Brutus and Rocky – The Pet Project Exhibition


Brutus and Rocky strike a pose

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

About the Pet Project Exhibition – ‘One of the Family’

What is the Pet Project?

The Pet Project is a photography exhibition run with the aim to capture the importance of how dogs are part of our family.

This involves three master photographers – Janet Craig, Tina Urie and David Brittain who are working with Cancer Support WA to form The Pet Project.

The photographers are seeking pet owners and their dogs to take part in a professional photo shoot and are looking to capture one photo that demonstrates the love and connection between a person/people and their dogs.

How does the fundraising work?

Each person that enters will have their own fundraising page set up with their chosen photograph and a short write-up about their dog(s).  The next step is to get people to sponsor your fundraising page where all proceeds go to Cancer Support WA.

If you are lucky enough to raise $1,200 then you get a free canvas print of your photograph but either way, anything that is donated to Cancer Support WA is a welcome donation no matter how much it is.


Apart from showing the bond between dogs and their owners in a photograph and the fun of actually taking part in a photo shoot with your dog, the most important reason is to raise funds for Cancer Support WA.

About Cancer Support WA

I have tried to find the right words to describe the work that Cancer Support WA does, I have tried to find the right words to describe the benefits, the help and the priceless support that they offer to those affected by cancer but nothing I write seems adequate enough.

I have taken some of the information from their website but as for what they do and the services that they offer – I shall leave you to decide just how incredibly amazing Cancer Support WA are.

*Taken from the Cancer Support WA webpage*

“Cancer Support WA is a leading Western Australian cancer support service provider caring for people with cancer and their families”.

Doesn’t that sound simplistic and easy?  Well it isn’t because the words ‘care’ and ‘support’ do not even begin to describe the work that they do and the support that they offer to those that need it.

The Faces of Cancer

I believe that cancer has many faces and it takes on the form of whoever it invades and then the faces of the family and loved ones that it affects.

My friends, family and I are just some of the faces of cancer.  I have lost my Mum to the disease, my Dad, friend and sister are in remission from it, I have two friends currently fighting cancer and I have lost a very close friend in 2014 to the disease. Basically we are part of that cruel jigsaw puzzle that makes up a cancer diagnosis.

Here is a link to a previous blog I have done about my journey when my Mum was diagnosed with cancer.

How cancer has affected myself and my family

You can see it in the eyes of these people in terms of pain, fear, anger, confusion, hurt and a silent voice that screams ‘I am scared and I need help’ and this is where groups like Cancer Support WA can help.

The Importance of Support and Help

To have a counsellor at the end of the phone to offload to, for someone to tell you what assistance that you are entitled to and help you to get it; this can make a big difference to a person going through such a cold and lonely journey, because that is the only way I can describe it – ‘cold and lonely’.

It takes an entire team which include a huge network of professionals to support a family that has been affected by cancer and in order to have that team, it takes funding and lots of it.

*Figures taken directly from the Cancer Support WA website*

For example:

$1,000 can offer support to one person for a year

$120.00 can pay for a counselling session

$35.00 pays for a 24 hour cancer support service

$50.00 pays for a home and hospital visit

$200.00 pays for a family cancer management plan

$300.00 pays for a cancer care pack

$500.00 pays for a research library

These are services that we all hope that we will never need but in the event that we do, we would no doubt be grateful for each and every part of it which is why continued funding is so important.  So let’s help the support groups to support those that do need it.

About our photographer – Janet Craig

Our session was booked with Janet Craig who is a professional portrait photographer and owns a successful studio in North Fremantle. She is a Master Photographer with 3 gold bars with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.

How I got involved in the Pet Project

I had seen the Pet Project advertised on Janet Craig’s Facebook page a couple of weeks ago.  They were seeking out Perth dog owners to see if they wanted to apply.

It looked fun, although the thought of my two boys in a photographic studio filled me with dread but Brutus had assured me that he would be a good boy and Rocky is always a good boy anyway so I thought ‘why not?’ and sent Janet a message, she quickly called me back and a date was organized for the shoot – Saturday 22 May.

