This is a photo I took a little while ago in Kingsland. The sun was going down and the reflection was caught by all the cars along the street. By the time I saw it, then grabbed my camera (about 3 min), the effect was fading. However, as I stood in the middle of the road trying to dodge traffic, I think I managed to capture an essence of Kingsland.
Kingsland is our local. It’s where Hannah and I live, its where we dine (9 times out of 10), its where our friends are. It also has history, and now, thanks to the 2011 world cup, it has a not-so-insignificant future either.
Round 9 has come and gone. This is how it played out:
9.30 am appointment. I get hooked up to the IV fluids and get one hour of the trial drug I’m on. I then get 1 1/2 hours of the good stuff, usually feeling rubbish by about 30 minutes out from the finish. 1430, I am released and drive home. There should probably be laws about driving on chemo… but there aren’t.
Home = lying in bed, nauseous, trying not to vomit, trying to sleep off the ill feeling. Generally I don’t eat much on Day 1, it doesn’t agree with me. Cleaning my teeth makes me want to vomit, something to do with sticking a plastic thing into my mouth.
Wake up after a pharmaceutically induced sleep, generally grab a quick porridge, and then hit bed again. I usually then wake up around 12.30pm, have a small lunch, and hit bed again. I wake up at about 3.30, still feeling ill, trying to feel positive. Small meal, some TV, then back to bed for the night, another pharmaceutically induced sleep.
Oddly still not feeling better, actually a little worse. I have to pick Hannah up from the airport, which I do, and then go the hospital at 12.30pm to get my home infusion disconnected. Still feeling like rubbish, I go home, sleep, and generally be an antisocial husband. Yet another pharmaceutically induced sleep, but this time compounded with waking at 3.30am with acid reflux so I grab a glass of milk. I dont manage to get back to sleep.
Nausea is unusually lingering on this round, I’m usually better by the Monday. Ah well… Still have my post breakfast sleep, but its listless… very unpleasant. I spend the day battling with the restlessness of boredom, and the fatigue that prevents me doing anything about it. Watch some backlogged TV episodes on MySky, catch a Fatso DVD. Meals consist of re-heating leftovers from the previous few days that are strategically accumulated. Maccaronni cheese is about as safe as I can go. I try very hard not to induce hiccups from eating too much, a manifestation of the nausea.
Tuesday. Still feeling mild nausea, but so much better than Day 1. CT scan, followed by chest x-ray. I stuffed up the eating timetable on that one, so I didnt eat between breakfast and dinner. I rewarded my stuff up with comfort food from Wendy’s. I managed to get out and pick up a mattress from the other side of auckland for Hannah’s brother who is staying later this week. I’m still tired. Technically should be at a lecture in the evening, but wag it to revise my obstetrics and gynaecology that starts the next day at Middlemore.
Return to work…..
And then bring on round 10 in 10 days time!!!
As we move into Autumn, we prepare for winter and are then greeted by spring. In many ways, being on chemo, I’m in the Autumn of my life, preparing for the Winter. I’m just not entirely sure that there will be a spring though.
Sometimes the seasons come to an abrupt end, lets hope I might get to glimpse some spring.
Shutter: 1/80, f/11, ISO 200, 18mm.
On Tuesday this week I was interviewed for a second time on Radio Rhema, which aired this morning. For those who would like to hear it, I have posted the link to the Rhema website where it is available.
The interview is about 30 minutes total, split into four slots. So only listen when you have the time :-). This interview was really a followup from my previous one, and focused on a few different aspects being four months on. Namely, we discussed cancer and its effect on my life, which I have reflected here on this blog, as well as its effect on Hannah and how we deal with the diagnosis on a daily basis.
If you didn’t hear the previous interview back in December, you can hear it by clicking HERE.
Peter Shaw is very generous in his introduction of me, for which I am grateful, and to be honest, simultaneously a little uncomfortable. When people describe me using words like ‘amazing’ and ‘courage’, which I do get to a reasonable extent, I’m always hesitant to accept such labels. I’m usually quick to point out that I’m none of those things, I’m just a fellow human, like the rest of us, with an unfortunate set of circumstances. Adjectives used to describe me like this I believe are better applied to the source of my faith. The reality is, none of how I respond is on my own strength, its through God’s grace alone that I am able to be the person that I am, I take no credit for that.
Never underestimate the love or the grace of Christ, its what makes the world go round…
…and keeps me ticking.
