Posts Tagged ‘Chemotherapy’

Sue goes home

Sue has been discharged from hospital. They will pass her on to Hospice care.
Chemotherapy hasn’t worked.
She now has malignant ascites – which is a fluid build-up in the abdomen.
There is nothing more they can do for her, other than keep her comfortable.
Oddly, once they drained the fluid (they expected to get up to 30 litres – they got just 4 – which gives you some indication just how swollen her belly is, and how uncomfortable she is) she began to feel so much better.
Which is why it came as such a shock to her when the oncologist came to talk to us (her and me) yesterday.
The oncologist – whom we are still not sure we like much – is gutted. He has tried every procedure he could think of and nothing has worked.
We are too.
The prognosis is very bad. The ‘average’ lifespan after such a diagnosis is 4 months (according to everything I can find on Dr Google), but the initial fluid build up happened very fast.
I have everything crossed that she will be able to attend her graduation on March 29. My gut feeling is that she will not.
I hope I am wrong.

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Home Early

Well, the holiday didn’t go entirely to plan.

It started well – I kept getting one-word texts … “Wow!”
They were enchanted by the beauty that surrounds us.

Then she began to feel unwell – before she left, she’d had a pain in the centre of her chest – just below her rib cage. The oncologists thought it was either heartburn (medication didn’t help), or a side-effect of the chemo (in which case a holiday was a great idea).

It seems they were both wrong and half way around the Island there was a mad dash made to Christchurch Hospital where she stayed for two days. The doctors there think it is more a surgical issue (not cancerous – which is a relief), but she can’t eat without massive pain. And because the pain is so bad, she won’t eat – and has no appetite anyway.

So they returned home last night. Tomorrow she will contact the hospital here and try to get to see her surgeon. Hopefully something can be done.

We are all scared. But, while it is sad her holiday was spoiled, it is nice to have her closer.

Thank you all so much for your kind comments about how the holiday came about. They were all the sweeter because my ‘real’ friends thought it hilarious that I would win a competition and yet get nothing for myself – completely missing the fact I DID get exactly what I wanted – a special holiday for my sister. I need new friends.

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Sue had a CT scan yesterday. It is three cycles in to this lot of chemo…

at chemo today she asked if the results were in yet… And, though it is highly unusual for them to give such results in the chemo treatment room…

They did…

It’s working!!!!!!!!

The tumours are smaller, fluid build up (ascites) is gone. The blood test results are ‘normal’ in all areas.

We are dancing on cloud nine.

It is a glorious day

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This is my magic wand (every girl should have one).
It is broken.

Sue is to have more chemo. A different kind. She will have this treatment until she dies.
Her oncologist knows someone who had 23 cycles (a cycle is 15 days).
23 x 15 = 345 (that’s how many days)
345 divided by 30 (to get the months)

If we’re lucky.

And the side effects are the same as last time, with the strong possibility of ‘catastrophic’ diarrhoea which would put her in hospital.
And she won’t be able to work again.

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You know those things you always wanted to do?
You should do them.

Chemotherapy hasn’t worked. It will be months. Not years.

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I spent the afternoon sitting with Sue as she underwent her third chemo treatment.
I had expected it to be harrowing… In the end – I was there for four hours… The time flew. We talked and laughed the whole time.
The treatment time had been extended in an effort to reduce the side- effects which had been so ghastly last time. And it worked!
Not only was it easier at the time, but today – though she is cold, shaky, and her legs feel heavy – she is so much better than last time.
We are all hugely relieved – as you can imagine!
One day, everything will be better.
Until then, here is a picture of a cat.

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I went with Sue to her meeting with her Oncologist.

The man is a pompous git, but Sue said he listened this time, and explained better too.

She, however, is her own worst enemy.

She was asked how she was feeling… ‘Fine’ she said brightly.


I butted in… fine  – if you consider constant diarrhea, and having to ‘remind’ your legs how to work each time you stand up, to be ‘fine’.

That changed the atmosphere a bit. PG (pompous git) sat up a bit straighter and read his notes.

