I am so excited!
It is interesting to be sitting here, knowing that thoughts have been rushing through my head for hours, as I contemplate this Post. It has been some time since I felt like this.
I had mentioned in my previous Post that the journey has been arduous. Why is it that when 'The King' has done so much for me over the months I feel like I am losing myself. There is the expectation that dinner will be served at the usual time and the house will be run as efficiently as it has in the past. I have completely lost the desire to be chief cook and bottle washer.
I am feeling that somewhere along the road, I have sacrificed myself. I hear Jeremy's words in my head. It was at the time of my breast cancer diagnosis and he told me that he would have to leave home as I did everything for him. He informed me that, if I learned to do it for myself, I would be alright. I am wondering if I have failed hopelessly, or if there is still time to learn to do things differently. Should it be the latter, where do I start?
I am feeling that 'The King' controls my life. I have learned that it is not good for our relationship to be together 24/7. I certainly appreciate the fact that he has, so willingly, driven me to appointments during my treatment.
We have one television at the farm and I have never been asked if there is a programme that I might like to watch. 'The King' controls the controls. The house has open plan living [not recommended with industrial deafness.] At times, it seems there is nowhere to go....
My lymphoedema is particularly bad, making typing and writing even more difficult. My fingers have become so dyslexic that I constantly touch extra keys. Proof reading is very important.
Living at the farm, in isolation, unable to drive the distance to Newcastle from Vacy, I ask myself how I can learn to make MY LIFE a priority and take better care of myself. This is absolutely essential if I am to live long enough to find my life purpose.
In saying all of this, I am grateful to have access to Tai Chi and yoga classes, which provide friendship and exercise, at a very reasonable rate. It is fair to say that Donna is by far the best yoga teacher I have encountered. It is not all bad at Vacy...
I believe the next three months could possibly be the most important of my life. This month I have Jeremy's birthday and Angel Date coming up. Once through that, I know that Christmas, followed by my birthday, is a very emotional time.
I believe the underlying problem is that I would never leave my child an orphan; my reason for living. How do I learn to live for myself?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I am so excited!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It has been too long! At last I feel well enough to begin writing once again.
I use the view from the farm house to meditate and reflect. The days are beautiful! We have had very little rain over the past months and yet the early morning mist still settles in the valleys. I love it!
I made the decision to do a quick Post after checking my Comments for the first time in months. Debby noted that she was to undergo a PET Scan. I decided to check her Blog, which resulted in this attempt.
The return of my cancer in the same breast has had ramifications leaving me to reflect on the loss in my life.
I was 12 the year my Father was taken from me in an horrific accident. He was travelling to work and the vehicle in which he was a passenger was hit by a train at a level crossing.
In 1965, just 5 years after my father's passing, I gave birth to a baby girl. As an unmarried mother, I had no way of supporting myself, let alone my beautiful baby girl. My daughter Carla was given up for adoption.
I suspect that these experiences strengthened me. Fortunately I had no idea of what lay ahead of me.
My life remained relatively normal until 1994 when my much loved husband of 27 years lost his long fought battle with cancer.
In December 2005 I had a mastectomy [after battling cancer in that breast from 2002]
I felt very much that the loss of my breast was another blow. At no time had I sought help to deal with my emotions, although I did find Prayer Counselling very useful.
The early months of 2006 were spent travelling to and from Dubbo; my Mother's health was failing. Mum died in October 2006.
There was no time to mourn her passing as my beloved youngest son Jeremy Jon was tragically killed in an horrific motor vehicle accident just weeks later. No mother ever expects to lose a child in her lifetime. A piece of me died with Jezz; my bleeding heart attempting to live with the loss.
The confirmation that my breast cancer had returned in April of this year meant my life was thrown into turmoil. I was taking Oxycontin for pain relief. It was actually a relief in some ways to find that there was a reason for the unbearable pain that had become my constant companion.
The cancer was back and actively destroying nerves and muscles; it had spread to the brachial plexus. [If you are not familiar with the brachial plexus, it is worth doing a quick search on the web.]
I was told the cancer is inoperable and incurable. Radiation the only form of treatment that would give me another chance at life.
The treatments presented no problems, although the radiation burns were very painful. It appears to have worked well on reducing the pain as I have been able to reduce my pain medication considerably.
Unfortunately, I completely lost the use of my right arm and hand. This was initially very confronting as it is my dominant hand. As I battle daily with the exercises to improve strength and fine motor skills, I have learned to accept that this is yet another loss that I must learn to live with.
