Archive for May, 2019

Nerve Pain – what it does to you…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

For the last six years, I have constantly suffered from nerve pain, which spikes when it’s cold – it sucks!

So… what’s the reason I suffer from nerve pain you may ask – I had an accident (read my first few articles) back in 2013 that left me with a severe Brachical Plexus Injury to my right arm as well as a Traumatic Brain Injury. A Brachical Plexus Injury is an injury to group of nerves that come from the spinal cord in the neck and travel down the arm. These nerves control the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, as well as provide feeling in the arm. My injury was pretty severe, it has caused permanent disability to my right arm.

Anterior primary rami of C5-T1. Phrenic nerve C3/4/5. 3 important nerves originate above the clavicle. C5 root-dorsal scapular. C5/6/7 roots-long thoracic nerve (Bell) C5/6 upper trunk-suprascapular nerve. T1 contributes preganglionic sympathetic fibres to stellate ganglion.

Nerve pain (Neuropathic pain) is pain caused by damage or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system. Neuropathic pain may be associated with abnormal sensations called dysesthesia or pain from normally non-painful stimuli (allodynia). It may have continuous and/or episodic (paroxysmal) components.

So what this means is nerve pain is caused by damage or disease to the nervous system. You’re nerve pain may spike from things as simple as someone touching you etc. Things that normally wouldn’t hurt.

People have asked me how I manage my nerve pain with having two kids? Well the simple answer is my husband at times has to carry much more of the load than most other husbands do. Like last night, I was having a pain attack & our new born wouldn’t settle, I went and got my husband up to take over because sometimes the pain is so bad it takes everything I have just to deal with an attack.

But at the end of the day, it was OUR choice to have children, so something that was instilled in me at a young age was – you have to do what you gotta do to do what you wanna do, so most of the time I push myself as hard as I possibly can for my children. I don’t care if I don’t complete things for myself, but I make sure I do everything for my kids – fed, bathed, make sure there not over stimulated, try my hardest to stick to our ever changing routine, etc.

Having ongoing chronic pain can have a significant effect on your entire life. It can cause problems sleeping – I’ve had to sleep train, listen to sleep meditation… even having to resort to sleeping pills at times. It can affect your ability to work and attend social events – at times I suffer so bad I’m unable to go places.

In many people, they won’t attend classes or seminars to help them better deal with their situation. Those classes and seminars have helped me in so many ways to better deal with the chronic pain I live with every day. There is so much information people can learn, better than medication so that they too can also live a much better life.

Adequately treating nerve pain and learning coping strategies to manage pain are very important to make sure that you maintain a good quality of life. Physical activity can help reduce stress and improve fitness. This is why I became obsessed with fitness. Not only did it help with managing my nerve pain, it also helped me become much stronger, fitter and leaner – really, I am 30+ kilos lighter, 4 weeks post having another baby! Gentle stretching and yoga can be good options as well.

Getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are also important. When it comes to sleep, at times I have very little of it, or very restless. A healthy diet tends to reduce inflammation in the body and this may be helpful with nerve pain. I did change our entire diet for the better – healthy food is so yummy!

There are good days where I’m in go-go gadget mode and get so much done in a day, then there are days where I’m lucky to keep my kids and myself alive. Nerve pain can also turn you into not a very nice person. The only way I have been able to stop all my anger was to go on antidepressants – and they are really helping. I would love to be able to do more for my family, but truth is, living with chronic pain – you just can’t. Having to constantly fight off pain is exhausting! I have learn’t not to be scared of another pain attack but to embrace it, this has been one of the best coping mechanisms I have learnt.

If there’s any advice I can give to people suffering nerve/chronic pain, I would stress that firstly, you need to educate yourself about your condition and learn strategies to deal with pain being a constant factor in your life. Maybe look into if there is a pain clinic (public system) in your area. I was taught so much at different seminars the Townsville Pain Clinic held.

Look after yourself – Start living a life where you are able to manage your pain, not be crippled by it.

Below you will find details to Pain Australia, this organisation works with governments, health professional and consumer bodies, funders, educational and research institutions, to facilitate implementation of the National Pain Strategy Australia-wide. To contact a Queensland Health Pain Management Practice, the best way to do so is to get a referral from your GP.

Pain Australia

Telephone: 02 6232 5588
Unit 6, 42 Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600
PO Box 9406 Deakin ACT 2600

For general inquiries
For media inquiries please contact Jessica Conway or 0421 288 439

Aquo’s Bloopers

Posted by Amy Aquilini

Now – I know there was nothing funny about me being in hospital to my family and friends, but for me I found something mischievous to do, without fail, every. single. day. I was in bed 20, I had to share a room with 3 other people which is another story all together.
Our wheelchairs were parked outside our room, I’m guessing so unless we had a staff member with us we weren’t supposed to use them…. WEREN’T haha – that was a joke. Before I could walk again, i used to drag myself along the walls and sneak out to my wheelchair, hop in, and run riot!

