Friday, 4 December 2009

The Last Post - update 10, with pics, music & ongoing tributes. Latest tributes: Maria Woolf & Marc Le Roux

This is Peter Cresswell from the NOT PC blog here.

You know why I'm here already. Or you might have guessed.

This is the last post Anna promised we would have to make for her one day. The day we all wished would never come, but did.

Anna died on Wednesday, at 12:05pm, at the Mercy Hospice. She died peacefully with family and friends around her.

In her last days you shared your thoughts with her and for her, so many of you, on blogs all over the local blogosphere. We thank you for that.

Over the last month Anna's cancer progressed to the point where she was no longer able to blog, then no longer able to live as she would have wanted-- not even to get on with her bucket list -- until finally she is, or would have been, in constant pain, if not for the ministrations of her favourite medical bods.

At the end she had family and friends with her round the clock -- she died with people she loved and who loved her.

Who could want for more at the end?

Funeral time and location is 2pm tomorrow, Saturday, December 5th, at North Harbour Stadium’s function centre. (Carpark A.)
Come along and pay your respects to a remarkable woman.
All welcome.

UPDATE [by PC]: Thank you to everyone who came to Anna’s funeral yesterday.  I’d like to think we all did her proud.

Just for the record, here’s the music Anna talked about having and (based on suggestions from family and friends) that we included in the funeral programme.

First, the call to order, a lament:

For the processional:

And for the two quiet moments:

And finally, for the recessional, the song Anna called NZ’s greatest love song:

UPDATE 2: Anna’s brother Tony, and Jacqui Knowles, Anna's classmate, put together this montage for the programme.  You should be able to click on both pages to see them full-size.



UPDATE 3: Here’s the tribute from Anna’s DN’s, her darling nieces Zoe and Julia, in case you couldn’t hear what they read out on Saturday:

Roses are red, violets are blue, honey is sweet and we will miss you.

Julia: Unu was a very caring aunty with great humour and a loving personality she was a great role model and still she will be.

Unu is a variation of Anna. It will take time to get used to her not being around. And I guess that will apply for everyone.

Zoe: With Unu we had some great times. Today we have just listed a few.

Babysitting where we had some fun times.

Shopping, we had a great time getting lost in the clothes.

Watching Avatar and relaxing at the Bach.

Gymnastics she loved to watch us doing handstands and flips.

We play a lot of sport and she cheered us on enthusiastically.

She kept us in order like wiping our nose, posture, and keeping the house tidy.

When we first heard Unu had a problem with her Kidneys we thought it was okay.

Over the next few months our time at grandpa and grandma’s place were filled with stories of CT scans and injections. Unu had many opinions on things. She hated Hokey Pokey but on the other hand she loved many things like the stock market, sorbets and wished for a cat named Seizure.

J: Over the period of time that she was sick we went to the hospital for brief visits although they were short visit we knew exactly what was going on. Unu enjoyed foot and head massages. Once we turned her room into an equivalent of Bliss ( which she enjoyed as well). While we massaged her she talked to us about how she wanted to see the world and do everything possible. Eventually she would drift off and we would sneak away. She never told a lie to us. And when she said she wanted to do everything she really meant it. In the Gold Coast she went down a water slide in complete darkness, I remember her screaming at the top of her voice as she plunged through the darkness.

A: All those fun times will never be lost. We will always remember you Unu!

UPDATE 4: Fresh from cooking for the Dalai Lama, Anna’s sister-in-law YokeHar Lee pens a beautiful tribute at her blog Ramblings & Rumblings: Till we meet again -- Anna Woolf (Apri 68-Dec09).

UPDATE 5: Blogger XChequer at HomeOffice reflects on the round-the-blogosphere reaction to Anna’s death, and compares it to Princess Diana! Crikey!
Read Sod it..... Lets Get Morbid!.

UPDATE 6: Peter Cresswell’s tribute appears here at his blog.

UPDATE 7: Here’s Carol Potts’ tribute to Anna, which she delivered on Saturday:

A few words about the part of Anna’s life spent with us at The Castle.

I met Anna in 1996 at a party thrown by Lindsay Perigo. At that time my partner and I were living at the Castle & for any of you that don’t know of THE CASTLE , it’s a glorious old stately concrete structure in Epsom - built in 1867 - that was originally the family home of Josiah Firth of Firth Concrete. Today it is 7 apartments and Peter and I still reside in one of them.

