Liz's colonic journey

Archive for July, 2012

Session 1: Round 2 blessings


This is what the veggie patch looked like this morning, when I went out to pick some lettuce to go with my lunch. It’s really a very beautiful time of the year in Durban. The light has an amazing quality. Can you spot the eggplant in this pic?


I don’t know if it’s the chemo or slowing down for the chemo regime again, but I’m remembering to notice things, or maybe again something in my senses makes it impossible not to see what is around me. My bloods were good yesterday, they took it via my port, so I’ve only had one needle prick this time. It did mean that I’ve been attached to a tube a day longer, but this morning it’ll mean that i just need to be connected to the bags. These guys really need to know their fluid mechanics! Funny, in making my lunch for today, I completely forgot to eat breakfast. I don’t think I’ll starve though. Have plenty of nuts, fruit, veg and even a slice of naughty cold pizza. A treat is essential. I thought I’d be able to catch up on my Olympic viewing, and maybe the cricket, but it looks like the Onco centre’s decoder has conked in. This is good news for Liza, because it means that I’ll get back to her quicker with feedback on her M draft! In the meantime, I’m thinking of the work team working hard to finally develop DUT’s e Learning strategy. I can’t wait to hear how e Learning is defined because that will make all the difference to what constitutes our jobs. I’m guessing that the team will be knackered by the end of the We are looking forward to celebrating Andy’s 50th, this weekend. I’m trying to work out where I can find some red and white hooped socks, for my Granny Weatherwax outfit. While Granny can’t be having with colours other than proper servicable witches’ black, I think she might be seduced by red hooped hose. Can’t let Lou’s very glam Rosy Palm show me up!



Hot Air

…is a Good Thing. It often makes one feel buoyant. It’s great to be back to buoyancy after having been a lead balloon for the past week. At least Pat seems to have enjoyed having me around during the day even when I’ve been whinging about the next side-effect. Look, I think we’ve adapted again much quicker than we did for the last batch of 9 rounds. I’d forgotten about the nausea meds and taking the omerprazole to stop the stomach reactions. I think I also needed to make the psychological shift back into ‘fight’ mode rather than cosy cruise. Thanks to each and every one of you who has sent me cheer and jokes to lift the mood via this blog, email, Facebook, sms and calls. Gita and Umesh sneaking in to install a water filter on our kitchen basis was so amazing. I didn’t even know they were here. (I think this pic was from Elaine. The attitude is very much what Pat was having to deal with!)


Each day since last Wednesday has been getting better. So Thursday’s feeling sick and down was a rather deep depression. I was anxious about a couple of things. One was the cough that was giving me post-exercise stiffness, apparently caused by my liver being inflamed and pressing on my diaphragm. It seemed to be going on and on.  Cough mixture helped me go to sleep, but I was getting to the stage of sending Pat out to different chemists in case someone decided I was addicted. (Every Saturday we walk the dogs, we find two empty bottles of cough mixture and an empty box carton of cheap wine on the grass in front of the complex next to us. In the middle of the month it’s a 2litre box  with sweet wrappers, at the end of the month a 5 litre and  MacDonalds debris. Someone has a Beeeg Problem,  or at least a horrible headache the next day.)

I digress. The cough has resulted in the nearest thing to ‘rippling abs’ I’ve ever had in my life, so not all bad.  The big worry was the two week constipation (apologies to sensitive viewers) the effects of which gradually dominated my every waking thought not to mention my actions. I was really worried that my rectal tumour had grown and blocked me up. When the cramps hit: Sunday and Monday, I called Dr Landers. He was concerned (He has two people in hospital with vomitting and periteneal tears already) and sent me for an Xray.  The result: I was vol kak (again apologies but this is the nature of this kind of cancer.)! Some judicious imbibing of dynamite, otherwise known as a fleet enema, has me a free woman at last. The Xray also showed that that tumour hasn’t grown since October. A very Good Thing.

I didn’t get much sleep last night and needed to be close to ‘facilities’ all day today. Which felt silly because I was good to work, for the first time in ages it seemed. It was the challenge of having to  charge down a 15 metre corridor, release the electric latch on the front door of the office, hurtle down a flight of stairs, fumble for the loo key, unlock it and relock it once through the door, get into the stall lock it and you know the rest. Just not doable.

