Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mid November update

South Africans live in grand houses - well, those that I meet when I'm here do!  This is Nikki and Sam's house (almost all of it. I didn't stand far enough back to get it all in)

And they live in Mt. Edgecombe Estate 2 - it's compulsory to have a green roof

I took this shot while out walking one day - visitors to the estate - beautiful impalas

While I've been here, my Aussie-based grandson, Oscar, has turned 4 years old and he had a pirate party :)

Activities are still pretty much the same, based around the school run, after school activities and the birthday party world of 5 year olds and 8 year olds.

All those pills and potions and patches I'm taking are still doing their job.  I ran out of one drug which can be purchased over the counter in Australia. So I went to a pharmacy with the packet to buy some more. When I showed the pharmacist the packet (for Panadol Osteo) he informed me that it is not available in South Africa and that I should consult a doctor to prescribe an appropriate drug.

Nikki was able to get an appointment with her doctor for me on the same day fortunately, so off I went to explain my situation and ask for more drugs.  He confirmed that Panadol Osteo was not available here but that I should take their version of Panadol, which they call Panado (emphasis on the second 'a' as in 'ar'). He also prescribed Celebrex and said I may get even more relief with its pain relief qualities.

Lo and behold! he was right.  Even though I still have pain while standing still, I can now walk for as long as I like without being in major pain. Seems crazy, doesn't it. So, I have taken advantage of that since and have been walking all around the estate for hours - most days. Today it's raining, so no walk today. Boo hoo. It's been great to get out and do something more energetic than sitting by the pool.

As I write this it's 12.15pm in South Africa on Thursday 24th November 2011. I'm now off to have a haircut. Ciao!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tim's 40th and Durban Update

Celebrating Tim's 40th
The Birthday Boy, his sister, Nikki, and their Mum

                                        The Birthday Boy and his beautiful partner, Debs

Life in Durban with the Moffitts - Nikki, Sam, Zeke and Willow - is delightful.  Lovely family things together, including rising at 5am or so!!!  Can you believe that school starts here at 7.30am? And there are no school buses, so there is a school run to do every morning and afternoon.

Pain is well under control as long as I don't have to spend much time on my feet - lots of sitting and lolling about! And I've been able to do it by the pool for the last couple of days. We've had some cool, windy, rainy days, but they've gone for the moment and the sun is shining.  Chemo means I can't really sit in the sun for any length of time, but the shade is OK. Lots of reading and crosswords while the children are at school.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oh dear! It's Tuesday 8 November......

and I haven't written here since 20 October. Life has been sooooo busy.

Since then I have had a series of last medical appointments to ensure I have adequate instructions and medication for the 5 week visit to South Africa. I will return to Australia mid-December to have radiotherapy to shrink the tumour in my back muscle - which is the one that is touching the nerve and causing pain in my left upper leg and pelvic area.

I've had the necessary 'beauty' appointments prior to departure - hair, face, legs, nails

I've had a few meals and 'teas' with friends to say farewell

I've had shoes and handbag mended

Most important of all, I've helped celebrate Tim's 40th birthday and enjoyed having Nikki here for the celebrations. Hers was a whirlwind trip to Australia that only lasted 5 days. She fitted a great deal into those 5 days and I think she must have just rolled onto the final plane trip to sleep all the way from Hong Kong to Durban.

The party was a fab occasion where family members and friends from all the phases of Tim's life gathered upstairs at a pub in Darlinghurst to congratulate him on reaching the Big 40 and to wish him well for the next 40 or so years.

There have also been some sombre moments.  I have attended the funeral of a dear friend of the Terrie and Bill Eddy family. Alan passed away of a massive heart attack at the age of 54. Too young to die. I've also conducted two memorial services for friends whose family members have passed away. It is a privilege to be asked to officiate on such an occasion and an honour to be able to assist the family in their time of grief.

And so, with packing done, last minute bills paid and farewells made, I was ready to fly from Sydney to Durban via Johannesburg on Monday 31 October. But QANTAS had other ideas. They grounded the fleet on Saturday 29th, didn't fly on 30th and thought they would be back in the air on 31st. My travel agent advised me to go the airport for my 10.35am flight - just in case it was going - and to be 'in their face' if it was not, to ensure I'd be on a flight as early as possible. I negotiated to fly on the same flight on 2 November.  It was far from the most favourite flight I've ever taken, but I survived and am now safely and happily in Durban with my little family - Nikki, Sam, Zeke and Willow. It was a great tonic, after a gruelling 20 hours of travel and waiting, to be greeted with smiles and excited shrieks and big hugs at Durban airport.

And now I've been here almost a week. The days have been alternately cool and warm with rain and thunderstorms occasionally. Today for the first time, I'm wearing shorts and singlet top - it feels good :)  Nikki has gone off to take the children to school and go to the gym while I catch up on writing this blog post. Days have been filled with - the school run, birthday lunch for Nikki's friend, watching Zeke at his judo class, helping Zeke build a fort in the back yard, reading Willow her favourite book - many, many, many times, attending the First Holy Communion of the 11 year old daughter of special friends and going on to the family party afterwards, checking Zeke's homework, sleeping until noon (sometimes!), playing Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends on my iPad with lots of help from Willow and Zeke, and generally hanging out with the family.

I'm using Nikki's computer, so will need her help to add photos which will have to wait until the next post. Until then ........