Peter and I were living in The Castle, and although we started out in the servants quarters we set our sights on the apartment upstairs that has the sea views. On a good day. Though in order to move upstairs we needed to have a flatmate.

As we got to know Anna a little better, that apartment became available and fortuitously Anna was also looking for somewhere to live – and so the 3 of us moved into the gallery apartment and we danced along very happily for the next 4.5 years. Not easy to live with a couple but she allowed us to shine and I’m really grateful to her for that.

It was a sociable place to live, pretty soon became party central – that’s party central in every sense, since Anna and I were doing the admin for the Libertarianz. Most people have a lounge , y’know a cozy place to relax at the end of the day – not us. We had an office where we’d we spend many an hour composing letters which essentially were asking for money for the party and then compose gracious responses when they gave it!

These were busy, political times, where we raged and laughed, drank and laughed a lot! We loved Anna’s love of life, her can-do attitude, the devilish twinkle in her eye and her rosy cheeks after a glass of wine!

During this time Anna was working in Real Estate and soon emerged a standard pattern to Anna’s morning – one that meant we never needed an alarm clock. She’d listen to Morning Report ever morning upstairs, and invariably we’d hear her arguing with the radio as Sean Plunket announced the latest Government shenanigans. Then she’d stomp downstairs - still chuntering, mind you - and open the Houses for sale section of the Herald. Invariably there was a typo on one her ads and the paper was thrown down in disgust before she stomped off to work.

We missed these fiery displays once she moved out of The Castle, but have remained great friends and I’ll cherish my memories of Anna – she was remarkable, passionate, honest, eloquent and a beautiful friend. And one to whom I don’t lightly give my favourite tea towel!!

Carol Potts – (Anna lived at The Castle from 1996 – 2001, approximately)

UPDATE 8:  This was Marc le Roux’s moving tribute to Anna:

When I hear friends and family speak of their experiences with Anna I am struck by the contrast of Anna’s multi-dimensional character. My experiences were formed in the trenches of the market….. and you want an Anna next to you when you are in the trenches. I’d like to take a few moments to give you a glimpse of the Anna I know.

Anna and I have been friends, trading and business partners for the last 13 or so years.

"It was by chance we met . . . By choice we became friends."

Soon after Anna heard that I trade in the international markets she presented me with a proposal; she would do all our research for free, if I would show her how the markets work.

Soon I would find that she had all the characteristics to be an ideal trading and business partner, so much so that Anna took over the entire trading operation within 3 years.

Anna was perfectly wired for the unforgiving world of trading and investing…….. Those character traits that may have seemed harsh and uncompromising to many of you was what made Anna a world class trader.

I do mean world class – I’m not talking here about measuring against local benchmarks but by international standards. Every day she pitted her hypothesis, her vision of the world and the markets against the full spectrum of the PhD’s, quants and Wall Street insiders. And you would have one heck of a challenge to find anyone that has a track record of positive returns consistently, year after year for the last 10 years of trading. At times I quote “our” trading record – truth be told, it is Anna’s trading record. I was privileged enough to be able to hitch my name to it.

Yet, she never boasted about it….. Who of you here today had any idea ….

At one stage I asked Anna; why trading? There are but a handful of successful women in trading in the world …… because there is no BS, no smoke and mirrors, no place to hide when you get it wrong. If an option close at 5pm on Friday and you are one minute late, …. One second late… its gone. You cannot get on the phone and call the counter party and say I’m sorry “I got stuck I traffic or the internet connection was down” …. half a second has the same effect as an eon. Anna enjoyed the black and white world of trading.

In line with that Anna modified a Winston Churchill saying to read-

“The three most difficult things for a man to do are
to climb a wall leaning towards you,
to kiss a girl leaning away from you,
and trade a trend going against you.”

But it was not only in trading that we were partners, but also in property. Most people go through life, not being able to distinguish the difference between price and value, but Anna instinctively understood that and more importantly had the discipline and values required to implement that. Values that Brian and Margaret instilled…. Work ethic, discipline, patience, honesty and above all integrity.

