Posted in True Story, Inspirational, Uncategorized

The Dreaded “C” Word (part 7)

cropped-cancer.jpg

Relationship with my mum was getting a lot better.  Mum was already a volunteer worker at St. Vincent De Paul and World Vision.  But after she moved to her new place, she had started to work at the Cheltenham Community Centre as well, teaching sewing to migrants.  She was starting to enjoy having her freedom.  Mum had also started to going for computer and swimming classes.  We would visit her every Saturday for an authentic Sri Lankan feed.  Our kids would go and spend a night or two during school holidays.  Both parties enjoyed playing scrabble and monopoly.  They were very proud to see their grandmother on face book. They would help her with technical issues and so on.

Adelaide was having a horrid summer.  This was almost the 5th day of a heat wave.  Nil by mouth on a day like this was extremely hard.  Anyway went under the knife, around 4.00pm. Not sure how long the surgery was for. First night was in the CCU (Critical Care Unit).  Next morning I slowly walked to the toilet to have a wash and change with the help of the nurse.  I was a bit sore but I was able to talk and I was on my feet, I was rather radiant and happy.  It could have been the effects of all the morphine from the night before.  Just after the wash I threw up.  I usually have that reaction the day after anaesthesia.  I guess most people do.  So no big fuss about that and I was now transferred to the normal ward.

Hubby came to see me with a paper article in his hand.  It was Arj on the paper, he had given an interview about the short film he had done a couple of months ago.  I proudly showed the article to the nurse.  The vomiting continued.  I couldn’t keep anything down.   Throat surgery and vomiting doesn’t go hand in hand. I was put on anti nausea medication.  I was now moved to a private room.  I was meant to be going home on the 4th or the 5th day.  It was now the 5th day.  The vomiting hadn’t stopped and I was still on IV Fluids.  So they decided to have me in for another couple of days.  Adelaide heat wave was still ramping up.  Even the hospital A/c was finding it hard to cope.  The heat, vomiting and pain all combined I was struggling a bit at times.

It was probably the 5th or the 6th day. The doctor came around lunch time, about 1.00pm to see me.  This was rather unusual.  He normally sees me in the morning.  I was on my own. Hubby only comes in the evening with the boys.  He smiled and asked how I was doing.  I said “not bad”, he gently started to talk.  My test results of the Thyroid lump had come through.  Well, I have Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma.  A very rare type of thyroid cancer.  He sat on the edge of my bed and repeated “bugger, bugger, bugger”.  Not exactly professional for a doctor.  I’ve never seen him like this.

On the contrary I was rather calm.  I am really not sure how or why.  I guess I already had an inclination, that maybe this could be it.  To a certain extent I felt relieved.  We finally found it.  So I asked the doctor rather calmly “what next”. That’s pretty much me at most situations, “Madam your flight has been cancelled” and I would say “what your next flight?” then the rest of organising, I would let the pickup person know etc. You have to be practical about these things. I usually don’t see the point in fretting over things. So the news of cancer got the same treatment. Dr. Kollias either thought that I was a fruit cake or he was relieved that I was not bawling my eyes out. He straightened up.  He told me that he had already spoken to my husband.  The next step is to remove the rest of the thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes etc. And he went on to say that this totally explains the raised CEA marker.  I asked him if I had to go through Chemotherapy.  He said that Chemo and radio therapy does not work with this type of cancer.  At that stage I didn’t really understand the full extent of this particular cancer.  I didn’t realise that if it had spread then I wouldn’t have much of a fighting chance.  The talk of cancer had become so routine I was treating this as another procedure for a scan.

So the next surgery was scheduled in two days.  I had to go in for another scan and a few more blood tests.  It was the day of the second surgery, I was in immense pain already, the thought of the doctor opening up the same wound and fiddling around, made me feel nervous.  My blood pressure was sky rocketing.  I took the last sip of water before the NIL By mouth curfew sets in.