A bit about what I write

For those of you that have not read my blog before, I write about talking animals.  Basically I give them their own perspective on life, I write about what they would say if they could talk and I bring their personalities to life in the way of humanizing them.

In my stories my dogs drink coffee, read the paper, have parties, go to school, have meetings and do all the stuff that humans do.  Some of my previous stories are quite adult in nature so if you do choose to read those, please be advised that sometimes adult content is used.  In this story however, it is child friendly and suitable for anyone with a good imagination and sense of humour.

My stories are childish, some may call them daft while others may say ‘animals can’t talk, don’t be stupid’ But I will say just one thing and that is if you do have a pet then I suggest you really observe him/her.

Because when you do, it will open up a whole new world comparable to that of ‘Dr Doolittle’ and once they start talking, you will be hard pressed to shut them up.

As I have said before, all animals can talk – it is just whether or not we choose to listen to them.

A bit about my dogs 


Smiling RockyRocky

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Rocky is a 7-year-old kelpie dog, he is grumpy and a bit disabled as he has bad hips.  Like a lot of kelpies, he is tennis ball focused which is difficult as being so disabled he is unable to have the ball thrown for him.

He enjoys barking at the garbage truck every Tuesday morning which is somewhat annoying so we have started to intercept that.  This usually ends up in an argument of some kind with accusations that we have ‘ruined his life’ and how he was ‘saving us from the garbage truck’.

Rocky is a very intelligent and sensible dog, he wears half rimmed spectacles and reads the newspaper while drinking ‘dog-o-cino’ coffees.


choir dogBrutus – not the smartest kid on the block

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Brutus is large 2.5 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Kelpie and could be what is described as the ‘Forrest Gump’ of the dog world.

He is not a smart dog and has a liking for ‘pronking’ (bouncing) in the air trying to catch the water-bombers when they fly over our house to put out bush fires and yes, he believes he can catch them.

On a couple of occasions I have found him on the bonnet of my car perched like a mountain goat while admiring the view and the butterflies.

Brutus talks in a deep, slow voice and if you could compare him to a kid at your school, he would be the annoying, clumsy and naughty child at the back of the class with a bad farting problem.

The morning of the photo shoot

It was the morning of the photo shoot and Brutus and Rocky were getting ready and trying to make themselves look halfway respectable.  Having never had a professional photograph taken before, they were practising various poses in the mirror while jostling each other for prime position.

‘Will you let me have a go!’ Rocky snapped to Brutus who was pouting and trying to flex his muscles.

‘I am trying to make myself look nice’ Brutus growled back which only made Rocky angry enough to nip Brutus on the bum.  Like typical vain teenagers, the dogs were sucking in their bellies, pouting and trying to find the most flattering of positions.

‘It’s so hard being a model’ Brutus said dramatically and briefly wondered if he should have had his dog chow for breakfast, but only briefly as he believed that breakfast breaks the dreadful famine that he has suffered during the night.

Help arrives

My good friend Moira and her son Chad were coming along to give me a hand with the boys.  Brutus at 30kgs and Rocky at 20kgs are a little bit too much for me to handle on my own so I was more than grateful for Moira and Chad’s offer of help.

We were taking my car and I was to sit in the back between the boys while Chad sat with Moira in the front.  Not used to having people in the back with them, Rocky and Brutus were clearly not happy at having to share the back of my car with me and it was only then that I realised just how disgusting my boys are.

The journey was quite dreadful with Brutus kicking me with his long legs claiming that there was not enough room for him to stretch.  Rocky was blatantly farting in front of me and when I told him off, he blushed and tried to claim that was what the back seat of a car was for – dogs and farting.  (I think it was the steak that I had fed him from the night before)

By the time we arrived at the studio in North Fremantle I was more than relieved to get out of the car and the boys were raring to get on with their photo shoot.

Getting ready for the shoot

Janet introduced herself and what a lovely lady she is as is her assistant.  They made us feel very welcome indeed.

The studio was large, light and airy with lots of props placed around it and the first thing that struck me was a gorgeous print of several dogs all sat outside a house, it was an incredible shot that spoke volumes and commanded your attention.

