Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Doc tomorrow

Well off to see the doc tomorrow for the last series of treatment. And as usual I have my doubts if I want to continue. I have had trouble with my ear for a week now. It is buzzing and I struggle to hear out of it. I would say I hear 30 %- 50%. It is a worry, considering that the radiation could kill tumour (good thing) but the massive booster I got was right over my ear.

As I said before, it feels like I have swimmers ear. If I jump up and down I can feel the vibration. Sometimes it feels like it is going to "pop" and other times I get this high pitched noise. VERY VERY ANNOYING. James always moans that Anastasia is like white noise (always talking, listening to music, on cell, tapping - you name it) I feel like I have white noise following me around.

I will talk to the doc tomorrow and if there is any chance that the chemo will damage my ear further, I will not have it. (Big Sigh) I will also collect my scan pics so that I can finally put them on the blog...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seasons in seasons

I tried to get my chemo tablets so that I could start a week earlier. But they only arrive next week anyway, so we will have to stick to the schedule. I am off to see the doctor on Wednesday for my FINAL check up. My left ear has been sore for a week now and the constant buzzing could make anyone feel mental. It feels a bit like when you have water in your ear. Never mind - in 2 weeks time I will be able to say "It is finished" The rest, I don't really care about.

My mother and my great grandmother have written books (oh & thx Mom 4 the pics of green valley) My mother's one was called "A Time for Everything" and my Great Grandmother wrote a book of poetry. (more about these later) The reason I am telling you this, is that recently, I have had (albeit annoying) song in my head "To everything (turn turn turn) There is a season (turn turn turn)" It has made me think of their books as well as were I am in my life.

This season is over ...I have realised that, I too have been through many seasons within seasons. I always felt that I was born in the Autumn of my life, I have now passed through the cold Winter and I am looking forward to Spring. What I am happy about is that my life now will be filled with new life. Also, in my last days, when my soul is in summer - I will have lazy days, drinking gin & tonic and watching the summer sunset!

Helen Steiner Rice also has written a poem called "Seasons of my Soul" here is an excerpt

I ask myself often ...
"What makes life this way,
Why is the song silenced
In the heart that was gay?"

And then, with God's help
It all becomes clear,
The "Soul" has its "Seasons"
Just the same as the year.
I, too, must pass through
Life's autumn of dying,
A desolate period
Of heart-hurt and crying.

Followed by winter
In whose frostbitten hand
My heart is as frozen
As the snow-covered land.

Yes, man too must pass
Through the seasons God sends,
Content in the knowledge
That everything ends...

I could actually write about this forever - but alas - I have normal chores and need to take Leo to school! Sign...

Monday, July 20, 2009

1 year

11 months ago I had my head shaved! An incredibly emotional time! A year ago I was hospitalised... I can't believe how quickly time goes. I worked out that I will finish my last round of treatment around the time I was in Cape Town going for my surgery. So a year of radiation, surgery and chemo. Its all quite a blur really. I must admit it does seem to stay back of mind these days as other things occupy my thoughts (which is nice for a change)

I have been so quiet because the past few weeks have just been crazy with the planning and working. It is so exciting, yet stressful, building. We have had alot of fun shopping, designing, going onsite and seeing it grow. Soon The Grove @ Green Valley Estate will be a reality. I do worry that I am doing too much and watch myself. It is a hard thing to manage. But a little voice is always next to me telling me to take it easy and think of me first.
Here are some before pics and now pics of the building progress over a week ago. (the one without the roof is the old) It may not look like anything but when you go onsite it is significant. Interiors, clean up, leveling of land, trees, herb garden ...Considering this has been done in 3 weeks!

Here are some view pics of the farm (Green Valley Estate) - pretty hey!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another week

Well the second last week of chemo is done so only one more week to go. (From 2nd August)I am still feeling all the effects of the Zofran and trying to detox, which is not easy! It takes about a week after the chemo to get back to normal. On Friday was extremely tired, I think the week of chemo hit me. Saturday wasn't much better and all the kids activities didn't help! But luckily, after a good sleep, I felt alright yesterday.