I looked at the picture that was hanging on the wall. It was the picture of Venice. It was of a couple on the gondola. Venice has been on my bucket list for a long time.  There are many beautiful places in the world and I would love to see them all.  However, Venice is the only one I have put on my Bucket List. Well I haven’t crossed that off the list yet I thought.  I stared at that picture again.  I thought to myself, “Nah, It’s not my time yet, I haven’t been to Venice” I imagined the “nah” with an Aussie accent, well pretty much the whole sentence in the most bogan accent.  Rather laid back, but with conviction.  Not sure if the big man up there had a part in placing that picture, or just a mere coincidence.  But the picture served its purpose.  Your inspiration or conviction can come from anything.  And it doesn’t matter where it comes from.  It could be a picture of Venice, it could be the picture of the flower that blooms only once a year or just the thought of your kids. Just use any lame excuse to say “I have to be here”.

When I got wheeled in for the surgery I met the whole team the Anaesthetist, the Surgeon and the nurses.  I was probably prepped a little bit so I was already rather happy and mellow.  The surgeon mentioned to Anaesthetist not to use the same medicine as last time as that didn’t agree with me, and the Anaesthetist said “I am well ahead of you sir, I have a different plan this time”  and I asked him “what to knock me out with a frying pan”  We all had a chuckle.

Humour is very important to me.  I find this eases me and as well as those around me.  When you are going through something serious, it’s the big elephant in the room, and no one knows how to talk about it. I guess they don’t know how to behave around you.  But if you show them that you have the capacity to laugh then they will join you.  Then it becomes a happier place. A place where it’s filled with positivity and no room given for negativity or self pity.

The Anaesthetist also knew my name meant goddess of the earth.  He had Asian features. I asked him if he was from Thailand as there are many Hindus there. He said he was from Singapore and he is Chinese, however was very interested Indian culture and its stories.  I don’t remember any other conversations after that.  He must have got hold of that frying pan.

to be cont…  

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The Dreaded “C” Word Cont… (part 5)

cancer

 The Dreaded C Word

The dreaded “C” word cont….

The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)

The dreaded “C” Word cont… (part 4)

I am not a regular temple visitor.  Even when I go to the temple I prefer to go after the pooja and have a one on one with the Almighty in silent prayer/meditation.  I don’t ever ask for anything.  I go there to thank him. So this particular visit was a strange one for me.  I couldn’t stop the tears running down my cheeks.  I felt it was not fair to ask him to spare my life as there were small children dying of cancer; there were pregnant mothers dying of cancer, I was just asking for a postponement by 3 years if possible.  In 3 years Arj would join Hari in High School.  The school drops offs would become so much easier for Ganesh.  In fact, there was a school bus.  The two brothers together in the same school would mean they can be of support for each other.  These were my reasoning.

Some ask me if I was worried about death itself.   Was I scared of dying?

It never crossed my mind. I know it sounds almost untruthful.  But really it never did.  All my fears were about the two kids and how will their lives be.  If the question was put forward to me now, if I was scared of death,   I have to say no, death is the last of my worries, death is the easy part, and living is much harder.  I have to work hard to live.  Once I complete living today, I have to live again tomorrow, with all the responsibilities and commitments. 

I don’t know about heaven or hell or an afterlife.  I don’t really know if any of them, or some them exist.  I see no point in knowing that.  I don’t think my behaviour in this life is going to change in anyway by knowing that.  I do good, not for the dangling carrot, but just because it is the right thing to do. I don’t really care if I make it to heaven or I come back as a bird in my next birth.  I feel I have no control over that.  But I sure can have some control over what happens in this birth. 

I know he can say “I will give you cancer any time and take that smugness out of you”.  Maybe so, but damned if I was going to go without a fight.  I had nothing to lose and everything to gain for the sake of my kids.  You twisted bastard, you picked on the wrong woman. 

Things with my mother were becoming tolerable but not great.  We were behaving like guests living in each other’s house.  I knew I had to make some serious decisions and make some serious changes.  I didn’t tell my mum the date of my surgery.  One of my cousins lost her husband a year ago and mum has always felt guilty that she couldn’t make it to the funeral.  It was his one year death anniversary coming up.  This was all in Perth.  I booked her flight to Perth and suggested that she spend some time with her in her time of grief.

I had decided that its time that I made my family capable of looking after themselves in case I lose the battle.  I wasn’t accepting defeat, but I thought it was like having a will, life insurance, just having a game plan.  Training started on using the washing machine, putting the clothes out, bins out, vacuuming and helping me with cooking.

