Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ride to Conquer Cancer - Please Sponsor Me!

I've been very busy over the last few months renovating the house, I do intend to update with some pictures very soon. On top of that, I'm in the middle of fundraising and attempting to start riding my bike in preparation for the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Brisbane in August (5 weeks time!).

I have signed up to ride over 200km in 2 days...and I haven't ridden since before my gluten challenge. I intend to go on a big training ride this weekend but it will still be a huge challenge for me to complete this ride.

I also need to raise $2500 to participate, at the time of writing I have raised just over $1000, still a way to go. If I don't make it, I will either have to pull out of the race (funds raised still go to the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute) or fund the remaining $1500 myself. I'm not sure I can do that latter and I won't feel good about doing the former.

So please sponsor me if you can! I will pledge to match any fund raised through donations through this blog. Simply send me an email ( or leave a comment with your donation listed in it. This will particularly help if you decide to donate anonymously via the web.

If you do want to help me out, you will need to visit the following link:
Sponsor me here!

I thank you in advance for any support you can provide.

And as promised, those pics of the house and a proper update on my life will come soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Gluten Issue

First off, a little bit of good news, we have a quote for asbestos removal that's about half what the previous quotes have been! It's all booked in for the end of the month and I have a new credit card with 0% on purchases for 10 months to pay for it all with. There are a few other things we're going to do on the house in the meantime but they will get their own post.

The rest of this post isn't house related, it's just a chance for me to complain about my current state of health. 

I have long suspected that I have intolerances to gluten and lactose. I was put on soy milk formula as a baby and sandwiches always made me feel yucky. Just the thought of bread is enough to churn my insides. Last year my sister was diagnosed with coeliac disease and I finally decided to go and get tested. I had attempted it years ago, only to be told I'd need to eat a 'normal' diet of at least 2 pieces of bread a day, I wasn't interested in doing that as I knew it would make me sick, instead I've had a self diagnosed gluten intolerance for years and eaten a low gluten diet.

I would have been happy to continue like that, eating gluten only when it suited me and dealing with the consequences but my reactions had become worse of late and with my sister being diagnosed with CD and my understanding of the damage it really does to your body and the long term issues it can cause (Infertility and gastrointestinal cancer anyone?) spurred me into action.

I had a positive blood test and have an endoscopy booked in a month's time, in the meantime, I'm not back on a 'normal' gluten diet to ensure there is damage to my intestine when the endoscopy occurs. I also had a test for lactose intolerance, the good news there is that I'm in the clear, my reactions to milk over the years is likely to be a bi product of coeliac disease.

Eating gluten hasn't been/isn't much fun. SJ hates that I'm doing it and considers me to be poisoning myself, it's also affecting my immune system and I can't shake my current cold. I've put on weight, which may just be all the extra carbs and the fact that I've given up on any exercise as I'm just too tired to bother a lot of the time. It's also hard to concentrate and focus. My mum wants me to get a rush on my endoscopy so I don't have to keep it up with the gluten filled diet, but I'm a little concerned still that I won't get a positive result if I don't tough it out for long enough. That said, I'm hating my body and the way I am feeling right now, I think even if I am not diagnosed with coeliac disease I will be following a gluten free (or mostly) diet for the rest of my life.

I've had some people sympathise that I won't be able to eat a lot of foods ever again, but to be honest, I don't care in the least. Being GF now is a lot easier than it would have been 20 years ago and rice has always been my favourite carb anyway.

For interest, and for information if anyone out there thinks they may have CD, I find this infographic (sourced from the Gluten Dude) to be quite interesting. I can 'sympathise' with around 40 of the symptoms mentioned, though some may very well be from other causes, it will be interesting to see how I feel after I have been completely gluten free for a while.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Asbestos Issue

​I've had a few questions about the house, are we in it yet? Are we renovating it yet? The big answer to both those questions is....No!

Don't get me wrong, we're super keen to be doing both, but we have a bit of an asbestos issue that needs to be dealt with first.

Asbestos (for those of you who don't know) is a natural mineral that was use in a lot of building products from the 1940s through to the 1980s. It has the potential to cause health problems when fibres are inhaled and the body doesn't manage to get rid of them naturally. If fibres remain in your lungs then long term (40+ years) you may end up with all types of nasty lung related diseases (i.e. cancer or a lot of scaring from your body attempting to cover the fibres and as a result slowly reducing your lung capacity)'s pretty nasty stuff.

HOWEVER, Asbestos is usually pretty safe to be around provided it's not disturbed and there is no chance it will create any dust. There is a catch to this though...

Asbestos comes in two main forms:

BONDED Asbestos - This is a bonded material, like fibro or cement sheeting (which contains asbestos), in this form asbestos is pretty safe unless you want to go cutting into walls etc. General advice is if there is a crack, seal the edge with paint or a glue to stop dust and you're good to go. Removal of this sort of asbestos can frequently be undertaken by a renovator if it's in small amounts (under 10m2) and disposed of appropriately but it depends on your local rules etc. To pay a professional you could be looking at $25-30 per sqm.

FRIABLE Asbestos - This is a loosely bound material not commonly found in domestic houses, and usually used more for insulation. This type of material is considered highly dangerous as it turns to dust very easily and can't be 'made safe' the same way that bonded material can. To remove it you must have a license and it generally costs $90-100 per sqm. Mostly because it requires extra safety precautions like wet entries and vacuum seals.
So, now for the pop quiz...guess which type of asbestos our new home is full of?

If you guessed FRIABLE, you'd be right!

We knew we were 'at risk' of finding asbestos in the home and had asked for a rough idea of locations to look as part of our building and pest. The downside of asbestos is that you can't be sure unless you get a lab sample. We had someone out to test all the possible surfaces (bathroom and build out verandah) but he advised that the kitchen and two bedrooms also looked like asbestos to him. Turns out he was right, and those areas are friable.
Terrible news for us, the quotes we've had for removal are all coming in around the $20k mark...yeah that's not a typo, $20,000!!

Now of course, we have the option of not removing anything, and in particular, leaving the few areas of bonded asbestos that we have alone, but it will cost more to remove each room separately than it will to get it all done at once. Like ripping of a terribly expensive bandaid. However, the fact that we have the more dangerous FRIABLE asbestos means I won't be comfortable until it's all gone. Especially when we wanted to remove kitchen cupboards (attached the to wall) and a wardrobe (attached to the wall) and doing so can't be done without disturbing the asbestos.

On top of that, in each of the 3 affected rooms there are actually holes in the wall from the previous owners (who obviously had no idea) that can't be left open and exposed as they are. Living in those rooms wouldn't be safe at the moment, so basically we can't do anything on the house until we get it out. It also means now we'll have to resheet and plaster 3 rooms, something we obviously weren't planning to do otherwise!

So that's it, it's all got to come out and we've got to find the money to do so. Very difficult when settlement was only last week and we basically put every last dollar we had into buying the place. We're investigating new credit options, balance transfers, those sorts of things and hopefully will be able to borrow the $20k we need with only a few percent interest over the next 10-12 months. Then our focus will obviously be on getting rid of that debt before we focus on our home loan (thank goodness for interest only and offset accounts!)

I was going to attach some pictures of what the asbestos ridden rooms look like, but have decided I'll keep this post full of information and photo free (which everyone hates I know!) and add a full post on the 'before' photos of our house for next time.

By the way, if anyone has any recommendations for asbestos removal in Brisbane, let me know!

(I've read countless websites to get on top of our issue, but if you want more info this is a good one:

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