Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eyebrows and eyelashes

Monday morning I went to the hospital to do all the pre-admission paperwork and the medical assessment. The hospital keeps your records active for 3 months only, so I had to go through the whole procedure again. Charmaine, the lovely lady who helped me, even phoned the medical aid on my behalf and received all the necessary approvals. I have relayed my whole medical history again and signed all the papers to receive surgery and blood transfusion if necessary. Everything is now in order for Monday 11 Feb, 16h30. Friday I have to go for blood tests again and Monday 4 Feb I see Dr V for my pre-operation scan and check up.

One only realises that hair, eyebrows and eyelashes have an important function when you don’t have them. On hot summer days little beads of perspiration form on your head. Normally the bulk of your hair would absorb this moisture and you would feel the dampness in your hair. With no hair, these little droplets form larger rivulets than run from your head down your neck, sides of your face and down your forehead and straight INTO YOUR EYES, causing your eyes to burn like hell!! On top of that we have been having lots of wind causing every little dust particle to be attracted to my eyes. So when you see me with red swollen eyes and tears rolling down my cheeks, it is just the heat and dust doing this to me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weed tea

Meditation evening on Thursday was great. Six of us got together and we did 2 little meditations and quite some socialising afterwards. It was wonderful to see all the friends together again. Friday I did the grocery shopping by myself for the first time since the op. After all the walking, carrying and unpacking I was exhausted - I had to have a little lie down (cannot believe how stuffed my body is).
Now I need to make a confession. Remember my post on “to weed or not to weed”. Well, after many peoples advice to try weed to ease the pain, I managed to get a small stash in anticipation for the last chemo week. The full intention was that I would brew a tea with this and I even received a lovely little teapot and cup as a Christmas gift – perfect for my brew. Well, more than a week after chemo, with the pain now under control, I remembered my stash… can you believe it.. I forgot about it completely!! I am definitely not an addict of this drug. Stupid me!!! What is the shelf life of weed? Can I keep the stash until I know the next steps after mid Feb?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Busy Bee

Tuesday morning we went to the dentist for our regular check-ups. All ok on the dental front for Dylan, Sean and I. Tuesday afternoon I went to the office for the first time since the operation and diagnosis. I was a bit nervous as I now had to face all the work colleagues looking like a real chemo kid. I did a bit of focussed breathing to calm the jitters in the car park and headed up stairs. Fortunately all my access cards still work. At reception I got a big bug from the receptionist and lots of hugs from the team. Even the tea lady had a huge hug for me. I felt a much more relaxed after that. We spend the afternoon chatting about what is going on at work and catching up on personal stuff. It was wonderful!!!!
Wednesday Richard (my boss) picked me up and we had lunch and a one-to-one update on what is happening on the work front. Was good to see him and have the time with him. The last 2 days have left me exhausted and I slept like a baby last night.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Feeling Great

I have had 2 great days. Two days without any ‘anti’ drugs! Ian and I popped out to the shops yesterday and had a lovely lunch outside in sunny Durbanville. Spent the afternoon covering books! Today has been great too, I am still a little bit nauseas, my bones are feeling much better and I have more energy. The only thing that frustrates me is my ‘chemo head’. I know what I want to say and as I start talking I forget some of the words – drives me mad!!! My meditation group have all been asking for us to get together again, which we have not done since Sept last year. I have suggested we do a group meditation this Thursday for one hour… will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Schedule 1 completed

My aunt Hennie popped around Sunday to say goodbye as they head back to Singapore after a Christmas break with their children and grandchild. Her son-in-law lost his dad over the week-end due to lung cancer, which was diagnosed 20 weeks ago. Cancer can progress so quickly. Monday I completed my last round of chemo in this session. The operation is set for Monday 11 Feb, late in the afternoon. I still need to get medical approval for the operation and will do this next week, once I feel a bit better. Post the histology of all that will be removed from my abdomen, the next steps will be agreed, but I am preparing myself for another 2 to 3 rounds of chemo as per the original chats with the Docs. The boys went back to school today and I love the ‘normal’ routine. For the first time in my life and their lives I have been a full time mom and a sick one in that. It has been quite a learning experience for all 3 of us. I am experiencing the normal cycle of nausea and the bones are starting to ache along with a dumbness is my fingers.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chemo Round 4 now on track

