Shew – this post is well overdue. Firstly, I didn’t write because I was too busy doing ‘stuff’. I can’t really remember now what it was, but it was fun. And work was and actually continues to be, pretty busy. The last couple of weeks I haven’t had the focus. This is a bit of a blue update, I’m afraid.
It started with intense pain from my liver getting inflamed and rubbing on my ribs and making it worse. This made coughing, sneezing and at one point, breathing, pretty painful. So I took myself off to see the oncologist. Dr Landers was away that week, but Doc James sent me for a CT scan – she thought it might be a bubble on my lung. Happily it wasn’t that – just inflamation where the mofos have started growing again. She was recommending that I go onto an oral form of chemo called Xeloda, which is basically Fulfox but in pill form. She needed to consult with Doc Landers before we could do anything, then they missed each other and didn’t get to talk about my case. In the meantime she gave me a prescription for anti-inflammatories and Tramocet, a quite heavy painkilling narcotic. It sure took care of the pain, but I spent the week sleeping flat out. When I needed to go out I wouldn’t take the pills because driving while falling asleep isn’t good for one’s health!
We got to see Doc Landers last week and he advised against Xeloda, because apparently it makes one’s hands and feet turn red and crack, whilst also causing nausea. He recommended another dripping chemo regime called Folfiri. It’s basically the same stuff as Folfox but without the Oxyplatylin (that’s the stuff that creates the neuropathy). Apparently the worst side-effect of Folfiri, aside from the nausea and mouth sores, is diarrhoea. Diarrhoea actually seems like a desirable consequence at the moment, but apparently the diarrhoea is controlled by an injection of something into the stomach. None of this sounds like much fun to me right now, but I figure that these things will be much better than the pain or the painkillers that have knocked me out lately.
With a bit of luck, I’ll be feeling focussed and on my feet by the 23 April when I’m supposed to be off to Stellenbosch for the Postgrad Supervision Conference. I’m really glad we’re on Easter holidays at the moment, because everything seems to be taking a lot longer to do. We’ve got our US visas in the bag for the trip to San Francisco, but the UK visa is presenting a problem. Who knew that if you’ve ever had a British passport in the past, you can’t apply for a visitor’s visa to the UK? Pat’s application is in, but I’m now applying for a renewal of the UK passport that I let go of twenty years ago. I have to track down all kinds of family documents to accompany the application, which is quite a pain in the neck.
I’m hoping that I’ll be feeling much better soon, and ready to take the next steps with some verve.
What’s making me the most happy at the moment is my absolute pride in my friends who are graduating with PhDs this month. I’ve watched their journeys (believe me it’s not easy) and they are remarkable women who make a difference in this world. Congratulations Mandy, Kathy, Delysia, Phillippa and Delia – you are amazing! I’m so lucky to know so many amazing people doing such interesting work.
Their triumphs make me feel really good.
I’m sure the blue will shade to more colours as this pain fades – so Yeeha let’s get on with it.
Love to you all.