I used to sneak around the halls of rehab to pinch biscuits off smoko trolley that was parked up just around the corner from my bed. I would stash them in my cupboard, under my mattress, in my pillow cases, and this was all before I could eat solids again.
I was on thickened water (which tastes like shit) and pureed food which I used to call shit on a stick. The staff would hand dinner out and I’d say what’s for dinner today, not shit on a stick again I hope.
I used to be so sneaky, one of the other ladies in my room used to give me her ice cream (which I wasn’t supposed to have) as she was a diabetic, yet every night they put ice cream on her tray.
Than one day dad convinced mum to go over to a cafe in the medilink building across the road from rehab. It was the first time she had left my side during visiting hours. Little did they know I was just having a skat-nap.

Again I made my way to my wheelchair, got in, and smoked my wheels as I broke out of rehab. Mwahhaha! I got to the desk that was staffed and told the lady I was just ducking out for some air – LIE!!!
I made my way out of rehab, pushed myself across the pedestrian crossing without looking for traffic (that was before I regained my sense of danger) and proceeded across to a path that was too narrow for my wheelchair.
lucky mum saw me and rushed out of the cafe to stop me. “Amy what are you doing?!” “Just looking for you guys.” Lucky she stopped me, cause otherwise I would have tipped my wheelchair, hit my head on the concrete pavement, and it would have been all over.
Another thing I did was I convinced dad to bring me frozen raspberry slushies – “come on dad, there thick so it will be ok.” Mwahhaha! That was before I could drink normal fluids too.
Another thing that makes me smile when I think about it is there was this nurse that used to irritate me – she was just annoying. When I had started eating in the dining room instead of in bed she tried to make me go when I really didn’t want too – Haha silly nurse! “Ok Amy time to go to the dining room for dinner,” “No, my dad comes in every night to feed me,” and she just kept pushing and pushing.
In the end I had nothing nice left to use as an excuse – “Amy, why don’t you want to eat in the dining room?” “Because there all old ok! And food runs down the sides of their faces when they eat, it’s disgusting!” – she left me alone after that.
Every arv, when visiting hours started, mum and dad would come up. Dad has always worn double pluggers everywhere he can get away with wearing them, and he doesn’t lift his feet properly so scuffed as he walks. So from the way he walks I knew when they were coming down the hall. If they were even a second late, they would cop a million questions.
All in all every mischievous thing I pulled off or tried to pull off moved my reviews forward – So I got to eat normal food and drink normal fluids sooner than I would have if I played by the rules. So really I see it as being worth it. My head is hard for a reason, I get knocked down but I get up again, twice as strong and so much more fierce!

See me – I’m still standing, I might be bleeding but I’m still breathing.
Aquo Xx

The last few weeks of pregnancy – reflection & growth…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

Why dear Lord must the last few weeks of pregnancy suck so dearly?! Jesus knew that the only way for humankind to be saved was for him to give his life for them. So my question is – whyyyy then do women have to endure this kind of suffering?!

Everything else aside, I’m so grateful for this pregnancy and how smooth it has been…. until now – mind, body and soul – as when I fell pregnant for the first time (It was planned and I wouldn’t change it for the world!) I was still recovering from a horrific accident and nobody knew how it was going to go. It was quite nerve racking to say the least – nobody could really answer any questions we had, we pretty much had to wing it.

8 months & 2ish weeks later, along came a healthy little boy who has turned into the prodigy of his mother! Really – it’s scary. At just shy of two years old he is super cheeky, hard headed, knows exactly what he wants and when he wants it and god help you if he doesn’t get his way. Just like – ME!

At 4 weeks of snuggling up with my little prince, we started back at gym. The doctors told me to wait for my six or eight week check up (I can’t remember when it was) before starting back but I couldn’t resist, plus it boosted my energy levels and at that time a bit of a boost is exactly what I needed to say the least.

I decided to go in guns blazing with my approach to become a healthier mother, I figured with my impairments, Loosing a few kilos and changing the way I ate, drank, slept would all work out to be a massive plus for myself and how I was right! I lost over 30kg – during that time our whole diet changed, we ate a lot of chicken, salmon and fish, I started my day with a massive cup of black coffee – no sugar, 1L of water infused with lemon in my first hour awake, along with another two during the day, very little processed foods and all meals/snacks were portion controlled.

With gym, I went and did 30 minutes with a personal trainer three times a week and would go walking for at least 45 minutes everyday, 7 days a week. I allowed myself to have a cheat day every fortnight, instead of every week, and instead of eating whatever I wanted for a whole day, I would allow myself to have a cheat meal and a cheat snack.

