What a great day. I spent a lot of it today with my family, film crew and Jane from Good Weekend magazine who is preparing an interesting piece on our story. It was all happening. My film crew filming Jane’s photographer filming her interviewing us. She was great to talk with and the photographer took some hopefully great stills for later memories. Jane is approaching the interview as a double header meeting, today with a follow up tomorrow to mop up the pieces. Bodes well for an interesting story and some new angles. Jane also has a connection to a special friend we have met along the way, Marilyn and her father is Bill so there is a bit of him in this one as well. Meant to make sense to a few.
Elizabeth and I also went to dinner with 3 of our crowd funding people who were able to meet the date and had signed up for a dinner. Dinner buzzed with film crew and a great atmosphere and table at http://www.elyros.com.au in Camberwell. New, written up in paper and if you like Greek food a must go. It is recently opened great wine list & food (some nice and slippery so easy on the swallow) staff/team and prices/value. Also a great farewell liquer with the good greek coffee. Our guests were Tim an ex Coles Executive and long time friend, Chris a teacher, ethics expert, writer and member of the rationalists society and Michael a 24 year old soft ware and apps designer who has managed a difficult end of life process last October with his mother. We had a fantastic conversation around Dying with Dignity, politics, choice, freedoms of the individual and ideas on next steps to raise awareness.
Two ideas were maybe a Dying with Dignity app/game related to our Australian Federal quest for legislative change, but so good it goes viral and Mavens. How do we find one or 2 Oz celebrities who in the next 12 months will join me to not just be ambassadors, but to positively convey the message of a bill in federal parliament to enact Dying with Dignity laws and recognise the rights of the Terminally ill and incurably suffering so shoddily treated today.They can help highlight the need for all Australians to take a stand with politicians as these people are so good at social influence. Think, music, sport, racing of all sorts, actors and TV celebrities even gutsy big end of town CEO’s. Who knows these people, feel free to put me in touch. Elizabeth did mention she saw Geoffrey Rush at the post office but did not think to say hi!
One really interesting discussion was how politicians colour the topic of Dying with Dignity with their own personal religious view yet who has heard politicians tell us their religious view as part of an election campaign and the impact their views will have on us. They just tell us what they will start, stop and spend. Maybe we should ask more?
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 5.5/10 Life Enjoyment 11.5/10
Today is interesting. I have done lots of loose ends. I have made a few catch up dates, booked into a hotel Sunday night for a relax with Elizabeth, locked in a drive up to Echuca for a funeral of a best friends mother on Friday, and am about to do an interview with an very senior Melbourne Palliative Care professional for my documentary. We are also waiting on a lady who is dropping round to pick up our lIzard cage which she bought on EBAY. The poor old lizard, Balboa died a few weeks ago, as did our cat. We are having a run of it.
Tonight as a family we are going round to Uncle Jim’s for drinks and nibbles, not too late as I usually tap out round 9pm. It is a bit more of making use of every minute. All the Shorts will be there so around a dirty dozen or so. Documentary people coming so will be interesting to see who spills what.
I just finished my Palliative Care interview, quite wide ranging and the lady involved is an exceptionally talented person. She said she just wishes I had become an advocate for palliative care vs DWD but as we agreed in reality I am. There is no guessing where this will finish and I see palliative care as fundamental in my current process. The debate is my last week or so, the power of Choice is in the 8 or so months since I have had it. We also had an interesting discussion around drugs, vs dripping out on morphine. She made me aware Australia has a very good drug options regime and there are 6 or 7 very powerful specialised drugs outside of just morphine. They are targeted at different receptors and are chosen for use by the doctors depending on symptoms etc, a cocktail may even be used. I am thinking Long Island Ice Tea. The point I think is yes you still drip out to use my emotive words but it may well not be morphine. Her points were well made and interesting. It is just another of those upsides of my circumstance to be able to have such interesting and thought provoking chats.
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 5/10 Life Enjoyment 10.5/10
Well last week was very busy. I had a lot of activity around an old commercial law case and it finalised for me in the Federal court on Friday with a 7 hour cross examination. All a bit of fun and quite tiring, though the attorney for the enemy was a bit embarrassed when he said to the judge , he would not continue a line of cross examination with me because he was flogging a dead horse. Very funny at the time given the circumstances, embarrassing for him I am sure. Anyway that is over so this week I go into the world with really no commitments left to anyone other than family, common sense stuff and the Doco which will stop when I do. Lots of interviews etc coming up. It is a very relaxing feeling in a strange way. Having come off Chemo I am also getting a bit more energy so all up looking forward to the coming weeks.Spent today with Mitch doing boy stuff.
