Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is there light at the end of this tunnel?

Kookaburra picture courtesy of Wikipedia

On Thursday of last week I sat in the office of my GP feeling worn out and tired. My spirits lifted when I learned that my doctor was doing a Letter of Referral to Dr Michael Katekar. Dr Katekar, a Consultant Neurologist, had me admitted to hospital in 1998 where it was determined that I had a mass abutting the right hand side of the pelvic wall. The mass was irritating the obturator nerve causing severe neuralgic pain. At one point I was taking over 150 mgs a day of oral morphine.
Dr Desouza explained that he would fax the Referral to Dr Katekar who would determine the degree of urgency and have his receptionist phone me with appointment details. Silly me! I expected to hear from them immediately; I sat by the phone. On Monday morning, after yet another sleepless night, I felt the need to take some responsibility. I phoned Dr Katekar's surgery. My enquiry drew a blank although I did receive confirmation that my name was there. Patience needed here.
On Wednesday evening I stood outside, taking in the beauty of the countryside, and the freshness of the air after 175 ml of rain which had bucketed down in just 48 hours. Enjoying the stillness, I smiled when I heard the call of the kookaburra, observing that the sound had come from the meter box beside the house.
I immediately took my copy of Animal Dreaming to a quiet spot where I read what Scott Alexander King had to say about the symbolic and spiritual language of the Australian Kookaburra.
The message is clear; time is right for me to take responsibility for my own healing, including the release of pent-up pain, confusion and resentment which could be very confronting. There is an alternative to this internal suffering. Kookaburra is calling for me to probe deeper than the superficial laughter, to awaken to my inner truth and the dawning of a new day. Kookaburra is Spirits way of restoring faith in my quest for personal healing.
I was not at all surprised to find the following morning there was a phone call from Dr Katekar's office to say that an appointment had been made for 9.45am this morning, Friday 3 April.
The nerve conduction study clearly showed the severe damage to the nerves in the wrist. Ah! Ah! Carpal Tunnel explains the pins and needles, loss of strength and problems with the three middle fingers on the right hand.
And there's more. Dr Katekar then began sticking needles into my arm, turning the dial to increase the nerve stimulation. Help! I have been conditioned never to allow anyone to put needles into my lymphoedema arm post mastectomy. My paranoia now apparent as I began to breathe deeply, knowing that my priority is to find the reason for this pain that keeps me awake at nights, away from my friends and requiring regular morphine just to get out of bed each day.
Dr Katekar quickly pointed out that there appeared to be another problem. The index and little finger on the right hand behaving differently to those on the left hand. He recommended an MRI of the cervical spine and brachial plexus, pointing out that he was obliged to tell me that there is possibly a recurrence of the breast cancer in the axillary region.
At best, there could be a simple problem in the nexk. At worst, the lumps that have appeared above the original incision could be a recurrence.
I acknowledged his comment understanding only too well that the journey continues.
I phoned Hunter Imaging to make the appointment and learned that Dr Katekar had already made contact. He apparently explained that the test was a matter of urgency. Earliest available appointments were 6th and 7th May! The receptionist was delightful and said that they would look at rearranging some appointment to get me in ASAP.
Once again, I am bemused to learn that the appointments are made for consecutive days as Medicare will not pay if they are done on the same day. No problem! Do we care that it is 180 km round trip for us to make our way to Cardiff and return which means Haydn giving up his days also as I do not drive while taking the 40 mg of Oxycontin night and morning.
Life goes on..


Anonymous said...

Oh Chez! I am so happy that SOMETHING is now happening! Not knowing is the absolute worst! My hopes and prayers are coming your way.

Lisa said...

I am down here- ten minutes from cardiff and can/will help in anyway possible- the Cottage is alos there if you need somewhere to just chill, have a cuppa, read etc.........Just call me, let me know , Lisa xx

Diane Rodgers said...

My sweet exhausted Cheryl,
Getting up to your blog today, and reading all of what is happening is partly wonderful now knowing some of this is carpel tunnel...but now waiting once again for test results to see if it is a recurrence of the breast cancer or a problem in the neck. I will pray it is anything but cancer...I feel the Kookaburra's visit and it's meaning was a good sign and that his message was one of total healing for you. Whatever more they find Cheryl...together we can walk this with you and come out the other side into the beauty of the life you are meant to live! We can do this...We will do this...God will light the way and we will follow.
I love you my special friend, Forever and always,

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl, I wish i thought of Carpel tunnel as i went thru that in my 20's from work related and loss alot of sleep and pain, i had surgery and made it 90% better till this day but i have weakness in my right hand. So glad u have answer but another long wait for appt. hope they call u sooner and pray it is not cancer.. We are here to be with u, so much love to give u. always in my prayers.
Sending big Hugs to u beautiful lady. Kaz.xoxo

Daria said...


I just Googled the Kookaburra bird and watched it on You Tube. They are interesting birds.

How wonderful you found personal healing via the bird. Nature is so so wonderful.

All the best on May 6th and 7th, hoping for the best.


Chez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chez said...

Lisa you are so sweet! Thank you for your much appreciated offer. I am so sure there will be times that I will want to take you up on it.
See from your own pages that you too have suffered debilitating pain.
Sending love and healing thoughts xo

Chez said...

Darling Diane..have been up just 2 hours and here I am thinking of going back to bed. I guess the exhaustion probably comes from the relief of knowing that, at last, something is happening. Audrey was right when she commented on the uncertainty. Something is happening and I feel as if I am in good hands. Thankfully, there was no criticism of my decision not to investigate the lumps as I was bogged down in my grief.
I continue to pray to be led to the people that can help me and to be given the gift of discernment.
Elated at your news also my dear friend xo
Your beeautiful words always have the ability to lighten my load just as our friendship strengthens my soul. God Bless xo

Chez said... have nailed it! The uncertainty is the worst. I have learned that the diagnosis is never as bad as the 'not knowing'
I feel so much stronger as a result of our friendship and all my online friends

Chez said...

