Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chemo no. 5

It's been a week since my first chemo. Feeling human but not 100% myself yet. My body is still quite tired - this chemo specifically lowers your white blood cell count so I can feel my energy being sapped. Some days I may have loads of energy and some not. It's only a week that has gone by however so onward we plod to 'normality'. This chemo specifically is a bit different to the ones I have had lately - I slept (much like a hibernating bear) so much. My body was exhausted as hell. I prayed to the toilet gods for a brief stint, sore bones and body, upset stomach and bloated as can be.

As per usual we had some problems with medical aid so my dad offered to pay for the first 2 rounds - just so we could see if it was working and to get started on it ASAP. Bless my parents heart - always there for me when I hit a rut. Always... The day Helen passed away was actually the day my medical auth got declined. Once again they declined a necessary chemo regime. My dad knew how down and scared I was considering this is one of my last options left for chemo at the moment (not forgetting that Heli passed away too which made reality all a bit too fitting...). One of the most stressful days I ever had you could say. I was an emotional roller coaster ride.

It's been almost 3 years since cancer evaded my body. I do get tired of all and having my life so booked out in doctors appointments, having to stay away from people with the smallest cold, chemo days, resting just makes me so frustrated at times. I just wanna say - come on chemo - WORK for crying in a bucket!!! I feel so blessed for being alive and having the things and people in my life but I do want to live this life cancer free at some stage. Now, would be good. Helen suddenly passing away just hit home very, very close to my heart and it makes me scared as hell.

Speaking of Helen - her send off was truly beautiful. As expected the church was packed and it was a lot more different than your average funeral. Helen was never average that's for sure so they made a send off/ celebration of her life in a truly beautiful way. Friends and family were not allowed to wear black - you were to be in your most colourful clothes and we were asked to bring sunflowers to represent Helen. A true representation of this colourful being. I always thought that the flower represented a person like Helen but when the minister was talking about the sunflower I thought - wow. How perfect... As a reminder to myself and to commemorate my special friend, I decided I am going to plant some in my garden. As you can all probably tell by the many, many mentions of Helen - I truly do miss her.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Heavens Gain

It’s been a day since my beautiful friend and ‘c sister’ passed away. My heart feels so sad and I already miss you dearly my friend. How do I fight this fight without you?

Helen and myself met in February 2011. Our trial doctor put us into contact with each other seen that we were both so young and positive. We were just about the youngest patients in the unit. I had been fighting the fight at that stage for about 8 – 9 months already. Just on speaking to Helen on the phone I knew we would be great friends – on receiving diagnosis she jumped into fight mode and was as positive as can be. We discovered we were both huge fans of sushi and decided on meeting the very next day over dinner and drinks (my kinda girl) while she ask me questions about the treatment and life in general.

As treatment went by we grew closer and closer chatting every day over blackberry and trying to schedule our chemo's together so we could motivate each other and keep the spirits high. It was so nice to have someone have the same problems as me for once. Our friends were always great support but there was no better person to understand what you were going through other than my breast buddy, Helen.

Helen always lit up a room when she entered  - everyone adored her. She helped me with some fundraisers and volunteered where she could to always help other people. She had the most amazing spirit to fight. She often made me look bad with her ‘healthier than thou’ eating habits and her ability to do the Cape Argus Cycle tour. She ran races – she just always seized to amaze me. You would literally have sworn that nothing was wrong with this girl. It’s a bizarre concept to think (and please don’t hate me for thinking this because I know some of you will crap me out) but how is it that I am still here? Aaaaah the memories and times we had together were so amazing. So inspiring...

I am sure you would remember back a few posts about me being at Helen & Alwyns beautiful wedding. In mid December they left for their honeymoon. They were so ecstatic to see their family and go skiing together. A magical white Christmas – the way Helen was used to having Christmas being from Germany. By the sounds of it – they loved it and although Helen struggled a bit, she managed to ski the slopes of the Alps. My wonder woman... Sadly, a couple days before she left to come back home she found that her stomach was a bit swollen and she was in quite a bit of pain.  With my own issues I saw her at the Doctor on the Monday. This is the first time I ever saw my friend really go through a rough time. I could tell she was uncomfortable and I could see she was so saddened by her honeymoon ending that way. It was such a shock to see but yet she still acted concerned about me because I had to change chemo’s again. She always thought of other people above herself. That day she was scheduled to have fluid removed from her cavity below her liver. It seemed as if her liver worsened and was seeping some toxins. She went home for a few days to try recuperate but sadly she was back at the doctor that Thursday in some serious pain. She was admitted to hospital for pain, nausea and the fluid in her liver (which was removed again…). It was a shock and suddenly I noticed that Helen wasn't messaging me anymore like we had done every day.

