’d also be fulfilling the long-dead dream of being someone who helped low-income Indonesian people (by lifting them up to my financial level, rather than lowering myself to their poverty level as per 12 year-old me’s life plans).

I’m not publishing this article, but I’m writing it at 2am on Friday 29 November 2019. Chris and I just had a little chat about “If we were billionaires, we could….” including the above, and he was quite positive about my ideas (“Sure, if we’re billionaires”). And about having a book-lined TV room/basement. Which was enough to send me into manic mode. And here I am.

I mentioned I was manic, yes?

Right now I honestly believe with all my heart that I’ve found my true and ultimate purpose in life (this, plus writing, plus napping, plus being a loving mother and wife and friend).











When I wrote the above, I knew that Climate Change was bad, and coming soon. I didn’t know I’d be buying P2 masks that my sister brought from Queensland because there were none to be had in all of Canberra. I also didn’t know that I’d be seeing golfball-sized hail smashing windows and cars in my suburb in the same suburb.

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Do your legs stop working when it rains?

June 3, 2019 at 10:15 am (Entries that matter, Fully Sick)

I got pissy today, and wrote this piece for the school newsletter. When I googled how much the fine was I stumbled across some stuff I didn’t know, so I thought it was worth a blog post.
Dropping and fetching kids is a hassle in winter, but remember… don’t park in disabled spots even when you really, REALLY want to.
Although wheelchairs are relatively rare there are many people with painful chronic conditions who regularly and legally use disabled parking spots. Some people use their disability permit in order to avoid danger (due to conditions that hamper vision, balance, or coordination—or conditions that are made worse by even gentle physical movement). Others use their permit to limit their pain levels, since some medical conditions are invisible but make it painful for the person to stand or walk for even a few steps.
You can recognise legitimately disabled people by the permits in their cars even when their condition is not immediately obvious. Most medical conditions are not visible at a glance.
In NSW, the fine for stopping in a disabled spot is $549 and a demerit point even if:
-You are still physically inside the car.
-Your engine is still on.
-You’re there for less than 60 seconds.
-You have a perfect driving and parking record.
-There is an empty disabled spot right next to you.
It’s fine to use the disabled spot to reverse into a different parking space, or if there is a medical emergency.
This PSA was brought to you by winter rain and Someone Who Thought It Was Okay To Park In My F***ing Spot.
And also by all the people who see me slinging children, bags, and my fat self in and out of disabled spots and think I’m okay.
This is what I looked like before I got sick (I’m on the left):
1 copy
*The massive obesity is actually a clue that something has gone badly wrong with my life, but of course it just makes me look ugly and lazy rather than making people think, “Ooh, that poor woman is clearly dealing with a lot and not coping, poor love.”
Here’s a recent photo:
Life sucks a bit, sometimes.

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Talking to myself about abortion

May 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm (Entries that matter)


So this happened.

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Christmas: Jesus, Gifts, and Stress

December 15, 2018 at 3:26 pm (Entries that matter, Love and CJ, Mum Stuff)

So Christmas is about three things for me. (Cunning readers may guess what they are based on the title.)

This is the beginning of a three-part blog series on Christmas (aka holiday therapy for yours truly).

Fairly obviously for a Christian, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus aka the God I follow. Yes, I’m aware that the date is wrong and most of the traditions are stolen/borrowed from Pagan traditions, etc etc.


It is extraordinary that my God chose to set up a universe in which he himself would be required to be tortured and killed and condemned in order to show us in the clearest possible terms that being “saved” is a gift that he desperately wants to give us. Easter is at the heart of every Christian. It’s why we call it “Good” Friday when it’s marking the darkest day in the history of the universe.

In some ways, Christmas is even more shocking. The God of all creation had his nappy changed, was breast fed, struggled with toilet training, and probably grew up wondering in his heart of hearts why he always found the smell of manure strangely comforting.

For those just tuning in, I have two kids of my own. Currently Lousiette is 6-nearly-7 and TJ is 4 and a half. Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


It is incredible to think about the whole “having a kid” thing. These two started off as nothing more than a goofy hypothetical notion, then Chris and I MADE them… but they were only about this big:


And now they walk and talk and have opinions and dreams and say all kinds of weird and wonderful things both good and bad. In the blink of an eye they’ll be as old as I am now—then older—perhaps with kids of their own, and jobs, and much stronger opinions that I may find utterly horrifying.