The first ten months with bub was a massive shock to the system! As I couldn’t breastfeed due to there not being enough research at the time on the nerve medication I am on, my biggest downfall was Pepper Jack Shiraz, I would have a few vino’s most nights just to get to sleep – which made my quality of sleep even worse! A big plus was never waking up with a hangover.

After about ten months, I started to get this whole mum gig, I stopped drinking unless I was at an event – and even then, I would keep my head on my shoulders. I submerged my head in ‘The game” – reading about nutrition and anything else fitness and implemented what I thought would work for our family (much to my husband’s disgust!) there was a few months of trial and error but we finally created a system that worked for us.

Now, I understand that not every baby comes out as a textbook baby, but mine was close to it – we were very, extremely lucky the first time around! Even if getting him on the right formula was a complete nightmare! And being a stay at home mum I had lots of time, motivation and resilience when it came to lack of sleep to create this new healthy lifestyle for my family and myself.

So now, I’m at 37 weeks and 3 days at the time of writing this, it’s currently 5am and I haven’t been able to sleep from 3.30am (cheers husband for making so much noise snoring 😩😩😩) and last night I thought was going to be ‘The night’. Contractions started than stopped – damn!

Our second son was born on 3rd May 2019 at 12.57am – he made an extremely fast entrance into this world. We arrived at the hospital 6 minutes before he was born! The whole show wouldn’t have been four and a half hours long. He was born as I was standing in the shower, the midwife caught him – it was pretty epic! In all honesty – it’s about time things started to become a bit more straight forward for me!

I guess every mum finds having more than one baby a lot easier because they already have had the practice. You know little tricks to make bub happy and it’s just so much more crusier. With your second child there’s not really any such thing as rest, especially for a cane farmer’s wife.

This time I was able to give birth in my small home town rather than having to travel 110km to the closest city. I’m no longer classed as high risk like I was for my first pregnancy as doctors didn’t know what to expect the first time around. I really hate hospitals now – you would too if you have been through what I’ve been through! But not having to leave home, it wasn’t so bad.

This time around I wanted to remember the birth, I haven’t got much memory of my first birth – probably because it was so traumatic. This time around I remember everything! I was opting for a water birth this time around as I couldn’t last time, being high risk and all. I wanted to be more relaxed and just let it happen.

And boy did it happen! I was at home in the shower for a bit, it was so relaxing! I didn’t want to leave. I’m so thankful I was able to be able to remember everything this time around, and I will remember that forever. I do wish however, fathers were more understanding of child birth. When we are in active labour, don’t stand there winging at us, we can’t focus on what you’re saying and it’s just going to piss us off. We will go to the hospital when we’re good and ready (even if we are cutting it extremely fine!) Yes, it is your child too, but we know our bodies better than anyone – have a little faith in us.

Aquo Xx

Letting go of the things that have hurt you & freeing yourself!

Posted by Amy Aquilini

All of us have been hurt in some way or another in our lives. My story is probably a bit more complex than some others as it all came after a massive, life changing event – not just for me, but my immediate family as well. It’s now almost six years after said event, and I finally have myself in a good place where all those people who used to mean something to me, can no longer affect me – I have chosen to rid my life of them.

I think turning to many spiritual practices like Reiki, meditation etc. has really helped me to overcome a part of my life I thought I would never be able to escape from. In the past five+ years, there aren’t many people still around who I thought would never walk away. It just goes to show how when a major event happens in someone’s life, you get to see people’s true colours, even the ones who walk out after five years when everything has settled down (and to be honest they come across as the weakest ones).

This statement is one which really ‘hits home’ for me

I’m in no way sitting here typing away thinking “woe is me” – I’m much too strong to think like that! What I’m getting to is some people just aren’t strong enough in themselves to deal with the misfortune of others, they’re not true with themselves – that’s why they just disappear, without so much as a “bon voyage!”.

If you hold onto the past you will never move forward and reach your goals. Two years post accident, I started a little notebook – ‘Aquo’s Goals’ and every year between Christmas and New Years I review them and make any changes necessary. This has really helped to keep me on track and keep moving forward. So – why do we hold onto crap that does not benefit our lives in the slightest of ways you ask, well my response to you is quite simple when broken down – It’s because in a messed up kind of way there’s comfort in familiarity and justification, even when it’s stems from negativity.

But, ultimately, not knowing how to let go has no real benefit – it only holds you back from achieving your true potential. Sometimes, we use the past to justify our current decision-making, and that’s the reason why we don’t want to let go. Remember that nasty thing someone did to you years ago? That keeps you from going to that family gathering or from having an extraordinary relationship. Those memories justify everything for you. When you’re unable to let go, that becomes a part of your “story” and works against you, holding you back.