I went to my doctor on that Friday for blood, CT and bone results. Things were getting worse with me too.  I needed to get onto something quickly. My mom happened to ask my doctor about Helen (we share the same doctor) where she looked at me and asked me to please try block what is happening to her against myself. She was concerned because Helen was in a rut and wasn't sure if she could fight to get out of it. I broke down in tears because it just seemed like such a hard hitting reality. How could this happen so fast? How could I block the pain and fear that I knew my friend was going through? We were so similar in diagnosis that it just hit so close to home for me.

I decided to go visit Helen on the Sunday where I met her mom, dad and husband. It was tough to see her like that. She was going in and out of consciousness but still tried to fight to get up to go to the loo etc. she was determined! It was incredibly hard to see because my friend and cancer buddy didn't recognise me anymore. She just fell right asleep. Her mom had hoped she would recognise me but sadly she didn't…

I know you’re watching down on me (and everyone else) – I’d like to think of you as my guardian angel. Even without you,  your spirit and inspiration will help me through this battle and  everyone who knew  you will keep you in their hearts – living the Helen way…to seek beauty, love and laughter every day we alive. As hard as it is now to fight this fight without you I imagine you up in heaven smiling down on us, making yourself comfortable and awaiting to be reunited with all your loved ones, one day.

I look at my phone and can’t bring myself to ending our last conversations from just last week. We made a promise to fight no matter what and that one day we would be having a big celebration to celebrate us conquering this disease. One day we will Helli – I’ll have to miss you from afar for now and keep up the ‘helen spirit’. You will never be far from my Heart and Mind.

A special note to Helens husband, Alwyn. Thank you for being the most amazing man to my friend. Thank you for not being judgmental on such a disease and loving Helen regardless – wanting to spend the rest of your lives together no matter what the future had in store. In my own experience it’s extremely tough on the partner to stay so strong and I salute you for being such a knight in shining armour. I am so glad that you shared an amazing time together on honeymoon, creating some great memories.

Rest In Peace my friend – you will always continue to inspire those you left behind…

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Up's and Down's

Can cancer define who you are?

I got rather upset the other day as I was preparing a speech for a support group. The counselor had e-mailed me asking if I could tell my story, what keeps me motivated and how to 'live well' provided the situation. I wanted to finalise my talk by saying a list of things that could help for example ; get yourself a cancer buddy, try keep a routine, try live life as normal as possible,don't concentrate on the fact that you're ill. As I was thinking and trying to pick 'N''s brain for other possibilities he said that there was the obvious that everyone tries to live by: Don't let cancer define who you are. After thinking for a bit he said 'but I don't think it really applies to you...' I was mortified. 'How can  you say such a thing!?' Considering the circumstance I thought I dealt with my cancer in quite a good manner. I hadn't really thought about it but my life kind of does revolve around it - even up to how I earn my money, through my cancer magazine. It saddened me quite a bit - sure, we still do live as normal as a young couple can be but factors do affect us. I suffer out in the sun, my energy is sapped after doing chores, I struggle with fatigue walking in a mall, can't do xyz because I have chemo coming up, stresses with medical aid, recent hospital visits etc etc. Cancer really has defined who I am. Sure - it's lead me and moulded me to who I am today but it irritated me in a way because people now know who I am because of cancer. People wanted to know what I was about when they found out about my diagnosis. I was at a wedding recently and somebody asked who I was to the bride and groom. 'Oh - I'm Helen's cancer buddy, Nikki' - although I had never met the person before she knew exactly who I was. I was also a bit confused though that I chose that as my introduction. Clearly I have let cancer define me. It has however lead me to some amazing things, a career and people in my life.

OK - I have been naughty again. I saved the above in drafts meaning to get back to it but in fact never got back round to it. My apologies!

So much has happened lately where do I start?

