Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just a few ramblings

Our house is back to its quiet little normal state. It's nice. Just Rob and I. (I was going to say "me and rob", but thought my mother would tell me off for improper grammar).
Hospital appointment letters have been the main source of mail for the last few days. It really is quite weird having my name on an appointment letter. I'm quite used to seeing other people walk around with them (hopefully I won't look quite as lost as they will when I go from appointment to appointment, seeing as after 5 years I really should know my way around Auckland Hospital...)
Next week is filling up with places to be and people to see, mostly during the day time, which is lucky, because by the time it gets to 4 or 5 O'Clock I am feeling pretty tired. I'm not sure if that is the muggy weather, the emotional exhaustion, a physical thing, or if it's kinda in my head a bit. What I mean is that up until I got admitted to hospital I was getting up, going to work, coming home, studying the night away, still catching up with friends, and I don't remember feeling this tired.
It's the same with feeling sore. I was feeling sore before the diagnosis, probably more sore than I am now, but now I know why, it bothers me more. Nothing that a few panadol can't fix by the way, but it still bothers me more.
But onto nicer subjects.

We went to Mangawhai yesterday to see some friends. Matt and Rach have an awesome beach house with fabulous views right out over the sea. We all just sat around watching the sea, drinking Moot. What is Moot? Moot is a term given to anything liquid (but not milk) that was coined by a now 18 month toddler. His parents have encouraged the use of the word, so I figure, why not. The sea is Moot, water is Moot, beer is Moot, paddling pool is Moot (Just not milk).
I managed to drive most of the way up to Managwhai, but about 1/2 hour from actually getting there decided that I could no longer put up with Robs sighs and glances at the speedo as I stuck to the speed limit. Time to let him take over.

Last week a friend of Robs mentioned that he might be able to get me a ride in a V8 around Hampton Downs racetrack. So this morning we jumped in the car and headed down. Rob may have got a bit carried away with the thought of racing, and may have broken the speed limit a little, which may have been in front of a speed camera (Read: I took too long getting ready, Rob was trying to get us there on time, and we may have another piece of mail coming from the traffic department in the next week or two).
We watched a few of the warm up laps and before you know it, it was my turn. I got to go in a race with a guy called Mike aka the mexican (although I'm not convinced that he was mexican at all......)
So I'm strapped into my 4 point harness, know where the fire extinguisher is, helmet on, ready to go. We made it to the first corner before there was a red flag. So back to the start again, someone had started a bit too early... So I got the chance for another starting flag and another high speed start. Because it was raining a bit Mike said it wasn't quite as fast as it would normally be. I'm pretty damn sure it was fast enough for me though! As we came up through one of the tight corners into a straight the back wheels spun, then so did we! We came inches (and I don't mean too many of them) from the concrete wall! Apparently Mike had his fingers crossed at that point too! It was exhilarating, and for 15 minutes I totally forgot that I am apparently sick.
Another day, another bit closer to this thing being finished and us being well and happy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

and so it goes.

I'm only writing this less than 2 weeks after I first was admitted to Hospital, but already Rob and I are forgetting when we spoke to people, when we saw them and what we have said. I guess thats because we have been blessed with so many people offering help, support, bringing flowers and food.
Sean and Jane came up on the Sunday from Wellington, as part of a pre planned trip. And I got my Drama queen crown. Complete with poking stick, "Cath" Bell (rather than call bell), ear plugs (for if other doctors start yapping), note pad, stamp, ID display (so people know I'm the boss) and all sorts of other goodies - including a parcel from mum and dad and baking from Roisin.
It was very cool to be able to sit down and just hang out with them. And then to eat. I have no reason not to eat whatever I like at the moment (apart from the fact I don't really feel like it) so when I do feel like it I can have all the creamy sauces, the deep fried food, rare steak and then dessert!
We are so lucky to have such amazing friends and family. For those who have sent messages and emails that I may not have responded to, I am sorry. I have appreciated every single message and treasure them. I just haven't been able to write reply's to everyone.

One of the hardest things that we have been going through is facing the issue of infertility. The radiotherapy and chemo have a 100% chance of putting me into early menopause, and the radiotherapy itself would mean I would never be able to carry a child. Its tough, especially as we had thought about just getting my exam out of the way and then deciding when to have children. So rather than the few months to years we thought we had to make a decision we had 4 days. 4 days to decide if we were going to try for IVF. It scared me, and still does. No one can tell us 100% what effect the hormones would have on the tumor, although the residing opinion is that it would be safe. We weren't sure if we could handle the extra emotional battle that it might throw at us with even more hormones. Then we have to pray that it works, that they can get the eggs, that they can be fertilised, that they can be frozen, that they can be thawed at some point in the future, and that we can find a surrogate. phew. thats a lot of hoping and finger crossing. But, it came down to a simple equation. If we tried, we might have a chance, if we didn't then that was it for any chance of biological children.
We will still have the option of adoption to consider, and I know a number of very lovely people who have been adopted, we're just not sure it's for us, and thankfully, for once this week, we don't have to make that decision straight away.