Sweet Karen, I knew that I had a problem however, I had no idea that the damage was as severe as the tests indicated. I have an appointment for Wednesday to see a therapist that can do amazing work without the need for surgery. I think that is a secondary problem for me at the moment. So you know exactly what it is like! Glad to hear that you had huge success with surgery.
My doctor did say he felt it would be a process of elimination.
Smiling sweet friend as my Inbox contains your latest emails :)
Kaz, love the way you sign off now. Glad it has 'stuck'
Knowing I can count of you two gives he a HUGE boost. Thank you my friend xoxo

Chez said...

Daria, I am so pleased that you took the time to Google the Kookaburra. Since retiring last year, and moving to the farm, I have become so much more interested in nature and the significance of each and every part of it in relation to every day life.
I am endeavouring to re-educate the green tree frogs as I continually find them indoors. I know what I would be like if I had one jump on my face, in the dark, during the night.
Thank you so much for your good wishes, they mean a lot to me

Starry said...

Well Chez, the kookaburra is absolutely right, you know that all your messages and symbols are pointing to the same thing. But of course your hope and your mood levels fluctuate, I am sure you experience several ups and downs each day, am I right? I and all your true friends will be there to help you each time you have a low to raise yourself up again, just like the dignified and gracious soul you are.
xxxx Starry

bevally said...

Hi Chez..
just came from my last post and now read yours... so you know what the pain is from, Allan's sister has just had surgery on her ELBOW, she too had hand related pain, she had it in the right but her breast cancer was in the left, she had to wait nearlly 2 years, but it has reached the public this last week the condition of the public hospitals here... God Bless and watch over you.

Diane Rodgers said...

The Australian aborigines have a legend about the Kookaburra. When the sun rose for the first time, the god Bayame ordered the kookaburra to utter its loud, almost human laughter in order to wake up mankind so that they should not miss the wonderful sunrise. The aborigines also believed that any child who insulted a kookaburra would grow an extra slanting tooth.

I thought this was quite interesting!

diane said...

Glad to hear from you again. I was worried that you were deteriorating. It looks like the doctors might be getting closer to a diagnosis and hopefully will be able to treat you successfully. I hope it is not the cancer returning. Hopefully Mr Kookaburra will keep you safe. Thinking of you in your dark moments of pain.

Chez said...

So right Starry. The journey is a little like riding the carousel...
The kiookaburra message is food for thought.
I am finding it so hard to keep my eyes open again tonight that I can only think it must be the increased dosage of the meds.
My friend Norma has suggested that there is something else and she will get the name of the medication that is a safer alternative to Oxycontin.
She managed to pick me up a couple of cotton nighties from the markets. Apparently reduced from $90 to $30. A bargain! Ready for anything now (including hospital)
So excited about the cards my dear friend. Haydn jokingly suggested you will struggle to keep up with me.
We are off to Maitland markets tomorrow morning looking for more plants.
Hope your weekend is progressing as planned.
Lots of love xo

Chez said...

Bevally we are blessed to have private health cover although I find the gap a 'killer'
Have already reached the Safety Net level!
I now ask if they will Bulk Bill as I am an oncology patient. Some of the imaging places are kind enough to do that for me.
Our health care system is a mess. A 2 year wait is dreadful for someone in pain. Poor Mandy experiences that with Matt.
Hope all is well with you and you have settled in to the new system

Chez said...

Diane, my dear friend I am delighted to find you sharing the indigenous animal symbolism with me.
I am loving it since coming to the farm!
Believe it is a path for healing for me also.
All the love in the world coming to you gorgeous xo

Chez said...

Hi Diane
Feel like I have been away far too long. Miss the blogging and the friendship so much. It is amazing for me to see how much strength I gain from being here.
It is a little difficult to catch up with you all when I am absent for a period.
Always thinkiing of you xo

mandy said...

Chez I am so pleased that finally you are getting some answers...I can see that the light at the end of the tunnel is now starting to shine....
Let`s hope that it is just the carpel tunnel and nothing more serious....
Sending you healing

Chez said...

Hi Mandy
I did ask the question if it could just be the carpal tunnel and the doctor said that it would not account for the pain in the forearm.
Unfortunately, it seems there has to be more. I have developed three lumps in the region that my breast was removed and it does appear that it could be coming from that area.
At best it could be some sort of lymphatic blockage. At worst. Who knows?
I do feel that I now have the strength to deal with whatever is given to me whereas for the past two years I would have thrown in the towel.
I am so grateful for the friendship I have found on these pages.
Confident I will get through this.
Have a lovely day with your sisters Mandy. You deserve it xo

Anonymous said...

Cheryl u have so much love here that i know it will pull u thru, know the pain is bad but hang on sweetie feel our angels will be here for you. Sweetie u said 2 yrs. ago u would of thru in the towel as i know that feeling also and still fight that battle but with friends that pulls us thru we can do it. love u friend.XOXO Kaz

Chez said...

Kaz, thank you precious lady. I feel the love and know just how impoortant it has been to me on this journey. I simply could not do it without the love and support that comes ever so strongly to me. You have no idea how often I think of a plane ride to Maine knowing how well I would be cared for.
I am finding my blogging friends are simply amazing with offers of help and assistance.
I really do feel I can get through this. Anyway, have to get to meet you as I know how many stories I would hear of your antics and also your precios angels...
Take care dear friend. So grateful to you Kaz. Lots of love Chez xoxo