Monthly Archives: January 2016

World Indigenous Cancer Conference 2016

world indigenous cancer conference 2016

World Indigenous Cancer Conference
12 – 14 April 2016
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Queensland, Australia

Join us for the inaugural World Indigenous Cancer Conference 2016 (WICC 2016), hosted by Menzies School of Health Research, and held in partnership with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Our theme for WICC 2016 is ‘Connecting, Communicating and Collaborating across the Globe’, and we encourage participation from a wide range of researchers, public health practitioners, clinicians, nurses, advocacy groups, allied health and other related professionals, and Indigenous community groups and leaders from around the globe.

WICC 2016 is supported by a Strategic Research Partnership Grant funded by Cancer Council New South Wales (STREP CaCIndA) and the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Discovering Indigenous Strategies to Improve Cancer Outcomes Via Engagement, Research Translation, and Training (DISCOVER-TT).

Mark your diary now, and register your interest to receive updates on conference planning and key dates.


What’s so happy about Australia Day?

Bogan Pride day has come around once more, and I have my own opinions on this day, I guess every Australian has an opinion on it. either for or against the day, if it should be this day or another day, why was the long week-end taken away, the talk is endless.

I wasn’t going to post anything about the day, except for sharing the words of Stan Grant. I loved his speech, if you haven’t heard it, google it or look at the previous post which has a link. His words are great he is talking about the history that Aboriginal people share. He spoke about this terrible history of the nation that is overlooked because it is unpalatable.

Let me firmly state my view, I don’t think the 26th is really a day to represent this nation, I am all for ANZAC day or the anniversary of Federation. Why keep a divisive day as the national day. Don’t think that it is only Aboriginal people who don’t like this day.  We have our reasons, but this day has been marked over and over again by racist attacks on people from many other nations.

The Bondi riots were not the first time racial tensions had been raised on this day.  I have spoken before of my fears around this day. This time of the year, so many Aboriginal people are verbally or physically attacked in the name of nationhood. I have, like many other non white parents, a fear for my children when they go out. My son has been verbally abused as he works security, and luckily for them, he ignores them.

But I digress, why have I decided to write about this date? Well the easy answer is I am pissed off. I had a medical appointment yesterday, I entered the hospital rooms for the visit. I was surrounded by gum leaves, koala’s and little Australian flags strung up like Christmas lights. This was going overboard, really did the branches need to be plucked from the tree in the name of this farce? I slowly ventured to the counter, knowing that I was out of my comfort zone, gave the information and had another lady all happy and chirpy, wish me a happy Australia Day…Really? This is an event that we wish each other good tidings?

As I turned to find a seat in the crowded waiting room, I scanned the place something wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t think what. Maybe it was that my senses were assailed with the Australian vibe. As I waited and looked around the walls to read the posters and signs that I have read a dozen times before, it struck me, what was wrong. The flags!

They place always has the Australian flag, Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islands flag. Today the Australia flag was spread out and covering the other flags. You might think this is not a big issue, but to me it was. This is disrespectful to the people who were here first. This is dismissive of the Reconciliation moves which are why government offices etc have the three flags.

I, ever polite, went up to the counter and said, “um I think the wind has blown the middle flag, and it’s covering the other flags”. The lady behind the counter, told me “It’s for Australia Day, we opened the Australian flag”. Miss Chirpy pants joined in, all smiles and fake Blonde hair, fake tan and fake nails (okay I am being a bit snarky) She gushed at me that it is just a bit of fun and to brighten up people’s day and getting into the spirit of the day, or words to that effect.

I took a deep breath and said under the legislation you can’t cover up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags with the Australian flag. Okay you and I know that I lied, but I was betting on chirpy pants not knowing. I was then subjected to a history lesson on how much good has been done in Australia. I don’t deny that some wonderful things have happened in this country, I also think some wonderful people are here.

My problem is that someone would cover the other flags and not think it inappropriate. That anybody would not consider the Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags, just as important as the Australian flag, or that they do not represent Australia, just as much as the other flag, that has the Union Jack.

I guess I am just annoyed at the ignorance and the ingrained bigotry. I don’t think the English or the American flag would have been covered up, so why cover up these flags? They are recognised flags of recognised people. If a person can be proudly Italian Australian, why can’t we be proudly Aboriginal Australian? Why do we get pushed to the side?


Aboriginal Health and Racism: Stan Grant’s speech on racism: Is this Australia’s ‘Martin Luther King moment’?

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts

1453601615817 ‘Australians need to acknowledge the two centuries of “dispossession, injustice and suffering” faced by my ancestors.

“We are in so many respects the envy of the world,But I stand here with my ancestors and the view looks very different.

“Every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country’s history,”

My people die young in this country,”

“We die 10 years younger than the average Australian, and we are far from free. We are fewer than 3 per cent of the Australian population and yet we are 25 per cent — a quarter of those Australians locked up in our prisons.

“And if you’re a juvenile it is worse, it is 50 per cent. An Indigenous child is more likely to be locked up in prison than they are to finish high school.”

Indigenous journalist Stan Grant has declared racism is “killing the Australian…

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What is Bravery?

I was down having my usual fortnightly blood test, when I ran into a person I used to work with. This was good, because I had been worried about her, she had been seriously ill and was close to death.

I was so happy to see how she was going and to make sure she was okay. I wanted to ensure that she was alright at work and to just let her know that if there was anything she needed, call me.  I don’t live too far away, so it’s no big deal.