Obviously my mum was not happy when she found out that the surgery was going to be when she was away and wanted to change her flights.  One of her concerns were “what would the people say?” I put my foot down and said, if I need you I will definitely call you back, but you taught me to be capable and an independent woman. This is a simple surgery and there is no point in you changing your flights.  She was hell bent on staying.  Her adorable friend Lyn came to my aid. She could somehow feel it was something more than a hysterectomy.  She took my mum for coffee and made her understand that she needs to respect my wishes.

I needed all my strength to fight this battle.  I couldn’t do it with the negativity that was looming at home.  Even though I raised eyebrows by sending my mum away at a time most people would have asked their parents help, I knew this was the right decision for me.  One was the negativity, the other was while mum was around, the three men in the house would not learn any of the domestic basics. This was very important to me.  No loose ends.  If I am gone, there is no way that hubby and mum could live in the same house.  It wouldn’t be a healthy environment for the kids either. They needed to be self sufficient.

I did think about the two adults in this equation as well. My husband as usual wouldn’t show his grief, bury himself at work with zero patience and maximum irritation.  I can’t even imagine what this would have done to my mum.  Grief would have destroyed her.  Unattended grief turns into anger.  And that’s what would have happened to hubby and mum.

We also come from a culture where the men think, all is achieved by making money. And for the women, it’s all about getting home cooked food on the table.   If only, those two things were the only things needed for solve all the issues in life, it would be much easier to live.

In all of these dramas hubby was no angel, but he has a visa, a permit, granted to him, under the clause of “whatever said and done, he is nice man at heart” which translates to he can be a brat as long as, time to time he shows signs of a gentleman.  My mum, my father in law and a few others or our kin are recipients of this privileged permit as well.  Somehow I wasn’t privy to one.  I read in one of the pregnancy books, that pregnancy brings upon tantrums and melt downs on the mother as her hormones are all over the place.  Reading that sentence out to my husband nearly caused another tantrum.  So there was no room for Uma to be a diva.  I didn’t want to be one anyway.  If you are surrounded by drunken people and you are the only one sober, you realise how badly they are behaving and you become more and more sober because you just loathe what you see.  Mean while the drunk is thinking I am great, I am funny, I am strong and I am it.  While they are gleaming in their egoistical glory unfortunately the sober one is suffering, she/he is thinking, this is my family, this is my friend, and I can’t leave, they will self destruct, no one else will put up with them, not for long anyway, and I am the only one thinking straight and fair.

We tackled Diva behaviour by dealing with the Evil Eye.  We believed that evil eye was the cause of everything evil that happens in one’s life.  Same reason was given for domestic arguments.  The reason we had an absolute melt down was because of this darn Evil Eye, “I said, you said, what will the people say” was all due to the poor schmuck who visited you that evening and complimented your kids. I failed to pick up on the fact that it was not a compliment but rather the work of casting an evil eye.  So we finish the argument by mum making a ritual of burning chillies in a pot with soil and other magical ingredients.  We hug and kiss and all forgiven (but rarely forgotten, memories are stored away for a later use).

The concern of cancer, young kids, just day to day chores, work, money or how little I was earning at this stage, future and like I needed a hole in my head the two divas was all consuming my thoughts.  But mum in Perth, there was a sense cease fire and we were starting to build a relationship.  We were actually happy.  It is a strange thing to say when you have a cloud over your head.  But then again, I was not thinking about it, not all the time anyway.  I really didn’t see the point in dwelling on an issue which I had no control over.

I woke up from the surgery, at this stage I didn’t know if they had gone ahead with the hysterectomy or they had just closed me up because they found the cancer.  It was good news.  The surgeon explained that they removed everything as the endometriosis had progressed real badly. They had removed both ovaries and everything attached to that, even the tubes.  They had to scrape down the walls of the kidney, liver etc as this growth had spread that far.   Everything removed was sent out for more cancer testing.  Results came negative.

I came to the conclusion that the raised tumour marker was due to this extensive endometriosis.  I felt that we had dodged a bullet.  I wanted to make use of this experience.  I was mad at us for having petty fights.  None of our fights was on serious issues, no one cheated on another, and it was not related to assets and property, we had everything to be happy for, but still we wasted time squabbling over stupid things.

