silvercloudlinings

Looking for the things in life that make us happy

A little bump in the road

I try my best to look for the silver lining in all things and usually manage to find it, always with the knowledge that things could change suddenly.

Last Friday as I was having my fortnightly dose of “happy juice” and chatting away as usual to my friend when I suddenly felt dizzy, tingles in my tongue and a strange feeling in my chest.  My friend quickly called the nurse and it was all systems go.  The chemo was stopped – only 20mls to go, blood pressure measured – it had risen quite a bit and I felt pretty bad.  Suddenly there was 4 nurses there checking things, wheeling in the oxygen tank and placing the mask over my nose and mouth, blood pressure checked every 5 minutes, temperature, pulse and oxygen levels monitored.  I was given some drugs to counteract the reaction and after some time things returned to normal.

It was all very scary and I was so grateful for the excellent care I received – the Nurses at HOCA  without doubt provided the best care available and I’m so grateful.  Once things had settled I was allowed to leave and make my way home.  Yesterday I had a king-size headache which came and went and today I’m back to my normal self.  Given that I’ve been on this particular chemotherapy drug for just over 12 months it came as quite a shock.  With all the different chemo drugs I’ve had in the past, I’ve not experienced anything like this before.

An event like this certainly brings one back to the reality of the toxic drugs that are keeping us alive and how quickly and easily things can go wrong.  However, it is just a bump in the road and a reminder to me not to become too complacent.

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MY DAY TO CELEBRATE AND POP CORKS!

Today, 5 June 2013, is the day that I am celebrating my 70th birthday.  Not a day that in my wildest dreams did I imagine would happen.  Most likely it is a day that most people wouldn’t think too much about, for many it is just another day and just another year older.  So, some might say, why so significant and I’ll tell you why.

Way back on this date in 1993, I celebrated my 50th birthday with a trip to Melbourne.  I didn’t want a party and chose instead for us to fly to Melbourne for the weekend which included a matinee at the Princess Theatre to see 42nd Street which I loved.  My brother and his wife and two good friends came along and we followed this up with a lovely Italian meal.  Six weeks later I was in hospital having my breast removed followed by the usual chemotherapy and radiotherapy and 8 years of Tamoxifen.

Every year after my 50th birthday my husband and I celebrated the day of that surgery by popping the cork on a bottle of bubbly.  Then in January 2003, I said goodbye to my Oncologist, breathed normally once again and thought (hoped) I had left this dreaded disease in my past.  We continued the bubbly tradition in July but once again I had the need to meet up with my Oncologist in November of that year!!  Bummer; “C” was not finished with me – not by a long shot!!  Surgery followed on my spine and a course of radiotherapy and once again Tamoxifen and of course, our bubbly tradition continued but this time in November (anniversary of the surgery).  We hoped the cancer was once again eradicated, knowing full well it was NOT, as I had now moved into the “T” (terminal) stage.   All went reasonably well until September 2009 when after a PET ($$$) scan small tumours were noted in my liver.  Still we continued the bubbly tradition in November but in January 2010 it became necessary for me to have a hysterectomy as it was thought I had endometrial cancer – thankfully this was benign but for the six days I was in hospital I had to have confirmation from my Surgeon every day until I believed him that no cancer was found! 

After a long convalescence, chemotherapy began in June 2010.  I was given the same chemo that I had had in 1993 but this time dreadful side-effects occurred needing hospitalisation.  After the second course (also necessitating hospitalisation) it was discovered that one of the chemo drugs had eroded the lining of my bladder – I began having Abraxane and then went onto Navelbine – talk about living a half life.  Our cork popping tradition was over as I could hardly eat let along entertain drinking alcohol.  The liver tumours were growing exponentially and my Oncologist referred me to another Oncologist for a 2nd opinion in April 2012.  I was ready to say NO MORE chemo for me but with encouragement from my family to at least give this chemo a try I decided to do just that.  Virtually no side-effects and we once again began our bubbly tradition this April albeit not with much gusto. 

I once again had discovered that life IS good and that it is worthwhile putting up with minor aggravations mostly from some people.  I have also discovered that together with my laptop and my little dog who has to be content sitting next to me as opposed to sitting on my lap, that I love writing. Mischa (my dog) really can’t quite grasp the fact that my laptop at times is more important than she is and will often try to sit on top of it – doesn’t work and she sulkily finds her place next to me on the couch.  “C” no longer sits constantly on my shoulder – I know it’s there and will always be there but mostly I am able to push it into the background and enjoy every day as much as I am able.

I have ventured into other things besides writing; namely pencil drawing; I can now drive locally, and do other things outside the house.  All this has been quite a revelation to me and I have the confidence to begin new and different things since the advent of this new chemo and am so grateful that the time when I continually sat in my chair and didn’t do much, mainly slept or watched TV is a fog in my memory and a time I don’t often revisit in my thoughts.