A short recollection to illustrate; Anna did not shy away from work and as a result she was most frequently saddled with the administration of Investment-, Trading-, business- and club accounts. Some years ago, in order to make our own lives easier, it was decided to give Anna power of Attorney on all these accounts. One evening all the account holders got together to sign the documents. The solicitors had prepared all the documents, but in each case recommended that “if you give someone unfettered access to all your accounts”, then you should incorporate some safeguards, conditions and rules. Yet not one – not one person there even looked at the “safeguards” document. As one venerated partner said; “Integrity has no need for rules.”

Some people work to enrich themselves, others to define themselves, Anna truly did it because she loved it. She had found her vocation…… her niche in the world. This provided her with the freedom to read, learn, travel, and help many other friend a step or 2 closer to their own goals.

During one of our scouting expeditions I asked Anna, what is still outstanding?..... was there anything else we needed to implement or do. What advice do you want to give…. Just this advice from Baz Luhrmann, she said, ‘Everybody's Free.’

So, on Anna’s behalf I dispense that now…..

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts,

Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters; throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life - the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know, still don’t.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and
the people most likely to stick with you in the future.


Respect your elders.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time it’s 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.

I would like to finish with one last item ….

A thank you…..

A thank you, on behalf of Anna….

To you all, - her friends and family.

You are indeed a remarkable group of people…..

I stand astonished when I look at this group of people,

people that were there when it was required……..

Who said; …… life is slippery here... take my hand.

Anna is lucky to have you as her friends and family……

And we…

We are lucky to know someone who it is so hard to say goodbye to.

UPDATE 9: Tribute from Maria McFadden:

Dear friend,

You have been in my life as long as I can remember and will be in my thoughts and heart forever. My love to you and to your very dear family who likewise feature in special memories throughout my life and who are right now very much in my thoughts. Love from me - and from both my boys, who so utterly adored you.

Maria McFadden

NB: Due to time constraints, not all the tributes were able to be read at the funeral. 

Please do feel free to post your tribute in the comments section, below, and we will post them here on the front page.

UPDATE 10: Here’s the beautiful tribute Anna’s sister Maria gave at the funeral:

While death is never pleasant it is part of the natural process.

We’re born, we grow up, we grow old and then we die

However the death of a younger person breaks this natural pattern

Parents shouldn’t out-live their children, young people don’t expect to lose their siblings or friends.

When death has come after an illness like cancer, as with Anna, there is a sense of relief that her suffering is over--but this doesn’t lessen the grief for the Woolf and Robins families and her many friends and colleagues that have turned out today.

When a life is cut short we have not only lost what we had with them, but also the hopes and aspirations for their future.

Anna bravely looked death in the face, did all the paperwork, closed bank accounts, gave away clothes, dotted all the is, crossed all the ts and then lived another year. Her strength and courage was a source of amazement to me and no doubt everyone that visited her and read her blog detailing her treatment over the last couple of years

She created a bloggers’ evening at Galbraith for the first Thursday of each month, a legacy I hope continues as it did last Thursday night.

But the most valuable legacy she has given us was to encourage greater appreciation and enjoyment of life. Something which is going to be difficult in the coming months . . .

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bucket List

I was asked what was on my Bucket List the other day and I said I really didn't have a list. But on thinking about it further, I realise I do have a list, which basically amounts to the table of contents of the Metro 2009 Restaurant Guide - Auckland's 50 Best Restaurants.

For the past year I have sacrificed my waistline (blaming it all on the steroids) and made a concerted effort to visit all 50 of these fine eateries. I like to think that I single-handedly prop-up the fine dining sector, but I can assure you, Aucklanders seems to be eating their way out of the recession - restaurants always full and always merry. Bookings are still hard to come by - no Friday or Saturday nights bookings at my next target, Merediths, until 2010.

This week I knocked off two more:

Pure: we bundled over to Jervois Road for a most perfect night celebrating flatties birthday - we heard that they did a lime brulee and just had to be there. Wonderful wine, food, service and most importantly company. Highly recommended.

Cibo: with friends up from the mainland I thought Cibo should be the next target. Strangely I had never managed to get myself to Cibo and it's been around forever - 10 years? What a great night we had - once again we were the last to leave (twice in one month!). I have to say everything was perfect - just like Pure - and the service was totally amazing and again the company made for a perfect night. As a treat they gave us passion fruit marshmallows to roast over the pond fire - yummy!