Pat is mightily relieved. Poor woman. It didn’t help that both Pepper and Rocky seemed to be in solidarity with me – literally. 32 Scott has been less than salubrious.

Moral: Don’t ever underestimate the power of an a-hole to give you a hard time.

Another plus of this last week’s experience is that Pat and I finally got to watch the first series of Downton Abbey. I love Maggie Smith – she does disdain so brilliantly. Usually I’m so hyper I can’t sit for longer than an hour watching TV. I need to be ‘doing stuff’. I was feeling so passive last week I was perfectly able to watch three episodes in a row, without doing anything else. We’re addicted. And guess who forgot to record the first two episodes of the second season?

I noticed the sunlight on the roses today – buoyancy.





Back on Chemo

I’d planned to do a good post today. Unfortunately after such a long chemo holiday, I’ve forgotten the coping skills of the old new normal. The new, new normal needs to go on hold for a while.

I’m on chemo because it’s time to haul back the mofos. I was having low grade pain in my midriff on a  pretty much ongoing basis, and movements were becoming problematic.

So I’m ok with being back on chemo if it addresses that problem and the cough which is apparently the result of an inflamed liver.

What  I forgot to remember about coping skills is to make sure to have a supply of anti-nausea pills, so today has been a bit miserable. Tomorrow will be better, I’m sure.

On the road


Pumula Beach


This is what happens when you send a photo from your phone to WordPress. You get funny predictive text and no explanation. The explanation is that Pat and I decided to take a drive down the coast on Sunday. To the Pumula Beach Hotel, which if any of you have seen the pics posted on FaceBook,is gorgeous. We thought we’d have a quiet tea on the deck and look out for whales and dolphins. Unfortunately, we forgot that it’s school holidays and Pumula is a family hotel – so no tea for daytrippers and not much in the way of quiet. It was fun to lurk around and watch all the energy for a bit. The pic doesn’t show it but the wind was howling – this did not seem to deter all the semi naked holiday makers though. They were determined to have and were having a wonderful time.

The on the road pic was just a beautiful moment looking across an estuary just shy of Scottburgh – we were stuck in traffic reduced to a single lane because of roadworks. It was a lovely drive and an opportunity to reminisce over events and holidays in the past. We laughed a lot. We missed the sardines by a day. I believe they arrived in Hibberdene on Monday. I was almost sure that I spotted two whale spouts but they could have been energetic rocks. The sea was pretty choppy. We did enjoy a meal at Phat Bros in Scottburgh. Pat had a burger and I managed to finish one, only of their Poppers – deep fried  jalapeno’s stuffed with extra cheese and chilli. I was beaten by the heat. Jalapenos count as vegetables, right?

Today’s laugh came after I’d finished chatting to sister Sam in Oz . It was a quick call – weekday schedules, you understand. Sam was getting ready to give her family dinner and I was taking a workday break. We chatted delightfully and then signed off. I’d just turned back to my pc and got into the next thing on my To Do list (A leave request for our Mauritius trip in October), when there was a Skype bing followed by a little voice saying,”Hello Bizzy Lizzy”. Dougal explained to his mum that he was phoning Bizzy Lizzy and then we had to say goodbye again. What made me laugh was that at 2 and a half, Dougal hasn’t quite mastered camera angles, so my view of the interaction consisted of a spray of fine blond hair and his mum’s knees. What a delightful age 2 and a bit is. Better entertainment than anything on TV.

Pepper and Rocky are at the parlour – long overdue by the smell!

I’ve quite enjoyed being at work during the university students’ vacation, not just to sit around, but it’s given me and the Master’s students time to actually work together with real focus and get into the real thinking work of their projects. Very exciting. It’s difficult to do this in an hour appointment one on one, with one’s attention split three ways on different tasks. No wonder people don’t do philosophy much any more. There’s no time.

Physically I’m feeling very well. I have the occasional tummy pang and strange aches in my hips and thumbs from time to time. Last night I had a cramp in my bicep. These are not anything to cause alarm – just rather strange. I’m having a power nap in the middle of the day when I feel a bit tired and that seems to be working well to keep my energy up. All in all I have nothing to complain about and lots to be really happy for. Not a lot of people have that privilege.