Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seoul: December 30


World Cup Stadium

The cafe where we had breakfast

Walking from the apartment in that BIG coat. It doesn't look good but it's warm.

Going down the escalator to the train station at World Cup Stadium

Rick walking near the apartment

Seoul: December 29

We arrived safely last night. It was wonderful to see Stuart and Cherie , the minute we got off the airport bus. With Cherie's expert help, we made it to Jee's apartment. We went by train and taxi. We had a fun ,so we had presents for them both for Christmas and then we had some special ones for Cherie. Cherie's birthday was on Boxing Day. Cherie ordered us Chinese food to be delivered for a very late dinner. It felt later to us because we had lost two hours somewhere on the plane!

Monday, December 28, 2009

What a great Christmas!

We had a great time in Canberra with family. We ate lovely things and enjoyed each other's company. We went to church together on Christmas Day and on Sunday. We also had fun at the Boxing Day sale and chatting together.... inside, because of the much needed rain that fell. We remembered those of the family who are in far off places.
Now we are in Sydney, ready to fly out to Seoul in the morning. Deirdre drove Richard, Mum, Dad and me from Canberra, in James' car.
Deirdre is kindly taking us to the airport at 6am tomorrow. We hope we won't get mixed up in the long lines waiting to get processed at the check-in.
Our first stop on our trip will be Seoul. We are looking forward to seeing Stuart and Cherie when we arrive.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

We have had a great time together at Bruce and Sylvia's in Canberra. Sylvia prepared beautiful meals for us all. The welcome, steady rain and the lower temperatures today, helped to make the day very pleasant. 16 members of the family were able to be here for Christmas. We have others in USA, Victoria, Seoul, Sydney, Tasmania, Queensland and country NSW.
It has been such a special treat to have Christmas in Canberra after 32 years of travelling elsewhere.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Today the Sydney part of the family are coming to have Christmas with us in Canberra! This has never happened before. It is exciting for us. Sylvia has been wonderful and is managing the food side of things. She does that so well. I haven't been much help to her !
I am settled on the treatment I decided on, and we are nearly all packed to go on our trip. We go to Sydney on Monday Dec 28 and fly out on Tuesday Dec 29. I am sure that the blizzards happening in Europe right now, will be all over by the time we get there on Jan 2!

Hope you have a Happy Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Treatment decision made!

Monday December 21
What a relief to report that today I have made the necessary decisions regarding the follow-up treatment.
I have decided to go with a 5- year course of hormone blocker medication and have an operation to remove my ovaries in February or March. I will not be enduring chemotherapy.
This decision wasn't an easy one, to say the least, but I am satisfied with it. I have been presented with the information available ( not as clearly at first, as I would have liked!) and I believe this is the most effective path to take.
After making these difficult decisions, I decided to buy a coffee and something to eat. I was asked politely if I wanted to " have it here" or " take it away". I found that choice a hard one to make, so I realised that I had been under some pressure in the past few days!

Unsettled weekend

I have felt very unsettled about the lack of clear direction from the oncologist concerning the next step with treatment. If this is an indication of how the medical profession has to work these days, to avoid possible legal action for wrong advice, it's a very sorry situation we are in!
It helped to speak to my cousin and my brother-in-law who have had experience in this area.

It's just the feeling that you want to decide the best option for treatment, but when you finally get to see the person with the expertise, he can't seem to manage to help you!
I find that disturbing, frustrating and sad.

Today is a new day! Hopefully some progress will be made!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Manouvering through the medical maze.

The oncologist, on Thursday Dec 17, knew an awful lot about the treatment options but had trouble conveying the information clearly to us!
The following day I was able to ask questions of two nurses in the field. They both contacted the specialist for me and got some much needed clarification. How great is it to have people like this to call on?
It now seems that the preferred option for me is the surgical removal of my ovaries and 5 years of tablets, with no chemotherapy. I can choose chemotherapy as well, but it only adds a little benefit. We can apparently still go away on our trip, whatever I choose.

Roz and I couldn't have guessed that from the discussion we had with the oncologist!