Below is a list of ways I kept my mind, body & soul engaged so that I had less time to stress/worry about the (for lack of a better word) shitty things going on in my life post accident:-

I built myself a small gym and used to work out a ridiculous amount of time a day. When I first moved back to Ingham, I was slow-er moving than I am now, but would do an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. I was very conscious of what I was putting into my body, it took me ages to start loosing weight but once I did, I signed up to my local gym – Tweak Fitness and kept persevering which really helped me to transform.

I did a lot of cooking & creating. I’m shocking when it comes to using recipes, I don’t use measuring tools – I’m ITALIAN what more do you want from me! I do everything by sight & taste – so I used to muck around with different herbs & spices and create different soups, stews, etc and started a recipe book so I can pass on my awesome creations!

Post accident, my family and I became extremely defensive of each other, and after my brain healed it was easier for the kids to deal with me. We became omg so close! God forbid anyone says anything to anyone when it comes to the six of us – You will most likely get an ear full to say the least.

Gardening became my therapy! My dad made med a garden patch on the side of the house where I started growing vegetables, I would spend hours out there everyday, it was a lot of work and I quickly lost interest. I then bought a garden bed kit that was much smaller that was so much more manageable in my condition. Building it was a really good day, a few of my mates from school days came out to help me build it. Mum still has that garden going today!

In the early stages of my recovery, I started writing a book, It probably wasn’t a good idea starting it when I did because I was so angry at the time and it turned out to be a big hate fest! That’s part of the reason why I waited to start this blog, I’m so happy I waited, I know I have to get better, but that’s a working progress and will come in time.

You need to learn how to let things go, so that you can focus your energy on living positively and proactively. You and only you have the power to change your story!

Regardless of who initiated the breakup or the reason behind the split, you need to move on. Don’t worry about forgiving them for now. Instead, work on learning how to forgive yourself for getting so caught up in the drama of your personal life and allowing your anger and resentment to hurt you and hold you back.

Learning how to let things go is not as hard as it may seem. It’s true that bad things happen, but you cannot change the past. Continuing to perpetuate it only hurts your own emotional (and even physical) state, keeping you from fully enjoying life. Embrace living in the moment, and accept that there are things you cannot control.

My next tattoo

The key to letting go of a relationship or a painful past experience is that you have to face what has happened, accept that you can’t change it and then move on. Once you’re able to move on and close old doors, inevitably new doors will open up, better opportunities will arise and, most of all, you’ll have a better story that moves you forward, instead of holding you back.

Something to live by

Start writing your new story today!

Aquo Xx

Breastfeeding Triumphs & defeats…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

Why the actual F^*K aren’t women born with steel nipples?! When writing this article, I was 10 days post partum & had to contact my midwife as bub wouldn’t latch, I tried a million different positions – nothing. Thankfully Vera Tate my Midwife popped around to help me out and gave me a few tips to help me in future.


Today, finishing off this post, I am 12 days pp and have been mutilated and almost put in the loony bin from a lack of sleep! Thankfully my first born sleeps 12-13 hours at night so I only really have to deal with my newborn. My husband has moved into the spare room so he can get a good nights sleep for work, he started back 6 days after the new bub was born. I’m happy to do it myself – then it’s done my way (control freak)! However, I do wake him through the night for nappy changes when I’m at the stage of not seeing straight.

A week before I had my second baby I met with Ingham’s Lactation Consultant, Georgina Bosworth – Mumma G. We had spoken at the start of my first pregnancy about breast feeding but at the time there wasn’t enough info/research on the medication I was on and breast feeding. This time around was a different story. The doctors that I had seen, firstly said I could breastfeed this time around but then were second guessing their decision, so they just decided to tell me it was unsafe rather than look into it.


I decided to give as much info as I know on the medication i’m currently on – Pregabalin & Sertraline, as they are very common medications. Pregabalin, trade name Lyrica is for the nerve pain I suffer as a result of my quad bike accident back in 2013. Sertraline belongs to a group of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), it’s used to treat depression, anxiety disorders & post traumatic stress disorder. I know there a handful of people I know that take one or the other for various reasons. 

Mumma G found info on studies done with pregnant & breastfeeding women who were on doses from 150mg-600mg/day in divided doses of one of Pregabilin (Lyrica – nerve pain). Throughout my first and second trimester, I was on the lower dose of 150mg twice a day. As I entered my third trimester, my nerve pain became unmanageable – So my doctors decided to increase my dose to 300mg twice a day.

The second medication I take (I only take two), Sertraline, I was put on about half way through my second pregnancy and my daily dosage is only 50mg. One of the studies that were carried out were on doses from 50mg-100mg/day and a very minimal amount was detected in the breast milk/infant. The maternal plasma levels of this drug ranged from 18.4 to 95.8ng/ml (nano-grams/millilitre).