I am madder than hell about the PM continuing to stonewall conscience voting. To me it is pretty basic. I have a letter from his Parliamentary Secretary Josh Frydenberg stating, “we need an honest, open, and high level public debate on this issue”. I gather he speaks on behalf of the Govt. We have public opinion polls around the country together with media articles and commentators literally screaming for action, we have a unanimous Senate Committee recommendation into a draft Dying with Dignity Exposure bill recommending the PM support a conscience vote when this private members bill comes to the parliament. YET the PM says nothing effectively blocking open ,honest and high level debate. It is just untenable to believe he can demonstrate such a double standard.
Today I got a letter from Anthony Coles, Assistant Secretary to the Federal Attorney General, apologising for the delay in responding to my enquiry to them some 3 MONTHS ago! It is just unbelievable and unacceptable. Key message is “The Australian Government does not support legalising voluntary euthanasia at a federal level” How do I reconcile such conflicting messages, across such spans of time, by what is supposed to be one team Team Australia. If they were rowers everyones teeth would get knocked out.
I again rang the PM office last Thursday, was told to put it in writing and could expect a response to a request for a meeting in 2 to 3 months. Clearly I will be dead! Not dramatic just fact they may win over my dead body so to speak. I retraced my steps to Josh Frydenberg’s office to plead access and his office has helpfully approached the PM’s office on my behalf.
I really do have to solve this. I will let the week work through then if no response post the noise of this weeks Vic election I will have to launch a new, different and unique approach. I ask all media, contacts and friends to be ready to help as of Monday morning if I am left in this sickening void. Please contact me with thoughts this week in anticipation of help will be needed.
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 5/10 Life Enjoyment 10.5/10
A video tells all the story: please watch listen and stay engaged with me as i move forward. There is much still for us all to do and comprehend.
This is the scan, you need to be a doctor to get much out of it, but all the white bits in the lungs are cancer, yuck!
This is the great thing about my blog, you all can bet up-to-date and I feel this is important for my friends to all know.
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 5.0/10 Life Enjoyment 10/10
Fantastic news. Met Derryn Hinch today and after a great conversation he said Peter with regards to the Doco how can I help?, what a question from such a person! We have agreed to meet again asap and there are a lot of thoughts around how best to use this opportunity. Imagine Hinch interviewing some people, even me on our documentary just for a start.
Re the scan, get the results tomorrow now so will update then.
A short blog but boy Hinch is enough don’t you think!
Pain 0/10 Mental Health,10/10 Physical Health 5.9 /10 Life Enjoyment 10/10
Great, into hospital for chemo at 9 and out at 10.30. All went well as always. Home for a while drank 1.5 ltr of water and back for CT scan at 1.15. All went well again and results tomorrow. The nurse says I am quite unusual in liking the warm numb and wet pants feeling the CT contrast injection gives you. Surely not I just love it? Well then Dexamethazone, this stuff goes in with the chemo and then I take pills for a few days after. Amazing stuff. It just revs you up and off you go. I am going to have to ask why not have a bit of this every day, maybe a terminal privilege. I spoke to Ray a guy in similar circumstances to me the other day. He said he finds himself gardening at 3am in the morning. I tend to offset it with a sleeping pill, but gardening is an option I will consider.
Nothing of significance on the DWD pollie front today but things will bubble up again I am sure.
Have now got a cache of sustagen, a vitamin mix and a flushing laxative. The first to keep up the food levels around reduced eating volume, the second can’t hurt and the laxative is needed after chemo. Also I am starting to take a bit more morphine to stop coughing, and morphine creates constipation, something one needs to balance. Cant just sit on the log so to speak. I have been using Coloxyl which is fine but Movicol, get it “move your colon” is a bit more radical. So I have choice, a good thing.
If anyone can help build the petition numbers it would be appreciated, I let up a bit in the crowd funding era.
Pain/0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 5.9/10 Life Enjoyment 10/10
A few days off. Had a funny day yesterday, batteries were on empty. A luxury to spend most of day in bed but also scary as it feels a bit like giving in. Anyway got up today keen to stay active and hence the heading I went and saw Interstellar. Amazing, best treatment of what the future may look like with a few leaps but the underlying logic was sensible even if the Physics are a way off.
Please click here to read Friday’s article Part 5 – Into the darkness on The Age website. This wraps up The Age’s feature on The Right to Die – also marks the end of the poll. Great outcome 65% in favour.