So, the corks will be popping later today and at the weekend when my family are planning SOMETHING, I know not what.  Doug has many conversations on the phone behind closed doors and just gives out confusing titbits and I call it “the bamboozle Margaret project” but all will soon be revealed and our cork popping tradition will be whenever I feel like it!

No one knows what the future holds and things could go sour for any of us at any time but…my next goal is our 50th Wedding Anniversary next February – not too far away and should I still be on this earth the celebrating will continue.  Quality of life is everything………..so together with my man by my side, my wonderful family, supportive friends, the incomparable support group that I have the good fortune to be a part of and another cancer group on Bribie who also help through the not so good times, I know I am indeed very lucky.

Although I have had the good fortune to have reached this milestone, I know that many others may not be so lucky and I feel great sadness for them.  However, my life is just as important to me as it was at the beginning of this sometimes tedious journey and I will cling to it for as long as I can and if I can bring a smile or a laugh to another person then I have made my day.

I’ll let you know what the family has in store for me but in reality all I want/need is to spend time with them all and pop the corks on a few bottles of bubbly.

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Milestone

MY DAY TO CELEBRATE AND POP CORKS!

Today, 5 June 2013, is the day that I am celebrating my 70th birthday.  Not a day that in my wildest dreams did I imagine would happen.  Most likely it is a day that most people wouldn’t think too much about, for many it is just another day and just another year older.  So, some might say, why so significant and I’ll tell you why.

Way back on this date in 1993, I celebrated my 50th birthday not knowing that six weeks later I would be in hospital having my breast removed followed by the usual chemotherapy and radiotherapy and 8 years of Tamoxifen.

Every year after my 50th birthday my husband and I celebrated the day of that surgery (eradication of the cancer) by popping the cork on a bottle of bubbly.  Then in January 2003, I said goodbye to my Oncologist, breathed normally once again and thought (hoped) I had left this dreaded disease in my past.  We continued the bubbly tradition in July but once again I had the need to meet up with my Oncologist in November of that year!!  Bummer; “C” was not finished with me – not by a long shot!!  Surgery followed on my spine and a course of radiotherapy and once again Tamoxifen and of course, our bubbly tradition continued but this time in November (anniversary of the surgery).  We hoped the cancer was once again eradicated, knowing full well it was NOT, as I had now moved into the “T” (terminal) stage.   All went reasonably well until September 2009 when after a PET ($$$) scan small tumours were noted in my liver.  Still we continued the bubbly tradition in November but in January 2010 it became necessary for me to have a hysterectomy as it was thought I had endometrial cancer – thankfully this was benign but for the six days I was in hospital I had to have confirmation from my Surgeon every day until I believed him that no cancer was found! 

After a long convalescence, chemotherapy began in June 2010.  I was given the same chemo that I had had in 1993 but this time dreadful side-effects occurred needing hospitalisation.  After the second course (also necessitating hospitalisation) it was discovered that one of the chemo drugs had eroded the lining of my bladder – I began having Abraxane and then went onto Navelbine – talk about living a half life.  Our cork popping tradition was over as I could hardly eat let along entertain drinking alcohol.  The liver tumours were growing exponentially and my Oncologist referred me to another Oncologist for a 2nd opinion in April 2012.  I was ready to say NO MORE chemo for me but with encouragement from my family to at least give this chemo a try I decided to do just that.  Virtually no side-effects and we once again began our bubbly tradition this April albeit not with much gusto. 

I once again had discovered that life IS good and that it is worthwhile putting up with minor aggravations mostly from some people.  I have also discovered that together with my laptop and my little dog who has to be content sitting next to me as opposed to sitting on my lap, that I love writing. Mischa (my dog) really can’t quite grasp the fact that my laptop at times is more important than she is and will often try to sit on top of it – doesn’t work and she sulkily finds her place next to me on the couch.  “C” no longer sits constantly on my shoulder – I know it’s there and will always be there but mostly I am able to push it into the background and enjoy every day as much as I am able.

I have ventured into other things besides writing; namely pencil drawing; I can now drive locally, and do other things outside the house.  All this has been quite a revelation to me and I have the confidence to begin new and different things since the advent of this new chemo and am so grateful that the time when I continually sat in my chair and didn’t do much, mainly slept or watched TV is a fog in my memory and a time I don’t often revisit in my thoughts.

So, the corks will be popping later today and at the weekend when my family are planning SOMETHING, I know not what.  Our cork popping tradition will be whenever I feel like it!

No one knows what the future holds and things could go sour for any of us at any time Quality of life is everything………..so together with my man by my side, my wonderful family, supportive friends, the incomparable support group that I have the good fortune to be a part of and another cancer group on Bribie who also help through the not so good times, I know I am indeed very lucky.

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