catchmyfancy: (warrior)
My darling friend Elley has now been cancer-free for two years.

As is our rapidly-becoming-tradition, we had a celebratory girlie afternoon tea, and took the Official Photo of the Three Muskateers - Elley, Imelda and myself. It's kind of fun to look at the changes (mostly in the hair-growing dept).

Elley is now off the dopey-drugs, and shares my personal training session every week. She's a lot stronger. Still in pain a lot of the time, but she lives with that because she is Present here with us now; and her teenaged kids have been going through some Stuff and needed her, so she took a deep breath and went off the meds. She looks too little to contain such resolve, doesn't she?
2010 )
2009 )
2008 - the Three Muskateers )
mmmm - cake....(also scones, jam & clotted cream and damask tableclothes & willow pattern tea things..) )
Cos sometimes you have a GOOD (indeed Excellent) Day.
catchmyfancy: (warrior)
Believe it or not, it's been a year since Elley was Officially In Remission.

She's still struggling against the side-effects of the toxic-avenger-war they fought using her body as the battleground (can you say "nerve damage" and "organ damage" and "muscle wastage" and "severe muscle cramping" and "paaaaain" boys and girls?), and is only just now able to start looking at a plan for rehabilitation.

I honestly don't know how she keeps going some days - walking, sleeping, eating, concentrating - all a struggle for her a lot of the time. And because of the nerve damage and drug-induced dopiness, she has lost a lot of her work "gimmes" - the insanely fast typing; the ability to multi-task; the confidence in her natural competence - and she mourns the loss of the person she was.

But it's been a year since Elley was in remission and she has stayed in remission.

Therefore this officially counts as a GOOD DAY.

We had a celebratory afternoon tea today, and took The Official Photo, given the one from last year has ended up as a favourite for all of us. A lot of things strike me about this photo comparing it to the 2008 one - Elley's hair is longer; she is a lot thinner; and she's very pale compared to me and Imelda (we get out in the sun more), and she was fading fast while Jim was taking this set of shots.

But she's laughing and we are still the Three Muskateers.

November 22, 2009: And for comparison, Nov 22, 2008:
catchmyfancy: (Default)

Three musketeers, originally uploaded by Catch My Fancy.

I guess that makes Melinda (who took the photo) D'Artagnon.

Anyway, here are Elley, Imelda and I at Elley's house today for her HURRAH-My-Cancer-Is-Officially-In-Remission afternoon tea, including the most perfect scones I have EVER tasted.

Compare these smiles to the ones in the photo taken three months ago at my birthday afternoon tea - it's a world of difference.

No matter what slings, arrows or pinpricks we endured yesterday or today, no matter how rough the good news/relief was to ride out emotionally, and no matter how things go forward from here...these two days have both officially been designated thus: Today Is A GOOD Day.

And so they were.

catchmyfancy: (contented sun)

Illumination, originally uploaded by Catch My Fancy.



Elley has no active cancer cells anymore.

The oncologist used the "R" word - that's right, he said "remission".

And at first when she SMSed (and then rang) me to tell me I was just sort of numb. And then I rang mother and Melinda and Imelda. And I was pleased and delighted and relieved but that was sort of as far as it went.

There was a strange sort of sly upwelling happening somwhere in my emotional landscape, but I couldn't really...

....and then I suddenly had to grab my sports bag, mutter something about going off to get changed and then I RAN to the ladies' loos, sat down and cried HARD for a good ten minutes. A traditional sobbing-grimacing-just-plain-hanging-grimly-on-till-the-storm-passes crying jag.

I still can't think about it without tearing up, or even think about it too hard directly. We've been living with this so long, that it's not quite grokkable that Elley is (fingers crossed) going to survive this wretched thing.

I feel as paper-thin as the petals in that photo. And just as lit-up. 

catchmyfancy: (Default)
Finally went to Spotlight today and got some silk satin and polar fleece to make Elley some more silk-lined scarves.  

The first one I made her a couple of years ago is a fetching deep plum polar fleece on one side with some embroidered flowers.  On the other it is bright pink silk.  I have a Thing about making Winter babies warm stuff for their birthdays, and I wanted to give Elley something lush.  Hence the scarf, which was very well received; used every single day when it was colder, and now Elley has cancer, is literally worn constantly as her body temperature does weird weird things. 