I think now I only have nine restaurants left on my Bucket List. Once completed I'll visit my favourites all over again.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Bloggers Bar Bash

Bloggers Bar Bash is on again this advancing Thursday night (5th) at Galbraiths - 6.30pm onwards.

Last month a great night was had by all - although there was one that left rather abruptly - what was that about? I managed to stay until closing time - which quite frankly was weird.

Cactus Kate popped in for a surprise visit and we had David Farrar the month before. All these celebrity bloggers - who will be next?

We are also starting to get interest from the non-political bloggers, which is great - all welcome.

See you there.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

How profound

You know those little things in life that just frustrate the hell out of you. Those little irritations that make you wonder if you're really might have a mental illness for finding it so annoying, until you speak to others and find the same frustration has been brewing within them too.

Lately it's the pure lack of absorbency of 90% of the teatowels on the market - they are frankly quite waterproof (although I'm sure the ones pictured work a-okay). Yes I can see that this might sound like the rantings of a brain tumour patient, but this illustrates a long line of business incompetence and shocking productivity. From the manufacturer who obviously doesn't use the product, to the wholesaler who doesn't use the product to the retailer who doesn't use the product. Hours of manpower wasted, tonnes of materials wasted, shipping tonnage wasted ... all this activity for nought. They could have done the truly productive thing and shipped me Tanquery Gin instead.

Before anyone jumps on and says one needs to wash the teatowels before they are used, I'm up with the play here and can assure you that this practice is adhered to - in fact I wash them up to 10 times - but to no avail. I'm not sure what is deemed an acceptable number of wash times at the Teatowel Absorbency Commission, but 10 sounds excessive. Anyway at this point the teatowel is fired on the spot and lives out its short life as a useless welfare rag, just taking up space and contributing nothing. Eventually one of us uses it to wipe up some vile thing or other and it is sent on its merry way to the landfill - good riddance!

Anyway, I'm one of those people that dreams most every night and remembers it most every morning. My mind just throws together a strange mix of characters and thoughts into a weird - but not too often disturbing - tale. The other night I had a dream where I was making a speech (yes that bit was weird) proclaiming that the best ever possible gift, the gift that truly shows ones love and the gift that proclaims the highest respect, was the gift of your own rare and valuable pre-loved absorbent teatowels. How's that for profound?

Tune in tomorrow for the outrageous concept: politicians are just a bunch of arse!

The fact that there hasn't been one assassination on these 'troughers' probably says more about the tolerance of the Kiwiman or his stupidity. Mind you just about everyone are 'troughers' now days, and the rest are too busy working trying to keep this country afloat - hey, good luck with that one.

Mind you the fact that no one tried to burn down Mark Bryers (Blue Chip) house or at least give him a jolly good smack around the head, totally mystifies me too.

PS: You even need to wash Chux dishcloths now to get them working - what's with that.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


God this blog has taken me five days to put together and is still a load of bollocks.

Sunday: Wanted to head out for a nice meal, so we checked all over the place, nothing much open. But Non-Solo Pizza was and is a good as ever - great night.

Monday: Em took myself and Em's parents up to Whangarei to check out some LabraDoodle puppies - very, very cute - would love to have one - but no.

On the way up we thought we would do our public service and review the Skyline Cafe at the top of the Brynderwyns for you. This cafe has always been an absolute dog, but every five years or so someone needs to put their life on the line and actually eat there - just in case a new owner with business brains takes over.

Well I'm sorry to say that this hasn't happened and the place has slipped down even further, if that is at all possible. Every aspect of the place is appalling: food, decor, hygiene, toilets, furniture and service - totally unbelievable. The outlook is the only aspect that is amazing - it's such a shame - fantastic location.

Monday night: So headed back home to the lazyboy to rest up. Unfortunately the pain in my shoulder went into overdrive, once again I woke poor Em and the ambulance was called. No laughing gas this time, but they helped me with my medication and stayed with me until the pain was under control - ambo team once again the heros.

Knowing how to control the pain when it gets to that level is reassuring. Hospice have switched the daily pain medication back to Methadone from Codeine and I am comfortable again.

Wednesday: Another visit to the lawyer to have a document signed for the bloody council - I'm not going into details as it winds me up so much. Anyway had lunch at the O'Connel Street Bristrol, so that made up for it - talk about the extreme of Brynderwyns - fantastic food, service and wine.

