activating endorphins

A sense of humour is in my DNA. It’s led me into trouble occasionally when it’s kicked into action at apparently inappropriate times. I reckon, though, if it goes missing in action during testing times it just makes testing times, well, testing.

I’ve been reflecting on the funny side of the last ten or so weeks since I discovered “the anomaly”. Yes, euphemisms can distract too!

When you’re contacting people with not so flash news, it’s wise to align your news-giving tone to the needs of each person. Direct has always been my chosen style and, I have to say, immediate and direct responses to match in this case were very much appreciated. So it will come as no surprise that my absolutely favourite response to my current health issue was a direct dialogue lift from the opening scenes of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

As the side effects kick in, it’s also good to know that people will find some humour in the more visible outcomes.  Take for example, one of my sisters, who happily provided an addition to my first shaven-headed mug shot.

Mug shot #1A friend, who has been there done that, informed me that losing one’s eyelashes was on the cards. My first thought was “What am I going to do if there’s a sand storm?”.

Oncology nurses have their smiles and senses of humour at the ready constantly. I can’t imagine what it might be like if you were greeted with sad, teary faces each time you had to front for an infusion.

Sure this is a serious business. So is life. Injecting a healthy dose of laughter-inducing endorphins into you, whether times are testing or otherwise, seems to me like a way through.




cheering on the neutrophils

It’s easy to get frustrated at the perceived lack of activity and productivity as the second week of a cycle kicks in. Who knew that an hour or two of eating breakfast and scanning the newspapers could generate such fatigue?

As I flop into bed for yet another seemingly unproductive morning nap, I realise that I’ve been ignoring all of that activity that’s going on in my bone marrow.

While I’m lying down on the job, particular white blood cells called neutrophils are working their tails off to regenerate and probably secretly wondering what the hell they did to deserve someone else’s annihilation strategy.

It might not be visible to everyone that parts of me are working very hard, but they are. If it’s alright with you, I’ll just pretend I’ve been on a 10 k run instead of sleeping on the sidelines.

xvivo images

Image via

when days merge

BOREDIt’s 3 pm on Sunday afternoon and dark clouds are filling in the blue sky gaps. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful after days and days of gloriously consistent autumn weather, but I am so hanging out for a decent storm. If not a storm, then a decent rush of wind. If not wind, then heavy rain. Even gentle rain. You get the picture.

On Day 6 of the second cycle, I’m looking for  anything to break the monotony of this week, like yesterday’s brief and delightful visit when friends dropped off a delicious butter chicken and pistachio rice for our dinner.

From the day after the last ‘infusion’, it’s been a story of fatigue and chemo brain and incapacity to get excited about anything much except food.

Let me say I’m very grateful for that appetite as it’s been responsible for the high points in each day.

I’m into the infection risk part of the cycle again and hopeful that energy levels will hold and/or rise as we move slowly towards next Saturday when new white cells begin to put in an appearance.

Incoming text and phone messages have been very much appreciated punctuations to these days, despite the fact that I may not be immediately able to respond them immediately. I reckon they rate as highly as these mood lifters.

Weis Mango Macadamia



chemo session #2

The blood courier for my designated local pathology centre routinely does the first daily pick up at 8.30 am. This morning, he was called specifically to collect my blood to ensure that, after yesterday’s mission failure, it would be tested in time for the green light to be given for a 10.00 am start to the second infusion. Good results delivered in plenty of time. Success!

Here’s me enjoying my last cup of coffee for a little while as the second cycle begins. Note that I’m rocking my red dragon cap fashioned from the aforesaid travel buff mentioned in a previous post.

Chemo session #2 - 22 April 2014

For this and future cycles, the oncologist reckons I’m up for more of the same this time around. When he says more of the same, he means MORE of the same.

Today’s educational inclusion (for your edification) relates to nasal hair and one of its functions – the collection of moisture. Tissues at the ready for the next couple of months with the hope that the flu shot a few weeks ago wards off any head colds!

For those of you still reading, here’s a bonus picture from the Easter weekend. Three generations enjoying pancakes for breakfast. Sunday 20 April 2014

blood tests and public holidays don’t mix

So today was the day before the second cycle begins, requiring the resurrection of Dex on the menu, and an early morning blood test to check whether my white cells are up for tomorrow’s infusions. I know, but infusions sounds much nicer than intravenous drip.

Having realised three weeks ago, that the date fell on Easter Monday, I made inquiries and was informed that a pathology centre a few suburbs away from my now “regular” place, would be open from 6.30 am on that day.

It wasn’t. Telephone enquiries made by Himself revealed a place over an hour’s drive away or a collection centre in the city our local hospital’s base. Long story short, my “Rule 3” card was insufficient to make it happen as they had no supporting paperwork.

An out-of-hours message from my Oncology Nurse after I’d sent a text to her at 7am on a holiday (!!), said that tomorrow morning very early will do just fine. She also said not to be silly when I apologised for disturbing her day off. She rocks!

I’m hoping that the start time of 10.00 am isn’t delayed as a result, cause I’m looking forward to the primary school teacher joining us before she flies home to Sydney in the afternoon.

Let the second cycle begin. Big girl bloomers at the ready!

cycle 3