My INR levels seem to be stabilizing. I'm still not sure how I get dosed on Wharfarin but magically after having a blood test done, I get an sms about 2 hours later giving me my next lot of doses for the next week or 2. An interesting fact that I found out on going for a check up to my doctor but did you know that Wharfarin was originally invented as rat poison? Somewhere in the 1940's Wharfarin was originally invented for the sole purpose as a pesticide. Madness right?

So - I have come up to having my 2nd edition of Live Well. Live Cancer. While the book is still small - it certainly is getting heaps of credit and big dreams of getting even bigger. My Next feature I am very proud of. Mark Pilgrim will be on the cover along with his story. He is such an amazing man that I have always followed and listened to on the radio. Here is hoping he's my golden ticket to success :) 

The magazine is certainly getting around which I am so thrilled about. Everybody is always so keen to receive them and they go like hotcakes in waiting rooms of doctors offices! Now I may not be making loads of money off this magazine while I am starting off but I do have a story which is simply priceless. It may be our way of our paths crossing but I'd certainly like to credit my mag for awareness. When my first edition was out - I got an e-mail requesting some books for an awareness breakfast. Happily I dropped the books off. Sadly I was in a bit of a rush where I had to go to my doctor but this certain lady told me about a lump that she had found in her breast. She had been a few months prior to a doctor to question it but the results came back inconclusive and told her to be back in another 3 months. In my rush I had told her that she really needed to go for a second opinion because clearly it was bugging her. She put it off and put it off and I eventually got on her case about it. I eventually said right - this is my doctors details. Visit him. She told me she was going to see her original doctor again for the call back. Her results seemed the same. Inconclusive. I gave her a call and insisted that she go to my doctor before she ended up in a mental hospital. This kind of uncertainty will drive you insane and in a nut house. She went to my surgeon and 2 days later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The following week she was scheduled for a mastectomy (which was successful) and she will be undergoing chemo in just a few weeks time. Every time I visited her she introduced me as her hero. In no way do I feel like I am a hero. I am just glad that she went before it was 2 late. If I can create awareness and messages through my magazine, well then I feel like I have done a job well done!

I have had rather a shitty experience through chemo - I may hide it at times but I am still very hopeful and I try spread that wherever I go. With the support group I talked about in the beginning of my post I saw a friendly familiar face that I once upon a time came across when she had her first chemo. When everyone around the table was introducing themselves she looked up at me and said 'I would not be here if it weren't for that girl' pointing at me. I wanted to burst into tears. I felt so humbled. It makes me so happy to hear that little ol' me made a difference. That  makes my heart smile. I just hope that everyone else can pass that kind of thing on. Having your first chemo is such a daunting procedure. Nobody knows what the hell to expect as soon as that drip is opened and flowing into your veins. Seeing someone so scared while I am having my way too many to mention chemo is seen as almost a bit of a challenge to me. To get that patient to turn their fear into hope and faith is an amazing thing.

My last chemo happend on the 21rst of December. For some reason my body took a massive knock to it. It's almost 3 weeks later and I still feel exhausted and drained whereas it normally takes me just a week to bounce back. The symptoms I had were terrible. I had sore bones (everywhere from my facial cheek bones to my shins hurt), my appetite lessened, my stomach was upset. I was generally feeling very sorry for myself and I felt terrible because N, my better half was on leave. All I wanted to do was lay down and take it easy. On my day 8 I had my chemo again (which is normally a much lower dosage and allows me just a single day of taking it easy before I'm me and human again). Not even 30 minutes of taking that chemo and I was as ill as ever. I was feverish, nauseus, sore bones and throwing up. This wasn't like me....I certainly wasn't myself and I was feeling ill for quite some time. Mundane tasks such as quickly fetching something at the shops had me feeling feint. I was worried so I e-mailed my doctor also complaining about a ache that I had in my shoulder. I was asked to come in the next day. She instructed what I imagined. A bone scan, a series of blood tests and well as a CT scan.

I got the results today at my oncologist. My cancer margins are drastically up. The cancer is my liver has grown. The effects of my sore shoulder is quite possibly transferred pain. What was also noted was my extremely low white cell blood count. Due to my liver my body hasn't had the chance to heal itself properly hence the low blood count. I am supposed to start taking injections to get it all back up and running asap to prepare my body for the new chemo (here is hoping medical aid does not give me any s**t). The new Chemo I am supposed to go on is called Ixempra. It's designed at patients like me where red devil, paclitaxol etc etc (insert my list of never ending chemo here) has not worked. It's new in SA and my doctor has high hopes for it having some good effects. I hope and pray that this is my Silver bullet to kick cancers ass. This road has been so tough at times but I am determined as hell to cross the finishing line.

