Decimated! We can use that word for smashing the cancer marker from 500 to 53 last week. The goal is to drop to the normal range in the next bloodtest on 15th March – that’s reaching a score of 35 or lower. No wonder I was so hyped up on Wednesday after receiving such good news. Something had me sitting up late playing with words – maybe also the steroids they gave me. Anyway, thanks for your tolerant response to my bad hair day report 🙂

On Thursday I experienced my first intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy and it was OK. First I had lots of IV pre-meds (anti-nausea etc) in my arm and then the strongest chemo drug, Cisplatin, via a needle through the port in my midriff into my body cavity. It is quite a thought, all that toxin flushing around the “space” occupied by my intestines, bladder, liver, spleen, kidneys, etc. My belly swelled up uncomfortably but that’s all. The kind and friendly patient in the next bed shared her alarming experiences, so I was incredibly grateful that I continued to feel well that night and through the next 3 days! Janet and John stayed with me all day and we walked back to our flat. We also had another walk after tea. In fact the main agenda for the days off has been walking and resting. On Monday I was very dizzy whenever I stood up but this passed, then on Tuesday I felt a bit nauseous (but it could have been worse). I’m thanking my lucky stars to have apparently got off fairly lightly so far.

We are still untangling the intricacies of the hospital system as it applies to country patients. The paperwork (forms to fill in) seems to be an endless puzzle, but perhaps we haven’t been paying enough attention. Sometimes our questions take us round and round and round in circles! The hospital travel officer books our plane tickets and wants to do it the day before travel so we know if I’m well enough after chemo. However, after my day in bed on Monday perhaps we can’t predict when I’ll wake up feeling too sick to fly. The airline needs 24 hours for a cancellation. We’re gambling on flying Friday again but still don’t know what will happen if I can’t do it.

The Mater social worker has cottoned on and is willing to swear blue in the face that we are not trying to rort the system – We just want to get home!

Belly tight now – after they poured in the chemical again today. This time it was Paclitaxel through the IP port, and this also went OK. I’m reminded of Kuefo’s song in pidgin. She visited us from the PNG Highlands year’s ago, baked a cake and composed a song for Helen’s birthday party. We danced and sang about celebrating and eating cake. The last line was “belly tight now” and all fall down! (Picture a beached whale – is how I feel tonight.)

The chemo nurses said the steroids might be giving me the initial burst of wellbeing. Perhaps this is the factor to give me confidence to book the homeward flight.

John has explored all around this pretty part of Brisbane and figured out suitable walks for me when I’m able. Now I’m sometimes struggling for blood oxygen (due to chemo damaging the blood cell production in my bone marrow) I’m zig-zagging more than ever when hills can’t be avoided. I’m thrilled with this tactic and can simply do dozens of tacks to keep my walk nearly flat, and still reach the top.

Love to all and thanks again for continuing to send me your beautiful messages. They are so uplifting !!! xxx

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