Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stage 3 of my treatment for stomach cancer

It's been a wonderful week, I had so much energy and was in such great form.i went out to our friends house for dinner and was so pleased to be able to eat well and sustain energy during the evening. I was on cloud nine after. I hope you all enjoyed St. Patricks day whether your are home or abroad, I know I did. 

I drove Mr Margie (first time since the surgery to drive) in my Landy, to St Patricks well a few miles away.
The well is maintained by local people and forms a stream that flows off to join larger ones. The farmer whose land the well is on opens the gates to the public for the day,and permits parking in his field. This well probably precedes Christian times. There is a china mug hanging on the tree growing along side it for use by anyone wishing to sample the well water. I always feel there is something very special about wells. There are many sacred wells in County Kildare. The sculpture of St. Patrick at the well site was carved by our dear friend Dick Joynt who passed away eleven years ago. His art legacy is evident in Marley Park, Tallagh Village, Dublin Airport, Along motorways in Wicklow, and in many private collections. He is missed everyday.
On Tuesday I had lots of people visit to wish me luck, being me gifts and chat, the visits were all much appreciated and I am so thankful for your friendship, kinship, support and love. I even went to the pharmacy for my anti sickness meds in prep for the chemo. I also went to the supermarket and the fruit and veg shop in the afternoon. 

I started the third and final stage of my stomach cancer treatment- sandwich or MAGIC therapy. Now that my cancer was taken away at surgery the next step is to make sure no rogue cells were left behind . I will have three 21 day cycles of the triple therapy (epirubicin, cystoplatin and fluorouracil ) to zap them all. The night before I packed my food bag for the morning, and my hand bag with drugs, crafts supplies, and a book.  I started the day off like a chirpy chicken, in good spirits. My mum and I met with the consultant oncologist Alexia, at 9:15 and she outlined the treatment,  and the plan for the next few months. I will have a CT scan in a couple of weeks, and a heart Eco graph soon also. 

By ten thirty I was hooked up to my fist iv hydration bag and I even managed to so some crochet before the chemo drugs were pumped in, all through my port, which makes life way easier. It's funny how I cannot stand having a cannula inserted, it's my pet hate and one of the things that makes me feel uneasy when I have to go to the hospital for admission. 
I began to feel tired, no more chirpy chicken, more a hounded hen, during the last iv flushing and hydration bags around 3:15 and was happy to see Mr Margie arriving in to take me home. I slept solidly when I got home, ate well and slept all night again despite taking the steroids. I am conscious of my food and nutrition again even more so this time as I have mastered my eating without a stomach and need to keep that functioning but also there are many foods that can upset the chemo causing nausea. Balancing the two will provide one of my challenges for the next few months. The other challenge comes from the foreign objects it have inserted in my body. I still have the j tube in for iv feeding should my weigh drop below it's current 39.6 kilos, it has to be cleaned and flushed twice a week. I have mastered the art of that myself. Finding the right dressings proved difficult but it's finally sorted. Since yesterday I have the Fluorouricil 5fu bottle attached  for continuous chemo flow through my port, this is 24/7 for the twenty one days. The bottle is housed in a bag (that's looks like a zippy pencil case I once had) as it is light sensitive. The bag is on a belt which I wear around my waist day and night. All this makes showering impossible as neither j tube or belt and bag, can get wet, so bathing is an event. 

I know that it will all be worth it in a couple of months and I am very honored and humbled by the love and support of my family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, medical staff, and even strangers. Thank you one and all. 

Big hugs, 
Love Margie ❤️

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ups, downs, and anger

It had been a time of ups and downs. Two weeks ago my blog friend Deborah over at My Moms Work contacted me to say she was in Ireland, as I had missed her a couple if years previously I was determined to meet her. Mr Margie and I welcomed her and her husband Jim to our home after six years of blog friendship. She kept up to date with my cancer and surgery over the blog. We hugged and chatted as though we knew each other all out lives. Deborah took a few minutes to set up my spinning wheel, and had it running smoothly in no time. While she does not have a New Zealand, Ashford wheel she has others and does spinning demonstrations back in the USA. She left me with lots of hugs and a beautiful handknit ring. 
Mr Margie took Morris out from under his cover so Deborah could take some photos and I waved from the bedroom window. 

On the Monday evening I began to feel unwell, and over a couple of hours it steadily became unbearable, dry retching followed and I could bear it no longer, At some point during a sleepless night Mr. Margie drove me to hospital in Dublin. I endured prodding, poking and numerous x rays before Professor Ridgeway came round. He asked me a couple of questions, then held my hand as he explained it was an infection, a minor hiccup on my road to recovery, and he promised he would get to the bottom of it and I would be home in a couple of days. I was home three days later feeling better. 

Thank you everyone who sent me get well wishes, cards, texts, private messages, emails I cannot keep up with the hundreds of wishes,or requests to visit and I do not have the time or energy to reply personally. I will try to explain how important your love and support are to my recovery. 
Mostly talking wears me out, especially if there is more than one person speaking. Also repeating the same story about my recovery or illness is tiring. Sometimes all I want is to not talk about it all. 
I am not the person I was six months ago, I have changed totally and entirely, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, I have struggled through every hour of those six months shaping and reforming this new me. I find it difficult to witness someone seeing me for the first time since this change had occurred, I know this is about the person having to accept the changes, however pity, patronising and condescending attitudes just make me angry. I don't want to be reminded of how I was before as it is painful for me, I don't want to be talked at about how well I look despite the cancer.  I have already come to terms with these changes and I am angry that I had cancer and had to have my stomach removed. However I cannot change that, the only change I can make is in my recovery. Everyday I wake to face my recovery one day at a time, seeing what challenges each new days brings.  I know that this is a new opportunity for me, one which I am not fully aware of as yet, each day a step closer, but every now and then I have flashes of what might be. It is support and love that helps me through the struggle to survive. Your messages of positivity and get well support the stepping stones on my journey. 

Big hugs,
Love Margie ❤️