Thursday: Went to daystay for another bout of chemo and then dinner down the road at a friends place - all good.

Labour weekend: Off up to the bach for the weekend with the family. Neck pain seems to have moved along somewhat - fingers crossed.

Summary: Well wasn't that an exciting week :o/

Friday, 16 October 2009

Bad Film Warning

Samson & Deliliah is currently playing at Rialto, which I just viewed this afternoon and felt an urgent need to rush home and give a strong health warning. Here is the film teaser:

Samson and Delilah’s world is small - an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges.

Rating: R16 - Violence & Drug Use, 101 mins
Genre: Drama

Oh my god it was torture - poking my eye out would be preferable - it ends a run of great films. There was no journey of survival, just misery played out so slowly I shut my eyes shut for most of the 101 minutes (100 minutes too long). The Violence & Drug Use was boring and Drama it most certainly wasn't. Peter Calder gave it a 4-star rating - I'll never trust his reviews again - he must have been drunk.

I'm sure there are plenty of art fart academics that rate it highly, but only because it is an Aboriginal politically correct topic. I'm sure the poor Aussie taxpayer fronted up for this rubbish.

Slow crap films like this most certainly make it on to my "dying young has a plus side" list.

You have been warned.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Well I've been told I've been rather slack lately and need to whacked out blogs more regularly, I don't really have much to talk about, but here are some things I've got up to:

Movie: Down the road we are lucky to have our local Capitol Cinema that has recently undergone a renovation by the owner of the Lido. So on Monday we headed off to see In the Loop a brilliant political satire. It is a scriptwriters dream movie and I found myself rather tired at the end due to concentrating on the script delivered by a great team of actors. Rating 4/5 - highly recommended - lots of laughs. Negative - no fruit icecream only sweet chocolate stuff - yuck.

Sleeping: Neck pain has been increasing over the last week, so sleep has been somewhat shallow - thus I've been sleeping in rather late. Lazyboy is about to be delivered, which will mean I can sleep sitting up which will help massively.

Treatment: WBC was good enough for a lumber puncher chemo on Tuesday which went well. Another due next Thursday, hopefully this will reduce the pain and lump in the neck.

So sorry not much to report. I'll leave you with the thoughts of others:
Not PJ: Too Big Not To Fail
Cactus Kate: P for Pathetic
Perigo: Key Tackles G
Whaleoil: ACC

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Another Update

Headed to Daystay for some chemo today, but my WBC was too low, so I was sent back home ... again. This was rather strange, as two days ago WBC was fine. We will try again next Tuesday.

Feel fine, except for a headache that is slowly getting worse each day - can't figure out why. Think that someone has been spiking my decaf flat whites so now I'm in withdrawal, or maybe it's the cold thing I'm still trying to conquer, or maybe a brain tumour - yep let's go with the dramatic one - tumour it is.

Probably just exhaustion actually - I had a rather busy week last week (Photo: Julia & I in Mt Maunganui for Organ Donation Walk), and still haven't managed to find much time to relax - off to the couch now.

Julia & brother off to Japan today for the Japanese Transplant Games - lucky, lucky.

Because I would have moaned and thrown an eppy if they hadn't done their job, I feel that I should say that Labtests got my results to the doctors as directed - problems seem to be sorted - excellent.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


I was meant to have another dose of intrathecal chemo today, but my white blood count was too low, so no-can-do. In addition they have taken me off all the chemo tablets - except the steroids.

In addition, addition, I have started a course of antibiotics to try and fix my cold and hacking cough.

I go back in a fortnight to see if I’ve improved enough for further treatment.

But otherwise I feel just fine - although rather tired with all the coughing and poor sleep. Appetite is rather lacking, but I'm not suffering any pain and currently am not on any painkillers.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Best flags in the world

Yes I'm showing off again - just had confirmation that Julia managed to set two new records in the 9-11 year olds in both the 50m sprint and long-jump.

But another reason for the photo is to show the three best flags in the world, all in one place. The maple leaf and the rising sun are beautiful symbols that the world recognise and admire. The silver fern is equally beautiful and loved by Kiwis. The most vigorous trading of uniforms at the Transplant Games was between the Canadians and New Zealanders - we appreciate good style when we see it.