Thanks for listening.
Round 8 has come and gone…
This round was more or less similar to previous rounds, so in all honesty, there is very little to report. Nausea was the same and tiredness perhaps a little worse. I have cut my dexamethasone right back now, which has definite advantages on the side effects. I also played around with the nozinan (the antipsychotic) in order to try and reduce the amount of tiredness it gave me. I will likely play around with it a bit more next round, because I more or less spent all of Sunday sleeping. I’m almost certain that that is due to the nozinan primarily. I have to say though, it gives me a whole new sympathy for mental health patients that have to take the full dose of antipsychotics, the side effects are not that pleasant!
So that was round 8 done and dusted. Although it has to be said, that just because I return to work does not mean the effects of chemo are over. One of the longer standing effects from round 7 was chronic low grade lower abdominal pain that didn’t really properly clear up until 2 days before the next round of chemo. I am also still shedding hair like a cat and the dark rings under my eyes are less than appealing.
I’m now starting to seriously look at hair/hat solutions as the thinning is starting to look a little ridiculous, and also a bit fluffy….
The weekend before Easter, Hannah’s parents came up to Auckland to visit, and we thought we would take them to Raglan. The reasons being, our apartment is not very big (and therefore not very hospitable), and the fact that none of us had ever been there before.
I like this photo because it captures the moment in a number of ways. Wine, cheese, books, with views of the beach, and overlooking some native bush. The place where we stayed was perfectly set against the scenery and you could not help but relax. It was a spare of the moment photo as evidence by its one flaw.. a dirty great big chair stopping a complete view of the beach :-).
Its easy to get cynical when you have cancer.
There are times when the all seems right with the world, but they are slowly and surely being crowded out by the times when the world seems to be completely falling apart. When I am on each round of chemo, I look into the mirror, and see a shadow of a person staring back at me. My eyes look heavy, dark rings framing each of them, my skin pale and blotchy, my hair thinning out. Hannah reports that when I’m on chemo, I have a certain smell about me, as the toxins no doubt leach out my pores, adding to the chemo aroma that envelopes me every two weeks.
It’s easy to get cynical when you have cancer….
Its easy to wish that life was not this way, to wish that some sense of normality could be returned to. Its easy to fall into despair, to feel sorry for yourself, its easy to forget that there is a bigger reason to live for. Its easy to hear about someone else’s problems and to belittle them in the light of dying with cancer. Dying of cancer is the ultimate trump card, the ultimate conversation stopper, the one line that is sure to bring an awkward silence to those who don’t know your story. There is even a sense of self satisfaction that no one has it as bad me; albeit a false sense.
The minute I start falling into this trap of cynism, which is easy to do, is the minute I stop looking at the bigger picture. The minute I start caring about my needs over that of others, is when the cloud of darkness sweeps in, and tries to wash you over with self doubt, self loathing, and self pity. Its a dangerous trap that we all fall into at one time or another. To become self-oreinted is to place your own priorities over others, to forget about those next to you, and to dwell on your own issues and make them bigger than your neighbours. This kind of thinking rarely makes us better people, it frequently drowns us in our own false sense of self importance, it makes us selfish, it makes us moody, and it blinds us to what is really going on in the world around us.
When I recognise the trap of cynicism setting into mind, I have to consciously dig myself out of its grasp. I have to pause…
I have to refocus…
I have to remember the plight of others, the injustice in this world, and how I might be a part of its solution…
You see, the minute I start thinking in a selfless manner, I am set free from the struggle of selfishness. Selfishness does nothing but destroy, whereas selflessness builds those around us up. Not only does it pay dividends to our neighbours, but it frees our own mind and our own soul.
I’m not pretending for a second that cancer is a walk in the park. It has its moments when all I wish was to live the life I had 18 months ago, before the diagnosis. But the reality is, the way I approach cancer is what makes it either a curse to live with, or a blessing in it’s own kind of way.
Cynasim and selfishness destroys the soul….
Selflessness and perspective builds it up….
Jesus once said ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, right after he told us to ‘Love your the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.’
Loving ourselves comes last on the list, cos if we love ourselves first, we slowly die inside. We waste away to a shadow of what we were meant to be.
Loving God first, and then others, builds us up to people that can achieve so much more than we could ever hope for…
Its counter-intuitive, but I can say in my own life, this principle holds true.
Thanks for listening.