Wow! That was some week!

a person is not the one

Before I tell you about my horrendous week, I just want to say that this blog was initiated solely by my need to get my head around the things happening to and around me, and I hoped it would help me deal with it in a quiet and dignified manner. It is not a vehicle for me to ‘out’ any bad member of the family/public/medical profession etc. If your conscience is pricking you for some reason, please don’t try to pin it on whatever I have said in my blog…..this blog is for me, and maybe will help those going through the same ordeal or those whose loved ones are suffering.

Being torn apart inside by chemo, cell by cell tends to make one emotional, sick, weak and very vulnerable…but one does not lose brain cells or memory! I must add that I have not lost my positive outlook or inner strength either and don’t intend to. I ask for kindness though when considering passing on less than happy news/information/riddles.

I wanted to be (and still do), open, honest, straight forward and down to earth about the entire deal. There is nothing private or dignified about cancer. Whoever cannot handle that, may I suggest following the blog is not the best thing to do.

adage 7

When I left the blog last time, it was on the Thursday of my post chemo week. It’s difficult to believe it was just a week ago today. I was handling it well I thought. Friday I was pulled back to earth by a mouth full of ulcers, including a severely awesome number of the little blighters along the inside of both my top and bottom lips. It was excruciating to even talk, let alone eat, which was down to mashed potato and gravy. I love spuds and gravy actually so it wasn’t too much of a bother really.

My appointment for the PICC replacement had been cancelled and moved to the following Tuesday due to heavily doubled bookings. Show day for the EKKA (Royal Exhibition Show) in Brisbane on Wednesday was the reason claimed for such a mess in the appointment books.

ekka

The EKKA is just up the hill from us and we can see the top of the high ferris wheels etc, and later each evening we hear the fireworks. I think they can be seen too from our balcony, but by then I’m in my pj’s in bed and can’t be bothered going to have a look.

But I digress…. The attempt to get samples for blood testing on Friday, resulted in my almost fainting so I was put in a bed, with IV fluids via a cannula (due to the PICC not present in my arm any longer). My temperature was spiking round the top 37s and at times 38 for most of the day. Emma came in to see me and gave me the choice of staying in the hospital or going home if we thought we could manage the fever ourselves. I was sure salt rinses etc would control the ulcers and they would ease over the weekend, however by Saturday night my temps were 38.2 and I felt crap enough to give in and head to the hospital for help.

We arrived in the Emergency Dept at 8.30pm and the nurses put me in a cubicle almost immediately. Doctors came in to poke and prod and stick needles in, take more blood, insert yet another cannula in my left hand just above my thumb, take my BP etc and generally sympathise and offer kindness. By midnight I was moved to a ‘quieter’ part of the emergency area so I could sleep. Tim then went home for some sleep for himself, and just as well he did, as I stayed put in that corner until 5.55am when finally I was taken to Ward 5C.

nurses

 

Intense antibiotics, doses of magnesium, potassium and even potash….really? They could grow a cane field on me right now! As well as saline to re-hydrate my wrecked body, all via a cannula which had to be renewed twice with much pain. The most difficult thing I had to do was swallow my huge number of tablets every day with such a painful mouth. They gave me gluggy jelly type water and surprisingly, it worked a treat. By Tuesday I was much improved but still suffering from a sore mouth.

Mary.

Tim had left for Sydney on business and his Mum (Mary in pic above) had come down on the Sunday to take over my care. Poor Mary spent most of the time in the unit alone, but she visited the hospital often and was ready for me when I was discharged. Home made soups, mince dishes and apple slices with dollops of cream have helped me get back on track with my health. Mary’s care and cooking has been invaluable to my getting so much better. She was very aware that I have to be right for the next course of chemo which is due to begin next Tuesday.

minestrone-soup

The appointment for my PICC line replacement on Tuesday was cancelled by the ward staff, for whatever reason….perhaps there was no wards-man available to wheel me down there?…..and re scheduled for tomorrow, Friday. So it’s an early start again as that needs to be in place before the blood tests and consultation with Kirk, or Emma or whichever doctor is on duty. Then I have the weekend to rest before the start of the cycle once more on Tuesday.