My dying wish* for my country is that we dump the current flag that no-one really likes (or uses) and replace it with the Silver Fern that everyone likes and more importantly, everyone uses. It is the flag every Kiwi athlete grabs when they win, the flag every backpacker stitches to their pack, the flag the world recognises, admires and coverts. It is this recognition that will also make the transition from our confusing Ozzie-like flag incredibly easy and above all incredibly cheap (watch the trough feeders squeal about that). No PR hacks need be involved, no designers employed to come up with some ugly creation (South African flag springs to mind), and above all no need for bureaucrats, Maori and whiny white liberals to stuff it all up, because they too like the silver fern.

* I do have other wishes but it appears that the non-productive, welfare mentality is here to stay and is why this country best embrace the diary industry rather than hampering it, because that's all you've really got. All other commodities will be stuck in the ground for ever. But no need to worry about your kids, they'll find work ... overseas.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Mid-month Bloggers Bash - Update

There is a impromptu mid-month Bloggers Bash at Galbraiths. David Farrar from Kiwiblog and other bloggers from Wellington are in town and want to catch up with the Auckland bloggers. Kick off is 5.30pm this Thursday the 17th.

Update: What a night - never seen so many people. Unfortunately I was rather tired so didn't last the whole evening, but glad I turned up. Thanks everyone for making the effort - great to meet you.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


I know the Labtests contract was a controversial decision. Personally I could never figure out why you would replace one monopoly with another. If you truly wanted to keep costs down then surely a competitive system makes more sense. But maybe I don't understand the complexities of the situation.

Anyway, I was happy to give Labtests the benefit of the doubt, and headed off on Monday to have my first sample taken. Speed to process me was a little slow, but every business needs time to settle in, so I wasn't worried. The collection technician was a lovely lady and didn't freak out with my difficult veins - double bonus.

However, the sample was taken on Monday and needed for treatment assessment on Wednesday (I decided to give them an extra day just in case). Diagnostic Med Lab would usually have it with my Doctor that afternoon or at the latest the next morning. It's Saturday today and I still don't have results.

This means I can no longer use Labtests for my tests - one way to decrease the queues I suppose. Now I have to go in an hour early for each chemo treatment so the overworked nurses can take the sample and give it to the hospital labs. I then sit around for an hour taking up space waiting to see if chemo will be administered.

For the system to work as it should, will not just require them to double their speed, but increase it six-fold. Can't see it happening.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Sniffy update

I saw the Doctor on Wednesday, to have confirmed what I was expecting, that we have kind of come to the end of any real treatment options. Can't have any more Radiation Therapy, so the tumours that remain and new ones will just be. Basically the Intrathecal and PEP-C chemo that I started this week will hopefully slow the cancer growth some and give me as much extra time as possible. On day three of the PEP-C and I seem to be tolerating it well - only slightly nauseous, only 27 days to go. The Intrathecal will probably create ulcers in my mouth, so will probably stop these weekly injections at that point.

The lovely Hospice Nurse is coming over next week to start discussing pain management and palliative care. Going to beg, borrow or steal one of the those lovely lazy boy chairs to recline on and enjoy MySky. But not at that stage yet, feeling remarkably good at the moment and look deceptively healthy. My cold has dissipated and I seem to be have the cough under control - although god my ribs hurt.

So, for the third time, I start the process of getting 'my affairs in order'. It seems no matter how much you try there's always something outstanding, but I've discovered that I just can't make it perfect.

So off to the movies this afternoon and will be ordering the works - popcorn, icecream and Snifters - damn no Snifters! My work here can never be done :o(

Friday, 4 September 2009


Just finished my 10th Radiation Therapy this morning. See Doctor on Wednesday to discuss next treatment(s). Steriods have really kicked in now, so turning into Michelan Man again. Feeling fine.

I watched 'District 9' this week. Really it deserves an Oscar for best film and best actor - never seen anything like this before - fantastic.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

She's a winner!

3 Golds
1 Silver

Just like Usaine Bolt, Julia just ran down the track in an effortless style and won - very cool.

Tennis - Gold
Swimming - Silver
Running - Gold
Long jump - Gold

It was a fun time in Brisbane, nice and hot, probably a little too hot for the athletes. Great team was the
NZ Transplant Team along with the supporters (see below). NZ pulled together 30 medals, 14 of them Gold.

