The Progress Report!

July 21, 2011
My Lucky Charms
Saturday AM
You know you’re anxious about your CT scan, when you wake up in the morning realising you just dreamed that you had an internal ultrasound out the front of Coles, with all the shoppers in the express lane looking on.
I remember thinking in my dream, how relieved I felt that they said they couldn’t see anything in my lungs, but how weird I felt, being on display like I was a ‘red spot special’. 
It’s three days before my scan, which will show if the chemo is doing its job.
I know this is necessary but the anxiety leading up to it is like that feeling you have when you wake up in the morning after your first heartbreak. That reality punch in the stomach and the heartache that follows.
I have controlled anxiety right now, although my little ‘Nervous Nancy’ persona pops her head up now and then with those stomach wrenching thoughts of, “what if”?
What if the chemo isn’t working, what if it has spread somewhere else, what if they run out of treatment options, what if my liver is full of it, what if my liver has disappeared altogether, what if my head explodes off my shoulders because I’m going crazy with what if?”
I use the breathing exercises I have been taught to get rid of ‘Nancy’ and to quell the queasiness I feel in my stomach, but will look forward to getting the next week over and done with.
In the mean time I look for positive signs that everything’s is going to be ok…..
Tuesday AM
My alarm has just gone off, a reminder to be up and showered and give myself plenty of time to drink a litre of ‘contrast fluid’ an hour before I go in. This is supposed to give the radiographer a clearer picture of what’s going on. By the way, I hate that I know all this medical information. I loved the old ignorant days, when I thought cancer was a star sign and terminal was a bus station.
I will drink this and imagine that I’m having a cocktail with my friends who just sent me a parcel from Greece. Cheers from Santorini!
After being greeted by ‘my old friend’ Noel the radiographer, I lie on the examination bed & slowly go through the CT tunnel. I close my eyes and take my mind back to when Sienna was born when she was first placed on my chest, the intense feeling of love and happiness was so overwhelming. I feel calm and happy.

December 11, 2004
Sienna 10 minutes old

Tuesday PM

I wish I hadn’t made that cocktail joke!
I’m lying in bed tonight after feeling like I have been drinking moonshine and rocket fuel all day with a bunch of hobos. I had a terrible reaction to the contrast fluid which left me dreadfully ill all day. I even had to call ‘Code P’, I was that sick.  I called my ‘Health Stylist’ (my oncologist) and he assured me that this can happen to ‘some’ people. Great!  If it’s a possibility, I’ll have it…. develop it…… or be it! Typical!!
NB: ‘Code P’ is ring the Parents to come over to help.  

Caulfield 1972
‘Parent Troopers’
I love this family photo


It will be another two days before I hear my results. I’ve kept myself fairly busy today trying not to think about “what if”? When I find my mind wandering into ‘what if’ territory, I start my deep breathing exercises and let the thoughts pass through, like ships in the night. If anyone heard me they’d think I’ve been possessed by Darth Vader, I’m not the quietest deep breather around.
Tonight as a treat, I let Sienna sleep in my bed. I curl up beside her and listen to her quiet sleeping breaths and feel her warm little hand hold mine as she sleeps. I think about how much I love her and Gary and have to believe that tomorrow’s results will be ok.
A few Troops 2009
Mandy, Tiff, Me, Ange and Linda
I don’t see my ‘Health Stylist’ until later in the afternoon, so I spend the morning with Sara one of my ‘troops’ and enjoy some fun and laughter. Meanwhile, the other troops are gathering their momentum of support and the messages start coming through, “thinking of you today”, “I know you’re going to be ok”, “you’re a fighter”. I feel good that there’s an army of hope and belief behind me, that today’s results will be ok.
Meanwhile I think of my Aunty, who is also my Fairy God Mother as she commences her journey on her own medical travelator. She’s having a double mastectomy today, I feel confused and sad for her and wonder why does this have to happen.
The Brave Man arrives home to take me to my appointment. Like a Knight in Shining Armour he comes through the door looking braver than ever.  I almost feel compelled to look out the front for his white horse tied to the fence.
As I pull my 18th lucky charm over my wrist and tuck Maggie, (Sienna’s favourite bunny) into my handbag, I kiss my ‘parent troopers’ good bye and give my little fairy about 50 hugs and tell her I’ll be back soon.

Noosa November 2010
Playing on the beach with my Brave Man

The Brave Man is working over time, talking about anything and everything that’s not related to anything medical, just to keep my mind preoccupied. He did a good job because before I knew it, we were sitting in my ‘Health Stylists’ waiting room.

My heart is pounding and my palms are getting clammy, I’ve been in this room so many times before and have waited for results as many times, and here I am again.
I suggest to the Brave Man that he goes in first, listens to the results and then he can come back out and tell me. But he wasn’t having a bar of that.
My ‘Health Stylist’ calls my name and I nearly trip over my heart as it sinks to my feet.
I study his face to see if he’s got that worried, concerned, “I’m about to tell you something I wish I didn’t have to” look. But he just smiled and seemed genuinely happy to see me. It’s got to be a good sign, but he always smiles, what if, what if, what if??
As I was spinning into “what if territory” again, I hear the words……”Well your results are really good”.
I think it was a race between the Brave Man and I who would leap over his desk and hug him first.
“Your lungs look great, the spots on your liver have either disappeared altogether or reduced in size.” He said that there’s 80% gone and we’re still on track for just three more rounds of chemo.”
Breathe out……….. I’m happy!
I ask him how his holiday was.
June 2011
Lorne Beach

4 thoughts on “The Progress Report!”

  1. rachel ~sesame ellis~

    *punches air* That is AWESOME news. We are all so happy that you are doing so well with this treatment! *happy dance*

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