She was doing alright, she was getting better, and when I said that it was such a huge thing for someone so young to go through and that I had prayed for her, she was a bit taken aback. I wasn’t sure if it was that I said I had prayed for her. Or if the strange thing was that had prayed for her ( I am a bit of a Philistine, but the Church going girl comes out in my sometimes), so I said that yes I do pray for people and light candles for them and if it’s really bad get a Mass said for them.

She was even more surprised, and said it wasn’t that…It was that I have my own journey, and that I should be worried about me and not her. Why I wondered? I told her not to be silly and that helping others out, is my way of paying it forward.

She then told me that I was the bravest woman that she knows.  Hmm, let me think? Why am I so brave?  This set me wondering about the amount of people who say that I am brave, who actually in general say all people who go through some kind of struggle are brave.  So I asked her why would she think that I am brave?

Response: You have been through so much and you are still fighting your battle and you just don’t quit. How can you help other people, when you need so much help. You are brave because you have cancer and you are doing everything you can to be brave.

Oh dear, back up…I am brave because I have cancer? It made me realise that maybe all the times people talk about bravery and courage, when speaking of those with cancer, they just think you are brave for being alive.

I am not brave because I have cancer. It is not a courageous fight, because cancer fights dirty. But to use those terms together…really? I suppose it’s better than saying the unfortunate one who got cancer out of the family. The unlucky bugger who spent too long in the sun. The  stupid person who smoked 2 packs a day.If you change brave for silly, unlucky, small percentage, high risk factor it sounds so much better.

But I and others are not brave because we have cancer, we are unfortunate, the courage and bravery that so many people have is a part of them. They are the people who would be doing for others even without the cancer. They are of that personality. Look at the people who have a diagnosis and are ready to chuck in the towel. They maybe are defeatist or realists or maybe they just don’t have the courage to fight. What’s that? That work again. courage. It is over used so many times when it comes to illness.

I am not brave or courageous because I haven’t died yet from cancer. I am not those things because I have tried to stay alive. Lets be honest. I am not a brave person. I am just a woman, trying her damnedest to stay alive to watch her children become adults.  A brave person to me is someone who fights for  others and fights against the odds. My mother and Grandmother were brave women. They fought against a system that treated my people like lesser human beings. My mum fought against a system that said she couldn’t marry my da, because she was Aboriginal and he was white.

Bravery is the woman who against all odds comes through the other end, still standing or barely standing and says I am here.

I am not brave I am a survivor, a human cockroach if you will, I am not going to let anything get in my way to watching my children become adults and hopefully give me some grandchildren to hold.


Medication Celebration

Before I get into this post, I would just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year (Did you know that courtesy dictates you should wish Happy New Year until the end of January!).

Today I had some good news, after being on steroids since my diagnosis, I am finally off them. I had been taking the strong steroids, because they help to stop the swelling in the brain. When everything went pear shaped, the doctors decided that I should go off this treatment too. Of course I was happy with this, as I had gained so much weight from taking the drugs, and as you know if you are a regular reader, between that and the chemo, I more than doubled my weight.

But I have been slowly dropping the dosage, of course under medical supervision, and waiting for the old body to do what it should do. The steroids, obviously affect the hormones and the glands, and it takes over the functions that your body should be doing. So in effect it becomes a dampener of the body’s natural functions.

After a year of slowly dropping my dosage rates, tests on a regular basis to check if my body is kicking in with the hormones. It is finally here. I am now able to stop taking these drugs. The great thing about this is…I will lose more weight, I will sweat less, I will not feel the heat so much and I will have a few extra dollars in my pocket.

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It is such a little thing, and yet to me it is a stop closer to normality. One less drug to take, a little less expense, which means more money to spend on and with my kids.

I have been feeling so good lately, maybe that’s just the excitement speaking, I had been ill over Christmas, I had a slow bleed that I had to get sorted. But in general I have been feeling good and positive. I have now dropped three medications. This is great because I don’t rattle when I walk.

Two of the medications have been dropped because it is useless taking medications that have no effect on the final outcome. Sounds grim. But it’s not, it just means less medications. Drugs and medical science do not decide my fate. God and I will be the first to know when I go. So life is too short to worry about it all. I don’t mean in a flippant way. I just mean, to not worry about what you cannot change and to be happy with what you have and remember your blessings.

I guess I will still have good and bad days, but today I am feeling wonderful, powerful, incredible courageous, happy and healthy. What more could you ask for really.

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Identity – #identity #hope #help #autoimmune #unite

I am sharing a post from another Blogger, about Identity and how you find it, who you are and what defines you. Big thank you to Trish

Autoimmunitygirl

Something strange happened today.

Something that won’t leave my aching, blurred and spinning head.

After a night of migraines, vomitting, spinning, aching and terrible pain and tiredness… I got an email.

Today I got an email back from a group I contacted awhile ago and forgot. Deadly bloggers wrote to me and asked me if I identified as someone with an indeginous background.

It was a lovely email but it got me thinking much more than my head can operate at. I started thinking about the question of identity. Who are we?

I have struggled with these questions ever since I got sick. Who am I now? What can I do now? What is important to me?

But first I must go back a few steps.

Later in life, my 20s / 30s, my mother learned that she had an aboriginal grandmother. She was surprised. We were all shocked how…

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