One month ago, as a 73 year old female, I was living quite happily on my own in a small, rented unit, doing my morning walks and taking heaps of photos (one of my passions). The result of on MRI taken on 21 August 2020 changed all that in a jiffy. What I thought was going to be 1 night stay in Cairns Hospital turned into 2 weeks at Cairns and Townsville Hospitals, with the above diagnosis, inoperable, no biopsy as it would have had a similar risk factor as full on surgery - thanks but no thanks.
Now I have been back home in Cairns for two weeks, and things are going south very fast indeed. Almost complete lack of sleep at night, maybe 2 - 3 hours max, and then my latest mate, pain, takes over. During the day I am constantly nodding off, coming to again with more pain.
At the moment I am not having any treatment, but am thinking of having a go at some palliative chemo, maybe it manages to shrink the mass a bit and relieve the pressure on the affected nerves, I might get lucky, who knows.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with my GP and a specialist nurse go come up with a care plan - hope I'll make it, since today is not one of my best days (just joking)! Whatever the result of that appointment, I will be asking for a referral to the Cairns Hospital oncology and palliative care units. Why? because I have been incredibly impressed by the care I was given by all the staff at Cairns and Townsville Hospitals - I felt completely looked after.
How do I feel about this latest challenge in my life-journey? Well, for one, although having traveled a lot both for work and adventure, this is one journey I did not plan - but then who does?
30 years ago I had cancer, and was lucky enough to get away with it without chemo / radio as it was discovered just in time and had not spread. However since then, maybe every few years, I would dream that I would be back in hospital with cancer - so the diagnosis did not come as a surprise.
I am looking at this new challenge as a process to get through. I am not angry, I don't take it personally, so I am not wasting emotional energy fighting some unseen enemy. As far as I am concerned it's a matter of problem solving, and finding the best possible outcome. And as far as the "best possible outcome" is concerned, that's of course very personal and depends on our value / belief systems.
One of my neighbours is going to be my carer and hopefully we'll sort out the paperwork for that within the next couple of days - she just dropped in to say hello. My oldest friend lives up the beaches, but we are in touch as much as I like - she understands that I don't want to be constantly bombarded with "how are things" messages😃When I don't feel like grocery shopping I just order Coles online home delivery - easy!! I still enjoy cooking and eating, and hopefully that lasts a bit longer. Mind you, I miss a good glass of wine with my evening meals - but there will definitely be one last blow out before all this is over😂
I feel very calm
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