World Transplant Games Federation has been holding international sporting events for transplant athletes for 20 years. This shows how successful transplant surgery truly is and at the same time it raises awareness of the need to increase organ and tissue (bone marrow included) donation.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Rather busy week, starting with a CT scan on Tuesday to check out why I had pain around my hip. As predicted the cancer has returned to the central nervous system (CNS) and the doctors asked me to come in on Wednesday to Acute Oncology to have an MRI and discuss immediate radiation therapy. They seemed to be surprised that I only suffered some pain and hadn't lost movement in my legs.

My steroid dose was increased from 4mg to 8mg on Tuesday night and the pain went straight away. On Wednesday it was increased to 16mg. The mood swings and appetite haven't changed as yet, but I imagine it will shortly - you have been warned.

Anyway MRI results revealed a few more tumours that the CT missed, three that were touching the spine, some that aren't. So I had my first dose of radiation this arvo and will have one each day until Monday. Then (fingers crossed) I can fly to Brisbane to catch the end of the Transplant Games, returning Sunday. On my return I will be given another five doses. It was great that they were able to accommodate my trip, I have been looking forward to it for ages.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Moral Dilemma #1

You have been given six months to live unless a suitable liver can be found. You are a strange blood type and five months have past - no suitable donor is found - the clock keeps ticking.

Finally in Wellington a particularly bureaucratic civil servant sticks his head too deeply into the trough, inhales and starts choking. He staggers around his sea view office and blinded by his own shortsightedness he trips over the his latest economic death legislation and tangles himself in his own red tape. An ambulance is called but he dies a slow, painful death on the way to the hospital, where they find his donor card and harvest his organs - a perfect match has been found.

Do you accept his liver?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Donate Life

Next week most of the Woolf females are heading to Brisbane for the 17th World Transplant Games. There will be 24 organ transplant athletes competing for New Zealand, my niece Julia being one of them. The main aim of the games is to raise awareness of the lives saved by talented surgeons using organs donated by individuals and their families.

I've been asking my friends if they are donors, most say they are, but when I ask if they have discussed it with their family members nearly all of them say they haven't. This I found extremely odd, as I've always known of my family's wishes and I would go out of my way to make sure that these wishes were undertaken.

I know discussing death can be a difficult topic, but it is important to tell your next-of-kin of your wishes. Just because you have "donor" on your licence, doesn't mean the doctors will use your organs upon your untimely death. They will always ask the family and ultimately your wishes will be ignored if the family have a problem with organ donation.

By talking to your next-of-kin, you will give them the knowledge they need to make sure your values are upheld at a time when you most probably can't communicate and at a time of extreme stress for your family. Knowing what you wanted will reduce this stress and people will usually honour a person by carrying out their wishes.

Blood donation
Most people I know don't donate blood. This is not because they don't want to, but because they lived in the UK during the mad-cow scare and the blood donation services have decided they won't take our blood. There are of course many other reasons why people can't donate blood and so arises a shortage, but of course you all know this by now, they don't advertise for donors for the fun of it. There are a couple of reasons for non-donation that can easily be avoided by following the "harden up" rule to life:

* needle phobia - if it hurts at all, it is only for a few seconds.

* fainting - relates to the above - apply the "harden up" rule and anyway you are lying down so there's nowhere to fall.

As I'm often in the Hematology department I watch bag after bag of blood being hooked up to grateful patients every hour of the day - the blood banks are often running short. If you're not donating then just think how hypocritical you'll feel when you land up in hospital with a bag of blood attached to your arm.

Same goes for non-organ donors - they cringe at the thought of giving their organs, but if they suddenly needed an organ themselves, they'd be fighting to get to the front of the queue.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Cost of Government Day

Today is the Cost of Government Day in the US. In other words:

"... the day that you stop working to pay for the total cost of government (spending plus regulation)."

If this doesn't horrify the US tax slaves, then the fact that in just one year this day has jumped - from mid-July (16th I believe) to 12 August - should make them shake in their boots - nearly a whole bloody month. Amazing!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Milton Friedman

From the great Milton Friedman an Open Letter to Bill Bennett on drug legalisation.

Milton Friedman - Brilliant Economist
Bill Bennett - Bush's Drug Tzar

Hat tip: Paul Walker