While waiting in the first cubicle in emergency, a very edgy guy was sitting just outside my curtain when he began demanding valium. The doctors explained they could not give him drugs of that kind without blood tests because he had admitted to smoking ice earlier. Suddenly 2 security guards appeared and stood nearby.                                                                       Mr Ice dropped a piece of orange string about 6 inches in length but didn’t notice. One of the guards picked it up and binned it. When Mr Ice noticed the string in the bin (he was sitting quite close to it at this stage), he went berserk, retrieved the string which he proceeded to suck because it had some of his ice on it. If I didn’t feel sick before, I did then!

A dear friend of mine in NZ sent me the following pic which brought tears to my eyes. It is rather apt though and arrived on the day I needed to read it most. Thank you Katherine, you are a sweetheart.

in case

I haven’t been on face book much lately because of my discomfort and pain levels, but I’d say you would have guessed that much. It’s possible that I will go offline again during my week after the next chemo course. It’s getting a tad harder to cope, and if this 5th course is going to be stronger, as Kirk has said, it won’t be pretty. So I ask for your patience in advance. Next week though I will do my best to post another blog….I have a lumbar puncture to look forward to on Tuesday also.

Erin and Alex

Tim’s nephew Alex arrived this afternoon to pick up his Nana (Mary) to take her back to Maryborough. I think our dogs will have missed her by now and are wondering where does everyone disappear to?                                                                                                                             Alex is in the Army and on his way to Townsville where he has recently been transferred. He seems to be excited about the adventure and looking forward to being joined later in the year by his gorgeous girlfriend Erin who will leave Sydney for a life in the humid north. Erin has been a good friend of mine for a few years….we worked together in Melbourne, and I loved her from the first minute of meeting. Such a sweetheart of a girl. Erin sent an aromatherapy candle with Alex today, and it’s just what I need…..she knows me well!

Goodnight. Take care. Thank you for being patient as it has been a long week since the last blog. Much love to you all, and big hugs. Your support has become invaluable to me recently, and although I might not post on FB, I do read your posts and appreciate them.

be kind

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Wow! That was some week!

  1. Jan Brigden August 11, 2016 at 10:59 am Reply

    Wow, Jo, you really have been through it. I wish I could find the right words to brighten the situation. Your positivity and attitude throughout has been, and still is, a total inspiration. I love that picture your dear friend from NZ sent you. It brought tears to my eyes. What a loving, thoughtful gesture. Mary sounds a dream too. I so hope your pain eases and that next week is kinder to you. If it isn’t, it’ll have all of us to answer to! Sending you lots of love and strength and gentler than ever hugs xxx

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 4:48 am Reply

      Thank you Jan….yes Mary was worth her weight in gold to my recovery….her soup is nectar for the broken body I reckon. Katherine from NZ is the daughter of a dear FB friend in UK…Katherine back packed round Oz, and Asia etc and really wanted to stay in Oz but her time was up on the visa. I wished at the time I still was a manager so I could sponsor her in a job, but as it worked out, she ended up being accepted as a resident of NZ where she is very happy. NZ is a lovely place to live and I enjoyed my 7 years there although the cold weather was a bit tough to take!
      Much love and big hugs. xxxx

  2. ursula dewar. August 11, 2016 at 11:09 am Reply

    Hello Jo, I am honestly admiring your strength and courage dear girl. I pray that all will be over and completed soon. Keep your chin up and just keep pushing forward. When I spoke to you on Tuesday I came in here and tried to do the Census and got not even half way through with ease and it just shut down. What a lot of rot and I am afraid the said intelligence of those in charge of the whole nonsense leaves one wondering. Peter my gardener came today, my yard is tidy again and he is praying for you Jo. There are quite a few that I know have you on their list. No not the Mikado related one but their prayer list. Well my dear I pray all comes good for you soon. Mouth ulcers are so awful aren’t they. Okay I must go and hop into my cot was home today but have been out the last couple of days helping and also shopping for things needed. No not groceries. Tell Tim I bought Flake and chips from the shop over the way for lunch yesterday. I am like Poirot when eating chips, needing a bib but one that has a bin attached to the end of it. Yes I am admitting to owning style NOT. Goodnight dear Girl God Bless always lots of love from me as well as gentle hugs. The Lord is always by our side. Love you XXXXXXX

