I thought this post would be reflections on the land Down Under, but I think it will be more about the effects of Down Under and especially of being in the midst of family who love you and would even if they weren’t scared of you dying.
This is what I looked like sitting in the first class section of our flight over There:
Rather scrawny and death’s headish I thought (I avoid mirrors!). Lou, my mum and Sam didn’t faint when they saw me. Lou reckoned I looked much better than I did at Christmas – she’s so kind. If it had been her looking like that I’d have burst into tears.
This is what I looked like two weeks later after a day in the Barossa Valley…this is one of the sculptures we couldn’t make sense of but which provided a good resting spot before the trek through the rest of the display on the side of a rather large hill.
My new R30 pair of size 10 Gloria van der Bilt jeans no longer fit me without pain!
Today the onco sister said I was ‘glowing’ as she took my blood – unnecessarily it seems, because while I was waiting for the results I saw Dr Landers, who sent me upstairs for a CT scan. Then Pat joined me for lunch at La Bella while we waited for the scan results. The result – I’m stable. His recommendation – no more chemo for 2 months unless something goes wrong. This is good news for me because I wasn’t looking forward to the bubble and the side-effects after two weeks of feeling normal again, and feeling my muscles growing back after all the walking and wrestling with Dougal. This is Lou doing the wrestling thing along with Cleo, Sam’s retriever in support role. (If you are wondering why there are no pics of Pat – she doesn’t want me to post them!)
Dr L is taking a gentle approach, and saving up the chemo while it is still effective, for in case/when the mofos start misbehaving he’ll still have that weapon in the arsenal. As he put it – in their current state , “the tumour in the bowel is not going to kill you, nor are the lesions in the liver or the two nodes on the lungs”.
He didn’t shout at me for indulging in a glass or two of the excellent South Australian red wine that Hamish and Sam picked out. What can I say? The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. It was worse than going to Stellenbosch – the range and variety was boggling – I remember Jacob’s Creek, Seppenfield (because we went there) and Coonawarra as labels but not the style or vintage of those I tasted – just that they were delicious.
So my hair is thicker and I can shop as well as walk through conservation areas for 3-4 hours.
Sharon and Dave with typical generosity insisted on picking us up at the ridiculous work week hour of 8.00pm. We were punch drunk from the nearly 24 hours of being awake having got up at 4am Adelaide time. Rocky and Pepper were delighted to see us when we got back, Rocky bouncing higher than I’ve ever seen him. (Cindy from school bought him an anti-anxiety collar because he was so depressed the first week we were away. It seemed to work. Pepper was a lot more blase apparently. Both were spoiled rotten by our housesitter – they are now on diet!)
It’s taken the weekend to kind of get back in synch with our SA life. The dogs have had a walk every night since we got back. Yesterday we went down to Suncoast to enjoy the beautiful morning. It’s nice to be home and it’s nice to know I can get involved in things with some predictability. It’s going to be weird knowing that each day will start with the normal work routine again. Lots to celebrate at work – Sumi’s graduation (yay Dee!), Mari’s poem published and my book – all done at last. I’ve got some M students to chase for proposals – that’s going to be fun.