I promise to try and update soon...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This and That

October has come and gone already and wow did it go by fast!

The events I attended and spoke at were pretty cool but the Red Cross Children's hospital was most definitely my favorite.

The day after chemo I felt as amped as can be, put my bandanna on and drove on down to the childrens hospital with a boot full of goodie bags and childrens books. Simple things such as bubbles and playdough made these kids smile from ear to ear. While I loved briefly hanging out with these kids it made me want to volunteer more in simple ways - my heart went out to them however. The kids and the parents. My diagnosis and 'money' situation seem so trivial compared to these familes. Some of these little patients have been here everyday for the last 6 - 8 months receiving treatment everyday. Most of these kids are from afar and their moms have not left their side since they had been there. The families don't get to go home due to money situations and they barely have more than a set of clothes to change into. If you are reading this and you live in the area (and are able to) please consider donating old clothes/ toiletries (like soap, deo and toothpaste) to the hospital. These families and children could really do with the help.

Once finished with the kids I went on home to my better half only to literally have my system crash on me. I had felt the worst of all during this cycle of treatment. It took me ages to get back to normal and I was so nauseous I didn't know what to do with myself - I was emotional as hell just because I felt so sorry for myself this time around.

A week or so later some friends, N and me had a mini week getaway. We spent some time at Mc Daddy's trailer park in the Elgin valley and 2 nights on a little holding in the mountains just off Villiersdorp. No cell phones, no pc's, tv or reception. It Was perfect.  Lots of time spent with everyone around a fire place, sleeping late, time to reflect, drinking some wine and having some good chatter among friends. Just what the doctor ordered!

A few days later N and myself went on another little fun road trip for my good friend (and cancer buddy/ fellow fighter) Helens Wedding. Her wedding was happening all in Maaitjiesfontein. A 1 road town about 3 1/2 hours away from CT. I don't think I have ever shed so many tears at a wedding. I felt so humbled to have to witness such a special day of 2 beautiful souls being married. I am so proud of how far she has come and to see love have no boundaries - even if 1 is diagnosed with cancer. The wedding was so beautiful and the guests were all so welcoming. People had come from far and wide across the world just to witness this beautiful day.  To put the cherry on this beautiful and emotional day I felt humbled simply because regardless of not really knowing anyone - everyone seemed to know about me and thanked me for fighting through this fight with Helen. My friend - if you are reading this...I am so grateful that our paths crossed and that we got to be such good friends. You have always inspired me and given me hope when I was down or shared some wise words with me along the way. I am so happy to be fighting this fight with you and I would not have it any other way. For a sneak peak at what this special day looked like you can check it out on *some advice - you may want to grab some tissues....*

Moving along a bit...I recently went for a PET scan. You remember the one I had before where they inject you with radioactive juices? After a pretty sleepless night I went to my doctors office to hear the results. I was a nervous wreck the entire day long. I think I just about tried to stay clear of everyone for the fear of biting everyone's head off. My poor N - sorry my love.... So anyways - my doctor was not too happy about the results. The report was a bit inconclusive. She could see my liver mets were down a bit and something was visible on my lung lining but that was about it. My doctor was not happy about this so sent me for a CT scan the next day.

I don't think I have mentioned to you all but my older (and only) brother will be getting married to his beautiful fiance, Irma. Due to the fact that they live in the UK we were asked to try scout out some venues for them. I had a few places booked to view that morning just before the scan. On visiting the first wine farm venue I tried to ignore this feeling I had in my side. It felt almost like I had a stich. All of a sudden while talking to the manager of this place, I felt a bit of a 'release' of this pang and all of a sudden my heart race was racing and I felt like I was going to pass out. Nobody noticed but as soon as we were left to ourselves I told my mom that I really was not feeling well all of a sudden. Things just got so strange. I took 10 steps and I would be out of breath. We fueled up with some (ever so healthy) Mc Donalds to try fuel some sugars up but I still felt odd. I went and had the scan and thought afterwards I would pop in at my doctors office and get one of the nurses to check my vitals. My blood pressure was up and my heart was racing! Because my doc was not available the nurse said she would make my doc aware of what was going on and if I was still feeling ill in the morning that I should go and get my blood pressure checked again and if it was still the same we would get it all sorted out.

