Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Counting down

Only four more radiations to go now. Tuesday next week is the last zap, then I'll be thrown out of the nest to fend for myself. Me and my mask get to go home. Though what I will do with the mask I'm not sure - a ritual bonfire would seem to be the most appropriate. I saw Barry taking his away. He had been admitted to the hospital in his last week and he'd been brought down from the ward in a wheelchair. I imagine him incorporating his mask into a fabulous artwork once he gets his strength back.

I got a new contraption to take home with me today - a humidifier. The nurses 'found' one for me to borrow. I won't be able to take it to Australia with me next week though. Hopefully Queensland humidity will be as kind to me.
The humidifier is Fisher & Paykel Healthcare innovation.I have had it on all afternoon and other than making me a bit too warm, it is really comfortable. The first thing I did was sleep for an hour or so. I imagine I'll really appreciate it during the night. I means I'm attached to a small machine and a drip stand. The tubes in my nostrils feed in warm moist air.  It is not obvious that you can hire one easily so I am lucky that I have use of one of only two machines that the hospital lends out. Those nurses have been so good to me. They also 'found' me a supply of an effective 2-pack mouthwash that is no longer funded by Pharmac (in their wisdom). It is really good stuff and has helped me get through the second round of chemo with no new mouth sores other than one large blister that came and went without too much pain. So all in all I'm in really good shape.

I'm looking forward to getting home on Friday.Last weekend I stayed with Margaret and Keith here in Hamilton. Deborah flies in to Rotorua on Saturday. Ha, she gets to take care of the housework that will need attention after two weeks, then we'll come back to Hamilton for two days, and on Friday next week I'll fly to Brisbane with her and stay in Buderim for as long as it takes to feel like being on being on my own again. At the moment it feels reassuring to be around others.

You would think that having 7 weeks to focus on nothing but one's own health would plenty of time to reflect on what changes need to be made to get on with a fulfilling life after cancer. Yet I am no closer to having any real plans. I am grateful that the Council is able to hold my position for me. I can go back to work whenever I am ready, and for whatever hours I am capable of, to a point.

I am thinking that one of the changes I will make is to stop eating so much animal fat. Not a very profound change I know. I'm leaning towards a vegan diet, nothing extreme but just avoiding processed foods and fats as far as I reasonably can. (Who knows how long it will be before I can even eat at all, given that at the moment the only thing I can manage is porridge.) It will be 3 months before I have any idea about whether treatment has worked, but I feel very optimistic. Maybe life just stays in holding pattern until then, the focus being on keeping the mouth and throat healthy and rebuilding some stamina and strength. I have always made plans, but right now I seem to be OK with just letting each day unfold in its own time and watching clouds roll across the sky.


  1. Hi Judith, to my sorrow, I've known about your cancer for a bit, but haven't been in touch. Forgive me...? Your blog is wonderful, don't know how you have found the energy to write it, I certainly couldn't have. But you sound so positive, you special woman....
    I see that you will be in Buderim soon, hopefully. Would love to visit... Should I try to coordinate with Bat?

    1. Thanks for this - I would love to see you and Bat. Hope you can work something out.

  2. Enjoy your rest in Brisbane. Thank you for the posts, we've followed your treatment and it has given us new insight into how awful the side effects of the treatment are. Sounds like taking each day as it comes is a great way to approach it. Enjoy the company of your friends in Australia!