Again I say the reason for bringing the laundry into the public is not to compete with the Kardashians, but to say that life is precious, time is precious don’t waste it.  We have been given a second chance, not everyone gets that wakeup call and unfortunately for some it’s too late.  Don’t hit the snooze button, just wake up NOW.  Then again, if you haven’t dealt with the issue, however trivial it may be to the other, that fight/argument is going to revisit you again.  Learn to listen to each other.  Be fair, and accept compromise, but at the same time don’t let the other bully you. If you let the other bully you into silence, you are playing Ms/Mr Amicable, while boiling on the inside.  Eruption postponed to a later date.

My mum was married off at a very young age, sixteen or seventeen, almost a child bride.  Her formal education ended with that. However, my dad believed in her abilities and talents.  More than anything he loved her unconditionally.  He was an educated man. But in his eyes, mum was still an equal, worthy of his love and respect. With dad’s support mum flourished in her confidence and started to hone on her talents. She got herself a Diploma in Dressmaking.   Dad’s sudden passing shattered mum.  It shattered both of us.  It came from nowhere.   No warnings.  Start to finish was just sixteen days.  He had a brain aneurism.  I have an enormous amount of admiration for the way she rose to the challenge of bringing up her only daughter.

Little does she realise, that this is where I drew half the strength for my battles.  She lived the life of Riley’s until my Dad’s passing.  She lived in a great big house with an aide for each chore. She was Chauffer driven to anywhere and everywhere.  She was treated like a queen by the staff at The Tea Research Institute, where my dad worked as a scientist.  These were the perks that came with my dad’s profession.  After, dad’s passing we moved to Colombo into a small flat. Life began with no aides and no cars.  We had to learn to use public transport.  We had to learn to live on a small pension. Mum realised this was not going to be enough.  She did not hesitate.  She thought she could make use of that diploma in dressmaking and accepted a job in a Garment factory.  Most relatives and friends were very supportive. But there were the odd ones who couldn’t resist sniggering at mum for going below her social standing.  Mum didn’t care.   Mum was just forty two. She may not have a formal education, but made up for it with her conviction.  She was very strong, even when it came to my marriage; some were not very convinced with my choice for a husband.  But she stood strong; her daughter’s happiness was paramount for her.  She wasn’t going to let anyone bully us.  Dad had given us the confidence to be independent and she was not going to fail her husband.  She missed dad immensely, we both did, and we had to be there for each other.  This was the period I realised how strong my mum was.  Each day she was becoming more confident and embracing her independence.

Living with us I realised, she had to live according to our whims and fancy.  It wasn’t always fair.  We were taking each other for granted.  When things got heated we didn’t mind telling her that this was our house and that’s how it’s going to stand. So, when mum returned from Perth, I explained to mum it would be better if she moved out.  In my mind I wasn’t just thinking about my needs, I was genuinely thinking of her needs as well.  She is an independent woman, and we are keeping her here with her wings clipped.

She didn’t see it that way.  She was very upset. She was really angry.  Well, why wouldn’t she?  She felt betrayed and used.  She looked after the boys from their birth. She was the full time child minder, when I returned to work. Now, that the boys are grown up, I am just discarding her. I tried to explain to her that wasn’t the case. I explained to her that, I love her very much but living under the same roof, we are just tolerating each other.  I don’t want to tolerate my mother, I wanted to yearn for my mother and her company.  And I explained that living separately but close by, we could achieve that.  Again Lyn made mum consider my suggestion.  So she reluctantly moved out.  She was still very angry and hurt.

I was still recovering from the surgery.  So, in everyone else’s eyes I was being crazy.  Why would I disregard her help? She could cook for me and take care of me.  Everyone thought I was just being spiteful.  Well, probably mum thought the same.  In life there is nothing called a free lunch.  Help usually comes with control and obligation.  This is how I felt at that time.  This is how I was made to feel.  I wanted my independence and sanity back.  And I knew in time mum will start to enjoy hers.

