Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - the year in review

1.       Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never make NY resolutions as it’s pointless, never keep ‘em. I do however have some wishes for the year ahead but that’s another story

2.  Did anyone close to you give birth?
My ex dawg, Lulu had a puppy litter hehe

3.  Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my dear uncle Fred L

4.  What countries did you visit?
In books quite a few, in actual reality, SA only

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Perfect health

6.  What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Just getting on with each and every day and trying not to lose faith that this too shall pass.

7.  What was your biggest failure?
2 failed relationships. Having to concede that I can no longer afford the big house with pool and picket fence – therefore simplified my life by moving to Southern suburbs to a smaller place. Not a failure as such more a sideways sensible move.

8.  What was the best thing you bought?
My laptop, a tablet for Rhi J - oooh and my lovely new car Hyundai i20

9.  Whose behavior merited celebration?
Rhiannon’s – against all odds passing from Gr 5 to Gr 6 even with the challenge of changing schools mid year due to our moving house and suburb.

10.  Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Our dear government – no surprise there. Also a few of my so-called friends who are now nowhere to be seen  / heard. No names, no pack drill.

11.  Where did most of your money go?
Medical expenses

12.  What did you get really excited about?
The prospect of my health being revived through alternate treatments as well as some of the less medical but more spiritual work I did to combat my dis-ease.

13.  What song will always remind you of 2013?
None really resonates

14.  Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
A little sadder but a lot wiser and less naive.

15.  Thinner or fatter?
Thinner but not in a good way – need to pick up weight again- lost due to ill health

16.  Richer or poorer?
Richer for a change

17.  What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing my blog and book

18.  What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying about crap that I have no control over. Worrying about my health. Worrying about stupid failed relationships that should not have started in the first place.

19.  How did you spend Christmas?
We had a great little Christmas with our immediate family.

20.  Did you fall in love in 2013?

21.  What was your favorite TV program?
Still Grey’s Anatomy

22.  Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I try NOT to hate, sometimes it’s hard. I dislike intensely some people that have hurt me really badly

23.  What was the best book you read?
Between Mother and Child – Elizabeth Noble

24.  What was your greatest musical discovery?
No new music – rediscovered some great oldies though J

25.  What did you want and get?
A fair outcome at my place of work – a financial windfall that I doubted would materialize. Also my lovely new Hyundai i20 (car)

26.  What did you want and not get?
To get better this year L

27.  What were your favorite films of this year
Watched too many but none really stand out as classics

28.  What did you do on your birthday?
Went to dinner at a lovely restaurant with some friends

29.  How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
WHAHAHAHA – have none – own personal style which no one else likes or understands

30.  What kept you sane?
Family and friends, the internet

31.  Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None – do people actually answer this??

32.  What political issue stirred you the most?
Our government is a joke – not stirred so much as appalled and bemused

33.  Who did you miss?
Eric – always. My friend Mark who died a while ago. Friends who seem to have deserted me.

34.  Who was the best new person you met?
Barry du Plooy J

35.  Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013?
Forgiveness is key to healing

36.  Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
’till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

(Fleetwood Mac – Landslide)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

For those of you wondering how I am

In a nutshell: crap. I have suffered through 3 weeks of pain so far with little or no abating. I’ve been living on Schedule 6 painkillers as well as Durogesic high dosage painkiller patches which seem to do little or nothing to stop the pain. Translated – I have about 4 good hours a day and the rest is pain. I have been nearly unable to do much even so much as get out of bed or walk out the door to drive to the shop. Walking itself has become painful. So in a last ditch endeavour I phoned the oncologist to see what can be done. She admitted me to hospital in order to ‘break the pain cycle’. I have been given intravenous morphine which helped for a bit but then again my pain seemed to laugh at that and eventually it didn’t work either. The only real relief comes from Pethedine injection which helps for 4 hours, puts me on a pink fluffly cloud but then dumps me back into pain-filled reality once again. I’ve now been in hospital 3 days. Today is the 4th. Yesterday I had a tantrum with the nurses as my hand was starting to swell up due to the IV coming out of position. They are almost never able to get the IV right with me as ‘my veins are too small and knotted’. Their problem, not mine. Last night I told them to remove the IV and never put it back, change the meds to whatever else but not that. 