So yesterday off we went to the fertility appointment. I didn't realise it was going to be quite as long as it was, which wasn't a problem, apart from having to do a 24 hour urine collection to check my kidney function. Yup, pee in a bottle for 24 hours. (The things us doctors make patients do!) So there we are, half way through seeing all the different people, when I really have to pee. Luckily there was a lab down stairs, so I managed to get another bottle, but they gave me a nearly clear plastic bag to put it in. So there I am, in a building with a whole lot of people I know and have recently worked with, holding a bottle which is half full of pee. We couldn't stop giggling. We had to make a quick dash into the pharmacy to buy a bag so that we could hide it!
It was while we were getting my new drug supply (for IVF) that it was confirmed that treatment will not start until the 15th of Feb. Up until that point in the day we had been doing quite well, but I lost it then. I managed to make it to the car before I started crying. Tears just running down my face, and I couldn't stop them. Another week. It feels like forever.
When I got home I tried to see if I could make any of the appointments privately, caus maybe that would speed things up. No Joy. Some of them just have to be done at the hospital. Can't see the doctors any earlier, can't start the treatment any earlier. we just have to wait.
It was probably the second worst day in the last 2 weeks.
My parents arrived not long after. We weren't expecting them, and it was a bit of a shock. They are just such amazing people. They saw we needed a bit of space, and despite that more than anything they just wanted to be here for us, they left again, and gave us some space. And I know that that is true love. Once we had pulled ourselves together a bit, they came back, and it really was a great relief to see them.
We didn't do much. Just sat on the couch and watched TV. But it was lovely.
I started my IVF injections last night. Strange how it is so easy for me to stick needle in someone else, but when I was faced by this tiny (and I mean TINY) needle I almost couldn't do it. I would never make a good diabetic, or druggie, I just hate needles too much! But I did it, it wasn't too bad, and there aren't that many more to go.

I have just got back from having some more blood tests (I can cope when other people are doing the needling) and from seeing Mum and Dad again. Next week is starting to fill up with more appointments and Rob may even go back to work a bit.

So for today, there isn't much more to add. I think I have filled in the last 2 weeks, and I will try to add a bit more every few days, if there is something to add. Most likely it will just be random rambling thoughts and updates.

week one

We’ll I’ve never really kept a diary, but things are happening pretty quickly at the moment, and lets face it, right now I’m so bored I’d even watch cricket!

I guess things started properly on Tuesday night.

What are you supposed to do when you are in hospital, as the only anaesthetist and you start bleeding, heavily, and you have a patient on the table. Saying oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck was a pretty good place to start.

It’s awesome that there were so many great people to make it a bit easier. Having a Tech with that many years experience is very reassuring, and nurses to wheel me out of there, and a registrar from another department to come and bail me out – I guess I can say fuck I’m lucky, well maybe not luck given the circumstances, but grateful to have so many awesome people around.

It’s kind of a weird thing to be able to ring another doctor in the hospital, to know who they are, and to have them say, just come in, to feel like the whole world is swimming, and then to feel so reassured that they were going to look after me and help sort this whole mess out. I developed a whole new respect for Deborah. Her bedside manner was amazing. I was pretty sure the news wasn’t going to be good, and could see it in peoples faces. Astrid listened to my story and said it sounded reassuring, but then her face when she examined me! May I say fuck?

I never thought that I would have to have a mcfarlane roll inserted, and even though its only a couple of days later there are already things that I can’t really remember happening. Pretty glad that’s one of them.

My first night in 97 was in a 4 bed room, but with only one other patient. It’s weird sleeping in a strange bed, and even weirder waking up without my rob. I love him so much. In fact the thing about all this that is the hardest is seeing what it is doing to him, and knowing that he is so upset, and that right now I am pretty damn well, especially compared to what I might be like with chemo/radiotherapy! But I’m jumping ahead.

I went to theatre on Wednesday Morning. I was holding it together pretty well until I saw Rhada. Then I pretty much lost it. They gave me some midazolam, and I have no idea what I did or said after that. Which I guess is a blessing. I remember feeling so tired when I woke up, struggling to get out of a deep heavy daze. Sneha was looking after me, and was amazed that I could remember her.

The rest of the day is a bit of a haze to me. I do remember going to have a chest xray and being told I would need an MRI. I guess I already knew the news was going to be a bit shitty by that stage. Ange and Kate and Anna and Sasha all came to visit me. It was beautiful. I’m still waiting for someone to bring me my drama queen crown though. After rob went home Sasha just stayed with me. She didn’t even have to say anything, it was just nice to have her there with me.

Valeria came to see me the next morning. You know it can’t be good when the doctor is crying. Poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. Despite a normal smear 6 months ago, I now have a 7cm tumor. So another few days wait, another trip to theatre and another consultant telling me the news. It’s too big to operate on so it is going to be chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Ok, so we had a plan. Here I am ready to start the next day, maybe the next Monday. I had no idea we would have to wait 3 weeks after the second trip to theatre to start treatment. 3 weeks! F*&K!