Mumma G knows where to find the info doctors just don’t have the time to search for. I was handed various handouts regarding the medications I was/am taking with a heap of different statistics listed. The one that was bought to my attention was the RID (Relative Infant Dose) – The relative infant dose is the dose received via breast milk (mg/kg/day) relative to the mother’s dose (mg/kg/day). It is expressed as a percentage. A dose of 10% or above is the level of concern, but this is rare. Pregabalin sits at 7.18%, which is quite high, whereas Sertraline sits at 2.2% – So my husband and I weighed up the pros and cons, and decided I would give breast feeding a go. I’ve always wanted to breastfeed, it’s just something I always wanted to try, as it promotes so many benefits, not only for your baby – but yourself as well.

I know breast feeding is quite controversial in this day and age, but I believe every mother should have the choice to experience breastfeeding. Obviously there would be factors that make it too unsafe to even consider, I’m just lucky that this information came to light before I had my baby.

How to breastfeed: breastfeeding positions

I decided to record how my breastfeeding journey was going, here are a few diary entries:-

Day 3 diary note:- So It’s day three of my breastfeeding journey and today things are looking up – sore, but looking up. Vera has taught me about baby led attachment, which has helped make things easier. I have been able to adapt to ways of positioning bub and myself so that he latches well, the little Hoover!

baby-led attachment

Day 6 diary note:- I take back saying things were looking up. My right nipple is split so bad it’s bleeding! I had to express, my right side felt like it was going to explode. I expressed 90ml and had to dump it all because it was a lovely shade of pink – super…. (sigh).

Day 9 diary note:- Healing well. Still tender but it hurts a lot less than it was when feeding. I’m currently feeding on the left and pumping on the right. If I was a cow, we would always have fresh milk! Other breastfeeding mother’s would want to smash me in the face… with a chair…. I’m pumping anywhere from 60-80ml from each breast, three times a day!

Avent breast milk storage containers I use.

Day 12 diary note:- At day 11 I started feeding on the right again, however – This is what happens when I feed at night because of lack of sleep/I’m unable to concentrate the slightest!

Mutilated boobie!

I’ve decided I will only feed on the right during the day now, no longer at night to prevent me from giving up all together! Who are we kidding – my head is much too hard to give up! Everything else is going well, I’m hoping in the next few days I can express enough milk to send bub packing! Mummy needs a good night – so nanna & nonno’s or grandma and dad dad’s it is! First time away from mummy for more than a few hours, hello separation anxiety!

It is so good to have the medical/baby/breastfeeding support we do here in Ingham. It does make things much, much easier! There should be these services with the level of dedication these teams have in every town/city. Or – more people could just move to Ingham! more businesses would open up rather than more shutting down – creating more jobs for those who move here. OK, side track! – I’m back, i’ll continue with breastfeeding.

My current plan is to have enough breast milk frozen, for those nights I just can’t cope with the nerve pain I suffer from. I either take heavy pain killers that usually just put me to sleep or end up at ED to get a shot of Toradol which I found to be the best thing for me. It attacks my nerve pain and lets me sleep through the night.

Below, I have listed various links that I have found helpful over the last 12 days:-

Breastfeeding mums support group (Australia) – Facebook Page

Newborns: How To Breastfeed –

Newborns: Videos –

Babies & Early Childhood Health – QLD Government

Baby: Following Birth – QLD Government

In the past 12 days, I have accessed all these sites for various reasons and have found they were actually quite helpful. There was various info I wasn’t aware of, plus it refreshed the info I had learnt with my first bub. I hope this post is beneficial to other mothers out there who are currently, or are looking at breastfeeding their newborn/s.

All in all, I will come out the other side of my breastfeeding journey a warrior, I won’t let it break me – (even though you have days were your like – not today Satan!) Those that know me will agree my head is wayyyy too hard to give up. Lastly, I just wanted to give a special thanks to my Midwife Vera and my Lactation Consultant Georgina for all their support, not only since I gave birth, but the whole way through my pregnancy. You ladies seriously are angels sent from above!

Mumma G, myself & bub and Vera <3

Aquo Xx

Getting pretty – it’s nearly time!

Posted by Amy Aquilini

I am feeling so ‘whaleish’ at the moment, I really can not deal with this North Queensland humidity rubbish! So to change my whole mindset, I booked an appointment to get my hair done with my neighbour and friend, Erin Giliberto from Hair by Erin who operates out of Heaven Scent – a florist shop in Ingham.

Erin is passionate about hair and she was telling me her story about why she absolutely loves what she does. I love hearing people’s stories, however – it’s not my story to tell.  I have never had a bad experience with my hair, I get on really well with all my past hairdressers but I was absolutely AMAZED with Erin’s end product. For the last year, she has been working away at a balayage look – but this time I just couldn’t believe my hair ended up looking like it did. I was over the moon!