In The Age today there was an interesting article, the opposition leader has stated he will do something about amending the Medical Treatment Act if elected. This by no means gets to the Dying with Dignity goal but is a crack at the state level worth opening.
I had a great meeting with Senator Richard Di Natale on Friday. An update on where we all are and he is quite pleased at the Senate review committee outcomes. There is a long way to go but I can feel success in my marrow, I just need every one who believes to be noisy.
Big week next week with Chemo and a CT scan Monday and then meeting a media mega star on Tuesday who may be able to help the cause. Wed/Thursday a bit of in town with people stuff and Friday a witness at a court case for 4 or so hours. Dont ask! Once I am through that the only commitment I have really is to the the Family, the cause and the doco!
Does anyone one have ?
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 5.9/10 Life Enjoyment 10/10
Gavin Jennings the Victorian Opposition Health minister came to visit Elizabeth and myself today after I sent him a note 2 weeks ago regarding Dying with Dignity and possible ways forward. He came because he was aware of the snub Denis Napthine gave me on radio re he would meet me after the election. Gavin honestly felt compelled to respond and show he respected what I was about and wanted me to know that. He came alone there was no political spruking/cameras agenda. Just a genuine guy. We had a great chat for an hour or so, he told me it was OK for me to be evangelical on the issue and he shared his strong feelings around our mutual agenda. He did of course point out he was a part of a big party structure which at present does not have Dying with Dignity as a part of its agenda. We both agreed it should and the sooner the better.I suggested he and the team pick up a Wesfarmers/Coles trait and be BOLD. I conclude Gavin Jennings is a very impressive individual and if you are reading this Gavin give yourself a big tick for humility and humanity. Your visit left Elizabeth and myself glowing to know people like you are in politics, another Richard Di Natale and Fiona Patten.
Mitchell today finished his last exam to complete his degree. There is a lot riding on it as he has lined up a graduate program role with Australia’s best large FMCG retailer to start in February. A fail would be no job. He is very confident of a good outcome, phew!
The Age continues its fantastic coverage of the different angles and stories around Dying With Dignity, again todays was powerful. Please click here to read today’s article Part 4 – A question of trust on The Age website.
Also please ensure you cast your vote on The Age poll by following this link regarding the right for terminally ill to die with dignity, its a few seconds and clicks and very important the poll gets to reflect the facts that 80% of Australians support this – please share with friends and family.
Finally I went to the oncologist yesterday and saw my palliative care team today. All good and I am going to do a CT scan Monday after chemo to check out where the lumps and bumps are growing. Will be interesting as I have reached the need to eat only really small slippery stuff. my Oncologist said we are really in uncharted territory as very few people with my cancer get to 5 years and have it return, usually it is in the first 2 years. So on boldly we go where few have gone before…………
Finally, Jeremy my film producer had a chat with Dick Smith today and he has become a financial supporter for the documentary, and he has offered to take me helicopter flying round Sydney, pretty exciting from such a famous Aussie.
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 6/10 Life Enjoyment 11/10
Help, as you are aware The Age is running a news poll as part of its campaign. 3 days to go and it has the no vote well ahead. This means there is some concerted efforts by the anti Right To Die with Dignity groups as it just does no represent reality.
Please follow this link now and vote on your view, it is 2 clicks, and tell your friends.
The Age coverage today is tremendous, link below. I met Paul and he is a very articulate man as you can tell from his story. It is a unique way of talking about Dying with Dignity. Please click here to read today’s article Part 3 – Debate on The Age website.
Pain 0/10 Mental Health 10/10 Physical Health 6/10 Life Enjoyment (very low if this poll goes down)
Fun day. Did a TV piece for airing in Feburary on The Exchange on Foxtel. The topic was the Right To Life and it was 2 presenters and myself and the president of Right To Life which was all about abortion prevention 30 years ago. It was a fun session and I hope I live to see it. Highlights how the old rollouts on these topics are out of date, uninformed and basically pathetic!
Day 2 of the amazing coverage of the Right To Die in The Age. Please click here to read today’s article Part 2 – Choosing an end to life on The Age website.
The Senate Committee recommendations which are so positive and so important are also worth a read. Take a look here.
I do wonder at how I have become so involved in all of this but it is heaps of fun and makes work look boring. Maybe I should have been a politician?
Pain 0/10 Physical Health 6/10 Mental Health 10/10 Life Enjoyment 11/10