How can a tiny dot grow into a whole person?

It’s part of the glorious nonsense of being alive.

Even more bonkers is the idea that God could squash himself down to fit into that tiny dot.

Exhibit C:


And even more bonkers is… why?

Jesus spent thirty-three years on Earth, as a man. He was sweaty, and he was sometimes attracted to people he didn’t want to be attracted to, and he ate freshly-baked bread, and he sometimes disagreed with his mum and brothers, and he lived through the death of his mortal dad. Why didn’t he just skip the whole ‘being human’ thing, get crucified, and save the world over a single rather intense long weekend?

It wrecks my mind that he chose to become one of us. He really understands, from our side, what it’s like to be mortal: messy, scary, and smelly.

I love that.

I even made a little YouTube video trying to point out just how bizarre it is that God really did become a slob like one of us.

It’s a mishmash of different messages really. Is it just an excuse to show off old pics of my kids? Is it a brilliant mix of the carnal and the divine? Is it just too much fun to see babies looking wise/annoyed/gassy? You can make up your own mind. There are a couple of other baby pics in there too so go ahead and play “spot the cousin” if you like.)


So. When Jesus Christ, creator and saviour, was born, he probably looked not that much different from my own brown-eyed, dark-haired TJ (although being from the Middle East, Jesus would have had darker skin):


If you want to know what God looks like, that’s pretty similar to one part of it.

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The Woman Tax

June 22, 2018 at 10:12 am (Advanced/Publication, Entries that matter)

Last night I crashed my car, because I am a woman.
On Tuesday last week another creative Australian woman, comedian Eurydice Dickson, was killed in a park as she walked home from a gig. Like me, she sometimes takes slight risks in order to live her life and have the career she has.
Last night, I went to the University of Canberra for a writing session, taking 6 year-old Louisette with me because I don’t have any other options. The UC Writers’ Group has been so helpful I named them in Silver and Stone as one of the reasons my second steampunk book was finished on time. These writing sessions are a lifeline. They also take place at an awkward time of day when my kids are with me, and it’s dark.
As always, Louisette was slow and silly getting into the car, and I was quietly frightened—hiding my fear from her, as always. (She’s six. She doesn’t yet know to be frightened, and I don’t want to teach her—yet. I will teach her soon. All mothers teach their daughters to be afraid. We have to.)
Like most universities, UC has underlit places, and I was uncomfortably aware that I needed to do a 3-point turn in order to get out of a small carpark that I chose because it’s near the door. My 6 year-old daughter and I were in danger (probably very little, but perhaps not), and I had to get us out as quickly as possible.
So, expecting Louisette to scream, “My seatbelt isn’t buckled yet!” at any second, I backed up. I hit a gate hard enough to tear our back bumper.
Because I’m a woman.
Would people be holding a candlelit vigil for Louisette and I next week if I hadn’t driven away quickly? Almost certainly not. But maybe. Because I’m a woman, and she’s just a girl.
This is how women live every day. Should I have stayed home? Well, no. The majority of murdered women are killed in their home.
There is no safe place. I live with this fear every day.
I arrived home from crashing the car and found a speeding ticket for $279. The ticket shows that I was driving 88km/hr in an 80km/hr zone—so not speeding MUCH, but certainly speeding.
It was dated 9 June 2018.
That was the day I ran two parties for my son’s 4th birthday (the entry directly before this one is about the cake). Why two parties?
Well, read on. . .
Chris, TJ, my brother, and my nephew all have their birthdays within about a week. Last year and the year before I’ve organised ‘group’ birthday parties at inside playgrounds. Inside playgrounds cost money (bad, but makes them a special occasion, and I tell everyone to pay for the playground instead of buying gifts). June is Winter, so outside isn’t really an option.
Why do I organise the birthday? Simple. In the above list of birthday boys, there are two obvious women: the wives. Since my brother’s wife is only related to the rest of us by marriage, the birthday duties fall on me. (The other obvious option is the matriarch aka my mother, but she lives in Gundagai so she’s already making a 5-hour round trip just to show up.)
Could a boy organise a family event? Lol, no!* When a man and a woman get married, the man no longer has to remember his own mother’s birthday—that’s what a wife is for! The woman, of course, is now responsible for two extended families instead of one.
I don’t make the rules.
So this year my extended family didn’t like the idea of going to an inside playground for a group party, so I needed to please both TJ and the numerous relatives somehow.
Hence, two parties in one day.
The party in the morning was kid-oriented, and the party in the evening was adult-oriented (we all put in $20 and got Chinese…. I kept it as simple as humanly possible… with ice cream and leftover dino cake for dessert).
I asked my sister to come to the kid party and help me with the cake. I don’t see her often so it was a great opportunity for our kids to play together while we could chat and be silly over icing and sprinkles.
Nope. She was busy.
Mum said she’d come to the kid party. Great!
So here’s what happened on the day:
Mum decided at the last minute that making sure her DOG wasn’t lonely was more important than showing up, and she was 45 minutes late. Thanks mum! (No really, thanks—if she hadn’t show up when she did there wouldn’t be a video of the cake, which was what I really really wanted.)
The (single) mother of TJ’s best friend (I literally checked the date with her before booking the party) was deathly ill so Chris and I needed to pick up her two kids.
So I think you can see why I was going a whole 8km above the speed limit that day.
But I did all the things. I made an epic cake. I made sure TJ’s best friend was there. I gave TJ an awesome day/week and also arranged an awesome day (totally different day) for Chris’ birthday. I stayed on budget and gave all my extended family a fabulous get-together in the evening—making sure it started early so my parents could drive back to Gundagai in enough time to get a good night’s sleep. (Not a single guest arrived on time, either. My family can be pretty rude.)
Because I’m a woman. When it comes to family events, and homework, and school stuff, and family health, and remembering important things, and household cleanliness. . . the buck stops here, with the woman.*
What a shame the value of a woman’s buck is only seventy-three cents due to the institutionalised sexism of gender-based pay discrepancies.
But that’s another story.
*Obviously there are exceptions.

