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Monthly Archives: June 2010

A book of remembrance

I’ve never been one for keeping diaries. Observing how silly princesses and other notables confide their secrets to their diaries, only to have them betrayed to the world has always put me off keeping one. (a diary, that is, not a princess!) And then there are the twitty (or is it ‘twitter’) entries that expose to the world, “I’m having a shower”, or “I’m ironing my laptop”, or “I’m chewing gum”.

I must now confess that since late last year I have kept a daily diary in which I record my medical situation. I’ve been keeping track of procedures, my physical reactions to them and how I’ve coped mentally and spiritually from day to day. It records the highs and the lows.

And I must also confess that during this past week I’ve realised the value of what I’ve been doing. No one else will be remotely interested in ever reading it when I’m gone. But this past week was tough. One of the worst I’ve had for a long time. One evening I scanned back through the diary and discovered that even this past week, that I thought was depressingly rough, has been better than many I endured earlier in the year.

It made me feel positively better!

Dear Diary, today I fantasized that I was well …

 
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Posted by on 19 June, 2010 in Personal

 

Pain brings fickle memories

It used to amuse me a little when people joked at how women forget the pain of childbirth. How could you forget something that seems to be so acute and noisy?

I’m beginning to understand. I’m trying to remember what it was like last time I had SIRs inserted into my liver. The initial pain at the time of the procedure and immediately after seemed to be different, but was it? Now, ten days later I am finding it is an up-and-down journey between good days and days of pain and lethargy. I can’t remember if I had this last time but my long-suffering wife remembers me assuring myself last time that the pain meant the radioactivity was working. I hope that’s the case again.

But what a week to have a ‘downer’! Yesterday Bronwen had a colonoscopy and I could hardly hold my head up enough to drive a vehicle. After I fetched her home I went straight to bed – I was the cot-case! From Thursday we are looking after the children while Becky goes into hospital to have her gall-bladder removed! And then next week, more chemo for me. Oh joy unbounded!

In the final analysis, whatever the day brings, one just has to do what has to be done and know that ‘as our day, so shall our strength be’.

I like what an old preacher said when he was asked what was his favourite verse. He said, “And it came to pass …” It didn’t come to stay, it came to pass!

 
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Posted by on 15 June, 2010 in Personal

 

There’s no bed like your own

Got home from Dunedin on Wednesday afternoon, went straight to hopsital fro blood tests then took Abe to football (soccer) practice.

Felt absolutely exhausted in the evening after a full week and collapsed into bed early. Hospital beds are more comfortable than they used to be and friends’ beds are nice and cosy too, but there is no bed and there are no more relaxing surroundings to let you guard down in than your own!

Felt marginally better before going to the hospital at 9am Thursday for 2nd half of the 5th round of chemo in this present course. (1st half was the Tuesday morning I flew to Dunedin a week ago). Some of my liver function readings are very high which is not good but not causing concern because the other two parts are within normal bounds.

I have another course of chemo in 2 weeks and will have the CT Scan about 14 July to observe what damage the spheres have done to the metastases. There is a brilliant picture of what the spheres look like before insertion The picture is reproduced below

but you can get more details if you click on this link – this is identical to what I received and how. I’ve also reproduced it below:

More appointments, more frustrations in being able to plan ahead. The stoma seems to have settled down (except when passing radioactive waste that seems to react with the skin immediately surrounding it with hot burning stinging feelings). More special grace continually needed and received – I am generally feeling pretty comfortable and still having no major side-effects from any of the treatments.

 
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Posted by on 11 June, 2010 in Medical, Personal

 

Rough start but coming right

The SIRT insertion went quite well but I had a bradychardia attack towards the end when I broke out in a sweat and my pulse dropped to 42. Blood tests and ECG showed it wasn’t a ‘cardiac event’. It appears something ‘tickled’ the vagal nerve. 

I had pain across the lower chest/rib-cage area all day. It peaked between 2am and 4am on Friday morning and was held in check with the morphine pump. After 6am there was no nausea or further pain and I was discharged at lunchtime. 

Last night (Friday) I perspired profusely in bed and was very itchy all over, signs that my liver had taken a hit and that liver function was impaired. I had been warned this might happen and should only be concerned if it persisted. The radioactive cells are making their presence felt but the body is coping with it and today is becoming a pretty normal day.

 
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Posted by on 5 June, 2010 in Medical, Personal

 

Radioactive spheres not what I thought.

It was fascinating to watch the SIRT procedure on Thursday and see the Radiologist inserting the spheres. I had imagined there would be about 9 or 10 radioactively charged little ball-bearings positioned in blood vessels to target the metastases. Instead there were thousands of little cells, salmon coloured, each one measuring 30 microns and inserted in suspension in plain water. They were manually pulsed into the liver in a way that would allow the blood stream to pick them up for distribution. It is impossible to see the spheres once in the liver so placement is determined by the position of the catheter. The radiologist tried to ensure maximum coverage and penetration. A scan in 6 weeks will be the next indication of their effectiveness.

 
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Posted by on 5 June, 2010 in Medical

 

Today’s the day for the next big push

The ground was prepared and the enenmy softened up with a dose of chemical warfare on Tuesday. Yesterday was a thorough briefing session at the Dunedin Public Hospital. At 0930 hours today the commandos go in through the femeral artery to lay their nuclear charges in the live. Rcconnassence has already noted the precise position of the metastases for this full-on assault. The body’s defences have been prepared with Omeprazole (stomach), dexamethazone and tropisitron. Private Panadol has been stood down for the day. If all goes as planned we should have left the front by this evening and be safely back at home resting up.

The airforce is standing by to give prayer-cover.

All is in readiness.

 
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Posted by on 3 June, 2010 in Medical