An hour or so later just as I was relaxing on the couch when my doctor called me to say that the radiologist had called her to tell her I needed some urgent medical attention. I had blood clots again in my lungs! I was instructed to try sort out hospital admissions as soon as I could and get my rear end to hospital STAT. Once in hospital it was explained to me that I would most probably be put on Clexane injections and even wharfarin Blood thinners. Just when I thought I was getting all settled my doc took my pulse and had me admitted to ICU for the night. My heart was racing which caused some great concern for him. Can I just state the obvious here on how bad my luck is?

I was in hospital for 4 nights, 1 night being in the ICU. It felt silly to be there but as soon as I would get up and walk to the bathroom or something I was simply exhausted. Blood clots leave you very out of breath. It felt silly due to the fact that I was simply there for observation and to receive an injection in the morning and evening (which I could have done myself...). I got out on the Monday afternoon being instructed to be extremely careful and have plenty of rest. On having a final check up from my doctor I was told I had a bit of an infection in the lining of my lungs. My right lobe of my lung was terribly sore and I was coughing quite badly. 

After about a week I started to feel a bit more myself again. My energy was slightly returning and I could walk around my home without having to rest every 10 steps. I now have to go for weekly blood INR tests and pathcare sends me dosage amounts saying when I should take my wharfarin tablets. My levels have been up and down like a rollercoaster since getting out of hospiatl - I really hope it normalises soon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1 year anni of no 'leftie'

Can you believe that last week on the 26th of September was my 1 year anniversary for having my mastectomy? Do I miss it - yes indeed! however I don't miss the cancer that was in it. It has taken me a really long time to be comfortable with my 'situation' since a year ago but I must say the last year has flown by tremendously and what tears I shed for not being able to get my immediate reconstruction done is a thing of the past. Don't get me wrong - I still want to bribe my doctor so we can go ahead to get some 'silly boobies' (silicone boobs) put in but I am OK with knowing it'll be in the next stage or 2 instead. For now I'll still check that my prosthesis is in line with the real boob every 20 mins while in public but what's most important is to get rid of the 'c' in my liver.

I must say that I really am feeling good. I can feel I am really fatigued lately from all the treatment but maybe that's because I have been very much on the go lately with the magazine and fundraising events.

My magazine is officially out and I am so impressed with the first issue! I have received so many comments about how it turned out and I have even received feedback from some government hospitals thanking me. Nothing can warm your heart up better than that! I'm quite excited to dive into my December issue. For those of you who have not seen it - check it out! You can view the e-book at  the bottom of the page.

With October being Breast Cancer awareness month it's certainly one to be keeping me busy. On Friday night I will be shaving people hair at the shavathon/ sprayathon at the Sunningdale Market. I was quite surprised but I was also cordially invited by the CEO of Spar to be a guest at the Spar Ladies Breast Cancer awareness breakfast. It's promised to be a hell of a lot of spoiling which I am rather looking forward to! Sunday BreastBuddies is hosting a 'Icons of the 80's' show in honour of Pink Drive who do some amazing work in spreading awareness. Last but not least - next Friday on Bandana day my friend Sheryl aka Mrs Western Cape will be visiting the kids at Red Cross hospital for a morning of spoiling the kiddies, entertaining them with a clown and  taking them some goodie bags. I cannot wait! The cause feels so incredibly close to my heart (and always has been) but I often think 'if I feel like I have been hit by a bus from chemo and like I have a 5 day hangover of note then how the hell must a child feel?'. That cannot be easy and this is why we want to bring some smiles and a laugh or two to the kids who could probably need it most.

I'm holding fingers but next week should be my last chemo session - Can only hope we can move onto the next step into the future then!

Monday, September 10, 2012

4 down - 2 to go!

Past the halfway mark through this treatment at least - well I certainly hope. Last time my doc pushed me for more on the red devil. Lets just hope that this works for once and for all. I often wonder - how much can I really take here?