It was about a month and half since the surgery.  I had started to drive and do simple stuff.  This was a strange surgery.  You feel fantastic one minute and the next minute a dizzy spell.  I felt that I was starting to gain weight.  But more than anything I felt unfit, my stomach and my back were like jelly.  So went to see the personal trainer, I met years ago for a shoulder injury that I had.  He was amazing.  He explained to me that as the stomach region is compromised due to the surgery, and that in turn is not supporting my back. So it was gentle core exercises to strengthen the weaker muscles.  Progress was very slow.  But gradually I got fitter and thinner.

Life was good again.  Life was actually fabulous.  I felt like a new woman.  Many showed concern about a hysterectomy as they felt worse after the surgery due to the lack of hormones.  For me it was the reverse.  I wish I had done it earlier.  I just felt so great.  Until…. Until Dr. Lynch decided to spoil it all.

 

 

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The dreaded “C” Word cont… (part 4)

 

cancer

The Dreaded C Word

The dreaded “C” word cont….

The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)

 

As I said before I am a very practical person.  My method of parenting was also very practical.  I had much to do, minimum amount of disruption was vital.  “Mum he started it” was dealt with “I don’t care who started it, I can finish it” punishment was for both of them, my theory was one of them escaped the dreaded wooden spoon one time or another, so it was all even at the end of a long week.  I wish I had a similar method for my mum and husband. Their relationship was straining.  In turn, it was affecting me as well.  I usually keep my peace with mum; as when she erupts it’s a few days of misery.  But after continuous prodding by the GP and the Gyno, my stomach was in all sorts.  Pain was in its absolute peak.  Unfortunately my mum was not privy to any of this information.  So she kept pushing everyone’s buttons.  I made a slip. So the day I went for the first of the scans, I was not entirely thinking about the scan or the dreaded tumour marker.  Hubby and I were mostly discussing the eruption we had the night before.  It was a very good distraction.

My reasoning for bringing this part of the laundry into the lime light is not to discredit my mum, my husband, father in law or anyone else.  This is to point out, that just because you are going through cancer, the rest of world doesn’t stop to lay you that red carpet, not always anyway. Life goes on as normal for the rest of the world.  Your closest and dearest are forced to change their routine a little bit, the bit where they were reliant on you, is now on them to carry on, on their own.  It’s not like when you have the flu, where the inconvenience is just for a week, but with something like cancer, it’s a long road.  A long bumpy road, with many potholes. The driver is going to try and avoid those potholes and the passenger hopes the same.  But unfortunately the wheels are going to hit those darn potholes once in a while anyway.  Pain is experienced by all.  You have to just keep driving.  Driver fatigue is very possible in this journey as well.  It’s important that you involve the passenger to take on the wheel at times.

Friends became co-drivers in terms of school drop offs.  We headed to the doctors for an 8.30 AM appointment.  This Gynaecologist was recommended by a nurse friend of mine. She told me he was thorough. This man takes thoroughness to another level. What we learnt later is that this blood test that flagged the tumour marker, is not usually a test that Gyno’s worry about.  It’s not a conclusive test, it’s something used as an indicator on advanced cancer patients to see if the cancer was returning, rising etc.  Not sure of his thinking why he asked me to have it done.  Anyway, that inconclusive test is the main reason why I am still around to tell my story.

Dr. Munday went on to explain that the tumour marker count on a normal person should be around 0-10, and mine was around 175.  Quite high I guess.  But at the same time this is an indicator, in laymen’s term, (this is how I convinced myself that it was not that serious) it’s like saying if you have a headache it could mean you have brain tumour, or it could even mean that you just have a migraine.  He had already looked at the results of the tests performed the day before.  Lungs were clear.  The liver had some white masses, so he had discussed it with the liver specialist before my arrival and the opinion was that it is rather a normal feature in women of my age.  The intestines/ oesophagus had a small area that they wanted to have another closer look at.  So he had already made an appointment for me with a Gastroenterologist. Dr Munday went on to explain that until we explore the possibility of the cancer and if I had cancer that had to be dealt with first before the hysterectomy.  Three days later I was going for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.  Fasting, jelly and the rest of the glory began.  Mum thought that was all part of the hysterectomy. I didn’t see a reason to correct her.  I needed support and strength, someone who would say and feel it was going to be okay. Not the other way around.  I didn’t have the energy to console my mum.  It would be hard for any parent to not fall apart.  Let alone for one who has lost her husband and this was her only child.  Not telling my mum the whole story meant she didn’t see a reason to let go of the fight that started 3 days ago.  Hubby may be domestically challenged but when it came to the mental strength that I needed, he was like a rock for me.