Today I saw my original oncologist Dr Nice (not her real name J). She has recommended a host of oral drugs including morphine. She’s also going to call for blood tests to check for infection and kidney function. The kidney function check is to see if I can now tolerate chemotherapy or not. I am still undecided if that is the way I want to go. ALL I know now is I want the pain to stop. It’s debilitating, depressing and downright nasty.

Emotionally I have been a bit of a train wreck too. Thank God for my lovely and supportive family who have all stepped in to help me with household tasks, Rhiannon and just general day to day stuff. Also am extremely blessed that Rhiannon has a teacher at her school who’s daughter is friends with Rhiannon and she is letting her stay there to study for exams  - her daughter is also ADD and on Ritalin. She is a blessing and I don’t know how to begin thanking her. My daughter sounds very happy there even though she obviously is missing me.

I am due to get out of hospital on Tuesday – hopefully I will be if not totally  pain-free at least able to function and the pain will be under control.

I have been having really dark thoughts about everyone who is healthy. I am jealous, angry, having small tantrums in my head at all the ‘shiny, happy people’ especially on Facebook who’s lives seem to be but a dream but rationally I know I cannot compare myself to them. Some friends have been supportive, some have disappeared completely, which I am angry about but I cannot tell what I would have done if the situation was reversed. Some people know what to say and others are completely tactless. That’s just the way it is I guess. Hopefully there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel and maybe the saying that it’s always darkest just before the dawn will ring true in my case. I really hope and pray so. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pre Birthday Musings

So I here I sit on the eve of my (number deleted to protect the innocent) birthday. Reflecting on the past year and wondering about the foreseeable future. Quite a bit has changed. Last year this time I was living in Kenridge with my then boyfriend. I was employed as a project manager. I had been in the northern suburbs of Cape Town for nearly ten years and most importantly I was in remission from cancer, not just my first but my second remission. Was I happy? I think I was. Did I appreciate all I had? Probably not.

On the night of my birthday last year things fell apart spectacularly with aforementioned boyfriend at a birthday celebration for both of us. We ended up having such a massive fight that even our friends decided to part company for fear of being caught in the crossfire. When we returned home, he continued to rant while I calmly locked myself and my daughter in my bedroom. A few days after this, I discovered he’d been lying to me about a lot of things and he moved out. It was horrible. Hurtful, messy, childish and just plain ugly. He left without any explanation, closure or words of apology. I am ashamed to admit I hounded him for a bit afterward as all I wanted was closure and to know if it had ALL been a lie. Looking back now I realize he was incapable of telling the truth so I was expecting the impossible from an emotionally immature person. He left me emotionally and financially drained. My trust in men and human beings in general was at an all time low. 

Just prior to this I had a scare with a kidney infection. This caused a chain reaction of a battery of tests that I had to endure. Tests to confirm whether or not this was cancer related. Needless to say I was petrified. Having had cancer not once but twice, a hysterectomy and radiation, I was not prepared to go through this particular horror once again. At the same time the ex left, I had just come out of hospital for a kidney stent operation. This was due to damage caused by the radiation previously. The test to show the awful truth that yes I did in fact have cancer for a third time was only done in February this year. So last time this year, aside from being mildly and understandably paranoid, I was oblivious to this fact.

Cut to the present. Tomorrow night I will be surrounded by family and friends for yet another birthday dinner. Tonight however I am alone. My daughter is at her dad’s for the weekend. We have moved to the southern suburbs. My cancer is… hmm I am not sure really. I've been in an out of hospital for infections and operations, the last one being about 3 weeks ago. I have been on alternate medication for a few months now as chemo (the one dose I had) did not agree with me to put it mildly. To put it honestly it nearly killed me. I am single by choice as I have no place in my life right now for anything other than my health and my daughter. I am no longer working as my contract was terminated due to ill health. I will be having a scan soon to ascertain whether the regimen I am on is working or not. A positive result would be my best birthday present ever. Life a year down the line is very different to what it was. I no longer drink, in fact it’s been about 6 months since I have had a glass of wine. Ongoing sobriety is a challenge but the clarity it provides is priceless.

So, tomorrow night Queen Bee shall be in da house. Tonight it’s just me and my grapetiser but strangely I am happy with that for now. Solitude has its own upside and is definitely worlds better than being lonely in a relationship with the wrong person. I am stronger and better than before and to quote a mantra I’ve been using: Every day in every way I’m getting better and better!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back from the edge

OK it's been nearly two months since my last post but a lot has been happening. Since the last Bertha there have been many developments.