This will hopefully be explained more fully to us on Monday.
I am taking my full think- tank team with me: Rick and Roz! Three heads will be better than one or two! We are prepared !

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Visit to the Oncologist : Dec17

More decisions to make and some surprises!
A few weeks ago, I was told by the surgeon that I would probably not benefit from having chemotherapy.
Today I was told, by the oncologist, that I would benefit from chemotherapy.
The oncologist recommended that I have hormone therapy ( in tablet form for 5 years) and chemotherapy to lower the chances of the cancer returning.
I will speak in more detail to an oncology nurse next Monday 21st. After that appointment I should be able to make the decision about chemotherapy. Having the hormone treatment is a given. This also means that we are still not 100% sure we can go on our overseas trip on Dec 29!

This is disappointing, but it's also a challenge.
Life is not boring, that's for sure!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where did the last week go?

December 16 : I am feeling really well this week. Almost all discomfort from the operation has gone. The past week has been filled with end of year and Christmas celebrations with school staff and with the church community. Also I have spent hours on the computer , booking flights and hotels for our trip. This activity can keep one occupied for days!
Almost everything is booked now.
It's very exciting! We are travelling first to Seoul, to see Stuart and Cherie. After 4 days in Seoul, we are off to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Berlin. Followed by a 9-day organised tour of Spain , starting in Madrid and ending in Barcelona. After that tour, we spend two days in Paris, before returning home via Seoul for one night.
Can't believe we are going! We need to pack very warm clothes!
We left it till now to book , as things were so uncertain for me, in the past couple of months.
Lots to do, leading up to Christmas. The days go very quickly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lunch out and Choir Dinner

Tuesday December 8
Jee took me for a lovely Thai lunch. She has kindly offered us her apartment to stay in, when we are in Seoul. They will be visiting relatives in US.

That night the choir had a farewell dinner at the club for their musical director of 23 years. It was a lovely occasion. Richard ( who is president) and his committee did a great job.
I stayed awake well! I can really feel that I am getting back to normal health. A little further to go, but on the track!

We also decided on booking an organised tour of Spain for 9 of the 18 days we have in Europe! Big decision and it's very exciting. This will not only be fun, but it will minimise the walking with bags and searching for accommodation and the tourist destinations. This will help me manage better. We've never been to Spain, so it's going to be wonderful. Now we need to organise what will do each side for the Spain tour.
I also has a swine flu vaccination today, in preparation for Winter in Seoul and Europe!

If I get the "all clear" from the Oncologist on Dec 17, we leave for Seoul on December 29.

December 7

Monday lunch with friends and some research about the coming trip. Deacons meeting that night.
I am feeling better and no where near as tired after an activity. Not needing painkillers for sleeping now.

Driving in December

December 2 - 6
This week I've had some lovely dinners out. One on Tuesday with the small group, and one on Friday with three good friends.
I've rested in between medical appointments and church meetings.

I found out more about the risks of Lymphoedema and was given more exercises to do, to help with shoulder movement and lymphatic drainage. I DROVE to the hospital for this appointment! First time since the operation.
Another result of being in Canberra for 32 years is that you get to know many people. This time it was the Physiotherapist that ran the workshop! She also fitted me for the special compression sleeve and gauntlet (glove) for travelling by plane.

It has now been 4 weeks since surgery and I am noticing more improvements in pain and movement. Sunday December 6 marked one month after surgery.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday Dec 1

Now we are in December! It was a cool, pleasant day for the start of Summer. I had a very restful day at home, before being taken to the Christmas break up party for our small group. The company was very pleasant and the food was delicious.

Monday November 30

I had lunch with friends at the mall, and picked up my results from the Bone Density scan. It looks to me like I have normal bone density. I think this is good! The doctors use this info to see if they can feed me a bone-thinning drug! Sounds a little odd to me!
Tonight we had a surprise guest for dinner. Rick's brother Andrew dropped in. He had been visiting Canberra, for work that day. Cameron came over too, so we had a nice catch up.
I know I am feeling a little better each day.