Before you all think 'don't give up' - it's not like that. I'd die fighting for anything and often like to prove people's just that sometimes I think jeez already...enough. It's not something you can help thinking with so many people around me being affected by cancer. Not everyone receives good news all the time with cancer. There is always the good and the bad...unfortunately lately I am hearing more bad from friends and family with cancer. It makes my blood boil at times because it just isn't fair.

My misdiagnosis case carries on - I got some good news from my lawyer the other day that there is a very good chance that the doctor who misdiagnosed me wants to settle. I have had to gather all my reports, scans, x-rays, salary slips etc for a further inspection so they can get to the bottom of this. It's been such a long process so far. I asked my lawyer the other day 'what happens with the doctor in the end?' - can you believe all that happens is their insurance goes up? I thought that was rather shocking - not even a rap on the knuckles?

Great news :) !! I was completely scared as hell at first because this new chemo gives me pains in the kidney/ abdominal area to such an extent that it made me stress the cancer had grown. Turns out that the new chemo is actually working and I had a 30% reduction in my lesion in the liver. Woot woot!!! The wait for my results that day was torture because I didn't know what the hell to expect. My poor mother knew my concern and even attempted to take me to breakfast as well as shopping to get my mind off of the situation. When we got to my oncologists office and she read out the report to me I almost sat waiting to hear something bad had appeared. When she looked up at me and I officially realised she was finished I was ecstatic. You have no idea what a relief it is to know that the chemo is working. 

My hair is growing nicely - this chemo has made it thin a little bit but it's still nice and thick on my head. It was getting to be a bit of an unimaginable length to work with until I figured I could pin my fringe back and even sport a mini ponytail :) The little things in life make you so happy I tell you! I found myself at Pick 'n Pay getting excited to buy some clips the other day. Everybody keeps telling me to get my hair trimmed at the hairdresser and it will grow faster that way, but every time I have visited the hair dresser they hack off a few months of growth. Think I will rather wait until it's a bit longer where I can have a proper style. For now am thrilled that I haven't lost it so far with this chemo *touches wood*

Our magazine will be hitting shelves soon - nervous but yet excited! Watch this space for a link to it!

Friday, June 15, 2012


Today, 2 years ago I was told the horrific news that changed my life. 'Your tumor tested to be Malignant - I am sorry. You have cancer...'. 

It has been a hell of a roller coaster of a ride at times but during these 2 years I have experienced so much, met some amazing people, taught me to fight like hell and live every day with gratitude, Wonder and Hope. It's bizarre to say but sometimes I still look at the crappy days I have and I think 'is this really happening? How am I still standing?'. Am much as the news settled and is a reality - it still feels like a dream at times.

I have had so much happen to me in the last few weeks. I apologize for my lack of updates but I have just been so busy and caught up with all the events and personal issues in my life I really have not had the time.

I start with the whole process of  getting things right with my medical aid. They managed to authorize my next chemo plan (hooray!) but they did not however allow me to have the pill form of one of my drugs (Vinorelbine) so now I have to go in for the drip on the 8th day after my initial chemo. It's ok - just a bit of  a mission. At the end of the day it is a bit silly however. If you think about it actually works out more expensive to have to go to the chemo ward for the assistance of the nurses / pay for needles and the meds. Really is a bit ludacris. 

So after getting all this authorized and wanting to start my new treatment (because I was in quite a bit of pain from the pain transfer) I got a call from the nurses asking if I still had my port in. This is something they removed when I had my mastectomy. Should have seen a problem on the horizon....They would not administor the Vinorelbine unless I had one put in again due to the drug burning your veins really badly. Charming thought aint that? Operation 'Get a port as quick as possible' started and I immediately got on the phone with my surgeon who made an urgent after hours appointment to see me so we could have it put in as quick as possible. I had him consult me (bless his soul) and managed to shuffle his diary around and cancel some appointments so he could insert the port in on the next Tuesday. Didn't expect that to be so easy! I have the worlds best surgeon. He is the one that broke the news of my cancer to me in the first place so I wasn't too fond of him in the first place....but over our consultations and ops I have certainly grown very fond of him. He is almost a retired man coming up to his 70's, he knows all about my family, is old school as hell - does not even own a pc in his office but best of all that I really appreciate about him - is he has all the time in the world for his patients and he goes the extra few miles for his patients. He talks the hind leg off a donkey but the fact that he will walk to the end of the earth for you gives any doctor 10 thumbs up. That's a quality hard to find!

