Friday, May 23, 2014

Day Two

Yesterday I went and had my first IV treatment for this next cycle of chemotherapy. The treatment is in two parts - the first part is called Avastin - a biological protein destroyer - that targets the proteins on the cancer cells and the second part a traditional chemo drug - Xeloda.

It is daunting to face a box of 120 tablets, knowing I will be taking 6 tablets a day for at least the next 6 months.  My head went into immediate rebellion - with I can't/won't/don't want to.  Then I just popped the 3 tablets and swallowed them.

My oncologist has increased my pain medication 'again' and is hoping that at last I will finally get some form of relief. If this doesn't work - then I am headed for hospital to be treated by the palliative pain management team - who have great success with cancer pain. The tumours are in such an awkward place in the peritoneum and seem to be pressing on nerves and the colon.

I will be very relieved if we can get the pain under control, I can and have coped with almost everything else, but the pain is debilitating and exhausting.

Day Two of the next path of my journey.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It isn't gone!

I wasn't 100% happy with the oncologist's interpretation of the PET/CT scan results on Thursday 8th. My pain levels and my own feelings told me that there was something more going on.

Mother's Day - Sunday 11th - Started with some beautiful gifts from my children and a family visit to church in the morning.

Matthew bought me a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers

Sarah gave me two great movies to watch

And Elizabeth gave me a locket filled with charms.
The day however, ended horribly. The pain I have been experiencing for the past 5-6 weeks hit a high and Ivan took me into hospital. A couple of doses of morphine later - I was admitted to the ward. Between Monday and Wednesday afternoon - I didn't eat a thing - the colonoscopy prep - made me so sick, but finally I had the colonoscopy on Wednesday afternoon. 

The results - numerous small tumours on the outside of the lower bowel, constricting and narrowing the passage - the inside of the colon is clear - but it appears that the peritoneum has a mass of very small tumours a number of which are clearly cancerous. 

Not a very good week.  I stayed in hospital until Friday attempting to find a pain and food management schedule that will work and begin chemotherapy again this coming Thursday 22nd May, 2014.

As my oncologist explained: It is now a long term management plan. There is no end goal to the chemo regimen, but rather a plan to keep the cancer small and controllable.
My plan - live life day by day and keep up my JOY

Friday, May 9, 2014


My PET/CT scan has come back clear.  After a week of delays and issues with the radioactive dye - I finally had my scans yesterday and today had a meeting with my oncologist. It was such a relief to hear that there are no active tumours. My blood-test cancer markers have risen slightly since the end of my last treatment, but are still well within the 'normal' range.

As my cancer has metastasized - it will be an ongoing matter of monitoring for the rest of my life. So the next step is to have another blood test in 6 weeks. For now I don't have to have any more treatment - either chemotherapy or other options.

In 6 weeks we will have another discussion - wherein we may begin a regimen of biological/chemotherapy maintenance, which will ensure that any cellular cancer cannot develop into tumours.

It is a very strange feeling - relief, excitement and thanks to God - for the great news. But, also the feeling that I need to find a way to live, live not only scan to scan, blood test to blood test, but to live the rest of my life.

I am planning to seek some professional help with this issue, as I have felt 'sick' for the past two years and I don't plan to live the next 30 or so, with the issue - that I am a cancer victim.

But..... for tonight I am celebrating.  NO CANCER!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day out at the Dam!

Our friend Chevy is visiting for a few days business with Ivan, but it has been lovely having him stay at our house for the weekend.

We took a drive up to Fernvale for lunch and then went on Wivenhoe Dam. The last time I was up there was in 2011 just before our major floods. It was great to see how well the area has recovered. We have had our first cold snap of winter this weekend - it was cool and breezy - but beautiful.

The girls had fun skimming stones with Chevy.

Night at the Ballet

Elizabeth and I had a wonderful night out last night.  We have season tickets to the Queensland Ballet and last night's performance was Coppelia. Not only did we attend the ballet, but we also decided to treat ourselves to a night in the city.

Elizabeth in our lovely room

Our apartments

South Bank - bubbling with activity

My beautiful Elizabeth

Brisbane River

Riverside Walk

We found a great studio apartment within walking distance of South Bank and QPAC and arrived just after 2pm for check-in.  A clean place, comfy bed and pillows was just delightful. 

We then spent the afternoon down at the river.  It was really special as there was a Festival to celebrate Budda's birthday and we enjoyed dancing, performances by martial arts groups, jugglers and music. Followed by an early dinner.

Elizabeth - photosynthesising

Enjoying the markets

A toast to Elizabeth and a great weekend.

We took a selfie with our ballet tickets.

A windy walk back to the apartment to change for the ballet was delightful.

The ballet was stunning. Professional and delightful, not only well danced, but brilliantly acted and performed. 

Thank you my darling girl for a wonderful evening out.


One of the problems I have faced since being diagnosed with cancer has been motivation.  It has been very easy to fall into the trap of wallowing in health issues.  I know that it has been essential to nurture my energy and allow myself time to recover, but over the last few weeks I have found it very frustrating that I am still requiring 'rest & recovery' time.  I want to be well and I want to be well NOW!

Oh Me of little patience.

Anyway, last week I took a tumble. It was a very hard fall, and I didn't really hurt myself, but it seemed to give me the mental jolt as well as the physical that I needed.  My moment of self-pity was over.  I had been putting out to the Universe that I was useless and even my writing was pathetic - I mean I had written two books - no-one had read them and those who had didn't think they were very good.  Oh Poor Me!

Then the universe answered:  Matthew told me that one of his friends had just finished my 2nd book.  He had picked up my book and read it in just two days - loved it and hated me for not having book three finished.  He thought it was excellent. 

I was so excited about the whole think - that I began an intensive, motivated action plan.  I actually looked up my book sales and discovered that I have sold books. People are reading them. I put out a 'plea' on Facebook - did anyone want to buy my books and within 72 hours I have had 11 orders - Wow!

So I am motivated to begin living again.  Just needed a little 'shove!'