After a very eventful week of going from my bed…… to the couch……. to the shower to the bed……… I was glad to slow it down to a more manageable pace of bed and showering only.
My scan was coming up and I was determined not to let that be a major focus and go down the ‘slippery-dip of panic and dread’. So I focused on positive thoughts and things that made me happy.
The major nose bleed I had the other night was a slight set back in my ‘keeping positive’ attitude and slightly knocked me off guard. Of course, as I was coughing and spluttering and crying at the same time wondering where all this blood was coming from, the Brave man walked into the bedroom where the scene was not unlike something from CSI Miami. He stood there momentarily probably trying to process what had happened, either that or he was about to get his ‘blue light thingy’ out, like they do on CSI. As I sat there looking at the scene of my pretty crimson blood sprayed over my sheets, panic set in and the only ‘positive thinking’ I was doing, was…., “this is it, this is it, I’m positive this is it.”
The Brave man was kind and reassuring. Telling me that this happens all the time in footy.
Ummmmmm, footy, yes how could I forget all those blood noses I had when I played football?? As he tilted my head back and reminisced about the good old days when he played football for the Alvie Football Club, the great nose bleeds, the proud moments of having two broken noses crunched and straightened back into place without the help of pain killers. As proud of him as I was, I continued to cry, coughing up blood and freaking out because I was thinking that I was having a full brain haemorrhage.
After the Brave man had cleaned and cleared the scene, he lay quietly next to me until I fell asleep.
Taking advantage of a week off chemo, we set off the next day, to our little peaceful retreat in the country to spend a long weekend together.
As we try and do each trip, we drop into see the Brave man’s lovely mum, who we call Granny.
Granny, is a real Granny. She lives up to her name. She has soft white fluffy hair, wears an apron a lot and spends contented times amongst her beloved roses. Hugs are always plentiful at Granny’s , but she saves her “66 kisses” for Sienna, who adores her.
There are always freshly baked treats when we arrive, a new flower to admire and stories of what this busy Granny has been up to during the week. And today was no different, fresh date scones and a cup of tea. Sienna had her first knitting lesson and she was so proud. It was lovely watching the old fingers teaching the new fingers.
Back on the road with our tummy’s full, and it wasn’t long until we arrived at Laver’s Hill. We travelled down Wait- A-While Road to our little house. Down the gravel road, through the forest, passed the alpacas, and like many times before, passed the sign saying, ‘Holy Water’……. For some reason this time, it occurred to me, “this is not just a sign…. It’s a SIGN!”
As you know I’m into signs and symbolism and given my scan wasn’t very far away, I knew this ‘sign of a sign’ had to be followed!
So we diverted off down the old bush track and followed the signs to Holy Water. Picturing myself, immersed in the Holy Water Creek, with my Fairy and the Brave man chanting by the edge of the water …health and wellness affirmations, I couldn’t get there fast enough.
And so we drove and we drove. The tall gum trees towering over us and the road becoming more of an ‘off the beaten path’ track than an actual road. With so many bumps and pot holes, not only did I wish that I was wearing a sports bra, I just wanted to find this wonderful curing spiritual place that I had conjured up in my mind.
Finally coming to a place that could only be described as a ghost gum grave yard, we saw the sign saying “Holy Water Creek”. There was no ‘curing oasis’, or ‘spiritual immersification’. The only spirits there were our ‘dampened ones’ and that of the old gum trees that had once stood tall there, before they were…… LOGGED!!
That night I wondered about our adventure to the ‘Holy Water Creek’, and searched for the meaning behind what we had discovered. Was it a sign of things to come when I have my scan the following week?
The weekend was lovely and I managed to play lots with Sienna and even adventure to the dam, there was a slight incline and by the time I got to the top, I felt like I was breathing through a mosquito’s drinking straw, but it was lovely to be with my girl and she was patient while I caught my breath. This trip was all about family, my mum and dad came for a visit and we all played bingo, watched family movies and sat through about 3 hours of the Fairy’s singing and dancing concerts.
The brave man got his ‘farmer on’ and mowed the grass until dusk, dug deep muddy holes and used his chainsaw for the first time. He was happy being outdoors, his heart was beating to the country rhythm.
By the end of the weekend , I started to feel unwell, my chest was getting tighter, my throat was sore and I had a constant headache. Things just didn’t feel good. The ‘little worry me’ was nervously sitting on the edge of the ‘slippery dip of panic’.
