Wednesday, November 28, 2007

postponement - a mixed blessing

Well, it's Thursday afternoon now and I've been on an emotional roller coaster the past couple of days.

Yesterday morning as I was just about to leave the house to go for the next round of chemo, the nurse called to say that the previous day's blood test had revealed that platelets and white cell counts were too low and they wouldn't administer chemo this week. I was told to have a quiet week and a blood test again next week and if readings had improved they will do the chemo. My instant thought was "I hope the chemo is having the same destructive effect on the cancer".

The only good news I could take out of that is that I would have another week of feeling human, without the dreaded poisons being pumped into my body. So this morning I rode my bike out along the beach path. It was marvellous.

This afternoon I went for my weekly visit to Dr Chen, my herbal and acupuncture practitioner. He also received the blood test results and was kind enough to give me the good news from the report. The liver function is continuing to improve and the cancer activity is decreasing. Yeah!

So yesterday I was down, today my spirits are way up again. Dr Chen says that if I eat black pudding every day my platelet reading will improve. I've never had it. I do know what it's made of. Dad has gone out to buy me some - he loves it.

Next time I see the nurse I intend to use all my assertive communication practices to suggest that she gives her patients some good news from the test results (if there is any), and not just the bad news.

So, until next week's blood test I'll be eating black pudding (and lots of other good food) and riding my bike out as far as I can each day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

my grandchildren-I couldn't help it!

Willow and her big brother, Zeke, at mini rugby in Hong Kong

Oscar and his dad, Tim, in Gerroa.
Oscar is 1 week old in the photo. Today he is 3 weeks old.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Round One is Over

Well, Round One of the chemo regime is over. I took the last tablet on Wednesday morning and since then have progressively felt much better. The cold sores, headache and fuzzy head have gone and I'm starting to feel human again. I have been very fortunate, so far, that I haven't suffered from those two dreaded chemo side effects - nausea and diarrhoea. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.

Today (Saturday) I'm jumping out of my skin!! So I need to take advantage of the next few days as Round Two begins next Wednesday. This afternoon I'm off to celebrate the 60th birthday of a very dear friend. The champers will be flowing, no doubt, but this old tea totaller will have to share in the toasts with something more sedate - like bottled water! Perhaps I'll wear my 60th birthday tiara to have my own sparkle.
I hope you're having a great weekend.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back from Bundanoon

It's my cousin in HIS Rolls Royce arriving to take me for a drive.
Sunday night and all's well.

The week at the Quest for Life program is over and I've been home since Friday afternoon. The program covered so much about so much - and it was quite confronting, emotional, exhausting and yet peaceful at the same time.

It was specifically for people living with life threatening illnesses and I wasn't sure that I wanted to hang around for a week with a whole lot of other cancer sufferers. That was the one hesitation I had about going. Many special friends had advised me to attend and that advice was sound. Every participant was an amazing person and I found the contact with them quite inspirational. It was not about dying, it was all about living.

It has given me a lot to think about and that will take time. It's taken me the whole weekend to think about what I will write here tonight! So what you have in the previous paragraph is all you'll get for the moment. I am pleased to say that I have had a week of pampering as well as an overload of information that will take time to process. So, bear with me, please. Does anyone grow loads of beetroot?

The effects of the chemotherapy are minimal, so I'm functioning fairly normally. I do hope that means that it's doing a really good job - as it's supposed to. I went out for a short ride on my bicycle today as the morning was so gorgeous. Didn't make it very far, but I'll keep working at it while the weather is so great.

Look forward to talking with you again soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

a few days on

The misty memory photo was taken on the railway station in Lalinde, France, early on a November morning at the end of last year (2006). Wilna and I were leaving for an overnight stay in Paris before flying out to South Africa and Aus respectively. It was early, and it was cold and misty and our friend Jill was kind enough to drive us to the station - and she's not a morning person. But that's her there with me on the station - what a gem!

Today is Day 4 of chemo and everything is fine. The fuzzy head has gone and left a 'sleepy head' in its wake. Just as well I am fortunate not to have to answer to a boss anymore - because I don't think I'd last long. It's a pleasure to stay in bed until 11am when it's pouring rain outside, and then to retire for my 'nanna nap' after lunch again, so that I can last the distance over dinner!

Tomorrow I hope to visit little Oscar and his Mum and Dad in Gerroa. They are all at home now and settling in. Then on Monday I'm going to a retreat for 5 days in Bundanoon, just an hour's drive away over the mountain from home. It will be cold and misty there too, but we will be well catered for. No internet access means that I won't be talking with you again until next weekend.

Thanks for reading and being with me. Have a good week. Ciao 'til next weekend.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Terrie Express

A misty memory

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

First chemo session

Well, Day 1 is almost over. This morning I had an injection of 2 chemo drugs and tonight I've taken 4 tablets of a third drug with my dinner. And I'm still upright! My head has been a little fuzzy for most of the day, but apart from that I feel OK. Have had a quiet day - at home mostly. Thanks to friends who have called and sent messages of support. You are all my 'ultra' cancer support group.

The injection of drugs happens every three weeks and the tablets have to be taken for two weeks, morning and night. Then a week off and start taking them again on the day of the next injection. Keeping up with all that and the herbal tablets I also take, together with having blood tests and CT scans in between, will keep me quite busy, don't you think?

I haven't seen little Oscar for a few days. He will be home tomorrow, so a trip to Gerroa for a cuddle will be on the agenda, probably over the weekend. That will be GOOD medicine.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Melbourne Cup Day

Were you at a Melbourne Cup lunch today? I was. Every year the great girls (and great tennis players) that I play tennis with get together for a Cup lunch. Today we had a delicious lunch, a lot of fun and laughter, much admiring of the photo of Oscar Eddy - Oh - and we watched the race. I managed to win a little of my sweep money back on Mahler, who ran third. This is a pic of the tennis girls before lunch - and before too much champagne!

Today a 'good medicine' gathering with special friends and tomorrow - my first dose of chemo. Yuk!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A New Grandson

Isn't it wonderful how life just keeps going on? Last night (3 November) those expectant parents, Tim and Meascha, were rewarded with the arrival of their little son, Oscar. He weighed 3.7kg and decided to arrive pushing the wrong part of his head first! Anyway, it took a little longer than expected but he finally arrived with all 10 fingers and 10 toes and all the other bits he should have. And he is gorgeous. Mum and baby are doing well. And I was there to 'hear' his arrival and to cuddle him very soon afterwards. A very special moment.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Babies-Today's Happy Pic

Whatever your opinion of Hallowe'en and its commercialism and/or irrelevance to us here in Australia, you can't deny that it makes for cute kids sometimes. These are my grandchildren - Spiderman Zeke and Angel Willow (that's her halo she's waving) with their orange Trick or Treat bag. They live in Hong Kong. Aren't they just gorgeous?