Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Opportunities & Memories

With Pippa being so well the past few cycles I decided it was a good opportunity to travel west and visit my sister and her family in WA.  Pippa’s oncologist agreed and gave us medical clearance to leave shortly after her last chemo cycle. Things don’t always run smoothly though and for the 2 days prior to us flying out Pippa started some random vomits.  Not uncommon for oncology patients but most certainly uncommon for Pippa.  Advice from her oncologist was that the vomit cycle needed to be quickly broken before it set in and became a habit.  Not good.  His advice and preventative actions worked and we headed off vomit free (always a good option!)

It was so ridiculously cold and wet in Mandura that we had packed everything from beanies to bikinis!  Beanies were needed when we camped out one night to watch bilbies in the cold and the rain.  Pippa also spent a day helping Linda look after the tiniest little 2 week old greyhound puppies.  A long day but she loved every minute of being with all the dogs and helping out.

Unusual for me, I didn’t mind about the cold because we were there to spend fun times with family.  The other reason I didn’t mind about the cold weather in Mandurah was because we had decided to take an opportunity and create some memories – we were heading to Broome for a week!  7 days of red dirt and beach in 34 degrees!   We were lucky to have a beautiful house complete with a pool to base ourselves from, a 4wd to keep James happy and lots of things to do:

We visited a pearl farm and learnt how pearls are crafted;

We watched a movie at the historic 90 year old outdoor cinema (complete with jet taking off directly overhead halfway through);

We rode in a hovercraft to a rocky point where the red dirt meets the sea to see fossilised footprints of  a Bracheosauraus;

We drove our 4wd into the Kimberley’s to walk through Windjana Gorge and wade through the dark caves of Tunnel Creek.  We saw freshwater crocodiles and beautiful cliff faces and Pippa and I shared a sand bar with a black headed python in the dark (absolutely, positively, no way was I stopping to take a photo of him with a flash in the dark!).  Thanks for shining the torch so we could see him though (and not step on him) James!  The wade out in the dark just wasn’t the  same as the wade in – what else was in the water??? – it could have only made it to the sandbar by swimming!  It took a long time for my heart reinstate itself back into my chest after that little experience!  It was a 14 hour day which included driving through a lot of bumps and corrugations, sand, a water crossing and being on high alert for cattle on the road all the way back in the dusk and dark.

And of course, what trip to Broome would not be complete without hours spent on magnificent Cable Beach?  We rode camels swum, explored rockpools and watched sunsets………

What lovely memories of a beautiful week in Broome and how special to have fun with family  as well.


A Science Lesson

Just like any other oncology patient, Pippa is regularly required to have blood tests.  The first one coincided with her very first chemotherapy tablet way back in July:  It was not a very happening time for either of us!  Pippa was scared about having the test and I was resentful and emotional about having to hand over the chemo tablet, “Please darling, don’t cry, it won’t hurt and anyway you need to stop crying so you can swallow this cute little peach coloured capsule…….”  Probably a memory that will stay with both of us for different yet similar reasons.

Blood tests these days are a breeze.  Most often we are at the Royal Children’s Hospital where many of the staff know us as we have been so many times.  Today we needed to have blood taken locally which for one reason or another hasn’t happened that much to date.  Local blood testing came with a bonus thanks to our friend who is in the lab.   Pippa had her very own educational tour and learnt what happens on the other side of the needle.  Just another way to help her understand and process everything that is happening.  Oh yes, and bloods were all good so that was an added bonus!


Pride and Tears

I may or may not blog anything for a few days as nothing much will change.  Pippa is a star patient!  I was told she would possibly vomit for up to 2 days post surgery – she didn’t.  I was told Saturday would possibly be a pretty painful and awful day for her – it wasn’t.  For now we are  just waiting for results of tests.

However, I wanted to blog a story from a very thoughtful card we received – I was filled with tears and pride at the same time for my beautiful daughter……….

Dear Virginia, Pippa, James & Patrick,

We are thinking of you.  We have fond memories of meeting you all at Port Fairy.

Virginia, your words about Pippa ring so true…….”a caring and thoughtful friend to everyone she meets.”

The first time we turned up at Nippers Pippa extended her hand to Edward, although she was holding her other friend’s hand, and gracefully ran with both of them on either side of her into the waves.  That spontaneous friendliness was such a mark of character.  She didn’t need to be told at the time that Nippers’ culture was quite foreign to Edward – the vast beach, the awesome waves, the strong wind and the sea of unknown kids in wetsuits and skull caps.  

Pippa, your gesture of friendship, which was so spontaneous, put Edward at ease and from that moment he felt part of  Nippers and considered you his friend.  He looks forward to seeing you again this summer.  You are a truly beautiful friend through and through.

Thank you to everyone for so many beautiful messages like this one xx


Toby and the Balloons

This morning Pippa had a visit from another patient in hospital – Toby who just loooooooooves balloons!  He provided lots of fun and laughter and then Pippa went for a walk around the ward with him.

He is soooooooooo cute!!!!




What a lucky girl to have so many people caring about her
Here are cupcakes that were made for Pippa by a “friend of a friend”

Such an amazing thought – thank you Yummo!!! 🙂

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