There have been many tears shed as well as frustration at every turn. I have lost the desire to eat and the fatigue has almost beaten me on occasions. I have been unable to drive, due to the fatigue, and I feel that I have been imprisoned at the farm. Each time I leave the farm it is with Haydn behind the wheel and me in the passenger seat. I have missed my social outings and contact with girlfriends. Actually, it is fair to say I have missed my contact with friends, as this has meant that my blogging friends were also put on hold.
As you can see, there are times that I have felt like I have given up so much. Guess that is what has lead me to write about the loss in my life; I know your comments will educate and inspire me.
It feels good to be back.
Friday, April 24, 2009
I cannot help but notice how much more difficult writing has become with the increased dosage of Oxycontin/Oxynorm used to reduce my pain levels. It has been nine agonising months since I began to feel the pain in the right shoulder and arm. It seems that, at last, we are closer to finding the cause, and the solution, to the pain that has kept me away from the keyboard and the very people that brighten my sometimes dark days. I have missed you all and look forward to resuming regular entries.
Reflecting on the period since my mastectomy in December 2005 I seem to be getting a clear picture. Shortly after my surgery Haydn and I found ourselves travelling frequently to Dubbo to spend time with my elderly Mother who was experiencing severe abdominal pain and was not at all well. Mum died several weeks prior to the accident that took the life of my youngest son in November 2006.
In June 2007 I found myself with another breast lump. I was not surprised! Although I sought medical advice, and the lump was monitored, I now realise that I did not see a future for myself. My will to live was simply not 100%. Fortunately, with time, my body, mind and spirit has undergone enormous healing, and I am, once again, doing battle to give me back my life.
Looking at my reports I see that I have had several CT scans and one bone scan over the past months. I am still unsure why nothing was done however, I believe we are now close to finding the solution that will soon see me pain free. Could it simply have been that I was not ready for the fight?
In February my regular GP returned from an extended break. At the time of my consultation, I presented with pain in the arm and limited usage plus a loss of strength. There was also the problem of pins and needles in the three middle fingers I had been prescribed morphine in January by another doctor in the practice. My doctor recommended an MRI. Our Medicare system meant that he was unable to requisition it as it could only be done by a specialist. Firstly there would be a process of elimination.
Thankfully, my condition is now been treated as urgent. Appointments have been moved and changed and my MRI was done Tuesday. Yesterday I returned to Dr Katekar to be told that there appears to be a local recurrence. The pictures are consistent with metastatic infiltration of the right thoracic outlet, including muscles and the nerves of the brachial plexus. Ouch! No wonder the pain is agonising. In simple language, it seems that there is active cancer in the nerves.
I am to see my GP on Monday. Hopefully, he will have set up an appointment with an oncologist at the Mater Hospital (getting closer to that elusive cup of coffee Lisa.) Dr Katekar made it clear that he in not an oncologist but did suggest that I will possibly be given radiotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour and to kill the active cancer in the nerves. Bingo! The pain will then be reduced and so too, the need for morphine.
It seems that a tremendous load has been lifted. I am encouraged by the scans which show there is still only one tumour. It has not increased in size although there is an abundance of fluid and swelling in that area. I am optimistic that, reducing the tumour size slightly, will allow me to co-operate fully with my body's own self-healing mechanisms as the radiotherapy does its work.
Today I give thanks, knowing that this is a good outcome. Our prayers have been answered!
I am grateful for your friendship and your loyalty and feel excited at the prospect of, once more, becoming a regular contributor and follower.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
This Allamanda Cherry Ripe survived sheer neglect after the sale of our home in Charlestown. We lived in a colourbond at the factory for 18 months while waiting for the house at the farm to progress to the point it was habitable.
Two weeks ago we went to the Vacy Village Country Fair and bought this apricot Chinese Lantern from the CWA lady. It was reasonably priced and funds raised went to the CWA. It is nothing more than a stick and now has almost one dozen flowers
Love the delicate flower of the Grevillea Orange Marmalade.
This lavender Butterfly Bush is in the bush garden and flowers almost all year round. The plant was bought for $1 at the markets in Lakes Entrance when we went to Victoria for the butterfly Release on the first anniversary of Jeremy's accident.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Guess it is about three weeks since I gave up my regular habit of being on the computer blogging, lighting candles on Memory-of sites and emailing near and distant friends. It was August 2008 that the debilitating pain in my right shoulder and arm began. I have been taking Oxycontin and Endone since the beginning of January. There is never a time that I am completely pain free.
An ultrasound yesterday confirmed that I do have very pronounced bursitis of the right shoulder. It seems that there could be another problem as it appears that the tingling and numbness in the three middle fingers of that hand is not related to the bursitis.
