Thursday, 26 May 2011

Half way through...

Well, I have completed 3 months of chemotherapy! Only 3 months to go! What better way to celebrate the half way mark than with a family trip to New Zealand?? So, that's what we did.

Boys with the snow man they didn't make!

Prior to the last lot of chemo, I started taking Ginger a few days early to make sure I had good cover for the flight to NZ, and the car trip to Brisbane. However, after diligently taking the tablets for a couple of days, I noticed I felt nauseated. "Strange", thinks I, "haven't had chemo for a few weeks. I should not be feeling nauseated". And then it dawned on me! The nausea was caused by the Ginger I was taking to prevent the nausea! From this I realised that the nausea I have had for the past months would probably have been better had I not taken Ginger! I'm sure I'm not usually this slow! Definitely chemo brain set in.

So, off to New Zealand we went  -without ginger. As soon as I finished my chemo I got in the car and we drove to Brisbane. Met Robert at Judi's place where we had a wonderful evening with Judi & Linda as well as a visit from Bridie & Anna. Early rise the next morning for our flight to NZ.

"Play the Cancer card" has been the catch phrase around here for the past few months, so we tried it at the airport. As we went to book in, Andy walked up beside me and said to the booking in person, as he lifted my hat off "If anyone deserves an upgrade, this lady does". "Yes she does" replies the man, "but there is only one class on this flight, I'm sorry". So, that didn't work. However, I did notice on the plane that there appeared to be a lot more leg room in the seats up the front! However, as I have short legs, it doesn't matter.

Getting through customs was a bit of a laugh as they asked me to take my cap off to make sure I was the person on the passport photo. I was wearing a " NERVER GIVE UP" cap Judi gave me not long after I was diagnosed. Given that my passport is 9&1/2 years old, and taken at a time when I had hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, I think they just took a quick glance and rushed me on through!

Once in New Zealand we had a wonderful time. I was well enough to do most things, but if I got too tired (my main side effect) I just had a day off. We caught up with lots of family and did lots of fun stuff with them. It was great for the boys (and us) to get to know their Kiwi cousins a bit better. The first 6 days we spent in Wellington going to various family functions and visiting sights like Te Papa museaum, cable car, botanic gardens etc. Val came along with us on these excursions, although a bit more frail than she was, (to be expected - she's 82 now) she is still amazingly fit and outpaced the boys by the end of the day! We then left Wellington and headed north.

 On the mountainside with the snow

We had a day on Mt Ruapehu, where there had been a snow fall just a few days previously. So the boys had a great time playing in the snow, throwing snowballs, making snow angels, sliding down the mountain and claiming someone else's snowman as their own! Dan & Jimmi had never seen snow before, so that day was a highlight for them. When we came down from the mountain there was a hot thermal pool place not far from where we were staying so we went there for a lovely soak. I found it great for my shoulder movements/exercises! At Taupo we went on a jetboat ride to the Huka Falls. Great fun even though my hat flew off (thank goodness I wasn't wearing my hair!), which seemed to upset the driver more than it did me. Dan came to the rescue and gave me his beanie which stayed on. Interesting that the guy didn't offer Andy a headcover! Yes. A bald woman definitely is a bit confronting for a lot of people!

 Relaxing in the hot thermal pool

Up to Rotorua for Easter with extended family where we stayed at a great place where we could have a decent easter egg hunt! At least it got my boys out of bed! In Rotorua we saw the steaming hot pools, bubbling mud pools and went lugeing, which was great fun. Unfortunately, due to time and weather constraints, we were not able to go Zorbing, however it is always good to leave something for next time. My boys went White Water Rafting - quite an adventure. As I couldn't go ( due to not having the strength to paddle in Left shoulder) I booked them a Grade 5 venture that included a trip down a 7 metre (21 feet) waterfall/rapid. I figured if they were going to do it they might as well go for broke! You'll be pleased to know that, despite all the cursing they did at me, they survived the venture and all stayed in the raft. People in the other raft on the same venture fell out! The end result is they all loved it, forgave me for trying to kill them and want to go again  - Andy wants a 3 day trip!

From there it was an overnight stay in Auckland and then up to Whangerai and the Bay of Islands. I had never been up there before so it was great to see. It really is a beautiful area - but isn't that true of all NZ? Beautiful scene around every corner!

So, that's my half way reward! We had lots of fish & chips, paua fritters, hokey pokey icecream, sally lunds and other NZ specialties. We had lots of family, friends, sights and adventures.

  The hat that flew off!

Arrived back with a few days to spare before the next lot of chemo starts... will keep you posted. Will also post a few photos when I work out how to do it...

Well! Look at that! I worked it out! Sometimes I amaze myself!