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 www.whitelines.co.za *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