Liz's colonic journey

Ontological shifts!

One of the greatest joys in my life is sitting on our porch in the early morning, watching the sun rise, and the birds (paradise flycatchers, wild canaries, loeries, bronze mannikins… we even have an African Goshawk that visits). The pic below is from last year when a pair of Egyptian Geese moved in, having decided that Number 32 was a good address. We had to get CROW to come in and rehome them, else we’d have ended up with a flock the size of the one at Tala.

We regularly have Gymnogenes nesting in the palm trees outside also. There’s lots of life here.

I’m feeling much better this morning. I think the iodine dye (or whatever it was) that was injected yesterday for the CT scan didn’t really agree with me, so I didn’t feel like eating. That faint nausea on top of pretty much knowing that the results of the CT scan are going to show that the cancer is metasticised already ie. it’s stage 4 not 3 (localised) and that is likely to change the treatment plan (I hope a treatment plan is possible) really made me feel blue.

The world suddenly got very small this week – all about cancer and treatment.  From being incredibly busy:

  •  with Pioneers online expressing their excitement of seeing people expressing their own fields so creatively in adapting to the affordances (a Gita word) of technology.
  • thinking about hosting Derek Keats for a chat about Open Source/Creative Commons academia 
  • thinking about how the e-Learning Festival is going to be special again this year
  • seeing how Joan’s Transformational Ed Studies research group is growing so beautifully and organically into a place where new researchers start honouring their own knowledge, how it connects with the academic canon and how they will contribute
  • reading research articles, and thinking about writing them, fascinated by Brenda’s AD project
  • wondering how to be a supervisor – with the emphasis on ‘being’
  • watching curricula change in powerful ways (at last) at DUT
  • trying to focus on how to get to Stellenbosch and HELTASA in November and also to the Quality in Supervision conference in Adelaide in April
  • planning to do the Ronnie Davel and PDAC races at the beginning of next year – getting back into walking more routinely (I’ve been skipping RWFL sessions a lot from feeling tired or fluey)

Suddenly everything came down to the next appointment, the next scan, the next results discussion. I’m thankful for the ‘angels’, as Bwalya calls them, who have picked up all these projects at seriously short notice.

So yesterday, I was finally hitting the reality of the diagnosis – the possibility of what might be – being realistic about how to take care of things I want to take care of and really challenged by what “being positive” might mean. I also felt horrible about the pain this is causing people who love me. Pat and Tania, and family and PaperHeaDs and everyone are telling me not to worry about that, but when did I ever listen to good advice? Maybe this tumour is about me metaphorically being “hard-assed”!

I was very soggy – to say the least. And forcing myself to eat, I’ve lost 3kgs in the last 2 weeks, was tough. Pat took me to Auntie Woollies to buy tempting nibbles, so that I can eat continuously and enough without causing a ‘backup’, as it were. Those little chicken pies, and bits of fruit are perfect. I rounded it all off with a mini-Magnum, thinking of the envy of my walking buddies, not that any of them should worry about weight gain. It was Joan’s mail about not regretting eating ice-cream, ‘cos you never know when you’ll hit an iceberg driving home, that inspired that purchase.

This morning though I’m feeling better. My head has repositioned itself to accommodate the 3 to 4th stage shift in my status – anticipating what the oncologist is going to say at 11. A large dose of vitamin C last night has lifted the fluey feeling (I think) and a good sleep last night care of a half of a sleeping pill, has made the view from our porch as beautiful as ever again. I’m blessed that we can afford Woolworths nibbles, that financially we have some reserves and that my medical aid offers generous coverage for oncology treatment once I’ve been registered by the oncologist. (Who has any medical savings at this time of the year?)  Also I am blessed by having generous sick leave and vacation leave that I haven’t taken (work is generally too much fun).  I’m feeling for the thousands of others in SA (and actually the world) who don’t have these options.

Writing the blog last night was therapeutic. Once the events were captured sort of, my head was able to go new places, and with the lifting of that cognitive weight my body stopped aching – the emotional ache. Thanks to all of you, specially Kathy, who did the fabulous blog on her Camino pilgrimage, for encouraging me. I was a bit concerned about doing something so self-involved and potentially uncomfortable to write and read (does the world really need another blog?), but figured that people can choose whether they want to read it. Also it was time to walk the talk, encouraging students and our practitioner-researchers to journal and blog is one thing, doing it is another. Time to set an example!

Thanks for thanking me for the blog – that’s a fabulous affirmation.

Now it’s time to get to the Traffic Department to get a temporary driver’s license to replace the one that has disappeared in all the chaos!



Comments on: "Ontological shifts!" (4)

  1. Rosh Sunder said:

    Yes, thanks for sharing your journey, the beauty and the “beast” experience with us.
    And you do this with such courage!


  2. Liz, you are a remarkable person; you have touched the lives of so many and it is now our turn to support you through this. Shout, whisper – ask for what you need. Love Nicky

  3. Hey Liz, also just to say thanks for the blog…it is therapeutic and helps me to connect with your journey, intimately… all the shock, pain, and confusion merging with the beauty of birds, and of you, your mind and heart’s yearnings. Lots of love Mari

  4. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for sharing this – helps me understand a bit more.
    Thinking about you

    Joan M

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