Friday, November 25, 2011

It's been a hectic few weeks lately - Certainly hoping 2012 to be the start of a new chapter and just good things to happen for myself and loved ones.

I know some people wouldn't want to hear this part - especially the men but hey it's part of the treatment. When you have chemo the treatment can often bring you to menopause. Some people have it temporarily and some people have it for life. Now - when I started treatment they did warn me about it and they kept expecting this to happen. Hot flushes? Nope. Sore Body? Yes - Period - Yup. Still there! This is what I went through every doc appointment. On my last treatment can you believe it I stopped my monthly.I thought I was going to get away with it a. At first I thought it may have been stress for the op but then I still didn't get it for another 2 months. Crap. Can you imagine how happy I was to find that I got it again. What was once upon a time a complete inconvenient curse - was now such a happy thing for me. I was literally bouncing about at home. It's a long shot but I really would like to have kids one day and I don't want things to complicate it all. Gotta have some Hope to hold onto.

In the last 2 weeks I have found myself to be extremely fatigued. No matter how much you sleep you just can't get rid of the feeling. I just want to gain my fitness levels back. We wanting to start some mountain biking on some wine farms etc. Nigel loves hiking and I'm just not cut out for it so we have a bit of a compromise :p What better way that to see the pretty sites CT has to offer than on a bike. The fatigue will be around for a while I suppose - think I am going to try out gradually getting into everything. 

My radiation took a bit of a back seat to get started up. My doctor kept declining the treatment plan so she had me come in - have them draw all over me so she could see what radiation beams would be going where and she made a few changes that suited my case and situation. On coming out I saw my doctor catching up with my mother so we got chatting. I got onto the fact that I was a bit concerned about the blood clots. My medical aid scans had been depleted for the year so we were not able to have one done to see if the clots were still on my lungs. She said that she would have me go into hospital for the night so they would have to do it. I thought she was joking so I kinda said - maybe next week? She asked me to come up to her office so she could speak to a Physician friend for advice. Once I got to her office I sat down and I was completely out of breath - she looked at me questionably and said - that's not shouldn't be that tired...She took my pulse and said straight to me - if your pulse is over 90 you're eating hospital food tonight my dear *wait wait wait* 91 - ha! off you go! She was concerned that the blood clots were still there and I needed blood thinning medication asap! I thought it all seemed very much like a joke - I felt too normal to be 'sick'. I went home - got my bag packed and schlepped off to the hospital. When I got there the doctor himself came to escort me (in a wheelchair might I add) to the - wait for it.... ICU! I kinda looked at him and said - I'm fine - this is not necessary where he told me blood clots was a critical condition and he couldn't have me walk anywhere because if I collapsed it's pretty much overs. Fair enough...I sat down on the bed and chatted to him about my history and I was injected with Clexane blood thinners and had various monitors linked up to me. I felt so unnecessary being there - everyone around me had heart operations, car accidents etc I needed to go to the loo and they wanted to bring me a freaking bed pan - are you for real? really? I can walk - it's just 5 steps that way. Ok - but you have to be wheeled there. Hmpf. I was literally treated like a porcelain doll. After my mom and Nigel left I caught up on some TV - aaaaah. All the Twilight movies were showing. Perfect :) The nursing sisters kept coming up to me offering me sleeping tablets because I was still up at 10pm unlike their other sick patients. I'm not sick - I am trying to watch my movie finished please. A very busy night - you wake up literally every hour so the nurses can check your blood pressure and all your other vital signs. I woke up to my newly scheduled nurse for the day (every bed is assigned a nurse to take care of them). They brought somebody in specially to take care of me because they were understaffed. My new care giver was a young lady by the name of  Neveshe - a small petite Indian girl. We got chatting and got to know each other throughout the day in bed and wheeling me off for my scans. She was 28 years old as well and she had been diagnosed when she was 23 years of age with breast cancer as well. She was a survivor too. Best nurse I had ever had - had so much information for us and chatted to my sister about getting tested genetically. What a breath of fresh air. We swopped numbers and chat occasionally on bbm chat. It's funny how your paths cross sometimes. Sometimes God just brings people together. We got my CT results and everything seemed to be fine - no clots seen whatsoever. I was discharged and my doctor set an appointment for me for a Cardiologist just to make sure that my heart was fine. (Turns out that was fine too by the way!)

I started Radiation on Monday (finally!!) What was said would be 20 minutes ended up being a hour and 30 mins because of setting me up etc. The norm for a radiation patient is having 4 beams used - My oncologist has me on 8 (lucky me!!) I have put a picture of the Machine below. I find it all very confusing with how the machine works (hopefully I'll become a real boffin on the topic soon enough). 1 moment the room will be dark and there is lazers projected all over the room, the next moment you have a measuring image reflected on your skin, body is getting being repositioned that way, high pitched dentist drill sounds coming from the machines, foreign names and words being used for this and that, drawn lines here - more lines there...much more confusing I find. I just lay there and have the radiation therapists work around me. You lie on a table with your head and arms in a brace of sorts to keep you in position and they move you around on a sheet to ensure that you are literally a mm to the left or right. The therapist come in and out to position the table this way and that way for the beam to hit you here there and everywhere. The table is the most uncomfortable table in the world - everything pokes you and staying in the same position for so long is torturous. I'm so stiff by the time I'm done. Feel sooo old! Today I am on my 5th session and I must say it's getting a bit better flow wise. It's now down to about 30 mins which is nice. Just 2 more weeks left - woop woop!

Myself & the panel of fighters/ survivors (and doctor - far left) 
Last Saterday I was asked to be part of the Women 2 Women panel which was in aid of the Pink Drive organization. I felt very honored to have been asked but man oh man I was nervous as hell. I always dodged my Orals in School - maybe that's why hehehe. When I was asked questions my voice was so shaky. I'd like to be able to talk to groups slowly about my experiences. I would like to get the word out about awareness. It's very important to share. At the event I chatted to some of the other panel members - I met Miss Hope who was actually crowned Miss Western Cape Last year. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer a 2nd time around and this time she took to the Hollistic approach. She drank chineese herbal teas, vitamins and Apricot Pips. She completely cured her cancer which I find is fascinating. I am looking into it slowly and I have started to take the Apricot pips ground up in some of my mornings Yoghurt. They extremely bitter let me warn you - we talking vile stuff here...

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