I had taken on a new client. This meant their books were an utter mess and years behind in reconciliation. The Tax department was breathing down their neck and so were the creditors. The added trips to the doctors and specialists meant I was behind in my work.  So, before going in for the scopes the next day I promised that I will have all reports emailed to them that night.  I was working till midnight with the jelly and toilet trips.  I was like a woman before labour.  Nesting instincts had clicked in.  I was doing it all, cleaning, ironing uniforms, helping with homework and profit and loss statements all tackled.

Scopes were done and the results drew blank. So Dr. Munday decided to go ahead with the surgery. The cancer cloud had not completely cleared.  The possibility that the endometriosis was giving an elevated reading was talked about. Still no real answers to why it was high. Dr. Munday was going to have an oncologist on site, so if he saw anything untoward, then they will stop the surgery, close me up for that day, take actions for the cancer and so forth.

With all the tests and doctor’s appointments completed until September for the surgery, life was back to the same old.  Reality was starting to sink in. I could have cancer.  I talked to a selected few of my friends and to one of my cousins who lived in Adelaide.  Other than that we didn’t want to alarm any one before we knew the exact story ourselves.

Moments of sadness crept in.  I lost my dad at the age of 19.  He was only 53.  My life completely changed after his passing.  I lost my whole identity.  From a girl who was full confidence and conviction, I became withdrawn and almost very insecure. Not that I lost interest in my studies, but I was not firing with all cylinders.  I knew it would be the same for my kids. They were much younger than I was when I lost my dad. Not that I had lacked confidence in Ganesh to be a good dad, but I knew, without me the house would turn into Capt. Von Trap  and his two sons on two minute noodles.

Hari had just moved to high school and was slowly finding his feet.  It always takes a bit of time for Hari to make friends and accept a new place.  He already had his challenges with his hearing and the issues that brings on.  I feel somehow responsible for his hearing loss and then on top of that to lose his mother at a young age would just make things worse.  He had an amazing final year in his primary school, winning scholarships, chess tournaments, Maths Olympiad and South Australian Champ for Robotics.  He showed so much promise. Arj was just blossoming as a young actor, orator and debater.  He had Midsummer Night’s Dream under his belt.  He was just nine years old and a star already.  I was going to derail everything.

Cont…

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)

 

 

cancer

 

 

The Dreaded C Word

The dreaded “C” word cont….

Read the above two before you tackle this …

My journey begins. For years, I suffered from endometriosis.  Medical explanation to this is a tissue that lines the inside of the uterus starts to grow out side.  I also had a few fibroids in my ovaries.   I just like growing things inside my body.  If I had done so much growing on the outside of my body I could be six feet tall instead of 5ft. This meant for years I had suffered from bleeding and severe stomach cramps.  Naprogesic (a pain killer) was my ever loving friend. I was anaemic at most times. It was unbearable pain and discomfort.  However as a working mother of two over energetic boys and a wife of a domestically under contributing husband, I had no choice but to soldier on.  The GP’s were shying away from a hysterectomy as I was under the age of 40.  Damn hormones, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.

With a busy lifestyle my visits to the doctor was not that frequent.  I turned 40, but we also moved states and yes there was so much else happening.  So, no trips to the doctor, just trips to the chemist to get more Naprogesic.  I was 41, I could feel that things were getting really bad; a job got cancelled last minute.  That day was no different, I was in a lot of pain, I was already in the car when the client declined, so decided to drive to the doctors and get this pain sorted out once and for all.

My reasoning was that I had two kids, not planning on another, I had enough, I want the whole thing out.  Well, did I open the Pandora’s Box or what?  Ultra sound confirmed that I had plenty of rubbish in one of my ovaries, and the endometriosis was well cooked. Next stop, the Gynaecologist.  Met the Gyno, nice man, apparently his dad was a Gyno too, and his sister was a midwife.  Hope they were not talking shop at the dinner table.