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My new belly button

February 11, 2018 at 9:36 am (Entries that matter, Fully Sick, Mum Stuff)

It’s been about ten weeks since my stomach operation, and although I’m not fully healed I was just given the go-ahead to swim (my favourite and most effective exercise) yesterday so I’m pretty much in the clear.

Some thoughts:

It really really hurt a lot. There were times when I wasn’t sure it was worth it. (But it clearly was.)

Post-operative infections suck. Especially when you’ve allowed a month off and then suddenly it isn’t close to enough (it was more like taking two months out of my life, although I did get some work done in that time).

Yes, I have a new belly button.

I can fit clothes! This is still extremely exciting.*

My blood glucose has been within target ranges EVERY SINGLE TIME ever since the operation. Under the advice of my doctor, I’m slowly cutting out the diabetes medications that I take—continuing to monitor my blood sugar all the time. It’s too early to be certain, but it looks suspiciously like my stomach operation instantly fixed my diabetes. THAT IS AWESOME. It is also another reason this operation should absolutely be covered under Medicare. How many other mothers have severe health problems because their internal organs just haven’t “bounced back” after a massive physical event?

I’m not so hungry. I snack much less often, and don’t feel as weak, shaky and fatigued as I did before the operation. Stomachs are designed to be enclosed by abdominal muscles, and that goes a LONG way towards explaining why I’ve doubled in weight since having kids… my stomach just wasn’t working, and both my hunger and my fatigue were telling me I wasn’t getting enough food.

I’ve lost a bunch of weight since the operation without trying (or being hangry, which is a big problem for me as it connects to my existing mental conditions in dramatic ways). Hopefully this is a trend that will continue! Honestly I know that things will get harder and harder as I have less weight to lose, but this is certainly helping a LOT.

And sure, I’m still massively overweight, and I still have at least two other conditions that make standing/walking a big problem. But my health has improved hugely, and my optimism for the future—maybe even, one day, a healthy future—is greatly improved.


*I actually bought a full-on ball gown the other day, on a whim, because (a) It fit, which is an amazing thing. (b) It’s very pretty, (c) It was at Vinnies, so it cost $50 instead of $500. (d) It was near my birthday.

Full disclosure: I can’t actually do up the zip at the back. Yet.

But I promise to post a pic someday. I’m thinking I might wear it as part of the Kickstarter video for “Murder in the Mail”, which I need to film and put together this week.

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