‘Oh my god, this place is enormous, it is bigger than our garden, can I dig it?’ Brutus barked excitedly and then jumped up on his hind legs to stare at himself in the mirror.

‘Right, show me where the sheep are, do you have sheep, if not tennis balls will do’ Rocky said firmly and glanced around to see if there was anything for him to herd up.

I had brought some props with me which included Brutus’s Harley Davidson cap, his beloved Tony Abbott doll which is his favourite toy of all time, a black vest that he sometimes wears and a tennis ball for Rocky who was already wearing his smart Australian flag neckerchief that he saves for special occasions.


Brutus when I first bought him his Harley Davidson cap

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

While Janet got everything set up, we were waiting in the reception area that happened to have a large mirror there.  Now I don’t know if your dog’s ever react against their reflection in the mirror or even if they have ever seen themselves in the mirror but my Rocky dog has never really taken notice of himself in the mirror before up until now that is.

11377267_10152879323733317_2234150612644594788_nDon’t worry Brutus – Rocky has it covered!

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Brutus was oblivious to the mirror as Brutus is oblivious to everything really except food and his friends, Tony Abbott and his puppy blanket.

AbbotBrutus, Tony Abbott and his puppy blanket (and a carrot)

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

But Rocky wasn’t and once Rocky had seen his reflection, he was absolutely furious about it because he doesn’t like other dogs gate crashing his personal space – even his own reflection.

RockyRocky – not amused by his own reflection

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Excuse me, what on earth do you think you are doing here?’ Rocky growled at the angry little black kelpie dog that was staring back at him mirroring his expressions which annoyed Rocky so much that he was beside himself (in the mirror).

‘Who is that?’ Brutus demanded to Rocky and then stared at the reflection but only really noticing Rocky’s reflection.

‘Don’t worry Brutus, I’ve got this covered’ Rocky growled in an authoritative voice and then puffed himself up and to his horror, the dog in the reflection did the same.  It was ‘game on’ and Rocky would fight this kelpie dog to save his family – if he had to of course.

‘You have two seconds to get out of here before I make you cry’ barked Rocky and then looked back at Brutus and mouthed to him ‘It’s OK, I think he is scared of me’.

I could see things were going to get out of control and Rocky would end up beating his own mirror image up if I didn’t stop him, so thought I had better put him out of his misery.

‘Rocky, there is something I need to tell you’ I said to him gently, after all there is nothing worse than embarrassing your dog in public and it is quite unforgivable.

‘Step back Mum, this dog is aggressive’ Rocky said tried to nudge me backwards.

‘Rocky, it is not another dog, it is your reflection in the mirror’ I whispered to him.

Looking boot-faced, Rocky bristled with anger and after a painful silence replied simply ‘I knew that, I totally knew that’ and then did what any other dog that had been so publicly shamed would do, turned round and looked for another diversion.

‘Oh look, there is my tennis ball’ Rocky said in a voice that clearly said ‘I have been shamed’ and then trotted off with his hackles still raised.

‘Ha ha ha! You were growling at your own reflection!’ Brutus laughed to Rocky.

Then with a confused look on his face, Brutus asked him ‘Rocky, what is a reflection?’ Bless him, as I said he is not the smartest dog on the block.

Fun in the Studio

We were able to let the dogs go off the leash as the studio door was shut and as you can imagine this went down very well with the boys and totally unused to trotting around on a shiny floor, Brutus galloped around like a new-born foal getting tangled up in its legs.

‘Yay! Look at me!’ Brutus yelled as he ran from one end of the studio to the other.

‘He is SO childish, he is not my brother, please ignore him’ Rocky said looking so embarrassed to be in the same room as Brutus let alone witness the giant dog skidding all over the studio narrowly missing furniture as he did so looking like Scooby Doo on a ghost chase.

When it came to getting ready for the photos both dogs thought it was just one big game and perhaps it was but either way Janet had the patience of a saint.

The tennis ball was duly brought out and Rocky went into ‘Perfect Kelpie’ mode and some good shots of him catching his ball were taken while Brutus just galloped around the studio in his own little world, skidding along the floor and admiring himself in the mirror.


