Wednesday, 14 September 2011

20% + down

So, this week sees the commencement of Radiotherapy. And already I am 20% done on my total requirements! That didn't take long, did it?

What is planned is about 25 "hits" of the radioactive isotopes attacking my chest wall. Actually I just made up that bit about the isotopes, but it is definitely some kind of radioactivity bombarding my body, because after the radiographers set me up, they hurriedly retreat from the room whilst I lie there getting the full effects of whatever it is from which they have run! But I have faith and confidence that it is all for a good cause and it will work!

Actually it is a very quick and painless procedure (so far) which involves me lying still with hands above my head so all the attack zones are exposed. The most time consuming part of the procedure is getting me in the exact position (using my tattoos as guide points) to effectively target all areas. This takes about 10 mins. They then leave the room to zap me and while they are out of the room I have to make sure I don't move even a millimetre! (or who knows where those radio isotopes will end up). Thankfully it only takes a couple of minutes, as it seems that everytime they leave the room I get itchy everywhere and/or need to cough!  Once zapped I am now free to go about my life until the next day when it all starts again!

Another week has passed since I started this post, so now I have completed 9 of my 25 allocated sessions - you can work out the percentage. I had Friday off so the machine could be serviced - have to keep it in peak condition. Slight tenderness of the skin, a few aches and pains, but otherwise all is well.
Until next time.......

Saturday, 3 September 2011


What a week!
Monday: Packing day
Tuesday: Chemotherapy Day. Last day of chemo (after 6 months) so the plan was to go out to a nice lunch with Elizabeth and Chris. Worst day of Chemo we've had! Instead of taking 2.5hrs, it took 4 hours! There went our lunch plans! However, besides the delay (the unit was busy, no problems with me) it was nice to finish chemo and get the PICC line out.
Wednesday: Moving Day (see previous posts)
Thursday:  Unpacking day  (Ditto)
Friday: Get the boys to school and go to the airport with my sisters to go to Sydney! YAA! We deserve this one!
So we had a weekend in Sydney - mainly to see Mary Poppins Live on Stage.

We had planned on going on a jet boat ride on the harbour as well, but given that I was the healthiest one there, we decided to pass on that little adventure! Yes, Annemaree was coughing like an old consumptive and Judi was madly taking echinecea, Vitamin B, garlic and other life saving therapies to ward off the lurgie (which worked for the weekend at least). So Elizabeth and I quickly claimed our room and forbade them from coming near.

View from our appartment

We stayed at the World Trade Centre (I think) which was very central to everything. We could walk in to town (which we did), walk to Darling Harbour (which we didn't) and, of course, walk to the theatre (which we did)! We were also on the 76th floor, so everytime we went up to the room our ears popped! Also I noticed that if I went too close to the w2indow a definite case of vertigo happened! However, it was all worth it.

The show on Saturday was FANTASTIC!  The sets were amazing. The acting and dancing great. Songs great. In short I'd recommend all of you go and see it if you can. It is travelling to Brisbane early next year, so book your tickets!

View albumView album
View albumView albumready for the show

Besides the show we had a good time wandering the shops of Sydney town. Actually didn't buy a lot - although Judi & I did get an iPad each (thank you Elizabeth), but had a good time wandering. Also enjoyed dining out, and buying food to eat in. Finished the weekend by spending a few hours in the Qantas lounge whilst waiting for our plane home. For details of how this came about see this blog site.
For those of you who don't know, this is a fun blog written by my niece Bridie Jabour.

All in all another great weekend with my sisters and a very fitting end to the chemotherapy regime - and the moving! Next year we will be heading north to the Sunshine coast!

Somehow I mucked up the photos, but you get the idea!

Things go missing

Amazing how the best plans and organisation can still yield so many problems....

Moving Week..My main memory of that week of moving is of me calling out "Has anyone seen....?"Amazing! In my oh so organised way, I'd pick up something essential, such as keys or cutlery, put them somewhere safely, and then they would just disappear! At least we were able to find most of the essentials in the next couple of days after our move, however the cutlery was missing for a while...nothing wrong with fingers - we found they worked fine! Eventually the cutlery surfaced. I had put it, wrapped in a pillow case, safely into the wok - just couldn't remember where I'd safely put it. Of course when I found it I remembered that was where I'd put it!

