Friday, November 28, 2008

Patupilone - round 2

The second cycle of patupilone is behind me. My white cell count and neutrophils are below normal range but still in allowable range for ‘chemo’ to be administered. Due to my severe nausea the doctors have readjusted the volume of chemo down by 25 percent and I am on much smaller doses of cortisone for the next few days. Shall we take some bets on what will happen in 3 weeks – I am game to place a bet that I will need medicines to increase my neutrophils and chemo will be post phoned, similar situation to a few months ago (unless the reduce chemo dose allows my body and blood cells to recover… but the effects are cumulative)

Dr J reckons I am a very strong woman – this comment brought a smile to my face – I know I am a very strong willed person (hahaha) and am blessed with a very strong physical body supporting me though this challenge.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Working in Antwerp

The past working week has been really busy and I have managed to keep up the pace. I am feeling much better than last week. Dr J (clinical trials unit) phoned my last Friday as I was still feeling really nauseous and the anti medicines were not offering any relieve. He told me to stop taking the cortisone which I have done since last Saturday. Physically I am feeling much better with the odd bout of nausea but it is not nearly as bad as last week. Tonight I head towards Holland to spend the weekend with my mother and then Tuesday I return to South Africa.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post chemo blues

Just as I thought the tide was turning, life proved to me that it has not yet. Last Monday we had a water leak in the bathroom causing Dylan’s bedroom to flood and then Friday afternoon Dylan has a little accident on his motor cycle – no big hospital damage but enough to give him a lesson in riding motor cycles and to have respect for all cars.

Yesterday I went to work (first day since chemo) and managed just over 7 hours but was hugely stretched physically. I still have terrible nausea and fatigue and did eventually phone the clinical trial unit for additional medication. This week is hectic at work as we prepare for an overseas trip next week to Belgium and Copenhagen and after that I can look forward to a 3 day weekend with my mom in Holland. My mom is already planning everything including what we are eating at each meal… bless her!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Wednesday morning I received the call from clinical trials unit. I have been selected onto Patupilone (the trial medication). Treatment started yesterday with blood tests, ECG, doctor visit and then the walk to the chemo room with my folder. I was home around 2h30pm and rested the whole afternoon and went to bed early. Today I am feeling quite shaky in my body and I am really nauseous. I need to force myself to actually eat anything and that for a lady who never forgets to eat :) . Ian is coming home this weekend to help out with day to day life. He leaves Monday morning again and then comes back for good next Friday. On the renovation side things are also coming to an end. The builder wants to sign off today, the electrician and plumber are done except for the last finishing which they can only do when the kitchen is complete, and kitchen contractor is finishing next Thursday – so all on track to complete by next Friday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tide is turning

Finally the tide is turning during this turbulent time. Yesterday morning around 08h15 the oncology clinic phoned me to share that Geneva has approved me on the clinical trials. I am a perfect fit… hehehehe. I will start treatment this coming Thursday and have to wait patiently to hear which arm I have drawn. We all pray and trust that God will give me the medicine that will cure me. About 15 minutes later I called my electrician and he fired me as the customer – I just burst out laughing as I have had my fair share of problems with him and all who know me, know that I have a high level of standard, for myself and other, and if you don’t meet this level I will not be a happy project manager, let alone customer when it is my own money being spent. This morning I already met another electrician on site and he called me later asking if he could start today as his plans for today were cancelled – ironic how all is just meant to be. Now the best news for yesterday – Ian phoned to share that he is coming home from 14 Nov – he has got a transfer to a local Cape Town based location! Blessing I am grateful for!! I can see a glimmer of light shining again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The past month has been one of the worst of my life. It is been an emotional and physical rollercoaster ride – the worst of its kind. I understand that smooth roads don’t deliver good drivers, but WOW there is a point of ‘enough for now’. As you know we are renovating our home and Ian is still working out of town, only coming home every second week-end, so it is pretty stressful dealing with the builders, electricians, tilers, painters and plumbers. A different kind of project to manage! Then I also have my commitment to my employer. With the renovations we have been lucky to have access to my brother’s home. My brother works in the UK but has a home just over 1 km from ours, fully furnished and unoccupied. So we have been living here for the past 2 months. Well, beginning October, Colin (my bro) sends down a Labrador puppy (Anouk) which has come to live with all his other dogs and the caretakers. Anouk was not even here for a week when she and Tobi (also a lab) were playing quite roughly and there was an accident whereby Tobi jumped up and landed on her leg. So off to the vet we went where Anouk needed an operation with plates and pin in her right back leg. The following week I had the wonderful news that my tumour counts were rising only to be confirmed as cancer again a few days later. The emotion of having to deal with all these things being thrown at us has been incredible. I will admit that I have been in a very dark pit and as I struggle to get myself out and positive again, I keep feeling the negative pull on the reverse. On top of all of this, Dylan had an accident Monday morning. I was in Johannesburg for the day and had arranged with a friend to collect the boys for school. Sean opened the visitors gate and went out thru it, then Tobi jumped up against the gate locking it. Dylan decided he would jump over the fencing rather than open the gate again. He had one leg on either side of the fence, started moving his back leg to swing it over and his front leg slipped. Causing him to crash land onto the spikes of the fencing. He went to school for an hour after which time he could not walk anymore, so phoned my friend to fetch him. Fortunately her father is out visiting from Oz and he is a medical doctor. He has a look and sent him off to emergency immediately. He has a haematoma on the scrotum. He spent 4 days in hospital as they were concerned an abscess was forming, after x-rays and scopes confirmed no damage to the plumbing. Thank heavens. Dylan is still walking around like the lone ranger with his catheter – hopefully this comes out tomorrow.

Then on Friday I went for all the medical screening for the clinical trials. My logic is that if I go for standard chemo now I will never that the opportunity to try the trials. If I go with the trials then I can reassess in a few months and return to standard chemo, pending the results. The good news is that my blood counts and chemicals are normal, my heart is very strong and normal and my lungs are just fine! The 3 growths are now 5 with a 6th one forming. The biggest grow 12.5mm 3 ½ weeks ago is now 21mm. All my tests have now been sent to Geneva for full screening and I should know by Wed whether I am accepted or not. Either way, Dr L (oncologist) has already processed standard chemo with the medical aid and this has been approved, so next week I will start treatment again.