Rocky knows how to be a good boy!

(Photograph by Moira Humphry)

‘This is great fun, I can move really fast without trying!’ Brutus shouted to Rocky as he came thundering round the corner tripping up in his own legs while Rocky was being ever the professional and doing marvellous things with his tennis ball.

When it came to Brutus’s turn to pose it was a bit like asking a child to sit quietly through a Cliff Richard concert – it just wasn’t happening.

We got some shots of the boys together while Brutus was asking Janet if he was THE most handsome dog she had ever laid eyes on.  Rocky just rolled his eyes at such vanity and looked fed up while secretly hoping that HE was the most handsome dog that Janet had ever seen.

After all, every dog loves to think that he/she is the most handsome and well-loved dog in the world don’t they?


Trying to get the boys in one shot – not happening!

(Photograph by Moira Humphry)

I would like to tell you that both boys did everything obediently and for nothing other than praise but I would be lying.  Both dogs were heavily bribed with treats and high pitched squeaky sounds to make them look the part.

Brutus took full advantage of the bribery and ate his treats with such speed that one could be forgiven for thinking that he had been starved for 50 years.  Rocky was also bribed and quickly disowned his tennis ball in return for the dog treats.

‘I am SO loving it here, I love you Janet – do you love me? Can I play here on a weekday and have treats and run around and everything, do you do doggy daycare?’ Brutus said in a deep voice while speaking as quickly as the words could fall out of his mouth.

I am sure that Janet has heard it all before as there are several fabulous photographs of dogs in her studio looking all serene and obedient – unlike mine.  But Brutus decided that he liked Janet and her assistant, he liked skidding round the studios but most of all, he loved the treats.

The final few photographs were taken of the boys in my car and the reason behind that was that Rocky adores going in my car and loves it when I drive him round the palm tree in the garden with the seat belt on him in the front passenger seat.  In fact I actually believe that Rocky drives my car and hoons around Fremantle when I am not using it but that as they say, is another story.

CAR 2Rocky is a bit of a hoon in my car

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Move over, it is my turn to drive’ Brutus growled at Rocky from the back seat.

‘No way, you think I am going to let you drive?’ Rocky snorted with laughter.  Rocky always gets his ‘Cop face’ on when he is in the front seat which I will add he always secured by his leash as well as a human seat belt when I drive him around the palm tree.

CArThis is Rocky with his ‘Cop Face’ on

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

His ‘Cop face’ is the kind of face you pull when a cop pulls up next to you in the traffic lights, where you look and check your mirrors, nod curtly at the officer, smile and pull away gently and slowly and then once the cop is out of sight, you shout and swear at the car/cyclist that has just cut you up.  Rocky has a professional and full on ‘Cop face’ when he is in the front of my car.

That is why it was fun to photograph the boys in the car, Rocky in the front and Brutus in the back looking like a dirty teenager.  Although whether or not the photographs turned out is anyone’s guess as Brutus wouldn’t look at the camera.

The dogs enjoyed themselves so much that they lost track of time and before we all knew it, the shoot had come to an end and it was time to go home.

‘And that as they say, is a wrap’ said Rocky.

‘Wrap? Did someone say wrap?  Chicken wrap?’ Brutus asked with his ears pricked up at the thought of food.

Rolling his eyes, Rocky shook his head and replied ‘That’s the lingo you see, that is what they all say in media – that’s a wrap’.

‘Who taught you that?’ Brutus demanded to know.

‘I saw it on TV once’ Rocky said knowingly.

‘Well if it’s a wrap, then why can’t mine be chicken?’ Brutus added and jumped in to the back seat so that I could secure him to his seat belt.

‘You have food on the brain’ Rocky snapped and then said in an apologetic voice to Janet ‘Please excuse my brother, his middle name is stomach’

‘Bye Janet, love you Janet’ shouted Brutus from the car as his big boofy brown head hung out of the window in order to say goodbye to his new friend.

‘Well that was fun wasn’t it?’ I said to the boys as we drove away from the studio towards home.