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 4:43 am Reply

      Hi Ursula, I’m hoping things will stay on an even keel for a week or so, as it won’t be long and it will be my post chemo week again. Ulcers are still present but at least I can eat and drink now.
      Much love, xxxx

  3. Trevor Belshaw August 11, 2016 at 11:13 am Reply

    Blimey! what a week eh? But, you’re through it and on the other side now. So pleased you’re feeling better. Good luck next week. It’s the big one but, the other end of the tunnel is much closer now and that tiny pin pick of light is now the size of a torch beam. Wishing you all the best of luck with your next chemo session. Sending all positive vibes for you. Hope it’s not as bad as you anticipate it could be. Well done Mary and nice one, Erin. Really looking forward to your going home soon, post. 🙂 Big hugs. On we go.

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 4:41 am Reply

      Yes Trevor, it’s people like Mary and Erin who make it a little easier to cope. You will be one of the first to know when I can go home!! Hugs. xxx

  4. catcavendish August 11, 2016 at 12:25 pm Reply

    You are really going through it, Jo, and you are handling it all with such courage and dignity. Compared to your experiences, my cancer surgery and treatment seems like a stroll around the block! Will be thinking of you next week as you face the next ordeal but, as others have said, once you get that out of the way, you should be in the home stretch. Hugs and best wishes xx

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 5:00 am Reply

      Thank you Catherine for your kind words and wishes….greatly appreciated and valued. I think we all have different experiences when going through serious illnesses, as we are unique and so are our bodies’ reactions to bad bugs etc. Yours was probably bad at the time, but thankfully I would say time erases some of the horrible stuff, just like child birth. So many women say they have forgotten it by the second day…..mind you I still can remember that cruel pain, lol.
      Love and hugs. xxxxx

      • catcavendish August 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

        Love and hugs to you too, Jo. I’m celebrating 4 weeks since I finished Radiotherapy. Can’t believe how well my skin has healed. Just focus on those lovely drinks on the veranda. you’ll soon be therexxx

  5. annieseaton26 August 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm Reply

    Jo
    Nine years ago my nephew went through the same cancer treatment for Lymphoma at sixteen. (He was diagnosed at 11 and is now a strapping and happy 25 year old. For many months we watched and supported Andrew as he endured the mouth ulcers, the temperatures, and the uncertainty. You are surrounded by love … Your family and friends, and your ‘other ‘ Face book friends who you have never met. Despite this we think of you each day and wonder how your journey is going. Remember the hard times because those memories will make being well all the more sweeter. I look forward to having a coffee with you next time we visit Maryborough. Love and positive thoughts coming your way xxxx

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 4:55 am Reply

      Annie I look forward to that coffee!! I’m so pleased for your nephew…I have met quite a few young ones here and I feel for them. It seems so unfair that they have to have it so hard in life with all this suffering. The uncertainty and mystery of the disease and where it’s going is the hardest thing I think for any of us.
      I am very blessed to have such wonderful support, both here in the real world and on facebook. I am grateful every day.
      Love and hugs xxxx

  6. Gerri Bowen August 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm Reply

    I admire you for your strength, Jo. I hope everything goes just the way you’d like it to go, without mishap. Keep your sparkle going…it is there!

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 4:39 am Reply

      The sparkle dimmed a bit last week, but it will be restored very soon. Hugs. xxxx

  7. Mary Jansen August 12, 2016 at 4:31 am Reply

    Hi Jo, have not put much on Facebook, because what you are going through, is just like Matthew, and we feel for you, because there is not much that anyone can say. Just remember that you are coming up to Round 5, and that ,means the end is in sight for you. Then you will look back and wonder how on earth you got through all of this. You have done so because you are strong, real inner strength, and you have wonderful support with you. Will look forward to the day when we can catch up and talk over what you have all been through. By then, it will be just a memory, another chapter in your life. Stay strong, and watch that light at the end of the tunnel getting stronger each and every day.

    • joskehan August 12, 2016 at 4:52 am Reply

      Thank you Mary….I can’t wait to be well sitting on the veranda chatting with visitors about what used to be and what I have to look forward to now. I dread the ulcers but knowing it should only be 2 more courses, makes it easier. Looking forward to that chat. xxx

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