Tuesday came. I had to be booked in at Milnerton Hospital in the afternoon for the port insertion. It's not a very long procedure however it can be very complex. They have to find a good artery to work with (that's really hard to find considering my veins are completely buggered from chemo). From there they follow that artery into the heart valve - thread a few devices through the artery making very sure not to nik anything in the process. A tiny cut somewhere can take hours to mend and involve you having unwanted drains and lung damage. They then have to place the port in such a position where it may not move whatsoever. After all that is done they flush it all out to prevent clogging and clotting. I have heard so many horror stories that involve ports dislodging and getting tangled up in the lungs and ribs. Scary with the stuff that can go wrong.

It's a good thing I have the port now because I have never seen anyone so stressed as my aneathatist that day. Due to my veins being totally botched up there is normally quite the struggle to find a vein. Now you know it's bad when an aneathatist paces up and down the theater all stressed out because he can't find anything. I was prodded, tied up with bands, slapped like a druggie would do to themselves and generally made very stressed. All this hurt like hell because he tried several times going in blindly - he then looked at me after pacing up and down again and threatened to use my toes. 'Oh no you don't! Mr. I suggest you find something in my arm and in my arm only' I said - the mere thought made my stomach turn! I think he saw how serious I was then he gave it another try. He ended up finding a teeeeeny vein with a pediatric needle. Thank heavens because I think you would have needed at least 5 people to hold me down if they dared to try my veins. So once the drugs were running I always try fight the sleep as best as possible and I check the theater staff working like busy bees. As this is all going on and feeling very high I get told - 'could you possibly sit up please. The ECG monitor is not hooked up to you properly' - 'Are you for real here!? - you have just drugged me and I'm about to go to sleep' *drugged up half asleep slur tone. They managed to push me up with me wobbling a bit around (very close to falling off) and soon after I woke up with the op finished and complete.   

I started chemo the next week allowing me to have some recovery/ healing time. The new chemo is definitely no walk in the park. I was given only a small dose and was left horribly nauseous not knowing what to do with myself. Day 3 I thought I was alright so I was very excited to go to my friends 30th. An hour before I felt terrible. I was a white sheet and quite ill. My blood levels were horribly low and I almost feinted several times. So much for going out. A week later I was still quite bad having plenty of rest and dizzy spells. My doctor has prescribed me plenty of magnesium to make it better. I have recently started getting some ringing in my ears as well. At random intervals I experience ringing known as tinnitus. It's quite annoying and makes me feel a little bit crazy at times - hope it's not to stay (can become permanent).

With all this going on I have been trying to get the ball rolling with the magazine. It's lots of hard work but with dedication we'll make it succeed.

A friend of mine told my story to a client of hers who wanted to offer me some special alternative treatment to help me with healing. I thought of everything as very arb at first but decided to take this lovely man up on his offer in wanting to sponsor me. You never know!? He knew this man that is retired and worked as a professor at Stellenbosch university. This man - Mr Haye believes in the power of healing through the magnetic fields in your body. He has various methods using magnets. He uses salts to neutralize your body acids, magnets to realign your body up and doing various things to oxygenate your body. All good things really and things that could certainly not harm you in any way. He showed us various ways (Helen came with me to observe) to oxygenate  your system (because oxygen kills off cancer of course). The one way is to put peppermint aromatherapy oil on your hands. Just rub a drop in - breathe it in on your hands and exhale while bent  almost putting your head between your knees. You do this about 5 times. Another way is using a coke bottle with a drop of peppermint oil again in water (about 1/3 of a coke bottle filled). There is a long straw like contraption in the bottle and what you do is you blow bubbles exhaling and then you breathe the air through the straw - picking the straw out of the water. You breathing in pure oxygenated air and it completely clears up your breathing tracts. On showing this contraption to us and how to use it I could not help but crack up laughing. On taking a rest I looked up to see the others doing it and I packed out laughing because all your heard was *bubble bubble bubble* - the sound of a hubbly/ bong. It looked like we were hitting a bong together with this old man!. It was so hard to be serious doing this. I learnt a hell of a lot from this man however - simply too much to write at this point. We were shown many experiments on how to test negative magnetic fields etc.

Must be off - thanks for the follows.