Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Right now, here in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, it's 11.14pm on Christms Eve as I start to write this message. All is quiet in the house and all is ready for Christmas Day tomorrow.

Today I had the stitches out of my top lip and the doctor was very complimentary of the stitching job that had been done by the nurse practitioner at Wollongong Hospital. It still doesn't look too good, but I'm assured it will be fine when it's totally healed. Metho on it for the next two days to help dry it out and then Vitamin E cream and/or Bio Oil.

Nikki and the children left yesterday and are safely back in Hong Kong. What a wonderful time we had together while they were here. And now I'm hoping to join them in Hong Kong in February.

Chemo carries on! The last tablets for this round are on Boxing Day and then nothing until 9 January. Black pudding doesn't taste any better, but I'm perservering. Blood tests show haemoglobin is OK. Will have other blood results later. I feel fine - just run out of energy far too soon each day. But that's a great excuse for a nanna nap!

I have a friend who has written a greeting and wishes for 2008 in French, Japanese and English and I'd like to share it with you.

Le voudrait-on, on ne retient pas le fleuve du temps, déjà 2008.
Au moment de basculer dans une nouvelle année pas question de regrets,
Le voyage continue avec de belles raisons de croire et d’espérer.
Le temps se presse mais il nous fait aussi de beaux cadeaux,
La bonne nouvelle c’est que 2008 nous donnera encore de
bonnes raisons de partager ensemble la lumière du monde.
Vite, vite, 2008 c’est maintenant; toute une année
ce n’est pas trop pour entreprendre et réaliser tous nos voeux.
Bonne et Heureuse Année


Even if we want to we shall never succeed in holding back the flow of time
2008 is already round the corner
As we are about to move into a new year, no regret should prevail
The journey continues with wonderful reasons to continue to believe and to hope
Time is pushing us but it is also providing us with a beautiful gift
The good news is that we shall have many more opportunities in 2008 to share together in "the light of the world"
Let's move quickly, 2008 is upon us
A year is not enough............. therefore let's not waste time.
A happy and prosperous new year to all!

I couldn't have said it better my self. Thank you, my friends , for being my friends. You are all very special to me. Merry Christmas for tomorrow and enjoy your journey as we approach 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the gang's all here

Yes. The gang's all here. Nikki and her children have arrived from Hong Kong and Leigh and Bob have come in from Canada. It's very busy at our house right now, although they are not all camped here.

I started another round of chemo last week and the same old reactions came forward - fuzzy head, short of breath. However this time I have escaped the headache! Yeah. So things are not too bad. My visit to the oncologist earlier this week was very encouraging. He said that I was doing very well and as a result he has reduced the dose of 2 of the 3 chemo drugs. The tumour marker has gone down yet again, so things as as bright as they might be.

Still drinking my vegie juice every day and sticking pretty strictly to Dr Chen's recommended diet. I guess the whole combination is doing me quite well - all things considered.

I had a little non-cancer hiccup on Tuesday. Carelessly, I walked into some metal roofinf that was perched on the back of a truck in the car park beside my car. As a result I have a great gash in my face with 5 stitches and appropriate steri strips to cover them. Not particularly attractive! All Christmas photos will be taken from my left side! Fortunately I didn't do any major damage to eyes, nose or mouth, there is no bruising or swelling, and at the moment, no infection. Whew!

Last night we had a Christmas dinner with both my children and their children and I'm posting the photo of the gang for you to view. It's not a particularly good photograph - it's not eaasy to get an 87 year old great grandfather, his 6 week old great grandson and several members of the generations in between - to pose for a group photo. However, we've done our best and you can see the result. Questions of identification can be answered by email!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Did black pudding do the trick?

Whatever did the trick, this time my platelets were up and I've had my second burst of chemo this morning (Wednesday). That was the infusion of a cocktail of 2 chemotherpay drugs and now I take tablets for the 3rd drug for the next 2 weeks.

I also saw Dr Chen today who calmed me down about the negative direction of my liver function levels. They have been moving in the right direction for the past 6 months or so, so it was rather disappointing to see them reverse this time. Dr Chen tells me that the chemo attacks the liver and that this is to be expected. He will reasses in the new year to see if he needs to adjust my herbal and acupuncture regiime. I have an appointment with the oncologist on Monday so I'll be checking with him too.

The good news is that the tumour marker has gone down even further. Yeah!

Thanks for the recipes for using black pudding in creative ways - those of you who have sent them. I'm continuing to eat it almost daily until I get absolutely sick of it, then I'll have a break and see if the platelet reading changes. Hmmmmm.

The other REALLY good news is that my daughter, Nikki, arrives tomorrow night with her two gorgeous children to stay for 10 days. Can't wait to have them all here with me. Will post pics when I have them.

And Leigh and Bob, my sister and her husband, are arriving for 6 weeks from Saturday. We will be in family overload! It'll be just great.

And for those who are asking about why I called for beetroot. .It has amazing healing qualities, I need it to be organic. It is great to drink in juice form with carrot and celery. However, I don't really need it any more, as the local beach cafe, which is within walking distance, makes just that juice, so I wander down there each day to have my hit! Much easier than cleaning a juicing machine every day, don't you think? I get my exercise in at the same time - 2 birds with one stone.

Thanks for reading and being my own personal support group. I love you all XXXXX

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Black Pudding might be off the menu!

It's Wednesday morning. No chemo again this week. The blood test showed that platelet readings have not improved, so I can't have the chemo again. Once again, mixed emotions.
This time the nurse did give me the good news as well. The cancer activity marker is down to normal - yeah! and the liver function has improved yet again. So the chemotherapy is certainly doing its work well as far as the cancer activity is concerned and the herbal and acupuncture regime is doing its job on the liver function. So, just as long as I don't cut myself or have a bump or fall that causes internal bleeding, things are looking good. It means another blood test next Tuesday which, once again, will tell us whether I can have another shot of chemo on Wednesday.

I've been religiously eating black pudding to improve my platelet count since Dr Chen gave me that advice. It obviously has had no effect -perhaps I should give it a bit longer. Are 5 days of black pudding enough to affect the platelets? I'll have to ask him that when I see him tomorrow. Special thanks to those readers who have sent me recipes that use black pudding and shared stories about the role of black pudding in their family lives. I've enjoyed it all so much.
In the meantime I have enjoyed my extra week of freedom from medication - and now I have another one. The weather has been superb and I've been riding my bike along the beach path daily. It's magnificent and gives me so much pleasure.
And, of course, the festive season has brought its share of excuses to go out and have fun with friends. Last month I shared the photo of the tennis girls on Melbourne Cup Day. On Saturday night we had our Christmas celebration dinner with paper hats and all the trimmings. A fun time was had by all including husbands - where they exist! I am including photos of the gang on the night - before it all got very rowdy on the dance floor in our hosts' music room.