Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Past Month

OK. Lots has happened since I was here last.  To my dear, dear friends who read regularly, I apologise for not having posted for a whole month.

Leigh and I had a wonderful few days in Melbourne at the tennis. Great hospitality from Marie in South Yarra, bit of shopping, bit of dining out, bit of dining in, bit of catching up with friends - oh and two great days at Rod Laver Arena to see the quarter finals of the Australian Tennis Open.  The weather was sensational the whole time, our flights were on time and our chauffeur, Bob Speed, was right there to drive us back to Wollongong from the airport.

The shooting stick did its job as the pain increased. So - this pain situation had to be dealt with at a higher level!   I called the palliative care team, as pain management is their specialty, and the lovely doctor came to see me at home. We talked for a long time about - well about the pain, and he prescribed some more drugs and suggested we talk on the phone each day to discuss how things were going. So, those telephone conversations went on for quite a while as I was adding, increasing and altering different medications. Finally, on 14 February, I had my first pain-free day.  It's hilarious to see the collection of pills I have (several colours of the rainbow), and watching the process of sorting which ones need to be taken at which time of day. One morning I couldn't remember whether I'd taken them or not, so, not wanting to double up I didn't take any. By the afternoon I certainly knew that I hadn't taken the morning dose. No harm done, I downed the evening dose a bit early and was rewarded with almost instant relief.

In the meantime, on 7 February, I commenced my radiotherapy treatment at the Cancer Care Centre at Wollongong Hospital. My time slot each day is usually some time between 1.30pm and 2pm.  Leigh came with me for the first week (then she went home to Canada) and we went on the Gong Shuttle - a free bus that goes from close to my home right past the hospital. It all worked really well. The treatment is not invasive - I just lie on a metal table with my abdomen exposed, the therapists make sure I'm in the right position and then a big machine moves around me making noises at different stages. Since Leigh left for home, her husband Bob has been driving me to the hospital, waiting for me and then driving me home.  He's reading Peter Fitzsimon's book, "Kokoda", and looks forward to his reading time while he's waiting for me.

Week #1 of the therapy came and went without incident or repercussions. The pain was finally under control by 14 February and, apart from it raining every day, things seemed to be going swimmingly. After the first day of Week #2 of treatment things started to go haywire. I threw up for most of the night, and the second night, and the fourth night. Consultation with a radiotherapy doctor concluded that it probably wasn't the therapy that caused the nausea. There are a few options as to what has caused it but no-one is really sure. Tonight is the fifth night. I've reduced my diet to fluids and soft food, not eating much at all, and am hoping that there won't be a repeat performance tonight. It's horrible, it's exhausting, it's messy, it's painful, it's....well, it's just YUK.

I'm still pain-free, still taking loads of pills and still hoping that tonight will be incident-free.

Sunday 19 February @ 8pm

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