Monday, May 05, 2014

2014 catchup

My world has certainly changed since my last posting ! I was just settling in to providing Nanny day care for grandson Seth when I started getting some nasty twinges in my abdomen which needed checking out. To cut a long story short, I was sent to a gastroenterologist as a precaution and she recommended a colonoscopy as I was coming up to 60 years old. Unfortunately she discovered a colon cancer which we hoped was early stage. 2 weeks later the surgeon had removed the cancer which tested as stage 3B, not so early. He recommended 6 months of fortnightly chemotherapy so we decided to "go with the flow" and began chemo 4 weeks later. As you can see quite a whirlwind of testing, results and treatment ! My surgeon recommended I use a private oncology service rather than the public hospital which although very good is quite clinical and not the best option for someone with anxiety problems ! So glad I could afford to take his advice. I formed a lovely relationship with my chemo nurse and the director of the Western Sydney Private Oncology Centre at Westmead over the 6 months. I had a PIC inserted in my chest wall so that I could have regular infusions and also so that I could go home for the second phase of each treatment which required 4 hours in the clinic once a fortnight then going home with a small bottle of chemo drugs attached through the port. I quickly got into the routine of fortnightly blood tests on the Friday before treatment, then Monday for treatment and Wednesday for de-access of the line. The port will stay in for another 6 months in case I need plasma or a transfusion at some stage. Have a follow up CT scan of chest, abdomen and pelvis in a fortnight, then hopefully just regular flushing of the port and an occasional blood test. Fingers crossed we have stopped it in its tracks, the doctors were all calling me the "model Patient" as I had very few side effects and tolerated the chemo fairly well. I have very thin hair and short nails at the moment, and a bit of peripheral neuropathy (tingling and numbness) in my hands and feet which is typical and usually temporary. The fatigue levels are very debilitating so my stitching and sewing has been minimal this past 6 months, and I've had to pass my dressmaking clients to other people. On the whole though I feel very blessed and extremely lucky that I insisted on following up my pains and that the doctors reacted swiftly to the results. It certainly pays to listen to your own body, know when there's something not right and insist on tests until you are satisfied that you've done all you can. Best wishes to anyone else going through similar at the moment, I believe in Karma so I'm sure all will be well if it's meant to be. XX