I will be seeing my doctor on Thursday for confirmation and treatment options. The length of time taken to diagnose the problem could, in fact, mean that choices for treatment are limited. Too late for simple steps like rest ice and elevation although I have been doing that for the past three weeks.
An injection of coirticosteroid drugs into the bursa, under ultrasound is often recommended. Given that I have lymphoedema in that arm there are risks involved with needles into the lymphoedema arm. At the time of the mastectomy the instructions were very clear. Any activity that involves the risk of broken skin leading to infection and possible cellulitis is to be avoided.
Yesterday while waiting in the doctor's rooms I sat next to a patient that was coughing and spluttering. I immediately thought of whooping cough - without the whoop, or even pneumonia. After dinner I became aware that I had a sore throat. Being me, I decided to gargle with my Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) and even took a dose, not taking into account that it could see the morphine in my body as a foreign substance and knock it right out. That done, I found myself in extreme pain, which is not being controlled by the 20mg of Oxycontin which I currently take night and morning.
A very valuable lesson; I am paying the price.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
This morning I received a card, wishing me good health and a lifetime of beautiful sunsets. It came from Kim, a delightful, but distant friend. In the card she mentioned that she was to have a psychic reading today with Jacki at Warners Bay.
This afternoon I phoned to thank her for the card. Her voice was animated and she began the conversation by saying that she had been waiting for my call.
It was amazing! I learned that my name had come up throughout the reading.
Jacki began by asking 'Who is Cheryl'
Kim said that I was her friend.
Jacki said there was something about breast cancer and that I am causing my own cancer problems. She went on to say 'She is angry at losing her son.' Her son says it was time for him to go. If he had not been taken in a motor vehicle accident it would have happened in some other way.
Kim was was writing furiously at this time and amazed that she was learning so much from Jeremy, through Jacki.
Kim, realised at this time that she was feeling pain in her neck.
Jacki said 'You have a problem with your neck!'
Kim replied that there was nothing that she was aware of and was laughing when I told her this afternoon that my General Practitioner, Dr De Souza had suggested to me on Monday that he thought that one of my problems was coming from my neck and the area of the T2. He suggested that I could have several problems, the major one being in the area of the neck/upper spine. We will be looking to do a CAT Scan once the ultrasound has been done of the right shoulder. That is scheduled for Monday morning.
Jacki said there is something about a web site and that Jeremy is always with me when I am on the site. How proud I am to have had the opportunity to set up a Memory-of site to keep his memory alive. Through the site, I now share the journey with my amazing Angel Family friends.
Jeremy wanted us to know that there was someone with him at the time of his passing. I am not surprised by that, but now wonder if he is in fact referring to Michael, who came upon the accident and held Jezz in his arms as he took his final breath. Just maybe, it could have been his much loved Dad who lost his battle with cancer in 1994.
Jacki to Kim; Cheryl's son says for Mum to 'Wake up to herself!' She is doing this to herself. She must want to live!
I have been told that I must write 'The Book.'
Laughingly I asked Kim how she felt about paying for a reading that so obviously had important messages for me. I think, just maybe, it is time I took her to lunch.
As I sign off for the evening, with love and gratitude, I would like to say how much I appreciate your Comments to my Posts. I feel your warmth and support. It does have a huge bearing on my ability to get through each day at this very difficult time.
I find that I am still able to follow your blogs but not always able to leave comments due to my current limitations. This has certainly gone on much longer than I would have expected however, I find myself being patient as I seek the answers that will allow the healing to take place.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This picture (a bevy of beauties) was taken by a staff member today at the Mattara Hotel Charlestown at the conclusion of our monthly Breast Cancer Support Group luncheon. I am wearing the buttercup yellow T-Shirt.
We lovingly refer to ourselves as Group 33; coming after 32 previous groups at the Mater Hospital Waratah.
Interestingly, about half of the group come from the Newcastle region while the remainder reside around Maitland. We agreed that it was prudent to alternate the venues allowing us equal travel distance over time.
Our introduction to the group was early 2006 which means that most surgery was performed in 2005. It was common to find members absent while undergoing chemo/radiotherapy during the course.
It is a blessing to find all in good health with no re-occurence. It seems I am the only one to have any issues with my health and, as I do not want to let the team down, it is important to find a reason for my constant pain which is eased only by the use of morphine.
Thank you to Lisa for kindly sending me new followers. Probably a good idea to do a brief summary (if that is possible.) I believe an overview would give a better understanding...
I write because I can and have found it to be good therapy, saving on counselling and psychotherapy costs. How much more enjoyable to know that there are readers and new friendships waiting to be formed.
Friday, February 20, 2009
My conversation with Ness yesterday was brief. Sent some flowers off in the morning and she said her room resembled a busy florist shop. That brought joy to my heart.
