Damage count: one day, three appointments across Sydney, three bouts of tears.  But the delight of three dainty little steps.

It can be hard to strike a balance.  I want to keep busy and keep things as normal as possible.  A normal week for Alannah and me had a soothing rhythm.  We never felt at a loose end, nor were we rushed.

Each morning we had plans: swimming on Monday, mothers group on Tuesday, music on Wednesdays, Grandad day on Thursdays and day care on Fridays.  Each afternoon we headed to a local playground or library.  Rushcutters Bay and Centennial Park were favourites, but we sought out new playgrounds each week.  Watson’s Bay and Double Bay Libraries were also regular haunts and we had just discovered Bondi Toy Library.

I miss the rhythm.  I know I have to make room in my life, but I don’t have to like it.

Sometimes now, I have nothing left to give.  Today is one of those days.  I dozed on and off until 1pm.

With our sights on a late June or early July surgery date, we had crammed yesterday full.  Why not cram in one more appointment or drive all across Sydney so as not to prolong the vagaries of limbo?

First stop 9am: Classroom observation at Montessori East, a preschool in Bondi.

Before this all started, I was looking for preschools for Ally.  She is on waiting lists for the Kindergarten Union (KU) preschools at Paddington and Rushcutters Bay. The day after they found the tumour, I was due to head over to Montessori East for a classroom observation.  That day it was as much as I could do to drag myself out of bed and haul myself off to mothers group. I rescheduled for the next available appointment, 14 June, thinking the worst should be behind me.

Yes, I could have rescheduled again.  But as I look at the abyss of the next four to five months, it’s comforting to picture the greener grass on the other side.  It will be hard going between now and Christmas.

Second stop 11am: CT scan and MRI at Macquarie Medical Imaging, located at Macquarie University Hospital in Ryde.

The CT scan was quick and painless.  The MRI was draining.  I knew about the duration, the cramped confinement, but not the injection of contrast dye.  Not my finest hour, but I pulled through.

And then in the waiting room, Alannah took her first solo steps.  First three dainty little steps.  Later six steps all in a row.  I burst into tears.  Such a precious moment that I wish did not have to take place in a hospital waiting room.

Third stop 3pm: First consultation with my plastic surgeon, Dr A.

Hallelujah, A is for amiable.

It took a little time to get started.  He knew nothing of my case.  He had no referral from Dr Post-haste and no briefing why I was there.  I had no scans as I’d had to hand those over at the imaging appointment.

A quick call to Dr Post-haste gave him enough information to get started.

He took his time with us and did not rush us, despite the bursting waiting room we saw on our departure.  He listened.  He understood our concerns.  He answered our questions.  We would see him again, he assured us.  He would answer our questions.

But with each new doctor comes changes to The Plan.  Not minor changes either.  Perhaps we will not recapture the soothing rhythm of Alannah’s first summer and autumn, but I felt on a roll.  I could handle the new tempo, the impending march towards the surgery.  Now maybe they will delay it until late July.  Is it too much to ask to put them all in one room and thrash it out?

Stay tuned.  Next installment to follow later tonight.  Bath time is over.  It’s time for books and bed for our little girl.



  1. The ‘steps’ were a wonderment. even for that other lady also sitting in the room, waiting. The look on your face – a joy! Now, when Ally stands, I can see her thinking about how to reproduce ‘walking’. It will come in a rush over this coming weekend – delightful rush.

  2. I am truly in awe of your courage x

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