Monthly Archives: July 2010

CT Scan + Chemo Brain!

A bad combination.

I turned up for my CT Scan this morning having diarised it for Wednesday 14th when the appointment was made with the Oncologist. I had had nil by mouth since last night apart from the thick white gunk I’d drunk between 6.30 and 7.30am.

I arrived at Radiology reception to discover the appointment is for tomorrow, not today, so I have to go through it all again. If I’d read the letter from Radiology rather than just relying on the verbal appointment, I’d have got it right. The letter confirms the date for the Scan as Thursday 15th July.

Too bad, so sad, but not mad!

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Posted by on 14 July, 2010 in Personal


Still alive and kicking

Still alive and kicking. Had chemo Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning Abe, Phoebe and I managed to climb the hill to the geographical Centre of NZ, then descended to a muffin lunch, latte and fluffies at a local cafe to reward ourselves. We had the healthy stuff on the hill – sat there at the summit and ate mandarins!

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Posted by on 9 July, 2010 in Family, Personal


From mere words to reality

There is a verse in the Bible that tells us to “cast all your care on Him for He cares for you”

In my long trek through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ there have been many ‘blah’ days. These are days of overwhelming feelings of lethargy: it is hard to get out of bed; I look at the cupboard and try to muster up enough energy to have breakfast; I feel light headed and fidgety; I can’t focus to do anything constructive; even watching a favourite programme on TV seems absolutely pointless and I am unable to endure more than a few minutes of it; I lie down but  sleep mocks me; I can only concentrate long enough to read a light magazine article and even making the choice of which article to read is hard work.

When I try to sleep I am jostled by anxious thoughts about all the things I should be doing: I can see the trees that need spraying; the bird cage that needs cleaning; the jobs Bronwen is having to do that I should be doing; the letters and emails that need answering; etc, etc. I know we are not meant to ‘sweat the small stuff’ but when the battle is in the mind, that comment is a platitude!

At such times I have found I must consciously roll my anxieties onto God – one by one. New Age vacant mind meditation is absurd. Internalised ‘mindfulness meditation’ that focuses on the pain or the problem and rides it like a wave is also pointless. Only God, who knows the number of our days and underwrites our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows, is able to calm the mind and help get things into perspective. Only an eternal perspective can make the present pain and earthly duties reduce to a non-threatening size. Praying to a real Person who has the world in His hands, who holds the atom together, and who has my name engraved on His palms, brings practical relief and sleep.

I had a very bad blah day on Sunday. Even though I went to church I could barely sit through a service I would normally enjoy. As I finally made it to the night hours and lay in my bed, I wondered if, when we see Jesus and discover the history of His providential care throughout the course of our lives, we will wonder why we did not rest and trust Him more this side of death.

“Cast all your care on Him”. (1 Peter 5:7) It’s almost like saying, “Why have a dog, and bark yourself?”

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Posted by on 6 July, 2010 in Devotional, Personal


How can I swear without swearing?

What is the worst word you can think of to describe an infuriating situation without using a swear word?

The Radiologist who inserted the radioactive spheres into my lungs would also like to ablate the metastases in my lung by Radio Frequency Ablation. It is not a difficult procedure and is performed by inserting a needle through the chest into the lung and into the tumour. A radio wave is then passed down the needle and the tumour is microwaved. That’s a very basic description of the process.

Ablation of the lung is tax-payer funded under the Public Health System in NZ unlike the SIRs procedure that had to be done as a private patient at considerable cost. What has to happen is that the referring Hospital Board (in this case, Nelson) has to transfer an appropriate amount from its budget to the Hospital Board that is performing the ablation (in this case, Otago) – even though it all comes out of the same national trough!

Sounds simple enough until you factor in bureaucrats. Nelson is prepared to transfer the funds but the Otago Hospital Board is evidently not prepared to accept the funds on the basis that they do not have enough staff to service the local patients, so why should they accept patients from another district? The Otago bureaucrats suggest that perhaps Wellington or Christchurch might perform the procedure. The trouble is that neither of those hospitals is able to do it. My Radiologist in Dunedin is the only one who can.

The alternative? I will have to return to Dunedin again and have the RFA on my lung done privately, once again at considerable expense. The Dunedin Public Hospital Oncologist told me that their profession is honour bound to treat every metastases they can find in a patient’s body, hence the desire to ablate the one I have in my lung. Unfortunately he and the Radiologist are hindered by politics within the system.

What was that favourite word for venting frustration?

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Posted by on 6 July, 2010 in Personal


By hook or by crook …

Tomorrow I head to Nelson hospital for the next round of chemo. It has been delayed twice now so I’m determined to make it by hook or by crook, or even if I feel crook. The chemo is usually timed to hit the little nasties just as they start to recover from the previous hit. The theory is that although all the cells of the body are knocked back, including the cancer cells, the good cells recover faster than the cancer cells. The medicos therefore try to bombard the body again as the good cells regain strength but before the cancer cells do. That’s why I don’t want too long a delay in the normal routine.

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Posted by on 6 July, 2010 in Medical, Personal