Liz's colonic journey

Bit Blue

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.






Comments on: "Bit Blue" (10)

  1. Philippa said:

    Hello Liz, no wonder you’re a ‘bit blue’! I remember my surgeon’s telling me that he might amputate my leg. He put this in terms of well-you-know-people-play-tennis-with-tin-legs. This ‘bright side’ requirement of me was not helpful for coming to terms with ifs and buts.
    I suppose it’s more than hard for some people to deal with the fact that one feels shit and worse than shit. Sometimes it’s more than hard for oneself.

    I’m with you though, (sure we all are) in this well shitty interlude between your new chemo and getting over it.

    Love to you and Pat


  2. missed the blogs! take care Liz.

    • Thanks Elaine, actually I have too. There have been so many special moments and times that I haven’t recorded because I was just being too busy. Like trying to photograph a tiny blue flower with a special friend on a Saturday morning?! There’s a lesson I think.

  3. As far as I know Liz, having held a UK passport followed by Canadian, when I returned to the UK a showed them that I was born in the UK so had a right to return for a visit or to stay the agreed with the condition that if I in the future wanted to remain I must also hold both passports as I therefore have dual nationality. This was from an old friend of my brother’s who was an Immigration Officer at Manchester Airport. xx

    • Thanks Judy, I just need to find out whether I am allowed to hold dual British/South African citizenship. Complicated!

      • As you were born in UK and have a RSA passport as you live and work there now, you have dual nationality. One of the strange and good benefits is that despite everything you always have the right to British citizenship if you were born here. Only naturalized Brits can loose citizenship, and we are regarded as “native born”. Hope that helps, there is also the issue of RSA being in the Commonwealth again, that is considered a plus. xx

        • Thanks Judy – it appears that I’m going to have to go to Home Affairs and fill in some forms to get permission to hold dual nationality to avoid losing my SA citizenship. It’s all rather complicated!

  4. Keep klapping the mofos and may your visa battles all be manageable! XXX

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