‘I am so tired that I think I might need extra food to compensate’ Brutus said in his most pleading ‘hungry’ voice and yes, he does actually have a ‘hungry’ voice that he uses when he is trying to get more food.

‘Yes I enjoyed that and it was nice to play with my tennis ball’ Rocky said happily.  You will have to forgive him for being obsessed with his ball to the point that he has a book called ‘Tennis balls and the modern-day Kelpie’ on his bookcase.

‘What about you Brutus, have you got anything to say?’ I asked him.

‘Do you think I have what it takes to be a model?’ Brutus asked as he tried to catch his reflection in my rear view mirror.

And that my friends is one question that I never got chance to answer because all I could hear was Rocky snorting with laughter.  But Brutus as a model?  I shall leave that one to you.

The End

Brutus and Rocky’s Pet Project Fundraising Page

If you would like to sponsor our photograph and donate to Cancer Support WA, please follow this link.  Donating is safe and easy to do and you will be making a difference.  You can also check out the photograph that Janet has picked from our session – but don’t be fooled by how angelic Brutus looks!

Please sponsor us if you can.

Brutus and Rocky Fundraising Page for Cancer Support WA

PurplePlease sponsor us if you can

(Photograph by Sam Rose)


If you or your loved ones have been affected by cancer and would like to contact Cancer Support WA; the website is: Cancer Support WA

Cancer Support WA – Facebook Page

If you would like to book a photograph session with Janet Craig, the link to her page is: Janet Craig

Janet Craig Facebook Page

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright June 2015

Cancer Support WA figures and parts of Cancer Support WA write up – taken from their website as stated in article.

Fight the fight and keep on running!

A while ago I posted a blog about cancer research charities and where does your money go.  I also mentioned about how my attitude to cancer was before my family became a victim to it and how quickly and drastically ones attitude can change once you lose a family member to this disease and for me/us, it was our Mum.  Firstly before I go any further on this, if you would like to see the link to that blog here it is in case you would like to read it:

So cancer had hit my family and devastated us, turned our lives upside down, hurt us, made us angry, we asked questions, we still have no answers and the question that remains in our minds is ‘Why?’ – why our Mum? why our family? why anyone? and why have they not found a cure yet?

But we all got on with our lives, we had to manage the best way we knew how and that was to just carry on.


My Lovely Mum

We came through it as a family, we emerged at the end of a dark and depressing tunnel, we ‘did the deal’ with God and hedged our bets by doing the Cancer Research UK charity fundraiser ‘Race for Life’ where events are set up around the United Kingdom and women all group together to run (or walk) 5km to raise money for the cause because we did not want anyone to go through the pain of a diagnosis of that kind as it is not something you would wish on your worst enemy.

Besides we had suffered cancer once in our family, life would have to be a bitch to strike again – wouldn’t it?  Well I would have (naively) thought so, but I was wrong – we were all wrong.

The following is dedicated to my brave sister Julie

ImageMe (left) and my sister Julie (right)

Julie like many of us at some point in her life, had exhibited some bowel/intestinal symptoms, nothing major and like many of us tend to do with health issues; ignored it until those symptoms became too much to manage until she eventually went to the doctor who referred her to a specialist.

A biopsy was taken and while various tests and scans had been ordered, Julie carried on with everyday life as best she could except now the biopsy had been taken, it had left her in excruciating pain.

I live in Australia but each day I would ask my Dad ‘Has Julie got her results back yet?’

I had briefly toyed with a diagnosis of cancer but only briefly, after all it was too painful to contemplate and if I am honest, I was in that famous Egyptian river of ‘Denial’ because I did not want to believe cancer could even be a possibility.

A day to remember

I remember the day that Julie got her results back as clear as though it were yesterday.  I was doing a video call with my Dad (Face Time) and Julie had called my Dad on his mobile with the news.

She was at the hospital and had been called in to get her results to be told that she had rectal cancer, Julie was on her own that day and you can imagine how devastating it must have been to be told that when you have nobody with you?