I am pushing on - nearly the end of the race and I don't want to loose it in the last minute! With the opening of a new business and moving home - there is alot to keep me busy. My mind is quite far away from medical issues - for once in 2 years. I am looking forward to starting a new fashion trend this year - I will start with some HAIR. Yes, it would be nice to finally get that on track again! With the cold weather, my leg hair stands about a meter high - but that is not exactly what I was looking for.

I forgot to tell you... when I went for the scan, they gave me this "new style" (in fashionable burgundy) gown to wear into the MRI room. Just put it this way - I looked like Moses (or Noah) I just needed to grow a beard. It was so long but fell short of my extremely skinny white ankles. I had put socks on because I knew how cold it gets in the MRI room. What I didn't know is that they would actually walk me through the HOSPITAL to the x-ray department first, wearing this unsightly gown, mismatched socks and skinny while legs. (Lets not forget cold) My family will testify that I walk really slowly because I take half a step, so I had to run behind her, holding certain parts of my anatomy which usual require some sort of lift. I looked like a child in a Christmas play.

Well I am under a little bit of pressure to finish my last 2 paintings - I don't know where I can fit my canvases once we move! Back to painting at night!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nearly there

Well I have one more night till I finish this round of chemo. If I take Zofran, all is well - I will deal with the side effects later. I only have one more round of chemo then I am FINALLY finished! It will be great to have that lifted off my shoulders. This time I have just had the treatment "in the moment" I only think about it when I have to. I am too busy planning my future now and the next stage in my life.

James' grandmother died last week and the funeral is today. We think it was for the best as she was quite old and had been in hospital for a long time.

My Gran has asked if I will talk at the church once my treatment is finished. I have been on prayer lists all over the place and she would like me to thank everyone who has supported and prayed for me over the past year. I automatically responded "Yes" which is quite unusual for me considering I attend church irratically. I think it is time I give back a little. A bit scary though!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My journey

Last night wasn't great. I tried not to take the Zofran (a little overconfident!) and ended up waking up at 1pm vomiting. So - lesson learnt. I must say I feel really quite tired and my stomach hurts from getting sick. Today I was quite emotional. I think it is a combination of things, the news, the relief, the chemo & the lack of sleep. All I wanted to do was curl up in the bed and feel sorry for myself.

The good news is that Dr Dupper called to say that they are in consensus on the findings. The tumour has shrunk and there is evidence of dead tissue. There is no odema. If there is more tissue death (I pray that there is) then they may have to drain the area. Luckily for me the dead tissue has moved into the open space where the operation was. What's left of the tumour is stable (not growing) They cannot test it because their results may be incorrect due to the radiation, chemo. (I don't quite know what this means) I will have a scan in 6 months to monitor the tumour. Then we can see if there has been more death and what the left over "tumour" is. (if any)

I realised on the weekend that everything has changed since I have been diagnosed. Alot of people have asked me if the tumour has changed me. My response is always "no". I think the same, act the same and perhaps I am a bit more proactive. What I realised is that it has changed everything around me. The decisions I have had to make have affected my work, my children, my house, my husband, my family, where I live, how I live, my travel ... etc. This is significant because although I am the same person, I have had to change my choices. Being diagnosed has changed the course of my life and others around me by the decisions I have made. Suddenly my life takes on a whole new course that never in my wildest dreams I could of imagined. (Kind of like falling pregnant at 19!)

