Liz's colonic journey

Colourful – Quick update

So as you know, the bloods were good, so Pat and I trotted down to the Onc Centre to meet Dr Landers and to go forth with the chemo. Dr L was lovely as usual – so nice to have undivided attention – he refuses all interruptions and phone calls (which makes him unpopular with some GPs and surgeons), but his focus is on his patients. I think it makes a difference. The exam just found a little tenderness over the liver but he was chuffed that it’s not swollen or enlarged.

I’m scheduled for another CT scan on the 20th Feb, after I finish round 4b of the chemo. If there’s further reduction in the liver metastases and he can actually see what’s going on, he’s recommending something called radiofrequency ablation to zap the tumours in the liver with heat. Having a liver resection (where they cut out the bad bit) is not an option since the lesions are throughout my liver – I’d end up with a liver like a colander. Pat is sort of relieved – the idea of surgery to that extent terrifies both of us! RFA is apparently an outpatient procedure and has had good reports – not of cure but of extending life.

So the thing to wish for is that all of the tumours stay under 1.5 cm and the radiologists can zap them directly!

Met a fabulously inspiring woman at the OTC. Her name is Wendy and she works for Discovery a) I was impressed by how upbeat and well she looks b) her sense of humour is Pratchettian – suggesting that they have poledancing entertainment in the chemotherapy room – which she says is ideally set up for a class act because of all the mobile drip stands. She decided that belly dancing wasn’t an option because most people there are too skinny c) by her concern as an administrator for the patients that she works for  c) that she is still working but doesn’t do finance stuff ‘cos she doesn’t want to mess with people’s finances as a result of ‘chemo-brain’ d) that she was dressed in pink from top to toe. I need to shop for colour!

Wendy is on her second go-round with cancer – she finds it very unfair that she didn’t get a second ‘dread disease payout’!

I discovered that she spent a lot of time in hospital last year – at least 3 blood transfusions because she’s anaemic and a big chunk of colon chopped out. She has a 14 year old son who knows all. (She did mutter about rationale for ‘justifiable homicide’, but gets her revenge by hugging him in public.) She made me laugh for two solid hours despite the fact that she is one of the people who feels grottty when she’s ‘dripping’. We had a real coffee klatch without the coffee – and were scolded by the sisters for not noticing that our bags had finished causing air to get into our lines. Add her to your prayers if you would – this woman is pure life force – and uplifted the two very sad people there just with her patter.

It was an honour to meet her.

Chemo went well, with just a couple of 5 minute naps. I’ll have Avastin tomorrow making tomorrow’s session longer but it made today’s session shorter. Pat and I are getting good at the timing. Tamsin the onco nurse told me “Two bags left”, I do a quick calculation (very rough) that that’s an hour and I had 15 minutes for contingency and my ‘takeaway’ hookup. I sms Pat to pick me up at 2.45. I walk out at 2.42 and sit on a stone under a tree on Ridge Rd, and Pat rolls up at quarter to three. How good are we?

So I’m dripping along merrily as I type – pretty amazed that although my knees were wobbly this am – stronger than yesterday- which I’m putting down to the scrambled eggs we had for dinner last night, they are feeling remarkably stable tonight. And no, they don’t put feel-good muti into the drips – just the mild steroid for antinausea. I asked. I’m just one of the incredibly lucky ones that doesn’t feel bad when they’re dripping – I get the couch days a week later. I always was slow.

Which reminds me of Robert Graves poem The Cool Web, subject of the first English Lit assignment in first year, which I nearly failed – I think I got 52%. If I could give a percentage to today’s experience I’d give it an 80% (the ‘what next’ question is still too open to rate 100%). Hope you guys are all doing well and for those of you on FaceBook – check out the magnificent mosaic coffee table that Portia Redmond has made!

Till later –




Comments on: "Colourful – Quick update" (8)

  1. Joan Conolly said:

    Dear Liz, thank you for the update. I am soooooooooo glad that you are one of the ones who do not have toooooooooo bad drip reactions. Sorry about couch days … I hope that the airconditioning helps. And thank you for the heads-up about The Lady in Pink! I am hereby promising to give all mofos my very best most concentrated shot!!! Love and hugs to all bi- and quadrupeds – with less and more fur!

    • I’m convinced that your mofo zapping activity and all the care thoughts and prayers are what
      are keeping connected to The Is and having fun being here, even on the couch days. Thank you.
      I suspect that the enforced couching is good for body and soul. I think more of us need to nap
      and take the time for being! Blessings everywhere – I am a lucky sausage!

  2. Hi Liz… your blog post has made me so happy today… a “feel good” drip…<3… love the 'new' avatar that quitely sits tapping tapping her keys… also love that her nose is longer than mine (lol)! Nike it!

  3. I went straight to Audible Books, Ansa, on reading your comment – getting lazy about reading – to look for Mark Crick but sadly they have none of his work! Seems I’ll have to rely on Loot/Kalahari or Amazon – given my aversion to shopping centres.

    I’m really sad to hear about the Boekhuis closing down. I love off the street bookshops and one of my fantasies in the 90s was to have a bookshop/coffee shop that wasn’t all glitzy and shiny but had fabulously un-mainstream books, that pricked the mind into going amazing places. Let’s face it Exclusive is not really a browsing sort of place – if you sit on the carpet to stick your nose in a book you are bound to get trodden on!

  4. Hi Liz, Thank you for your inspiring updates. They are becoming like a series that I look forward to. I went to see George Voster in hospital, he has been critically ill for more than six weeks. I love George so much and have done since I met him in 1990 when I studied Fashion at Tech (then). Every time I go and see him about masters, projects fashion council etc, he treats me as if he has all the time in the world for me even though I know as HOD fashion he was under huge pressure. When I saw him I realised that I never told him how much I admired him, loved him and respected him. The same thing when a friend of mine was criticall injured at home when their house was broken into. I only told him how much I love and respect him when he was in hospital.

    Liz, now it’s your turn and from now on I will start to include those that are well. From the time I met you I loved your spark and energy, your sense of humour and your strength of character.

    There are so many people that I love, I am going to tell them!

    • You go, Bonnie. When you see George again, please give my love to George and best wishes for happy recovery. Six weeks in hospital is scary.

  5. Ansa Liebenberg said:

    Hi Liz, amazing how one meets the most wonderful people in the strangest circumstances! I loved yesterday’s blog about the planting – nothing like nurturing plants and watch in great anticipation how they grow (or not!). I was reading your blog while sitting on the stoep of Boekehuis in Melville (my most favourite bookshop – which will unfortunately be closed down by Media 24 at the end of the month, but that is another story). Boekehuis now has the sale of all sales and one of the gems I bought is ‘Machiavelli’s Lawn’ – The great writers’ garden companion (Written and illustrated by Mark Crick and published by Granta Books in 2011). Apparently Crick is also the author of ‘Satre’s Sink and Kafka’s Soup’, which has been translated into 25 languages. The latter sounds fascinating, but I think now that we’re all thinking green (or trying to) the garden companion can be a really inspiring companion indeed – so, with Wendy, Pat and the garden companion at your side, you will blossom into great health soon. Looking forward to your next piece of writing! Ansa

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