After I had my first child, I lost so much hair – it was super scary! I told Erin – I was completely freaking out! She explained to me why it happens – it all has to do with postpartum hormonal balances. Those who have researched it recommend not to worry, as it’s temporary and the hair grows back. As many women are breastfeeding at six months and sometimes beyond, checking in with your GP can help determine if the hair loss goes beyond the effects of pregnancy and childbirth. While your baby becomes your priority, ensure you are also eating a balanced diet that is rich in protein and vitamins, this will help eliminate other possible factors of hair loss like vitamin and iron deficiency.
I have always had reasonably healthy hair, until I had my accident. Then it was always so oily I had to wash it everyday just to keep it clean – which damaged it more.  Over the years I have learn’t different tips and tricks to make sure I don’t wreck my hair with too much colour, not enough love, etc. The following list is what I’ve learnt over the years:-

As I have had some education when it comes to looking after my hair, and as my hair now has a few different shades of blonde through it – I want to be able to keep it healthy. When it comes to basic care it all starts with a good washing routine – here is the system I follow:-

  1. Get it soaking wet – This means you save $$ on shampoo as you only have to use a minute amount.
  2. Use a small amount of shampoo – A small blob is plenty, I then repeat this process.
  3. Massage the shampoo into your scalp – Don’t scrub the scalp too hard – remember those salon head massages? Yeah… like that.
  4. Rinse really well –  until you don’t see any more bubbles or suds on your head or going down the drain. I do this by feel – when it feels like it does when you first wet it.
  5. Gently dry your hair with a towel – I use a hair towel,  I leave it on for a while then I let it air dry.
  6. Comb it out carefully – with a wide-tooth comb, especially if it’s curly. Don’t yank or tug on it, because that can break the hair or pull it out.
  7. Try to use heating devices as last as possible – these devices will cause damage to your hair, limiting usage will reduce the severity of damage.

I have been using TreSemmè until my last hair appointment, I have since asked Erin to order me in some of the blonde shampoo & conditioner she uses – Base Blonde, it smells like marshmallows! I also just ordered salon quality moisturising shampoo & conditioner off eBay – Oasis natural look hydrating. When it comes to buying your shampoo & conditioner, buying the most expensive products isn’t the right way to go about it. You can buy products that keep your hair in tip top shape that are actually quite reasonably priced. It’s all about marketing for the big hair companies, a lot of the time your paying for bells and whistles you don’t really need.

“I think that the most important thing a woman can have- next to talent, of course- is her hairdresser.”

Joan Crawford

Heaven Scent (where Erin operates out of) is an absolutely AMAZING shop! Gail Guandalini (the owner) has created an awesome set up! There is a cafe, so going in and getting my hair done, having lunch and a coffee (and maybe some of their amazing corn flake biscuits) is an awesome escape from daily life for me. They also cater for events like birthdays, luncheons etc. in their cafe. Check out their website by clicking on the link below:-

Heaven Scent Flowers & Gifts
P.S:- I had another healthy little boy on the 3rd May 2019.
Aquo Xx

The importance of family…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

There are lots of people in this world that don’t realise how important family is. Specifically, a lot of teenagers that try pretty hard to not spend time with their family or try to rebel against their parents (haha sound familiar mum & dad), I could seriously teach the kids of today a thing or two! When thinking about this objectively, parents/family only want the best for you.

When times are rough and you think that no one believes in you, your family will always be there to cheer you on. Your family will always have your back. A lot of people in this world really only help people for self-gain, but (most) parents are willing to act selflessly for their kids.

My family has always been close, when mum and dad went somewhere, the four of us kids (my siblings and I) would always go – holidays, shopping trips, even when dad went to harvest in the Burdekin in 1998 we went as well. 

A negative event (my accident) was actually a positive being that it flushed out all the people around us that just weren’t strong enough to handle the horrible situation we were dealt. I’m not sitting here saying ‘oh poor me’, because I feel now we all have a really close knit group that actually respects one another, and doesn’t act like teenage girls in high school. Honestly, me personally, I don’t miss that rubbish at all!

We have always been quite defensive of each other, but since my accident that has amplified to a million! If anyone says anything in a negative way about our family, you will probably receive quite a hostile reaction out of all of us – and god forbid anyone has anything bad to say about me to my mother, good chance she will bury you alive!

It’s hard for us to let people in, especially me, I think it’s because of all the hurt that is the result of loosing family members and so called friends out of the circle. 

My relationship with my in-laws was great until I had my son, the first grandchild for both families. It then went rocky for a while as I felt like I was constantly being judged about the way I choose to parent. I’m so EXTREMELY happy that now we are closer than ever and I think on both ends we are now happy to discuss anything and everything whereas before it was like Chinese whispers, which sucked to say the least. 