Didn’t, realise that this would be the start of all tests.  At this stage, things were rather simple, decision was made to remove one of my ovaries, so that the other could produce enough hormones and we could avoid hormone replacement therapy.   This was around June/July. I was told that I will need two months minimum to recover.  I am a very practical person.  I thought well I will have to do it in one month.  We set the date for the surgery one week before the school holidays in September.  I had endured this for so long I couldn’t see the urgency.  I had so much to plan before the surgery.  Two months gave me enough time to cook and freeze food for the domestically challenged and his kids.  School holidays meant no school drops offs, and sports drop offs, no chess clubs and no debating.

I started cooking. My surgeon had given me scripts for a few more scans and blood tests to be done before the surgery to assist him with the surgery.  Blood test completed.  Two weeks went past and my life remained the same. I was still yelling at kids to get up in the morning, and the husband to get out of the toilet.

I was at work, it was 11: 30 am.  Just had a coffee and biscuits, too late to feel guilty about that chocolate bikky that I downed.  Yep, it’s Lyn, my surgeons’ nurse on the phone asking when I had something to eat.  I said just now, thinking “Christ I am only going for a hysterectomy not a lap band surgery”  She said politely, “Can you not drink or eat anything anymore and can you please come in for some scans at 4.00pm?” My blood test revealed that my CEA count was high.  That was a  Pauline Hanson moment – Please explain.  Carcinoembryonic Antigen.  She said “best if the doctor explains it, he will see you tomorrow after the tests”.  She said it’s a type of tumour marker. I am still in the dark. But I realised, that there were some alarm bells going off, at the doctors. I didn’t have much time to ponder if it was a false alarm or not as I had to organise school pick up and everything else.  It did stun me for a bit though.  Talked to the girls at work, they were nurses before they started their own business doing physio therapy, they had some idea but I was probably not in the right head space to take in all the information. Went outside to get some fresh air, and to call hubby, ask a friend to pick up the boys.  Time passed very quickly.  Had a CT scan of my lungs and a MRI of the stomach.

Little did I realise that this was the beginning of radiology cocktails.  Most of them were white, some of them had slight pink tinge, some pale yellow. It didn’t’ matter what colour it was, they had one common component.  They all tasted rotten.  Anyway, I was asked to come the next day to meet the Doc.

cont …. Continue reading “The dreaded “C” word cont…. (3rd lot)”

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The dreaded “C” word cont….

 

cancer

For me, I took a lot of strength from some of the famous cancer survivors, their determination and their outlook in life.  To name a few Olivia Newton John, Glenn McGrath’s wife Jane and Lance Armstrong (obviously, this was before he was found out).  But more than anyone, who gave me most strength was my neighbour Nick.  Nick was an Old Italian man.  Every year on x’mas day our street has a tradition.  We all visit each other, with gifts and have port, wine, baileys, black coffee, food, all the good stuff.  It is really great living in an Italian neighbourhood.  You are drunk by 10.00 am.  Anyway, coming back to Nick, the previous year Nick had bowel cancer.  So the next X’mas when we were there, as usual his wife was trying to feed us with everything she could find.  I passed the tray to Nick, and he explained that he can’t eat all that, I guess the Doc’s had a field day snipping his intestines.  So I asked, “so how are you now Nick?” (With concern and a sombre voice) and he goes “I am fantastic, I will live another 100 years”.  He is (I know he is no longer with us and I should use he was, but his spirit and his cheerful cheeky face is still fresh and alive in my mind) a breath of fresh air.  This is the man when we first moved in, we were still unpacking, moving furniture, cleaning, we were ready to drop, looks at us and says apparently his dad told him that “it is only the first 100 years of your life that is hard, after that it is a piece of cake” and he chuckles.  I could write a separate book about Nick. So Nick was no celebrity, not even an academic, he was not a motivational speaker, he was just an ordinary man. He is not someone who could quote Nietzsche or Shakespeare, he just quotes his dad.  For some reason he made a massive impact on the way I looked at life.

Do I really have it, I don’t think so, so what’s this stupid tumour marker, I don’t know, just do the darn tests, test after test for nearly two and half years.  MRI’S, CT Scan’s, PET Scans, Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, Cystoscopy, every type of scan and every type of scope that there is, my body has endured it, over and over again.

cont…

If you havent read the first blog, it would make more sense if you read that first  The Dreaded C Word