With the promise of more fresh baking, we dropped into Granny’s on the way home.
No sooner had we arrived, she had fixed Sienna’s knitting, iced and filled a sponge, fed & patted Peter Rabbit, packed us up with 3 dozen homemade sausage rolls, ginger snaps and rhubarb from the garden. Not bad in 7 minutes!
It was a quiet drive home and I was feeling more miserable by the minute. My chest was pounding as if someone was standing on it and I just couldn’t wait to be home in my bed. The aches and pains served only as a reminder that my scan was imminent. I reflected on the signs and symbolism of the ‘brain haemorrhage/footy injury/nose bleed, and the non-existent Holy Water Creek and continued to try and interpret their meaning.
Finally home and out of the car, the first stretch of the legs felt good, as we began to take things inside, I saw the THIRD SIGN. A dead possum on the front lawn. (As far as Sienna was concerned it was a “tired possum having a sleep…… a very long sleep”.)
In a split second, I convinced myself this was the THIRD sign of death. I was no longer on the top of the slippery dip of panic, I was on my way down like a rocket. It took all my strength not to just go inside and call White Lady Funerals for a quick measure and quote.
March 15th – The scan
My strong Troop Lisa came with me to my scan. She’s so kind and caring, every time she said something nice I’d cry. So to conserve eyelashes, conversation had to be limited to the weather and what a good car park we got out of the front of the hospital.
I lay under the big loud white donut & waited for the mechanical voice to tell me to, “Hold Your Breath”, I pictured my fairy’s face with her little freckles on her nose and those funny little adult teeth she’s growing with the cute gap.
The scan went without consequence and I was glad to get out of there quickly. As I have had so many scans, the girls behind the desk excitedly told me I didn’t have to pay, …. “You’re our best customer!” they chirped.
Ok so I know they were trying to be sweet, but I don’t want to be the ‘best customer’ at Cabrini Radiology, I want to be the ‘best customer’ at Sass & Bide or Prada or even Bunnings would do. Just not Cabrini Radiology!
Continuing down my ‘slippery-dip of panic’, I thought of the blood nose, the dry Holy Water Creek, the dead possum and now this comment, all these signs were doing my head in. What could possibly be next? Running down the school crossing ‘Lolly Pop Man’ because he’s holding the sign ‘STOP’??……. It can only mean one thing……….
March 16th – Results Day
I woke up to the sound of thunder and rain, my chest was ever so tight and my throat felt like I had literally swallowed the dead possum and it had got stuck halfway. Not feeling the best.
The Brave man took the fairy off to school as he does every day, I kissed her about 1000 times before they left and wished so much that when I saw her next, I would have received good results. But I knew with all the signs over the past week and my painful chest and throat, there was little chance of a glowing report.
I was no longer feeling panicked, no anxiety, just acceptance. My Health Stylist called us in and we had a quick chat about how I was feeling, he looked in my throat felt my neck, listened to my breathing and said…….“Yep, it’s thrush”…….”it’s what?” ……”Oh and your scan looked good”….. My little chemo fried brain couldn’t cope with the information and all I could think of was, “but what about all the signs, the nose bleed, the holy water creek, the dead possum, the “you’re our best customer” ???”
He explained that whilst the scan didn’t show any cancer, he suspects that there are still cells floating around. The fact that there is nothing visible to measure makes it a bit more difficult to know what treatment and how much treatment I need. So the plan for the moment would be, three chemo’s on, and a month off, do this for 5 months and then we’ll scan again.
As for the other thing…… thrush…. eeewww. I think I would have been less disgusted if he had told me that he could see a dead possum down my throat. It certainly wasn’t my most feminine moment. My Health Stylist prescribed everything with the word ‘fungal’ in it to get rid of it.
After another big day of chemo, blood transfusions and results, we were finally home. As the Brave man read Pipi Long stocking to our Fairy. I lay on my bed and rested my head on my cool soft pillow. And reflected on the day. It was good news overall. I accept I’m never going to be given a guarantee, I accept I’m never going to be told I’m going to live to be 100 and I accept the unpredictability of this illness. It felt good to stop frantically analyse every moment as a sign or symbol of what was going to happen next and it felt good to be off the panic slide.
I looked at the lovely messages I had received during the week, and the one that touched me the most was from my beautiful Brave Man.
”Sienna and I just want you to get better and we will keep looking after you no matter how long it takes.”