When I was diagnosed, my parents, brother and ourselves decided to buy a small holding just out of town. We would build 3 houses. Primarily this was due to my health and the fact that they wanted to look after me. We were also discussing simplifying our lives. What has ensued is that we found a farm just out of town over looking a beautiful lake. We found a much bigger place that could be divided instead of just one plot. We could all own different plots and have our independence. James managed to get investors that would also own a portion of the land. My brother ended up getting a house that has left him bond free. James is now developing an olive estate (you know how long our municipality takes) called "Green Valley" This will encompass all the plots and allow James to be a developer. My parents are living out there, which has meant my Dad is back on a farm growing crops and my Mom is now close to the city. Now with the economic crisis, we decided to have a cash business out there and get out of the rat race. We are building a coffee shop, kids area, deli and bed & breakfast accommodation. (Which we will stay in till our house is built) It has given our entire family potential work in our area of interest. We will be able to be self sustaining in the future. Although, I do think that there could have been easier ways for us to get to this place rather than the tumour ... !

I have always believed that God does "Work all things together for good to those that love him" We need to be receptive and willing to move. I don't know what is in store for me in the future. This has been a hard journey. I definitely don't want to "learn the lesson" again! It is time for me to reflect on where I have been, what I am doing and what is my purpose in the future. (No matter how small our lives have meaning) I believe that we need to be positive and if we can throw a bit of laughter - that's a bonus. Our lives don't have to be dreary.

I hope my journey has motivated / inspired / helped you in your journey. It won't have made my pain worthwhile but it will make it bearable. It also makes me realise that we can choose to sow into peoples lives and our harvest is so much greater than the tiny seeds that we put in.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Whats been done

James & I were working out what has been done in the past 6 years of us being together (5 years of being married)

We have moved house 3 times, had a baby, built a house, James has moved office premises twice, we bought shares in a farm, Anastasia changed schools, had 6 different cars, opened another business, travelled to 5 countries, gone for brain surgery, chemo & radiation, travelled around SA on business, started painting, did blog.... And now we are renting our house out and moving to farm in SEPTEMBER ...where we are opening a deli, kids area & eventually a B&B. I am so happy to have a new lease in life!

I think I need a nap!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

MRI Results

Well I have had good news! It seems like there has been quite alot of tumour death. (I only use the death word if bad things die!) There is still an area that is possibly low grade. They are taking my scans to this new fancy scanning machine to test if there is any grade 3. I am believing that I will only get good news.

Dr Dupper is going to speak to a few other specialists to see what they have to say. So nothing is cast in stone as yet. I also have to courier the scans to Dr Butler to see what he thinks. The tumour death has meant some fluid built up in the wound site. This can cause scar tissue and affect seizures...but to me its is good news showing that there is death. There doesn't seem to be swelling or odema. You can actually see areas where the radiation blocks have killed cells. This is because the death bits are semi rectangular! (Plus its along my booster area) I will wait till I get more news and opinions before I can make my future plans! They will also give me a CD copy so that I can put some pics up on the blog.

More good news - I thought I still have 4 sessions of chemo but I only have two. So my last chemo week will be 9th August - Then I am DONE - YAY!!! I didn't even fight / moan with him about doing it. I was just so excited to hear the good news about the scan and that it chemo was mearly 2 more sessions! This means when we open "The Grove" (more news about that later) I won't have to have any chemo!

The other good news (it comes in 3's) It is James & my wedding anniversary tomorrow. What a year it has been. This journey was started 2 weeks short of a year ago. We have so much to celebrate and have achieved so much in the past year and in fact, in our whole marriage. (in all areas of our life) Even with all the hardships, we have no room to complain. Its time to count our blessings and look at all that has been done for & by us.

I believe that our faith in God, the support and love from you all has carried us through. I know that I will have to spend years monitoring this, but that is ok if I can get on with my life and put this treatment behind me.
Thanks guys for your prayers - See it works!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Off to MRI

Well I am going to have my MRI this afternoon. It was meant to be this morning but there was an emergency. It didn't bother me too much, I didn't have to wake up early and I could take it easy. I postponed my appointment with Dr Dupper too because there was no point seeing him before we had the scan. I am just really eager to see what there is / isn't to see. Think of me when I go into the noise machine and pray that all is going to be ok... I better not forget ear plugs because the noise in the MRI machine makes a jet engine seem like a pleasant melody.

Have a good day! :)

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