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    If you have popped over here from my facebook page could you please add comments in the blog rather than on the link on facebook itself. I dont want to worry YD unnecessarily Thanks. You can now use your facebook log in so you dont need to enter extra details if you like
  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you…

OD here again. Driving home from Dad/OH’s tonight, the sun was setting and the sky was filled with gold and pink. It was another spectacular moment in the sky, one of many in a week that was meant to be awful and dark and revolting. Mum always said that grey days only made one feel worse, and in the middle of winter, those days here have been very few. Coincidence? Maybe. But that golden light tonight made me think that it was time to write one of two posts that Mum wanted to write. This one is on faith.

Mum’s history with the Christian Church is strong. Her mother was very religious and a large amount of socialising in Mum’s rural town upbringing was church-related. Mum attended the local youth group and even taught some Sunday School. Her and my father were married in the local church and all three of us kids were also christened there. 

Moving away from the town meant moving to different churches and the fit was not so good. My father is agnostic and has never attended regularly. My disabled younger sister came along and Mum was made to feel bad that she was not attending church regularly, yet also made to feel that YD was disruptive and unwelcome. In what is possibly the most horrid example of “church-i-anity” that I have heard of, Mum’s pleas for help in some sins that she was struggling with were met with the comments that YD’s disabilities might be God’s punishment for the things Mum did wrong. Just writing that makes me sick. YD is one of God’s creatures too and I can’t believe how cruel people can be.

Mum left the church and never went back. A couple of weeks ago, she got a letter from a family friend known as Mrs Five-Minutes – the one that Grandma was always on the phone to for “just five more minutes”. Mrs FM knew that Mum no longer attended the church of her youth and was worried that Mum had lost faith. Mum has always had faith in God, even when she has not had faith in people.

It was something that Mum wanted to write a blog post on – that her belief in Science and her belief in a higher power were not mutually exclusive. The reason that she was not afraid to die – and we both agreed that not being scared didn’t mean that it didn’t suck – was because she was a firm believer in that this life was not all there was. She didn’t know exactly what it would be like but she knew that Heaven would be love and being with God and that Hell would be not getting to be a part of that.

She’d thought about attending a church again but didn’t want to be perceived as a “rainy-day Christian” and was getting to the point that she didn’t want to be explaining her history to a bunch of new people, didn’t want to be known to a whole new bunch of people as “Jenny, the cancer patient”. She knew that you didn’t just get into Heaven by good works (although we discussed that those would have given her plenty of brownie points) but she knew that she was strong enough in faith that she would get to be part of that love.

What do I believe? I believe that at that point, so soon before she passed, when she told us that she had to go, that  door to the hereafter was opening. She seemed so at peace with heading into the light. I like to think that our family friend Keith and Mum’s dear IBC friend Susan were waiting on the other side to welcome her with the joy that she deserved. I believe that she’ll never truly be gone.


No this isnt a post about housekeeping tips – if you know me in real life, you know that by nature I am a bit of a slob – No this is about housekeeping in reference to my blog and keeping you guys up to date with what is happening to me.

You will notice that I have changed the colour theme of the blog.  Someone told me they were finding the white writing hard to read so while keeping the purple background I made the posts themselves easier to read.

I have also added a Facebook like box and I have created a Facebook page called ‘Get out Gertrude’ where from now on I will be publishing the links to new blog posts but also putting updates when I have been too tired and or too busy like I have been lately to write full blown blog posts.  I dont want ‘ Gertrude’ taking over my Facebook profile and it also means you don’t need to be my FB friend (and be inundated by facebook games and the like) to interact with me there – the ‘Get out  Gertrude’ page is also a good place to ask questions etc.  If you press like either in the ‘Get out  Gertrude on facebook’ box on the left of the blog or press ‘like’ on the ‘Get out Gertrude’ facebook page itself you will get any updates  that I do there.

As time goes on it will also possibly be the venue for me asking for help with chemo (or other treatment) chaffeurs or other help we might need.

Thank you all for keeping me company me on this journey, I hope this helps you all to keep up.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Am I capable?

I had to ask the university for a dispensation to do a ‘Michael Jackson impersonation’ for my exams that are coming up.

Due to the friction causing problems because of my chemo side-effects: redness, blisters and pain, I can’t write holding a pen for long periods of time. My oncologist has suggested putting protective tap across the fingertips that hold the pen and wearing a white cotton glove over the top to cut down on the friction to other parts of my hand so that I can withstand three hours of writing.

I didn’t want to turn up to the exam and the exam supervisors make a fuss about it so I broached the subject with my lecturers and emailed the  chief examiner to explain the situation.  They now have my details and I will carry the letter from the oncologist confirming what I have told them to the exam so there wont be any problem.

While I was discussing this with my lecturers I explained that I had walked out of one of my first semester exams due to not being able to write and that I needed to wear the glove to prevent the same happening this time and they pressed me to consider going for aeggrotat  passes if I still have difficulties with the exam.

In the first semester exams I only got a B- as my mark for that paper. and I know if I had gone for impaired performance I would have got a much higher mark.  But I decided not to.

Why,  because I need to know what I am capable of now.  I need to know what I am capable of under the influence of painkillers, suffering the side-effects of chemo, fatigue etc.  I want assignment and exam marks based on what I am actually capable of at that moment in time, not what I may or may not have been capable of, if I wasn’t sick or tired or whatever.  If my luck holds and I somehow manage to finish this degree – a four year degree which will take me another 5 years including practicums to finish,  what I need to know is whether or not I am capable of doing the job regardless of what medication, or limitations I have got.

I am not going to get special allowances for being sick, being allowed to make more mistakes than others or whatever when I am actually working in the social work field, so I need to know what I am actually capable of and get the marks I actually earned.

Its the reason I have tried to not ask for extensions for assignments too.  Do I think I have got the marks I could have got if I wasn’t in treatment? No, but they are a reflection of what I am capable of right now.  And when most of my marks have been around the A- or B+ mark I’m happy that I have tried my best regardless.



Hi and welcome to Get Out Gertrude – this is my main page and as such will have all my posts on any subject. If you are looking for posts I have posted in specific catergories  you can click the menu above the header picture – for example if you are looking for stories purely to do with Inflammatory Breast Cancer click on that heading – or want to read about trips/ travel click that heading.  My twitterstream to the right will both contain mini blogs in between my larger posts but also give you an insight into some of the other things I am interested in.  Medical info on inflammatory breast cancer can be found in the links to the side of this page and so on.  Thanks for stopping by!!