Author Archives: Doug

Quick update on Dad (repeat)

It appears a number of people were not able to open the update that our son Simeon posted to the blog while I was in hospital so I’m repeating it below. Hope it works for me!

“Dad had a gastroscopy and colonoscopy yesterday. The gastroscopy came back ‘clear’ in the sense that it didn’t detect any bleeding and therefore didn’t detect a cause for the bleeding either.

The colonoscopy showed that the first (or is it last?) 8 inches of his bowel (before exiting his stoma) to be the cause of his ongoing bleeding. He’s having an operation this afternoon (NZ time) to cauterize the length of bowel that is causing the bleeding. Apparently that’ll be quite painful, but I’m guessing that the morphine he’s on will help mask some of the discomfort.

If the cauterizing doesn’t work they’ll have to look at cutting that bit of the bowel out and relocating (actually re-creating) his stoma elsewhere (Leave your suggestions in the comments section below). Apparently this would be quite a ‘process’ and involve other complications.

Dad found out the cost of each unit of blood and worked out that he’s had many thousands of dollars worth of blood this year. He expects that the doctors will be pretty keen to stop all that blood money going – literally – down the drain. I suggested that he was now a drain on society.

Having not seen Dad for six months, I wondered if I’d be shocked when I saw him. No I wasn’t, but by the same token, I’m not sure what it would have taken to shock me. If he’d been playing his trombone while riding a unicycle – THEN I would have been shocked.

Entering the hospital room and making the sign of the cross probably wasn’t the best, most thoughtful greeting I could have given him! You live, you learn (or in my case, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad).”

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Posted by on 6 September, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Chest x-ray on Thursday

The GP had put me on a course of anti-biotics even though he thought my deep-seated chest infection was viral. He also decided to refer me for a chest x-ray to see how much of the cough was viral and how much was being caused by the growth of the metastases in the lung.

I went to Nelson Public Hospital Radiology on Thursday for the x-ray and was told to expect the report in about 10 days.

An envelope arrived from Radiology in today’s mail. Why had it come early? What had they discovered? I was reluctant to open the letter and sat around with it in my pocket for some time. I had run through in my mind the probable findings and had prepared myself for the worst. Eventually I opened it. It read,

INDICATION: Persistent cough. Known pulmonary metastases.
FINDINGS: A Portacath is in situ in the left anterior chest wall, no change in the chatheter, the tip of which lies in the proximal SVC.

Pulmonary metastases are not radiographically visible. No focal consolidation is demonstrated. Pleural spaces are clear. The heart and mediastinum are normal.

No destructive skeletal lesion identified.

COMMENT: No cause of cough identified.

Signed by the radiologist.

I sat like a stunned mullet and then Bronwen and I joined hands and again thanked God for His amazing grace and mercy towards us. Of course, we realise that this was a chest x-ray, not a CT Scan, however x-ray is a common tool for identifying cancers in the lung.

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Posted by on 13 August, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Not a week to remember …

Last week was not a week to savour.

Once again, over the previous weekend, when all the doctors had gone home to their families, my body decided to do its rebellious thing. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights I had raging fever, night sweats and coughing spasms. My stomach felt as if it had been David Tua’s punch bag. It was tight and distended. I resisted pressure to take myself to the Emergency Dept because I had a pretty good idea based on experience what would happen.

Monday, the coughing started to subside. I had a blood test and the haemoglobin was 103 which was pretty good. Tuesday was quite a good day but then on Wednesday I had an enormous wave of nausea hit me at about 8pm. It struck again at 6am on Thursday morning, 7.30pm Thursday night and finally at 3.30pm on Friday morning. Interestingly there was no actual vomitting with any of the waves but they left me very exhausted. The one on Friday morning came more as an explosion from my stomach/abdomen area and since then my midriff is not so tight, I am able to eat a bit more again, and there have been no more waves of nausea.

During the midst of these attacks, I felt the Lord seemed to say to me, “Try and find My face in the storm”.

One special blessing came one morning when Phoebe, who loves to write little notes from her heart, brought a piece of paper and placed it on my desk in front of me. It read, “I lov you gradad but if you diy I wil stil lov you too. XXX”. That makes the sunshine break through the clouds!

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Posted by on 13 August, 2011 in Medical, Personal


I wish I knew what is going on!

After waiting a while to get it, on Friday I received 3 units of blood that lifted my haemoglobin to 118. That should take care of the immune levels as well to fight the viral chest infection I’ve had for a couple of weeks.

And then …

… yesterday afternoon I started to bleed again. I had lost 450ml by bedtime and a total of 720ml up to 10.30 this morning. That is 75% of what I got 5 days ago! I would love to know why these bleeds suddenly happen, and then just as suddenly stop. I also think it would be great if some surgeon could just knick into my abdomen and cut out the offending 5cm of duodenum that has the damaged tissue. If I could get that cleared up, my quality of life would improve dramatically because apart from these bleeds, the metastases themselves don’t seem to be causing me too many problems.


Posted by on 4 August, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Let the blood be efficacious!

Spent 9 hours in the Day Stay Unit last Friday getting my blood supply topped up.

Hopefully now that I’ve got some extra blood in me my immune system will be in better shape to fight the viral chest infection I received as a birthday present a couple of weeks ago.

As usual though, the 2 days after blood transfusions are pretty tough but this time has been complicated by the fact that I was running a high temperature with the fever. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday in bed.

Bronwen has also caught it from me so neither of us was feeling too flash on Sunday. I like sharing blessings, but not those kind so thought it best to keep away from attending church.

Today I am feeling mildly better so hopefully soon I’ll be back to feeling dangerous!

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Posted by on 1 August, 2011 in Medical, Personal


I’m getting to be well known among my ‘blood brothers’

It’s nice to make friends wherever you go, but there’s always some you’d be happy to have a little less to do with.

I walk into Medlab for a blood test and get a cheery “hi, welcome back” from the staff there. The nurses at the Hospital Day Stay Unit where I get the transfusions recognise my voice on the phone and seem happy to be seeing me again. They are all becoming ‘blood brothers’.

I had a blood test on Monday and the results showed my haemoglobin had dropped to 89 after the bleed 2 weeks ago. My iron levels have also dropped significantly. That usually means an automatic transfusion so I had another test today for cross-matching. The GP has set up an appointment for me to have 3 units of blood transfused into me this Friday.

I called the Day Stay Unit to confirm details and they are already primed for my arrival at 7.45am. The nurses are always so warm and cheerful. Just wish I didn’t have to keep meeting them like this.

I hope I can hang on to this next lot of blood for longer than the 2 weeks the last 2 units stayed with me!

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Posted by on 27 July, 2011 in Medical, Personal