Julie broke the news to Dad over the phone while at the same time I sat at my computer and watched Dad’s face on the video call.  As she told him the news I saw Dad’s face fall as he said ‘Cancer, Oh no’.  I also remember feeling sick, dizzy and wanting to scream ‘No, not my sister, not my family, not again!’

That very afternoon Julie was to see the Macmillan Cancer Nurse specialist. And in the space of a few hours – Julie’s life had changed and yet again that bastard called ‘Cancer’ had invaded our family.

Why had this happened? Why our family again and why Julie? We had all done Race for Life and we had all donated to cancer charities, where was this cure that the experts kept saying was so close?

After diagnosis – plan for treatment

To our relief the scans had shown that the cancer had not spread. Never have I been so happy to see Julie’s face on video chat to tell me that news and apparently the success rate with treatment was high which trust me, is something to hang on to and be happy about.  When it comes to cancer; you learn very quickly to take each day at a time and be thankful for small blessings.

Julie was to have a couple of weeks (spaced apart) of intensive back to back high dose chemotherapy and spend 5 days in hospital and also an intensive cycle of high dose radiotherapy aimed directly at the area.

The chemotherapy made her sick, like really sick – imagine nausea in its worst form and then double it.  Imagine not being able to eat normal foods and what you can eat is so limited and Julie could only tolerate baked potatoes and even then, that was a struggle.  Strong cooking smells made her sick (and still do) and to add to that little bundle of side effects, Julie also gets mouth ulcers so even the limited food she can tolerate hurts her mouth terribly.

Being in hospital was exceptionally hard for Julie, you forge friendships with people whose treatment may not be as successful as yours and the outcome often devastating, these people become your friends in a way that no-one else can understand and if anything should happen to them, it is taken personally and hits hard.

Julie tells me that she is a member of a little club called ‘The Radiotherapy Club’ where she and other patients have become friends, forged bonds and have plans to all meet up and go out for a meal once they are well enough.  It is an exclusive club that only they will understand and anyone that has not been through what they have, would not belong.

Work was and still is out of the question for the time being, although Julie has finished her cycle of chemo/radiotherapy for the time being, she is still too unwell to work.  The UK benefits system is as such that whatever Julie is entitled to, will not cover her living expenses so that is another worry added to her pile – finances.

Pain – anyone that has had radiotherapy will tell you how much it hurts/burns and Julie has  severe ulcerated burns to the radiotherapy target point on her body – pelvis/groin area, and a couple of weeks ago these became infected and she had the beginnings of septicemia and was treated with high dose antibiotics.  In fact, Julie informs me that her fridge is full of medicine instead of food and that painkillers are now her best friend.

Well meaning ‘advice’

People are generally well meaning but Julie also had to contend with other people telling her what she should and shouldn’t be doing and how ‘herbs can cure cancer’ and you have no idea of how offensive that can be to have someone say that to you.

Julie has quite rightly decided to have faith in her doctors and specialists and put her trust in them to fight her disease and whilst she is touched that other people are thinking of her, conventional medicine is the path she has chosen.

Because at the end of the day the only person that can truly understand what chemo and radiotherapy is really like, is someone that has gone through it themselves the rest of us can only guess.

Where is Julie at now?

Julie is waiting for her next scan which will tell her if the treatment has worked or if she will need further chemo/radiotherapy and/or surgery and is simply taking one day at a time.

So much has happened in a relatively short space of time but she has done it, she has gone through treatment that has made her sick, shut down her immune system and caused intense pain and infection.

Julie has made friends of equal bravery and strength and has been on the biggest learning curve and journey of her life.  A journey that she has had to go on and no matter how hard it becomes; when it comes to pain, fear, and difficult treatment choices, she travels it alone when it comes to the overwhelming fear and thoughts that march through her head at night.


Once again my family are asking ‘Why?’ Why has it affected our family again? Why have they not found a cure for this disease, we have hedged our bets and done our bit for cancer charities, we always drop money into the tin, I have done Race for Life a couple of times or more so why?

Well whilst I don’t know the answer as to why cancer has turned up uninvited into my family yet again, I do know that in order to find a cure for it; the research has to continue and running in ‘Race for Life’ a couple of times is not enough.