Thursday I woke up feeling like a truck had run over me. I had a huge headache and my body was numb. Worse than any hangover that I have had in a long time. After a few paracetamols and an easy day, I felt much better by the evening.
Went for blood tests this morning and the chemo practice phone me around 11 to say that my blood counts are normal and chemo will happen on Monday. We have an easy week-end planned – the norm for the past few months. (Quite boring for most folks).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Neutrophil generators

After 5 phone calls to the oncology unit, I finally got a call back after 14h00 to inform me that the medical aid has approved the injection. Madness really when you think about the time and effort that has gone into processing the approval vs the administration which took seconds! This magic potion is going to kick my bone marrow into action and get them generating cells! And the side effect is sore bones…. Argh again… Chemo causes sore bones and this too!! We are keeping to the schedule of blood test Friday morning and chemo Monday 14th.

I am expecting Dylan home this afternoon, he has spent a week away with friends camping and hiking in the Cederberg. After the initial homecoming I am sure he will be heading straight for the shower and then bed. I missed the bugger. I must thank the parents who took both Dylan and Sean for a holiday during this school break. Really appreciate it!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chemo Round 4 rescheduled again

All the emotional preparation for Thursday’s chemo session is again for nothing. The medical aid has as yet not approved the special ‘neutrogen’ that I need (Neutrophils are the white immune fighting cells). This afternoon’s conversation with the chemo practice has now changed the dates again. Assuming I get the generators tomorrow morning, it will only be possible to check my blood late Thursday or early Friday morning, so this has moved chemo to Monday 14 Jan. In the meantime I have been doing lots of resting but still feel permanently tired.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Chemo Round 4 rescheduled

This morning I went for the routine blood tests that are done before chemo to check that the body has recovered enough to allow the next round of chemo to occur. Around lunch time the oncology practice phoned me to say that my white blood cells are way too low for chemo to occur on Monday. Effectively it is my immune fighters that are way below normal. Explains why I have been feeling tired and I was even having a little ‘rest’ when the practice phoned. The oncology nurse reiterated that I must take it easy, must have my rests and keep visitors to a minimum! Nobody with any form of sniffle, cough, temperature, etc may come close to me and crowded places are a no-go zone. Sigh. By this afternoon I had learnt that I need a special once off dosage of white cell generators but this takes 48 hours for the medical aid to approve. The plan is that I get this at the chemo room on Tuesday, more blood tests Wednesday morning and chemo planned for Thurs 10 Jan.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 01 02 Welcome 2008

The new me.... (my eyebrows are now finally giving up on me too)

The festive season is behind us and the whole world is focussed on a new year in personal, work and education. The shops are still buzzing but now it is the ‘back to school’ gear for us here in SA. Christmas week was a good week for me. Christmas eve we had a brother in law and brother around and Christmas we lunched with my family at my Dad’s place. I even had a little pony ride Christmas afternoon. All went well until Sunday when I got hit by a terrible tummy bug. Spent most of Sunday evening and night with the face looking down the porcelain pot!! New Years Eve I was still exhausted and not yet 100% so Ian and I did what we both really enjoy. We spent the evening at home with movies and by 22:30 it was lights out for both of us! Sean spent New Years eve with a buddy and the next day came home saying “Oh, happy new year mom… sorry I forgot cos I am not really a new year type of person”. Must admit that Ian and I are the same, we don’t need all the partying, drinking and late nights. Dylan spent new year camping with a friend at a dam and mentioned today that there were an amazing amount of fights new years eve…. Even more reason I don’t need the ‘over done’ bit.