Bertha 1 was removed as they were going to stent the left pipe. That didn't work so after a few weeks I saw a new urologist (Dr Caring) who we love. He recommended a 2nd Bertha as an interim solution before major kidney op. I am not going into detail here for fear on chasing all (ok all 3) of my readers away screaming in horror. Suffice to say - the op took 3 hours, I was in hospital for 2 weeks and high care for 3 days. Once again, Panorama and their staff were amazing. The  upside of this op means that I get to not die from acute renal failure and risk of infection is much reduced.

In between all of this (as I am clearly totally insane) I decided to move house closer to the Southern Suburbs. There were many reasons for the move, financial and being closer to friends and family being but  a few. My family were amazing and really just sorted out everything without me so much as packing a box. So now most of my stuff is in storage and I am living in a smaller place in Pinelands. I have simplified my life i.e. no pets, garden or pool maintenance to worry about. Rhiannon is ecstatic about moving and admitted to not being all that happy in Durbanville! So here I've been angsting over changing school and I really did not need to. In addition to moving house, I also managed to hit rock bottom with depression. Thankfully I got help in the form of an army of docs and buckets of drugs. :)

One of the other reasons for the op is so that once kidney function has been restored I can then  have chemo. Hmm - still not decided on that. I have been on the alternate meds now for about 2 months and I can honestly say I am feeling much better. My decision process will be based on going to have a scan soon at oncologist to see if the meds have reduced the tumour or not. If not, I will then have to decide about chemo.

I cannot begin to describe to you how much better I feel now that I've moved and post op. I was able to start driving again late last week and that was so cool. I realised how depressed an environment which you are not happy in can make you. The house I was in was literally killing me as a result of bad memories and trapped bad energy. The house was cold ALL the time. I am in such a better place now both literally and metaphorically and cannot thank my best friend enough for allowing me to rent from her.

So in conclusion all is well so far. I will keep you updated on my journey hopefully more regularly now as  I am back and up and running on the 'interwebs.' :D

I am back

Yes this is a tiny bit of a cop out of a blog post. Just to let you know I am still here, alive and well, but shall post update later today.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Me and Bertha

Remember that song me and Bobby McGee? Well I have a variation on that now. Me and Bertha my bag. Sigh. Don’t mean to be gross but let’s back track shall we. I went in to hospital (Panorama Mediclinic, awesome hospital!) on Monday for a kidney procedure to have the left side drained to try to clear blockage. This is all in aid of improving kidney function so I can continue with treatment. So had the procedure done. The hospital and staff were absolutely amazing and awesome. I never want to go to any other hospital again. They were truly wonderful. I was discharged on Tuesday morning with an attachment – a drain from the kidney pipe. The doc says I need to keep this on till next Wednesday when I see him again. He will then measure creatine levels and schedule a stent operation for left side kidney. I am feeling good on the whole. The pain I had when I went into hospital was awful but that has now subsided and any pain I do experience is manageable with painkillers. So for now it’s me and Bertha the bag. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hall of Mirrors

Sometimes this journey is like a hall of mirrors with different things behind each door. Ooh look behind door one we have tadaaa – blood transfusion. Next fun door is yaaay – blood tests. And that next one over there wow – we have e-coli! Yaaay. Sigh. I just feel like nothing is simple at the moment. Can’t I just get treated for this disease without all the added complications? It’s like playing musical chairs, when the music stops, we have another obstacle to face before we can get to the treatment. So I have had quite a time of it – been in hospital again for a blood transfusion this time because my blood count was too low for treatment. Then when I got out of hospital discovered that I had an infection, again so have to be treated for that. Then kidney function not good enough, so guess what BACK to hospital again on Monday for a procedure to treat that. I feel like a 2nd hand car with all my bits falling out. So Monday I go into hospital again then we see what happens next i.e. if kidney function improves what route do we follow. A friend of mine is sourcing THC oil for me and I am very keen to try that. I am still positive just a little tired of all the obstacles. On the up side my company has declared me a remote worker for the time of my treatment. This is a huge weight off my shoulders. I can do my job but not have to stress about going into the office every day. I am very grateful to them for all their support. Keep you all posted.