Saturday, April 30, 2011

that's how it goes

THE MAGIC OF MORIJA: The church at Morija, Lesotho, built between 1847 and 1857, with the present distinctive steeple added in 1905

Just been away for a fab holiday in Lesotho. Really enjoyed it as this time got to see far more of the country than my usual Maseru, the capital. Went to malealea lodge for two days, where the only sounds are the clinking of cowbells as the herds pass by with their herdboys (what is the word for them)? Really lovely.
RESTING PLACE OF A SAINTLY LEGEND: The grave of Anna Mantsopa, said to have died at 111, at St Augustine's Priory outside Ladybrand, South Africa
Then on the way back stopped off at St Augustine's Priory just outside Ladybrand to view the cave and grave (see pic above) of Anna Mantsopa - who was a prophetess in the mid-1899s and advisor to Moshoeshoe of the Basotho people - best to read this article. Loved the place - very still too. Oh, and also went to Morija in Lesotho, which I have been wanting to go to for ages, all because I read Tim Couzens's Murder at Morija - and despite everyone telling me: "ag, it's just a village!", it was fascinating and far more than just a village. I even went to see the house where the murder of the missionary took place - it is now a community radio station and on a second visit went to see Maeder House, the oldest structure in Lesotho, built in 1843 if I remember correctly.

CAVE CHURCH: Inside this cave (see gate at end of path) at St Augustine's Priory, where prophetess Anna Mantsopa was said to have lived, is an altar with burning candles

Anyway, the reason for the somewhat miff and dejected headline to this post is that someone else I have been following in the blogosphere has died. Pateeta of Shades of blue had ovarian cancer but her treatment was not helping. It kept spreading, then she had a heart attack, then a pulmonary embolism and decided to stop the chemo. But she was damn gutsy. I only followed her for a short time but the inevitable happened - in her case, her daughter Melissa wrote on her blog to say she had died. What upset me was that she was agitated, nervous and ill at ease before she died but they gave her anti-anxiety meds and then she died peacefully. All so damn sad. Read Pateeta's blog - ovarian cancer's a bitch, she wrote, but so am I!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Not even cancer could stop u"

Was on gchat now, with a former colleague who has moved to Port Elizabeth. I told her I was at home tonight. She responded: "lol that is bizarre! not even cancer could stop u". A short while ago I also wrote a comment on Joanna's blog, lifehasitsupsanddowns in which I reminisced about battling to stand up for long periods at art exhibition openings, or walked slowly from my car to restaurants (realise the difference only now that I can bounce along quickly) - but at least I was there!
So Karen, thank you for saying that "not even cancer could stop u". Well, why should it? Only in the week (week two post chemo) when my immune system was compromised did I not go to public places other than work, as advised by the doctors.
Yes, cancer didn't stop me much - nor should it stop anyone else.

PS: So grateful my arm is ok. Feels awful but saw The Lymph Lady today, and it's fine. And lost 1kg already.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eating and sleeping - or not

I don't sleep much. Don't have a sleeping problem. Just tend to go to bed at midnight or 1am, and then wake up at 6.10am or 6.30am or sometimes only at 7am to do manual lymph drainage massage for my high risk/borderline lymphedema. So that gives me about five or six hours sleep. All fine.
Until last Thursday. Cannot remember what time I went to sleep but think it might have been very late, then woke up early to go to a work breakfast. Now the function was at a top 5 star hotel but the food was really crap - and yet I didn't stop eating: yucky processed-type cheese slices, a cheesy mini-quiche, mediocre to awful spanikopitas and cannot remember what else. Then I didn't stop the entire day, starting off with the miniature chocolate Easter bunnies in the press pack.
I gained a kilo. Then Saturday was equally exhausted as woke up early to do lymph massage before leaving early for the airport to fly to Cape Town. Then again didn't stop eating 'cos was soooo tired. Now my weight is up 1.6kg. Not happy. Hope I have lost some today. Now I know: I need about six hours sleep and if I have less than five, I overeat like crazy and cannot afford to do that, not with my arm being so sensitive to weight gain.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yahoo! happy to report that all is well!

Am totally delighted that the colonoscopy went off well and I am fine. No polyps, nothing. At first he said come back in 10 years - then he checked my file and saw I have a family history and said, Ok, 5 years's time.
Delighted. And as delighted to be able to eat what I want. Now nibbling Woolworths's low-fat prawn cocktail. Delicious!! Just doctored it with a strong chilli sauce and worcestor sauce. Oh and lost 2kg since Thursday but am busy putting it back on... eating what I want today. Wore a special bright pink band on my left arm (which The Lymph Lady gave me) warning of Lymphedema and no blood pressure, IV, etc on that hand but all was fine.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Preparing for a colonoscopy

Haven't enjoyed the last few days so much 'cos been preparing for a colonoscopy. When my sisters had them, they just had to take the laxative stuff from the late afternoon but trust me to go to a doctor who requires the whole number - no red food for three days before plus no salad, no fruit, no veggies....
Well, had no idea what life was like without eating fruit. Had I not had a diabetes test recently - the whole number, the glucose drinking one which takes hours - would have been convinced I had a sugar craving. Well, am allowed clear apple juice so drank about three little liquifruits a day.

Cannot tell you how much I battled with the eating. I eat salad every day and lots of veggies. I was allowed "well cooked pumpkin" or "well cooked peeled potato" so tried the pumpkin. Usually steam it, or bake it, so that it still has substance; this time steamed it till it was pap (Afrikaans for soft), added some cottage cheese and some white pasta and found it dreadful and the cheese, although low-fat, too rich. Maybe there was too much cheese. So swopped to white bread, which I discovered can be nice and have been eating that with boiled eggs for the last few days. As well as spaghetti with plain low-fat yoghurt thrown over it (instead of cream). Quite like that but miss my pickled cucumbers, mustard, spices.. and essentially the freedom to eat what I want when I want (as much as I do watch what I eat, I know I can eat anything...).
The first day lost a kilogram - no fruit plus couldn't face the supper I had brought with me and was going out straight from work - and now am 0.4kg up from the weight I was when diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. I like feeling thinner but cannot wait till all is ok and I can eat again. And praying all is well with the colonoscopy.
My mom died five days after being diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago - even though they said she was a perfect candidate for an operation and scheduled it for a week later - and two of her siblings died of it too although her brother lived with a colostomy bag for years and was very active, playing tennis and travelling, and both died in their 80s (my mom was 77). 
According to the gastroenterologist I saw, genetic predisposition to colon cancer means you get it by 40 and this was in old age but that I should have a colonoscopy anyway.
My two sisters, both younger than me, had it shortly after my mom died but as I was having chemo and other treatment, it was deemed not necessary (by my oncologist). When I finished all the treatment, herceptin et al, I broached the subject again, and he said "Yes, within six months". That six months ended in February so doing it now.