Liz's colonic journey

Archive for August, 2012

Birthday blast

I’m not on chemo this week. For the first time my bloods weren’t good. The neutrophils in my white blood count were too low, so they didn’t want to weaken my system with chemo. Basically the neutrophils are the infection-fighting mechanisms of the body. So I’ve been told to stay away from public places, pets and pot plants because they have noo-noos.

Well the last two are just not going to happen. And I had a blast for my birthday weekend with dinner at Mo’s Noodles on Florida Rd, with Pat, Paulette, Sioux and Wayne. Fun time with lots of laughs. Then on Saturday we met up with Kathy,  Joan, Elaine, Shirley, Mary and Noelene at the Shongweni Farmer’s  Market. Lovely warm morning, good grub and excellent company. It was a weekend of being spoiled. Pat got me the audible books which was quite creative considering she can’t get out of the house!

On Sunday, I really rested dipping into The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett’s new book with Stephen Baxter, one of the gems Sioux have me. Flask is perfect for bathroom reading sessions! I also admired all the flowers and plants that are making 32 beautiful.

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So surrounded by my spoils I was pretty smug all weekend. Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful gifts. Each one had such a special message, and I haven’t even mentioned my Mauritius bag and my very zooty new iPad cover with built on keyboard.

After all that it was quite a surprise to find my bloods were risky. I’m feeling good except for headaches and weird fever spells. I’m staying away from public places and sleeping if I feel tired. I suspect that I’m finding symptoms to justify the blood results. The mind is an incredibly slippery thing.

The hounds are having fun, Pepper dogs my every movement and Rocky keeps bringing himself home early from school!

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Major catch-up

Such a long time since I blogged. Not that things have been boring by any means. Getting used to managing chemo side-effects all over again has been much easier. The first round of the first cycle was quite scary. The tiredness and the very quick weight loss surprised me but shouldn’t have. I’ll be back in Gloria vd Bilt again soon. Not that I’m not eating, but having cut out nearly all oil or milk products with fast in it, and holding back on carbs is not conducive to weight gain.

I’m loving being able to go out and pick lettuce, spinach and spring onions at will. The lettuce is a bit tougher for growing in winter, but has more flavour.

At the end of round 2 of cycle 1, I was doing really well. I didn’t make strategic planning for Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. Just to tired. I did manage 9 hours on the Thursday and was pretty proud of myself. The fact that my colleagues did that for 4 days is even more impressive. And my Muslim colleagues did it without refreshment and stayed sharp. Good job Pregz!

So I was knackered on Friday! We needed to get up to Jhb for Andy’s birthday. Early night, followed by a frantic shop at Greenstone in the morning, including a monster health drink of wheatgrass and pineapple juice kept me going as Pat had a coffee at Wimpy. In retrospect 500ml might just have been an overdose! It did counteract the B&B breakfast though.

I was truly shocked by how difficult it is to find supposedly healthy food. I love bacon and eggs but sloshing oil all over everything? And so much red meat and carbs. Green doesn’t feature much in menus I noticed.

I slept all afternoon till just before we left to go and party.

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Discworld, Terry Pratchett’s fantasy world was an excellent theme. So many great characters. I was Granny Weatherwax and Pat was Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully of Unseen University.

I won’t go into all the characters or you’ll glaze over.

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So Carlos got a but confused by the difference between Ogres and trolls, but everybody looked fabulous.

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The cake was grand too.

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It was a great party, fun and quirky – kind of like Andy. Scott’s Willikins, the knuckle-duster bearing butler, was great.

Unfortunately, as we were leaving at 12, Pat tripped and sprained both her ankles. This made things awkward getting home to the B&B. Thankfully Scott and Angie practically carried Pat, who was in agony. She’s a terrible patient. I had to bully her into taking a panado for the pain – a panado ! It did set her off to sleep, which was a Good Thing.

I won’t go into detail about getting to the airport, and trying to get a wheelchair, where the system requires one to give at least 72 hours notice! We couldn’t have done it without Lou, Brian (short hop driving) Carroll, Robyn and Carlos (Luggage Wranglers). I think it was Carroll and Brian joking about hijacking the car in front of them – for the wheelchair on its rack that made Pat hijack a soft-hearted airports company employee, Aletta, who smoothed our way through all the bureaucracy. I was still asking questions at the check-in counter. Pat was almost in tears by this time. Aletta got us through it all and even took us down to Mugg and Bean to meet the rest of the family and she came back later to pick us up and guide us through the scanners and all. Pat obviously looked suspicious cos she was frisked.  For once I didn’t have a single glitch.

We are so blessed to have such good friends. One call to Paulette had us covered on the Durban end, she met us there with a hired wheelchair and it was a breeze to get home, greet the hounds and then shoot down to Crompton hospital to get the feets checked out.

Pat’s been out of service for the last week. It was strange being the ‘legs’ of the operation, in a week when I’m usually quite noodly. Her two blue balloons made life very difficult for her.  The cold weather, and snow all over was really entertaining. Loved this picture, of the spaniels, from Richard in Paul Roux, and the one of Robz and Amber playing in the snow at Andy’s house.

Other happinesses were Kathy and Sharon completing the Tala off-road cycle race. That’s some achievement, I blew the cylinder head gasket of my Nissan Sentra driving up those hills!

As for Denise and Peter heading off towards the Berg when the snow came down because that’s what they planned snow or not, good for them. With a bottle of Old Brown anything is bearable!

And then there is my delightful nephew, Dougal, at 2 and a half with energy to burn, until there isn’t. And then he conks in. He’s going to be in the ‘lympics when he’s big.
Since his dad was, I guess that’s highly likely.

Just looking at this picture tells me that it’s time for me to sleep. The steroids are obviously wearing off.

This round of chemo hasn’t been bad, though I was probably ambitious to think I could do a day at the office yesterday and today. I think it’s working – I’m certainly not as sore as I was before I started this second batch of chemo. Scary that I’ve gone through nearly R250 000 of my oncology benefit. Thank god for Pat Newman recommending gap cover back in January.

I have many angels in my life, and I haven’t even mentioned the ‘med kit’ delivered by she-who-cannot-be-named-in-a-public-forum-for-legal-reasons. I need a tutorial in rolling natural organic anti-nausea/anti pain meds. My youth was obviously not adventurous enough! And Pat is also not much help in that regard – we were such Good Girls – no regrets!

Thinking of Dee in hospital right now. Get better soon Dee, and try not to kill off any old ladies with your colourful language!