Sunday, July 31, 2011

and now it's about the hair!

When this chemo all started, I was told that I may lose my hair, but then again, I may not! Diffferent people have different reactions.

Right from the start my hair has been falling out. I know I haven't mentioned it .... because it's been happening so gradually, uniformly, unnoticeably. I did notice a lot of strands of hair in every part of my home, but it wasn't noticeable on my head.

However, for the past couple of months I have enjoyed having a thinner head of hair. I've always had sooooo much hair - envied by some, I know. It's not that I didn't like it, it's just that it used to get so thick and bushy when it was time for a cut - and sometimes I'd leave it for too long before the cut... and hate the 'bush' on my head.

But today............... a dear friend pointed out the small bald patches behind my ears. Oops - now that's a place I can't see when I look in the mirror. It's probably where I push the sides of my reading glasses and my sungalsses on and off my head.

A friend who has survived breast cancer and been through the hair loss process has given me her hat box full of wigs, scarves, turbans, headbands - ages and ages ago. It's been stored away in the hope that I wouldn't need them - as beautiful as they all are. Now I've dragged it out realising that I may well need to use its contents - and before too much longer.

The few hats I own are now too big for my head, so I might have to go out and buy at least one - once all the hair is gone. A bit of retail therapy ahead. Yeah!

I had a little retail therapy about a month ago and shouted myself a new Apple ipad 2. What fun. So last night I went to the Apple shop in Sydney for a free workshop on using the features of this enthralling device. It was excellent and I'll be looking to go to more when I have the time.

This week my Chinese herbal doctor was VERY PLEASED when he did the 'pulse and tongue test'. And that makes me pleased, too :)

Meanwhile, for someone who doesn't cook - I'm hooked on Masterchef - 6 nights a week on TV.

This coming week is week 3 in my chemo cycle - the best week - leading up to the start of the next cycle which will be Round 5 of 9.

Sunday 31 July @ 9pm

Thursday, July 21, 2011

and the fight goes on :)

Well, good news this week.

It was time for another blood test and the usual visit to the oncologist for the results and to see if my white cell and platelet counts were OK to continue with the next round of chemo.

So WCC is OK, platelets are not too low, so don't have to go back onto black pudding :)

But the good news is that the tumour marker (it's called the CEA and it indicates the level of cancer activity in my body) has dropped even further and is now into the 'normal' range. Yippee! So the graph over the past 8 months, since this all started again, goes very sharply up and then does a nose dive - very sharply down.

It means the tumours are shrinking in response to the also means that the treatment needs to continue. So, I went out of his office straight into his day clinic where I had my 4th round of 9 rounds of chemo. Almost half way. And after the 6th round (mid August) I will have another PET scan which will actually show it all in pictures, rather then just numbers on a page and a graph. It will show the cancer spots in the places where they are in my body and it will show the size.

So, maybe Dr. Chen was a little bit right - that I will live a little bit longer and closer to 100!!!

Who knows which treatment is really doing all the good. I honestly believe that the combination of the western medicine and the alternative treatment that I receive from Dr. Chen is a magic formula. No matter who I speak to - medical or lay people - they all say, "just keep on doing what you're doing because whatever it is is doing well".

So that's what I'm doing - sticking to my Dr. Chen diet and exercise and herbal regime and having the chemotherapy as well. So you will still see me, each morning, stepping out in my bare feet to walk 200m on my rough road surface, patting my tummy and bottom with alternate steps - doing my DIY acupuncture. I know it's funny, but it's not a chore and it's over very quickly. Not doing it in this torrential rain though.

I have been making efforts to explore how acidic or alkaline my system is. Apparently if it's too acidic it feeds the cancer cells. So I've done lots of reading, consulted various people, tracked down some litmus paper for testing and also had a venous blood gases test. Dr. Chen advised that I cut down on all animal products - fish, chicken, eggs, honey etc. Then I read about which fruit and vegetables are good and bad for PH levels. I need to cut down a bit on all the fruit I eat - lots of sugar in fruit.

Anyway - after the venous blood gases test results it seems that my system is pretty well balanced and I don't really need to go to any more extreme measures with my diet. Phew!

All for now.Putting the finishing touches to a weddng ceremony for tomorrw night and planning my trip to Norfolk Island in August and then - just maybe - I'll go to South Africa in November to spend time with my little family there. All OK with the oncologist.

Thursday 21 August 2011 @ 7pm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

See my daughter's blog re...

..... climbing Kilimanjaro

Oops - it's been 2 weeks..

Two weeks already since my last post here. That's been 2 weeks free of ANY medical stuff. It's been heaven. But I'm back now to the regimen of consultations, tests, chemo etc

Well - I did go to Port Douglas with my Dad for a week's R&R. And that's exactly what it was. Dad and I had adjoining serviced apartments and really took advantage of the warm temperature (26'-28' every day), sometimes a little cloud cover in the mornings, but the rest of the days were open blue sky and sunshine, without wind. Perfect for long walks along 4 mile beach, reading, lounging by the pool - in the sun for Dad and under the shade of the palms for me - naps at any time of day, lunches or dinners at wonderful restaurants. It was very relaxing.

Dad loves his mud crabs!

Dad went on a fishing trip and caught lots of fish and had a great time. We went to the Daintree and took a boat ride on the river to view crocs, tree snakes and beautiful birds. Otherwise, we just hung around the resort.

Coming back to freezing Wollongong was a bit of a shock. Max 12' yesterday!!!!!! Swimsuit and sarongs and shorts and thongs, T shirts and summer dresses are now back in storage and the scarves and gloves and coats and boots are out again.

Yesterday I went to my Chinese doctor. He was very pleased with my condition and said that my chi is improving. His expression was "I can see a bubble"

Today I'm having lunch with my friend Karen to celebrate her birthday and tonight going with friends to an Australian Chamber Orchestra concert.

And next week - blood test, consultation with the oncologist and then my next dose of chemo.

Will report then

Thursday 14 July @ 10am

Friday, July 1, 2011


  • blood tests last week show tumour markers are continuing to go down
  • still headache free - yippee - I'm a different woman
  • currently chemo-free- no intravenous drip or chemo tablets for another 2 weeks - yippee
  • one blood test only this coming Monday, then nothing for 2 more weeks, so...... my Dad and I are off to Port Douglas on Monday for a week of warmth in the bones :)
  • so - no Hopemobile trip just yet
  • just home from a manicure/pedicure/facial session - heaven - and smooth face and pretty nails :)
My Dad polishing his shoes on the balcony before he goes to the horse races. He's a 90 year-old champ!

I saw the Chinese herbalist this week. He was very pleased with the blood test results and our discussion about my diet and my do-it-yourself acupuncture activities. So, I said "So, you think I'll last a bit longer then?" He replied "Oh, sure. You'll live 'til your 100!!" Ha Ha! The slow pace in which I walked into his rooms became almost a skip on the way out. I don't believe him for a minute (who wants to live to 100 anyway?), but it's amazing the difference it made to my mood for the day.

Sharing this pic that I took a few mornings ago from just outside my place at about 6.30am. 'Red sky in the morning, sailors' warning'

Saturday 2 July 2011 @ 2.40pm