Apparently the morphine, given post surgery, caused a reaction. She had a sleepless night, the staff making every effort to settle down the skin rash that was preventing her from sleeping. It was still a problem when we spoke. I understand she has now been given pethidine to relieve the pain.
I am still unsure of the extent of the surgery and the removal of lymph nodes. Ness indicated that the discomfort in the sternum was related to the removal of the glands (lymph nodes) in that area.
Her son Dilon arrived to see her at the time of my call. I could hear the excitement in her voice as we said our goodbyes.
No doubt, it will be a time of mixed emotions as the healing process begins. There will be much uncertainty as she learns what follow-up is recommended.
The journey has only just begun.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Many people have emailed asking Scott to share his thoughts on the bushfires and the estimated million or so native and domestic animals that have lost their lives to the flames. And to these questions, Scott has offered these thoughts:
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Last night I spoke to Vanessa (meaning butterfly) only to find that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. At just 33 years of age I heard, and felt, the fear of the unknown. She is scheduled to undergo a mastectomy on Wednesday. My prayers and love will be with Vanessa. I smiled when she added that she was glad to have Jezz as her Guardian Angel
Monday, February 9, 2009
It is with a heavy heart that I compose myself sufficiently to complete this Post. Worsening conditions are predicted for townships in Victoria's north-east and Gippsland regions. This area is close to my heart and the focus of today's Post.
In February 2007 I was in the area when something like 47 fires joined up to form the Great Divide Complex. Jason's machinery, under contract to DSE was used in the firefighting efforts. That became Megan's first experience of being on the front line of firefighting.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Although these are not daughter Megan's pictures, they have been taken from her Facebook pages. Megan's partner Jason is a logging contractor; he has well over $1,000,000 worth of harvesting equipment at risk if the fires reach his logging coup.
The last time I spoke to Megan they were preparing to head up to the coup to 'bury' the equipment in the hope of saving it if the fires goes through. Even in good condition there are risks with getting too and from the area in which he works. I find myself a little anxious as I write. Jason is a 'bushie' and although he knows the area well, the weather conditions are totally unpredictable.
We know the old saying 'A picture tells a thousand words.' The death toll stands at 36.
I pray for the safety of all concerned. Megan and Jason are members of the Swifts Creek DSE; they are on standby and will go into the firefront should they be required.
Posted by Cheryl at 4:00 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Big 'Thank You' to my Earth Angel Friends for caring and encouraging me during the challanges of the past months.
Dr Mark Henderson amused me yesterday. He said that he had no idea what to do about the swelling and redness in the veins as he had just come out of ED. I asked him what 'ED' was. When he said Emergency Department I suggested that had he said ER I would have understood immediately. He asked a senior doctor about my condition. I was advised to do nothing at this point. I was told to watch for changes and warned to call an ambulance, or get myself to hospital immediately, if I felt concerned.
I think I learned that my condition in the surface veins is called Thrombophlebitis even though there are clots. Technically Thrombosis is in the deep vein.
You can imagine my distress this morning to find that I have swelling and inflammation on the opposite leg. I found myself emotionally overcome as I knew that there was more; there is a problem. I am missing something.
Sent and e-mail to Paul in which I explained my current situation. I am suffering dreadfully from the side effects of morphine; the most notable being constipation. His reply stated that can be an effect of the morphine. It is because the constipation allows material to recycle from the bowel by way of the portal vein leading to the liver and thus the blood becomes a little loaded with toxins. I was advised to take one tablespoon of Epsom Salts before retiring. Warned in advance that it is not pleasant...
I know it is time to get off the morphine however, that is not possible with the pain at its current level.
Gathered up my books and began reading. In 'Take Control of Your Health and Escape the Scikness Industry by Elaine Hollingsworth I came across a story from a woman that suffered dreadfully from 'aching veins.' The problem improved when she went off a multi-vitamin supplement containing Ginkgo Biloba.
I then went to Mark Stengler ND who recommends Ginkgo Biloba. It is believed to have a 'tonifying effect' on the venous system which allows for the more efficient return of blood to the heart. Ginkgo has a natural blood-thinning effect. It helps to prevent blood platelets from sticking together - platelets being the cells that form blood clots. It is therefore 'perfect' for someone given my current health isssues.
I am taking a Life Balance Antioxidant Supplement containing Ginkgo. Paul is also taking the same supplement. He is very impressed! I do not feel it is the supplement itself; maybe just the Ginkgo.
I have decided to avoid the Antioxidant supplement for the time being as I search for the answers.
Posted by Cheryl at 8:14 PM