TOUGH TIMES

ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

I have just finished surviving my 3rd and final day at work this week, I have just started back this week to get some money.

It has been five weeks since my bowel surgery, I have to drive down to Invercargill on Monday night by myself to get my 6 week post operation check. I have only had one walk in over 6 weeks!

I have taken five weeks to write this post, still trying to deal with the shock of the last five weeks and deciding whether I should even tell you.  I have decided today that I will…. I may get help and advice from other bloggers and my post may help others talk about sickness.  I won’t go into all the details as it will take too long, this could be good therapy for me.

When Colin and I went to Invercargill for my Operation, he stayed in a hotel, he felt like he was getting the flu, felt a little seedy.  The second day he came in to see me he showed me a purple bruise on his stomach, he had one on his hand the next day, we didn’t think too much as he does lots of farm work at hom and could have knocked himself about.   He had a shave, cut his face, it took ages to stop bleeding…once again we didn’t think too much about it.

When I was discharged we stayed one night in the hotel before returning to Dunedin, Colin then had some purple/black marks on his tongue.

We came home Sunday, he went to work Monday driving his truck delivering parcels around town. ON Monday night he had another bruise on his foot, I told him to try and get to the Doctor as we were a little worried.  He got in to the Doctor the next day – Tuesday and the Doctor said ‘probably the flu, I will do a blood test as well’.  I thought this was strange when Colin texted me, the Doctor must have known something.  Colin never ever moans or has a day off sick, so he must have thought something was not right too.

While working, busy as ever , an hour later he was rung and called back to the Doctors, she told him you have cancer!   Leukemia.  😦

He was then told to quickly get to the  Emergency Department at the Hospital, his platelets were so low that he was in real danger of internal bleeding or a brain bleed.

I then got the phone call from him, our Daughter and I were obviously in complete shock, our worst nightmare, how could this be.  I was home one day to recover from my Bowel Surgery and I get told this. I was only going to take two weeks off to recover, but ended up having a month off.

We were  (and still are) in a real muddle, our Daughter and I crying, we drove there, Colin was already admittedto a ward, and getting a blood transfusion of platelets and blood.   They sent his blood tests overnight to Auckland as they thought it may be a rare type of Leukemia – Acute APL, sure enough, the next day it was.  It is a real agressive type of cancer, the Specialist told him if he didn’t start the chemotherapy that afternoon (this was the 2nd day – Thursday) he would be dead in around 2 weeks.  Not good, and so lucky he got in to the Doctor that day.  You can imagine how terrible Colin felt for me too after just getting out of Surgery.

Colin was not allowed out of that room for 3 weeks solid, after around 5 days of the chemo, he was so ill for a week.  He was throwing up and didn’t eat for a week.  He has lost about 8 kilos already.  I tell you…it was so so hard seeing him curled up in a ball on the bed like that.

I contacted the Cancer Society, who came and saw us at the hospital, I worry about our Daughter too as she doesn’t say too much about her feelings.  She has just got home now from seeing Dad, I will go soon.  We can get counselling if needed.   There is a morning tea/get together on at the Cancer Society on Friday morning – all about Leukemia, I am going to go to that, I hope Colin can come too.

Well this post is turning out longer than I thought, 🙂

When you have Leukemia, the bone marrow starts to make a lot of abnormal white blood cells, called leukemia cells. They don’t do the work of normal white blood cells, they grow faster than normal cells, and they don’t stop growing when they should.

Over time, leukemia cells can crowd out the normal blood cells. This can lead to serious problems such as anemia bleeding, and infections. Leukemia cells can also spread to the lymph nodes or other organs and cause swelling or pain.

After getting thru the sickness and being locked in his room – he was neutropenic at this stage and only allowed to go out of his room  for a minute at night time wearing a mask because of a risk of getting an infection.   He was so good and trying to take one day at a time, like we were.

July is really a big blur…  I would go stir crazy to be shut in a combined space like that for 3 weeks.   When his cells  and platelets were lifting again he was allowed to go home for a week.  :)…I played Nurse.   I miss him so much, he is too nice a person for this to happen to him.

My emotions changed over that first couple of weeks, after crying for a week at nights to myself, and lugging the hay around for the animals and trying to cope with a sore foot and not feel sorry for myself I then changed to becoming angry,…just for 2 or 3 days.   The normal thing I suppose…It’s not fear, why him, why us, we have had too much go wrong, are we bad people to deserve all of these hard times?  Then I decided that I need to just take one day at a time, go thru the motions, do what needs done and support each other…and most importanly – stay positive…  So I plodded (or hobbled) in every day , sometimes twice taking washing, drinks and trying to just chat together and sort some things out… Colin had to teach me how to pay the bills with internet banking, simple stuff I didn’t know how to do. I had to learn fast.

The Doctors don’t know if they have got this aggressive cancer early enough.

The Oncology Department – Doctors, Nurses and Specialists are excellent and caring people. He is in the right place.

Colin has to have four different treatments of chemo over 4 or so months.   He is signed off work until January next year! His work probably won’t hold his job open?   I only work part time, so will be hard  going.

Colin has just started his 2nd lot of treatment on Monday, today is his 3rd day of it.  He was so tired last night when I went in. This time he is getting two different types of chemotherapy together, and four days in a row.  I suspect he will become sick again towards the rest of the week., poor Colin, it’s not fair.

The chemo will kill off everything again (that is – all of the cancer cells), this will make him neutropenic again, he will then be shut up again until everything grows normally again , fingers crossed… then the same again with the 3rd and 4th treatment.  We are not sure when he will get to come home again or for how long. He had a bone marrow biopsy last week, also a lumber punch to check for a brain bleed as he is having constant headaches.  That came back clear, thank goodness.

That is why my Sister, Brenda flew over from Australia to see us and for a bit of support for a week, that was so nice of her. I had to go back to work  this week as we have had no wages coming in for over a month now.

Like I say, we will try to stay positive.  Colin said  to the Specialist on the 2nd day, “Don’t tell me that I am going to loose my hair with the chemo”, as he brushed his hand over his bald head!  Everyone laughed, at least he still had his sense of humour.  My friend knitted him a merino wool wig…. he thought it was super, and wore it in the first week.  I will add a picture of him, on the 3rd day in hospital, he won’t know.  he he.

So fingers crossed for us and for him .   Send me a message if you or someone you know has cancer too , especially Leukemia, we need to learn lots.   We haven’t told many people apart from a couple of family members, times like this is when you miss having family around or alive.  Colin and I are quite private people and he hates a fuss.

I will add Colin’s funny photo at the bottom of this description of his cancer  🙂

And at least I got to take Colin out to Larnach Castle on Saturday night for our meal, even though his mouth was too sore to eat, I think he just enjoyed trying to do something normal before returning to Hospital.

We will ‘keep on keeping on’.

Bye for now.   Sending my love to Brenda brat and Beata in Denmark.

Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL)

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a kind of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a type of blood cancer. APL is a leukemia that can cause a life-threatening bleeding problem called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

APL is a problem with how blood cells grow at a certain point of development (the promyelocyte stage). They grow in odd shapes. And they cannot do what normal blood cells do.

Symptoms of APL include weakness and fatigue, fever, poor appetite, easy bruising or bleeding, and weight loss.

People with APL need a special mix of cancer treatments that fight the cancer cell growth and control the risk of life-threatening bleeding.

My wee Collie below  🙂

Colin with his new hair

Colin with his new hair

 

 

 

 

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