Because when it comes to cancer and a cure – it is one race that you have to keep on running in – for as long as it takes, you run it for yourself, you run it for your loved ones and while you are running that race; you pray that along the way the money that you raise will find that elusive cure.

Colo-rectal Cancer – don’t die of embarrassment

As quoted from the cancer research UK website, the earlier this cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat and the better the success rate.

If you notice any change in your bowel habits – the slightest of things that are not normal for you, then swallow your pride and embarrassment and go to your GP.

If you have a family history of this type of cancer then ask your GP if you can be screened because early screening detects the potential for cancer before it develops.

I myself, have just had my colonoscopy to screen for this type of cancer and I am ashamed to admit that I have had symptoms for about 10 years – bleeding when I go to the toilet, constipation  etc.  As I have an auto immune disease, these symptoms often go hand in hand with that; and that is what I put it down to.

Not wanting to go through that embarrassing examination, I just lived with the symptoms.  Then when Julie was diagnosed my embarrassment seemed well, now embarrassing if you like and I swallowed my pride and saw my GP who organized a semi urgent referral to our local hospital.

About a month later I was called in to have a colonoscopy which in the end, the most unpleasant part of it was the fasting and having to drink some vile lemon tasting stuff that cleaned out your bowels!

The best part of that colonoscopy was the doctor telling me that everything was normal but as I was a high risk (family history), I was to have them done every five years and to me, that is a small price to pay for early detection.

So please listen to your body because if your bowel habits have changed, if things don’t feel quite right – then get it get checked out because chances are that it may be nothing but until you get it checked, you will never know and you might just find that the embarrassment that stopped you going to your doctors in the first place, will be the very thing that could turn your life upside down if you are diagnosed with a cancer that could have been treated or prevented.

If you would like more information on bowel cancer – here is a link to the Cancer Research UK site.

 A message to Julie

Julie, I don’t know how or where you have found the courage to deal with what you are going through and I am in awe of your bravery.

Having such aggressive treatment that makes you feel so sick and causes you so much pain is hard enough but having it on such an intensive basis with each dose making you more sick than the last is even harder, yet you don’t complain and you get on with it and handle it with dignity and strength.

You are unable to work due the effects of the drugs, and because of the area that the radiotherapy is aimed at, even basic things that we take for granted such as walking and ordinary movement must be so excruciatingly painful for you.  Yet you still force yourself to get out and about to keep yourself moving.

As you know, Race for Life became significant when we lost Mum – we did our bit, not expecting cancer to hit our family twice.  But it has and once again, we realize that life goes on and as long as we are alive we have a life worth fighting for.

Which is why I am so damned proud of you for entering Race for Life this year when I know how crap you are feeling and how hard it will be for you, both physically and mentally.

So no matter what this disease chucks at us, we are and always will be ‘Team Stocken’ and we will fight it, and whilst I can’t be with you all to do the run, you can bet your life on the fact I will be thinking of you every step of the way.

208300_6465598316_3624_n‘Team Stocken’ – a force to be reckoned with

Good luck for the race Julie, I am so proud of you and I love you so much so don’t ever forget that.

Cancer Research UK – ‘Race for Life’

This particular race has never been more significant than it has for Julie and this time she is not just doing it for our Mum, she is doing it for herself and ultimately to raise money to fund treatment and a cure.

This time she will not be competing as a healthy woman, she will be competing with  cancer but don’t be fooled, she is far from a victim.  Julie will still be fighting the highly toxic effects of chemo/radiotherapy and she will do this with one aim and one aim only and that is to raise as much money as possible.

Every single donation is significant and will inspire Julie and every km walked will pose a painful challenge for her but I have every faith that she will do it.

Cancer does not discriminate and it is a chameleon in the sense that it takes the face of each and everyone that it affects and knows no boundaries.  It turns up in your family uninvited and no matter how many times it does, we have to keep fighting it to find a cure and we cannot give up on the belief that one will be found.

Don’t wait until you become a victim of cancer before you start supporting cancer research, so please – ‘keep on running’.

Here is the link to Julie’s page if you would like to donate.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright May 2013