I meant to reflect on CT scans and the good news that the tumours in my liver are down by roughly 20% again which leaves the liver nearly 50% clear. I think I’ve mentioned before how weird it is to look at your own liver in a scan and not really comprehend that this organ is doing its thing in your body as you are looking at the scan. I think it feels more intrusive/vulnerable making that being naked. It’s a very weird feeling to look at yourself naked from the inside. How brave am I? – I’ll share just one shot of my vrot liver now- there are 87 of them! The grey shadows in the liver lobe on the left are the tumours.
Now CT scans are an experience in themselves – much better than MRI which is an hour in a thrumming noisy tunnel without being able to move but picks up nodules of less than 2 microns, or the terrifying Sonar where they can tell you straight away that you aren’t looking good.
The first thing for the CT scan is to drink a litre of dye reactant – which tastes like stale water – over an hour whilst reading old mags or listening to a new audible book. (Guess my choice?) Hard to do if you are faintly nauseous, but better apparently the radiographers say than when they flavoured it with aniseed!
Then you take of all your clothes – nylon underwear not good – and jewellery and put on one of those charming hospital gowns and walk into the freezing CT zone. There you get loaded on a platen with your knees and head cushioned, and covered with a blanket, very welcome at that point and fitted with a needle in the arm. (They don’t use the port because the dye bungs it up.) The platen moves up and you slide into the ring of flashing lights – a bit like Stargate. Then a plummy British accent says “hold your breath” and a few eons later “you can breathe again”. Thanks everso!
Now that you are through the ring they inject the real dye, which burns like crazy, then you get a weird chemical taste in your mouth and the next thing to hit is a flood of warmth in your nether regions which makes you think you’ve wet yourself. Pleasant in some contexts perhaps, but not this clinical one. Then you slide back through the ring, watching the pretty lights go round and round, holding your breath to plummy instructions and then it’s all over. You totter back to change into your clothes remembering later that your specs are in the CT room and you can’t see where they are!
(Congratulations Rosh, I met one of your cum laude to be B.Tech graduates, I hope she does the M she plans! She’s good. We need lots of research in this area!)
We had to wait about two hours for the scan results to get back to Doc Landers, so we went for breakfast. We rwent Churchill House but discovered it was being fumigated and covered in a tent – so no wonder we didn’t find it till the third trip around the block and instructions from Delysia! She recommended 191 Musgrave Rd as an alternative and a fine alternative it was. Good decaff in a garden environment.
We then saw Doc Landers and saw the comparative scan. I truly was shocked at how bad the October scan was compared to this one. I truly didn’t realise then how sick I was. I still don’t feel like a sick person! He says he’s going to chat to the radiography guys about RFA and my case – we’ll wait to hear. Apparently previously they haven’t been real reliable in showing up for appointments, so he’s a little worried about making any promises. In the meantime, it was a normal chemo week with bloods on Tuesday and more happy wheatgrass dancing.
I drove myself in to my Wednesday long chemo session and was feeling good after and drove home without killing anybody. I saw Wendy on Monday getting scanned and Wednesday having bloods. I think they are giving her a chemo holiday because she had a throat infection last week and was feeling pretty low. Her bloods were fine but she just couldn’t deal with chemo this week. I guess after 12 sessions last year and 6 already this year it can get very old. She feels grotty on the chemo days whereas I’m blessed with feeling pretty strong whilst dripping. She was still upbeat though and planning a trip with the church to Mozambiquan rural areas in June – that’s brave! I’m not sure I’d be happy to go 3rd world in a weakened condition. Remarkable woman.
It was lovely to come home to the gorgeous flame lillies that Ruth dropped off on her scoot through Pinetown. Thank you Ruth for that upliftment.
Today, Pat and I finally got her power of attorney documentation sorted out with ABSA. It’s been a two nearly 3 visit/standing in queue thing to do, because banks don’t except attorney’s letters to this effect. Who knew?
It did involve a two block trek up to First National to get bank statements – apparently a marriage certificate and proof of residence wasn’t enough to prove that Pat wasn’t holding me at gunpoint to steal my money (all the millions!).
Seeing as this happened after second bit of chemo and picking up my ‘takeaway’ pump. I was already feeling a bit worn. Oh yes, and the guys in Musica (where I went to wait for Pat) wanted to strip search me because my Mac triggered the alarm as I left. We know it was the Mac because it only pinged when the bag went through. I avoided the strip search and any further attempts at intelligent shopping and went for a decaff skinny latte and bran muffin instead.
So after that and while Pat sorted out her international driver’s license, I ran away to work. There I had a lovely time discussing tomorrow’s Pioneers session with Bwalya, who has actually picked up running the course due to my absence with her usual style and panache. Then finding out again how amazing Sibongile and Shubs are at arranging the TES project self-study workshop on the 4th, 5th and 6th March at Edgewood with Kathleen, pretty much carrying the project leadership can. All three of them doing jobs that really aren’t theirs with such grace and care. Thank you all. And chatting to Gita about her Phd – it will happen Gitz! One step at a time. Got a lovely hug from Mary and Denise and some belly aerobics from her, Peter and Pregz. It felt good to connect again.
I really hope that the chemo doesn’t knock me flat again next week, because there’s so much exciting stuff happening at DUT. It’s a good place to be around. And wow! 2 direct 100 MB internet connections to and from the PMB campuses and the Durban ones. Well done Vijay and team. That’s going to make life so much easier.
After sounding so with it – I’d better confess that my down moments have now been reduced to playing Yeti Bubbles – because Windows 2007 doesn’t have Spider Solitaire. Yeti Bubbles is quite good – you have to shoot lines of colours with whichever colour is coming out of the canon. You have to clear the screen before it hits the deck. I liken it to zapping tumours only prettier.
I think that pretty much brings us up to date. I do understand why I’m feeling a bit tired tonight. I’m excited at seeing what Bwalya’s Pioneers have wrought tomorrow. And if I’m strong I’ll stay on for the TES mentoring-researchers chat session.
Try Yeti Bubbles it’s fun!