I really don’t know what changed in me, but I’m finally asset peace in myself with 95% of my life and I feel amazing. Some time ago, I started reviving Reiki (a form of alternative medicine called energy healing) and slowly slowly I started noticing small differences in my being.  I learn’t to send love to those who hurt me and I was released from all the negativity in my life. I now feel so much lighter in myself. 

All those that have hurt me, well now they’re just somebody I used to know. I’m finally free of that tangled web of hatred, negativity, sadness and hurt. 

Life goes on, all the hurt and suffering you endure in your life will undoubtedly make you a stronger person and you will come to see and believe that everything is right in your world. For a long time, I ignored a lot of people that used to call family because I thought it was the easiest way of dealing with everything. WRONG! I learn’t standing up and facing your demons will transform all that negative energy in your life and you will then be able to let go. 

I am now able to have a civil conversation with those I used to be friends with. I don’t have time anymore for many of those I grew up calling aunty and uncle – many of those in that circle act like school children, winging, bitching, playing mind games and back stabbing their friends, imagine how they carry on about my family and myself! It’s so childish and it’s disgusting that people act like that. 

There’s many different ways to enhance your relationship with your family, but ultimately you need to learn how to let go of those that no longer serve a positive purpose in your life. A counsellor can teach you techniques for changing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to be the person you most want to be, despite what your family has done to you. Alternatively, you can turn to God – if you are a believer or for those that are more spiritual beings – Reiki is a wonderful option (it really helped me!). 

I really hope this article can serve a purpose to help others that are bearing a heavier than usual cross, to make you feel more at peace and realise that even if you are going through a hard time with your family – things will get better. I never believed that things would improve for me on the family front, but started chipping away, offloading a lot of it on my Reiki therapist (Sorry Nat!) Who after I left was probably cursing me for Making her so tired with all the negativity I was releasing. It took a few years to work through, but finally I’m at peace and feeling as if I could conquer Everest! 

“I’m learning how to walk away from situations or people that threaten my peace of mind, self-respect or self-worth.” – Unknown. 

Aquo Xx

The chorus says it all!

Faster, Stronger, Better

Posted by Amy Aquilini

My husband made the comment to me the other day that my journey has been similar to that of the six million dollar man – He had a horrific accident, I had a horrific accident – he was rebuilt to be faster, stronger, better – I have rebuilt myself to be faster, stronger, better.

On 14th June 2013 was when I had my quad bike accident then on my first weekend home to Ingham I was in another car accident (that sent me back ages in my recovery), and from those days so many doctors, specialists, surgeons – you name it, put so much energy into rebuilding me for the better. I had to put in a lot of effort to get myself to where I am today – rehab, research, implementing what I had learnt from all those wonderful people to build myself up again.

I was extremely depressed after the second accident, all my injuries had been agrivated! I had come so far and because of some wanker not paying attention my life changed all over again! I was set back in my recovery and at times I didn’t know how I was going to go on. I HATED being in a car!

In April 2017 I had my right arm fused to try and reduce the pain, before that I struggled so bad there were days I wouldn’t get out of bed, it was too much effort to make something for myself to eat so I just wouldn’t eat, and frankly I was too exhausted to do anything about it. This operation was life changing to say the least. My pain reduced significantly (although I will always live with pain), my mood improved significantly, and my mind started working better than it ever had before.

I used to spend four days out of seven in bed, after the operation, once I recovered, I would spend maybe a day a fortnight. Now when my son goes down for his lunch time nap, I go for mine too, it’s not everyday either, sometimes I have too much housework to do. I no longer spend days in bed, I’m not palming my child off to everyone else because I am incapable of being a mother.

Before the op I was a mum who was flat out functioning, in the mornings I was flat out getting Jack ready for daycare, but in my head I pushed myself to get through to drop off time, go home and die for the day and pick him up by 5pm. I had Jack in daycare for five days a week from 4 months. I felt like crap. I wanted to be the one teaching him about life and at that time it seemed impossible.

I had a lot of help from my family, which I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am. They would go shopping for me, some days, a lot of days pick up Jack and take him home for outside play, feed him, get him ready for bed, then daddy would pick him up and bring him home for bed.

I’m now able to do all the things I was unable to do without significant effort before the operation, things like running errands, shopping, visiting – you name it! And to top that – I’m able to do it with an almost two year old, that’s right – one functional arm with a two year old.

Pain does horrible things to a person – it really screws with your head! I was an asshole to my in-laws to say the least. I felt that from the time Jack was born that I was constantly being judged and it made me feel as if they thought I wasn’t good enough for their son, and I wasn’t good enough to be Jack’s mum. I have had a really hard time dealing with negativity since my accident and my go to response is to shut people out. I shut them out, I feel like shit about it, they missed out on quite a bit of our lives, so much of Jack’s first 18 months, and it’s all my fault.

I’m one of those people who really could not care less about what people thought about me, but to me, being my husband’s parents, there opinion mattered.