The best thing I lost were the keys! I am talking a huge key ring containing 12 keys and a remote control for the garage. Yep! I took them off the hall stand and put them somewhere safe so they wouldn't be lost in the move! For the next 10 days I searched high and low. Asked everyone to look. Phoned everyone in Grafton for ideas. Lost sleep. Had friends from work praying to St Jude (hope for the hopeless), St Anthony (he finds things) and one particular woman who insisted on bypassing all the saints and going straight to the top! All to no avail. Remember, these keys are to a rental property and we have to hand them back! Eventually, two days before D-day, I went and lamented my story to the estate agent, (played the cancer "chemo wrecks brain" card) who very kindly gave me their keys so I could go and get them copied so I would have something to give her on handover day! All went according to plan. I handed her the copied keys (and the originals) on the appointed day. Now I could sleep again, as I was sure the lost keys would resurface now I'd paid for a new set!

Next day the real estate agent called to say "Found your keys"! Yep! They were exactly where I'd safely put them. On the ledge in the built in wardrobe in the bedroom! Now why didn't I think of that??

Friday, 2 September 2011

Boxes, Books, Moving & Chemo...

It seems there isn't enough stress in my life so, I know, let's move house. Wait! Let's get evicted from our rental so we have a tight time frame within which to find a house and move into it! We can do this!

So begins the packing. I'll start with the easy stuff and get the books packed. Three weeks later, with moving date fast approaching, we are still packing books and we've run out of boxes! "We don't need these Dr Zeus books any more do we guys? We could give them to Sienna or Isabelle." (nieces). "Are you kidding?" says Rob (18yr old uni student) "I just read that one last week! We can't get rid of them. And we have to keep that picture book". "And those ones too" chime in brothers. At this stage I am wondering why I ever encouraged my children to read! I encouraged them to cook too, but there aren't many pots and pans to pack! So, We continue finding more boxes to pack more books that we can't live without.

Remember that while we are looking, negotiating (don't you love banks? And real estate agents?), packing and moving, I am still having my weekly sessions of chemotherapy. I had been warned the effects were cumulative, and let me tell you they were cumulating! The worst of course were the tiredness and the fuzzy brain! I could not remember what had been organized or packed or where. And regular naps were necessary or I just fell down (or at least felt I would). Thank goodness Andy organized removalists and co-ordinated times etc. I just needed regular reminders of what I was doing and when!

The Moving day arrived, and once again I am forever grateful to family members, as Andy could not get the day off. Not only did Dan have the day off school, but also Chris (my brother) and Brad (my nephew) arrived to help sort me out - complete with extra packing boxes! (Yes! You will get them back Chris, as soon as I unpack them!). Everything went relatively smoothly.

Dan had the day off school because he had not even started packing up his room! I'm not sure if he was in denial about the move (he did like being able to walk to the beach) or if his social calendar had just been too full to factor in packing! However, he was a great help (once he packed up his room) with packing up the rest of the downstairs area. Ably supervised by Chris. By lunch time he was rather regretting not going to school! I think Jimmi was the smart one for taking the "I Have to go to school. Something is due and I have to hand it in" option. Having never insisted on going to school to hand something in before, I didn't like to discourage him! 

Chris & Brad arrived at the same time as the removalists - complete with a cup of coffee for me and some direction! From there we were on a roll - at least they were, I was just confused by it all. However, it all came together. We had fish & chips for lunch (between loads) and had finished with the removalists by mid afternoon. Chris & Brad put together the beds for us but unfortunately in the move we lost a couple of support legs for the main bed! Andy & I spent the first night sleeping on the floor! It had been a while since that last happened.

Next day Chris returned, this time with Elizabeth, and we unpacked and organised some stuff. I think he wanted his boxes back, but he is still waiting. Andy had the day off work so went to the other house to finish sorting and to bring back the "little stuff" the removalists didn't bring. It took quite a few loads to bring the "Little Stuff"!

So, we have moved. We are still surrounded by boxes as we work out what should go where, but we are in - and off the floor. Next time (God forbid there ever be a next time) we will have more boxes, less books and no chemotherapy! The combination just doesn't work - unless, of course you have the assistance of all those nearest and dearest!