Yesterday I mentioned I had a new ward buddy. Shari (not her real name), is a young mum of around 34 and she has 4 children, the youngest is just 2 months. She has everything to live for and look forward to. Her family is very supportive and loving, her husband is working hard trying to juggle the entire load of home life and work so his wife has a chance of getting healthy. Shari’s father works in the hospital here so she has two visits at least each day from him, one from her mother and of course her sisters, brothers, their partners and her close friends. Her circle of life should be running so smoothly round and round with no bumps on the way filled with love and laughter.
Sadly she has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma C Cell, and the cells have invaded her spine already. A few weeks ago she went to her doctor for her post natal check and mentioned she was tired and had a swollen neck and felt generally irritable.
The next couple of weeks created complete mayhem in their beautiful new home on 50 acres on the northern coastal areas with her in hospital having intensive treatments, and the extended family rallying around and trying to sort out the best possible outcomes for the children while their mum was ‘off limits’.
My heart breaks for her. Shari is a plucky girl, very pragmatic but very hopeful and still planning for that big family holiday to the Kimberley when she is well enough and the baby is walking maybe. Today in the patients’ lounge, she told me of her plans already mapped out and is keen to be going. They love country life and that includes camping and seeing parts of our country that most young families would dodge due to lack of amusement parks and ice cream shops.
Later today a Social Worker arrived at her bedside and with her father’s help, Shari was finally being helped with a plan on how to better manage her situation and the family’s, so she can take the time to receive her chemo and steroid treatments while feeling calm and relaxed instead of being stressed to the point of exhaustion. I believe the doctors have harvested some cells for a possible transplant down the track to ensure her health holding up.
I’m not privy to all the details but it seems the older two children will be able to carry on attending their local school because a school aide will be put in place to get them to and from school while their daddy is working. The younger two will be cared for primarily by Shari’s sister during the week, going home for the weekends. Financial assistance is being organised so her husband can stay nearby in a unit now and then for time together in hospital. Behind all this of course are her parents and rest of the family are buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm to ensure this beautiful young woman can live on just as she deserves.
I wish her the very best outcome possible. I reckon she’d run rings round me in the bravery stakes at any time of my life. Why did this ghastly disease choose her? A clean living healthy young mother who has every darned reason to live. She adores her family, the light shines in her eyes as she speaks of each child and their different characteristics, and the love shared by the extended family is clearly evident. Life has not been fair, and I guess it is the luck of the draw. It’s just the wrong lotto draw for Shari.
Now for the updates on my progress, of which I am feeling very pleased.
Last night the big guns Chemo Epoch and his little mate Eric were renewed and hooked up, and currently I have about another 54 hours yet connected to Eric. They worked hard overnight and I was so thrilled to find I could lower the bed to an almost lying down position to sleep for the early hours of the morning. Such bliss you would not believe. The reason being, Heffalump, that horrible green/blue/purple blimp who is from the same gene pool at that revolting Les Patterson character I’m sure, is being decreased soundly….he is cringing back into corners as I type thanks to my chemo mates.
This morning when I sat up for breakfast, I felt my neck and could not believe how much less of it I have now. It’s still there….don’t get too excited….but it is going! I am so pleased. Overjoyed. Ecstatic. Cautious. Nervous. Hopeful.
The Registrar, Ross visited this morning and his face lit up when he looked at my neck but shyly asked what I thought myself before passing comment. My bloods have been coming back through the night as all doing the right thing and heading in the right direction. As far as the bone marrow goes, we won’t really be able to tell until another aspirate is done I guess and when that will be I have no clue. For now I am just happy to see my face slowly returning from out of the big lump of skin and goodness knows what underneath.
I rang Tim today with the update of course and he is as thrilled as I am, but we realise this is just a little win and there are many more battles to be fought yet before this is over. The good outlook makes it all so much brighter ahead though.
I gave him a little errand to run for me as he’s coming to Brisbane tomorrow. After this last week in this particular ward, I have managed to work out what clothes I don’t need here. With all the lines attached, it’s impossible to try to wear pj’s or t shirts…so I have to succumb to the less than glamorous hospital gowns with the buttons on each shoulder and more than likely missing ties at the back. Knickers are the important thing for me here, and I really don’t ever want to wear those hospital supplied absorbent pants…..eeyeeuck! A shawl/scarf will wrap around my shoulders and neck for a slightly dressed up appearance for the patients’ lounge. I can’t look a slob all the time!
As far as my bathroom bag, that needs an overhaul and a lot less stuff. I won’t be needing shampoo or conditioner soon so those big bottles can go home to rest for a future date. Soap is not going to be ideal now that the chemo is doing things to my skin, so I need exfoliate gloves and soap free body cleanser, which will be followed with a good perfume free moisturiser. The skin on my legs, arms and feet especially would give any old crocodile a run for his worth in skin for bags and shoes I reckon…..never has my skin looked so disgustingly old, papery, scaly and just all round horrendous. I’ll even be happy to see the sun tan go with this lot.
Emotions are still up and down. It’s a harrowing road there is no doubt about it. Modern medicine has come along so much over the years and there seems to be far more hope in the air and less doom and gloom for cancer patients.
As the old saying goes, our body is our temple and we must take care of it. To think of putting toxins in such as cigarette smoke absolutely horrifies me now. I promise not to become one of those new age clean living/eating freaks that Michelle Bridges complained about ruining her business, but I will be more vigilant in future with the washing of vegetables and fruit free of any sprays, as well as the quality of the food used. Unlike cats, we don’t get 9 lives.
The above picture says it all for me right now. I hope it does for you too.
Much love and many thanks as always for being here for me.