I wasn’t just an asshole to them, I was horrible to my family as well – probably even worse, because you know, they understand you the most out of anybody, they have been with you your whole life.

I had my operation and it improved my quality of life significantly! I became a functioning mum, it really is the best success in my life to date. I have mended my relationship with my in-laws and we are now closer than ever! I love seeing Jack interact with them, he’s such a little character it’s so heart warming to watch.

Try not to be so hard on your judgement of others, they may just be having a down day, you don’t know, your not living in their body, and, more likely than not, you don’t live in chronic pain.

Aquo Xx

The Six Million Dollar Man
The Six Million Dollar Man opening clip

A farmer’s life for me…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

I’ve decided to write about a subject I’m very passionate about – farming. I grew up a farmer’s daughter and always knew I would end up a farmer’s wife. From a young age I lived and breathed sugar cane. My husband’s family goes back to when the sugar industry started in the Herbert River District, way back when in the 1870’s! My nonno got into the sugar industry back in the hay day after leaving Travagliato, Italy. The sugar industry became the Aquilini’s way of life, we have been here for four generations.
My dad started harvesting at a very young age, this year will be his 40th year in the high chair (driving a cane harvester), he’s only 54! So it’s safe to say it’s a lifestyle we were all born into. In the Herbert River District, the cane harvest season runs for about 5-6 months every year from mid June, weather permitting. From the early 90’s, when there wasn’t the technology there is available now in machinery, it wasn’t unusual to cop numerous 15 hour days every roster.
It wasn’t unusual to go days without seeing dad as a kid, I think that’s why I spent so much time with him in the harvester, and as I got older in the haulouts. I was used to having to go to events without dad, school do’s, things he would have loved to be at but due to break downs, late drops etc he just couldn’t. I couldn’t tell you how many times he came to school functions in his work clothes. In saying how much I love the season, it’s always been hard, mum has always done a lot! I have a lot of respect for mum in the way she always carried us four kids through the season with school, after school events, sports, socialising – you name it!
From the second we were born, we were raised to be very resilient kids, I think that’s why I have gone through my last five odd years with such a positive attitude (most of the time). We were always taught “you’ve gotta do what you gotta do to do what you wanna do”, and even then, I heard my mother saying that haha!
I was always helping dad with farm work, I would go disking, we would fix the roads and mow the farm, just to name a few. As a teenager, mowing was my job when I wasn’t working on weekends. I would have to cover a massive area, a few acres! Thank god we always had decent mowers! The four of us kids were bought up with a good work ethic. I landed my first after school job when I started high school doing a bit of office filing.
2005 was our first season with Case Maxi Hauls, I was thirteen, that’s when I knew I wanted to live in the Herbert forever and be a part of the sugar industry. I started spending more afternoons after school and weekends learning to drive, then on weekends I would occasionally do full days. The year before my accident I learnt to reverse fill (which is quite simple in those machines, but the female in me couldn’t quite get it)! Earlier in 2013 there was talk of me sitting in the seat permanently the following season, 2014, which was always a goal. For 6 months, the money is awesome and a massive plus is how passionate I about it! My aim was to own my own house by the time I was 25, I got there, but it would prove to be a lot harder than first anticipated.
I always wanted to own my own farm. I’m now part of a farming family that operates in the Herbert, although a lot differently to what I’m used to, and honestly, I struggle to understand it at times. But at the end of it all I married my farmer! I always knew I would!
It’s honestly a lifestyle I have had to really adapt to. I learn’t differently, Dad’s way of doing things, he was never home for days at a time, if we wanted to see dad we went to work, as kids, we loved it, my sister and I still do. With my husband it’s a different story, partly because of our situation (me, my health), partly because certain times of the year are quieter than others. I’m always asking “why aren’t you at work?” Not oh it’s nice to see you. I’M NOT USED TO IT! Haha.
From a young age, I came to realize being a farmer’s wife you come in second – and that’s ok! My mum is such a strong woman because of it. Think of it like this – do you want money? Yes, well your man has to go farming so that the money keeps rolling in. I love being an independent woman, it makes me feel great and it’s so good for my self-esteem!
I think growing up a farmer’s daughter, I have a better understanding than others that are, say, city kids of what sacrifices you have to make to live this trying lifestyle. My husband tells me that I have a better understanding out of any of his previous partners – I put it down to being the life I’m used to.
Aquo Xx

The Rolls Royce of haulouts at the time 2011

Aquo at midnight ready to head to Wilmar, Orient for a full day

My son heading to work at the farm with grandma ❤

Our son and daddy waiting for nonno to pull up

Daddy taking our son for his first ever harvester ride with nonno

Grandad, daddy & our son, nonno and mummy

Us after a morning with nonno

My son drove a harvester before me!

My favourite photo of my son & nonno!

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