While it is terribly flattering that while she is like this she won't take scarf off (she claims that putting it over her mouth and nose and breathing through it helps her not to cough in cold air; also, she SLEEPS in it, people), I am a little worried about a Linus/Blanket situation developing.

Ah - who am I kidding - I took it off her today to measure it up and she started meeping at me until I gave it back.   Now she has the buzz cut hairstyle her eyes are enormous and she can do the  Stricken/Deprived/You MONSTER look really, really well.  As in: better than any of my nieces, all of whom are under 10, have The Eyes and a cuteness factor off the scale, so I know that whereof I blog.

I just worry about Elley keeping herself Naice (she says diplomatically).

So I'll be making her another two or three scarves tomorrow.  And a purple satin pillowcase.  And hopefully a couple of satin-lined beanies. 

The satin-lining and pillowcases are to help her with the Velcrohead thing.  Once she shaved off her hair to a Number 1, we realised she had all these whorls and divergent hair growth patterns on her scalp which pretty much act like velcro if she puts her head down on a cotton pillowcase or puts any kind of fleece, felt, crochet or woollen hats or beanies on (which would be all the ones you can get).  The satin is so she can stop sleeping in a hat.  Or at least give her a nice satin-lined hat to sleep in. 

As I said to Elley today: don't think of it as a life-threatening illness.  Think of it as a chance to really accessorise
catchmyfancy: (contented sun)
Elley had a PET scan yesterday and today they told her that with her first round of chemo, her tumour has "shrunk significantly".

Well - bugger me sideways.  It's WORKING.

I did the requisite squeement about this news with her, but the concept of the treatment actually, er, treating the cancer kept sliding out of my brain.  It just would not stick, and being happy and encouraged wouldn't either.

It took me a while to realise that I have no model for "person I know with cancer may be treated and actually recover".  My experience is solely based on what happened to Gerry, ie: person gets cancer, person gets treated, person gets no benefit from treatment and related suffering, person stops treatment because of No Point to same, person dies.  All very quickly. 

Even now, I can feel myself reinforcing the many-feet-thick mental walls which I appear to have built as a direct response to being stuck in that nightmare raw and alone all over again. 

Soooo.  My best friend gets cancer and all my talk of hope and determination and Positive Thoughts turns out to be about 90% signal to noise.  Meanwhile, my subconscious has already decided she's a dead woman walking and is busily making sure I won't go nuts when the moment actually comes, which, apparently, it will, and that right soon.

Oh, that's - all class, that is.  *sigh*
 
catchmyfancy: (Default)
Had a musical day today and drove lots of kms - singing lesson at my teacher's studio in Caulfield, then off to my mate Helen's in Vermont South, then off to the Alfred to visit Elley, which is where the being thankful for comes in.

Elley has done really well with her first round of chemo (no upchucking hurrah!) AND they found that she does not have any cancer in her bone marrow or in her brain.  I think her oncology doctoral team would have been doing rock-paper-scissors to see who got to give her some good news for once.

Ooo - and Raiders of the Lost Ark is on.  Gotta love Karen Allen and Indy-shoots-the-guy-flashing-the-swords.

R & R

Apr. 28th, 2008 06:52 pm
catchmyfancy: (contented sun)
Am on leave.

Today was the first of two mondays where I didn't have to get up and go to work. 

Okay, so I was still up at 6.30 and on the road by 7.15am so as to be over at Port Melbourne at 8am to take Elley over to the Alfred for a bone marrow sampling procedure.

But that was something I WANTED to do. 

FYI:  they wait until they are about to anaesthetise you before they impart the toenail-curling list of things that can go wrong and then they get you to sign an "oh my god I wish i wasn't informed" informed consent thing.  Elley was a little giddy with relief as she was wobbling along back to the car afterwards, and cheerfully ennumerated all the horrid horrid things they told her.  My entire body turned into one big cringe and I have gotta stop reading cheezburger, because all I could think was DO NOT WANT over and over again while smiling and nodding.

She starts chemo tomorrow: hoorays!

Came home about 2.30.  read for a bit.  Just now de-groggified myself enough after a nice long nap to hoon around on the intarwebs a bit. 

Tomorrow: gym, then off to visit Elley in the Alfred.  Weds: gym, lesson, visit, then off to see my mate Helen for lunch-and-a-sing in preparation for our mythical Concert; thurs, gym, coffee, visit elley. 

It's a hard-knock life, but someone's gotta do it.

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