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It’s been such a hectic 12 months that my blogs have definitely taken a back seat in 2023. Every time I have thought about a topic, started the blog and jotted some notes, I have then had some major distractions and yet another blog sits in ‘Drafts’ awaiting some spare time to finish it.

So here we are now at the pointy end of the year – having celebrated Christmas and staring down another New Year’s Eve and I definitely need to get a ‘wrap up of the year’ published. One of my NY resolutions is definitely going to be a committment to being more regular with informative pelvic health blogs in 2024!

Government House,17th May, 2023

Order of Australia Medal

2023 started where I am writing this blog now – at Sunshine Beach with me staring at my phone, mulling over Wordle (a word game) on 5th January, 2023 – wondering after 3 days of trying to do it – could I actually be bothered with doing a ‘new thing’ each day and up popped an email saying I had in fact been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for 2023.I remember thinking ‘Wow what an incredible start to the year’. 

And it was. We had a wonderful family celebration on the day the awards were publicly announced. We celebrated Chinese New Year on 26th January, ate hand-made dumplings, toasted with a delicious Prosecco and had lots of laughs as the whole family gathered. The grandkids were excited (and hard to contain in the lounge room) when Channel 7 came around with cameras to film an interview. It was a hoot.


26th January, 2023 OAM Celebrations

But as the year has progressed it has proved to be a challenging one yet again – sprinkled with some magnificent highs and quite a few terrible lows – particularly in the world-view of events.

COVID lives on and Climate Change continues to have impact

COVID continues to impact staff and patient health, but there have been a lot of other health challenges for many through the year, reminding us all that good health is worth far more than anything else in life.

As I write this wrap up for surely the fastest year of the century, we have just heard its also been the hottest – this year has been 1.46C hotter than any other year since records began. It has been so hot that 60,000 people died across Europe during this year’s heatwave conditions. It has been so hot that the glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates. We experienced this very hot weather first-hand when on our first trip overseas in 4 years. Switzerland was particularly hot and Gornergrat Glacier had noticeably receded since we last saw it in 2019.

We are supposedly getting smarter with access to all sorts of information and technology, but we are just like the frog being brought slowly to the boil – the frog doesn’t even realise what’s happening as the heat slowly intensifies and he fails to jump out to safety. We know we have to do something and do it quickly, but we just can’t. We seem to be paralysed by a certain amount of greed and stupidity and a belief that some miracle will happen – or worse still that climate change is not real.

My grandchildren and their children are likely to endure hell-on-earth literally because of our generation’s inaction and lack of bravery. It is up to the politicians to sell the urgent message that coal jobs can be replaced with renewable energy jobs (because people need to feel safe about their work sustainability) and that there is heaps of money to be made from renewable energy in Australia. If only something could be done about the misinformation spread by vested interests (eg the media, fossil fuel companies).

The Referendum and wars around the world

2023 has shown that the world also seems to be in a constant state of turmoil and conflict with major terrifying wars seemingly ever-present on our news at night. The war in Ukraine drags on into its second year and the Israel/ Palestine conflict horrifies with a disproportionate number of women and children dying. I wonder if men were able to literally grow babies in their bodies and deliver them from said bodies, if they would be so casual about killing?

The 5th Edition of Pelvic Floor Recovery: Physiotherapy for Gynaecological and Colorectal Repair Surgery is published

The hectic-ness of the year was probably exaggerated by the number of professional development courses that I completed and the number of talks, articles and podcasts I wrote / participated in. I love learning, staying up-to-date with all the latest research and doing talks, but it can be taxing on any free time (which of course is a useful antidote to burnout). Another New Years Resolution!

One of the biggest drains on my spare time was the updating of my book Pelvic Floor Recovery: Physiotherapy for Gynaecological and Colorectal Repair Surgery Edition 5. I first wrote this book in 2011 and I am very happy with the fact that I have now updated it to Edition 5 in 2023. Evidence should be always a feature in our learnings and the changing of our pelvic health practise and I feel happy that I still have the energy and interest to do that. I wanted to change the look of the book as people feel they have read the book because it has had the same cover for the first four editions. So the new cover of the book incorporates an image based on an original piece of art work created by an emerging Indigenous artist Arabella Walker. She has just graduated from Queensland College of Art and Design at Griffith University, South Bank and I know she is going to go far with her art. Check her art out on Instagram. She is fabulous.

Us at The Dolomites, June 2023

IUGA, The Matterhorn and The Dolomites

We visited the Dolomites after I attended the IUGA conference in The Hague in late June. Connecting with pelvic health physios from around the world, seeing different cultures and experiencing such dramatically different lifestyles (ie the ease of access to hiking in the mountains) is very reinvigorating and is definitely joining the NY Resolutions list again for 2024. There will come a day where we can’t travel and we don’t want to look back with any regrets.

Finally, to all my family, friends, staff and patients this blog is to say I hope your Christmas was everything you hoped for and may your New Year be healthy, happy and safe. Safety is something we take for granted sometimes and our wild, damaging Christmas weather, the statistics of women murdered by someone close to them (53 up to 24th November, 2023) and the wars around the world prove that there are millions of people around the world who at this moment as you may read this blog, do not feel safe in their homes. Let’s hope that 2024 brings more safety particularly to women and children.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Love Sue and Bob xx