He thinks her reaction to the chemo is not an allergic one, rather that she is having a ‘rough time of it’. That the nursing staff were asking about her breathing was not so much that they expected her to be unable to breathe, rather that it seems a patient’s perception is that they are unable to breathe – the reality is, your breathing is just fine.

It seems – if a chemo patient is going to have an adverse reaction, it is always during the administration of the last 5mls of Oxalyplatin… my questions for next time: “If that is the case, why do you administer the last 5mls?” “Who decides how much Oxalyplatin a patient needs?” “Is Oxalyplatin always packaged in that particular dosage”? I’ll be going to all her Oncologist appointments from now on – if only to keep her honest!

I’m spending this afternoon at the hospital with her as she undergoes her third chemo treatment.

She is quite cheerful at the thought of another treatment. (Killing the fking cancer cells). I am shitting myself.

On a much happier note, we are having the most amazing weather! We have had a string of hotter than hot days – which is something unheard of in my area! The cats and I are struggling to keep cool – though they all have their ‘hidey’ places where they hunker down and wait the heat out.

Despite the heat, my crock-pot has been doing overtime. I’ve been making batch after batch of bone broth, which I then reduce down to cubes of jelly deliciousness. The cubes are easy to store, and added to a cup of hot water, make a really tasty and nutritious broth.

There have been days when Sue has been unable to eat anything, but she cope with the broth.Summer 2012 025


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Reminder to self…

Why Sue and I are doing the very low carb diet at the moment…


I don’t remember who found this article on Jimmy Moore’s blog, but I’m glad they told me 🙂 – thank you.

Sue has had two chemo treatments now. She had an allergic reaction to one of the drugs during her first treatment.

There should have been changes made before the second chemo, but that didn’t happen.

The allergic reaction the second time was much worse. She was unable to walk, and the nurses kept asking “Can you breathe?”

Very frightening.

Her recovery from the second chemo has been very slow.

She has an appointment with her Oncologist on Monday and she has asked me to go along. We have QUESTIONS!

Through it all she has remained strong, brave and DETERMINED.


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Happy Zombie Apocalypse!

21st December and we’re still here!

Sue had her first chemo treatment yesterday and we were all very nervous beforehand. She says the nurses were lovely and she felt very ‘cared for’.
We didn’t expect much in the way of side-effects this time because chemo is ‘cumulative’ – it’ll get worse as we go along. But, she got more than they bargained for – lightheaded, nauseous, tingly fingers, froggy voice and she is already sensitive to hot and cold (cold feels like hot, and vice versa). They didn’t give her all her dose of chemo because of the speed of the onset of symptoms.
She has to avoid the sun – which will be hard on her, she has always loved the sun. When she was diagnosed with cancer we were all amazed it wasn’t melanoma… that she would have deserved! 🙂 So she is inside, doing crochet – because apparently that will help the tingly fingers thing… She is staying strong and determined.
So, we are now on track for Christmas – lunch at our place – and looking forward to it.:-)

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I took Sue to do her Christmas shopping on Monday. Mum and her eldest daughter Tash came too.

We borrowed a wheelchair from the Plaza and dodged through the crowds – everyone very good natured and forgiving of our novice wheelchair steering. As always, there was laughter and tears. All the shopping was done by lunchtime – making a list is a really good idea :-), then we got sushi and came here so Sue could recline gracefully on the sofa.

She had a meeting with the chemo doctor that afternoon. It turns out there is a chance she may not lose her hair – which would be a wonderful boost to her/our morale. Chemo starts tomorrow.

Sue has decided she can’t do the fasting-before-chemo thing that we had planned. She is having issues with low blood-pressure – feeling ill and wobbly, especially first thing in the morning. So we will continue with the low carb diet, which she is finding incredible easy. So all is good.

On a totally different tack – we’ve been having some very rainy days… the edges of cyclone Evan that has wreaked havoc in Samoa and Fiji.

Poppy came in yesterday morning – I was still in bed (6:30am in case you thought I was slacking) – she was so wet, even her eyelashes had drops on them. She wouldn’t allow me to dry her off – something Yoshi loves – instead she gave herself a good shake (thanks!) and settled herself next to me… where she gently steamed herself dry. The humidity is such that all her feathery furs curled 🙂

Wet 003


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