lost in a week of fog

Cottage garden Bothwell - solarize - FX Photo Studio PRO

Does this image seem a bit surreal to you?

It represents where I’ve been for the past four days. And it’s such a relief to emerge this morning with something akin to regular brain and body function. It’s all relative, right?

I’m learning nothing is predictable. Just because something went one way in one cycle, doesn’t mean it will happen the same way the next. It’s not just the intensity and length of the experience. New effects emerge and previous ones don’t occur.  Others come with greater impact including my new ‘not best friend’, heartburn.

Even though I’m right in the middle of the low immune period and accumulated toxins are taking longer to expel themselves, I’m happy that the heartburn has left the building. Things can only get better this cycle and you know, if I put on my rose-coloured glasses, it’s only another three weeks or so until I’m through the worst of the next cycle which just happens to be the last one.


before and after : cycle 3

In anticipation of a week or more of discombobulation, I spent Chemo Eve using the hype from the steroids to get started on a new knitting project that is now on hold waiting for the return of some levels of concentration and ability to count stitches. Rib knitWe rocked up to the hospital yesterday for an 11.00 am start only to discover there would be a wait. It was a good opportunity to grab a coffee before the body kicked into its caffeine rejection phase.

When I opened up Facebook in the cafe, its check-in function accidentally kicked in, incorrectly locating us 2 kilometres or so away from the hospital at a local Mexican restaurant. And so the wait time flew by in a stream of comments about cervesas, tequila and margaritas to the sound of mariachi bands and the colour of pinatas.

Checking inI emerged into this morning with the joy of puffy eyes. Tres attractive! So much so, that I’ll let you imagine how much. It’s always good to have something new happen each time around. Keeps you on your toes.

In another hour, it’s time for the Neulasta injection. Three down and one to go.  Yay!

some kinds of normal

Even at the almost half-way point in the chemo treatment, it’s too easy to get caught up with how far there is to go, what with radiation and other meds ahead.

Better yet to make the most of the good days when it feels almost normal; when you can complete a knitting project that’s been sitting around for too long; when you can spend the night out at the theatre to see a play that gets you laughing.

Today I recovered some level of normal and drove myself to the day-before-chemo blood extraction. It felt like Mr Toad on the open road in the early hours of the morning even though the round trip was all of six minutes. Unlike Mr Toad, the vehicle arrived home in one piece. But I felt the freedom, albeit momentary.

Come along! Hop up here! We’ll go for a jolly ride! The open road! The dusty highway! Come! I’ll show you the world! Travel! Scene! Excitement! Ha ha ha!

Cardigan 2

Tribute of Sorts 1

Program photograph

A Tribute of Sorts by Benjamin Schostakowski.  

Cast: Dash Kruck and Emily Burton


something to look forward to

As I approach the end of the second chemo cycle, there’s an emerging pattern which includes one quite good week, one okay week and a week of blah. Right now, I’m in the quite good category and soaking that up before next week’s third incursion and a week of blah.

The schedule of chemotherapy and forthcoming radiation has meant some activity restrictions.

We cancelled a short break in late March. This fell into the inconvenient basket and is something that can be rescheduled as and when time and energy allows.

We missed our daughter’s graduation ceremony in Sydney a couple of weeks ago as I wasn’t able to travel.  I was unable to attend a recent family wedding and other social events with friends.

Given all of the above, once my treatment plan was starting to take shape, I was extremely hopeful that another planned trip later this year would align with the stars. And it did.

All things being equal, we’ll head to the US and Canada for a few weeks in September and I’ll end the trip here, occasionally rocking by this lake with friends, new and old. The place will buzz with the energy of writers and artists and musicians and creativity of all kinds.

North Carolina - camp venue

Right now, the thought of this is medicine for me in the looking forward. It will be medicine in the moment. It will be medicine in the memories it creates and the inspiration it feeds.

There is much value in having something to look forward to.  (Repeat).


some needles can be fun

The weather took a distinct turn towards cool over the weekend and, with energy levels on the rise, it seemed like a good idea to resurrect a knitting project that’s over half way (and two years) in the making.

I like the idea of having something to show for these weeks that I’m somewhat out of action. Any serious reading has gone by the wayside as my retention capacity is quite low, particularly in the first half of each chemo cycle. There’s only so much television you can watch.

So, with notebook in hand to translate and execute the pattern row by row, in case I drift off, I am making slow progress. It’s a cardigan in reverse stocking stitch using the most beautiful Japanese Noro Blossom wool, mohair, silk and nylon blend. I’m leaving the button holes till last and may need to call for help when I get to that part!

knitting 2knitting 1

the stare factor

Main Beach
Main Beach on the Gold Coast looking north

The extended weekend getaway to the coast included lots of walking and catch ups. While the wedding guests enjoyed themselves at the reception, I was happy to stay in on a cold evening with one of my sisters accompanied by takeaway Chinese food, a glass or two of Reisling and Saturday night television.

Apart from the usual fatigue, the only casualty of the increased social activity was my throat which got lots of exercise of the chatting kind.

This weekend was also first time I’ve been out and about publicly for sustained periods of time. I’m still amazed at the amount of looks one gets when you’re sporting a head scarf or the like, although not nearly as many as you do if you accidentally step outside without the aforesaid headwear. 🙂