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    If you have popped over here from my facebook page could you please add comments in the blog rather than on the link on facebook itself. I dont want to worry YD unnecessarily Thanks. You can now use your facebook log in so you dont need to enter extra details if you like
  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

DVT=Definitely Varied Timetable

Thank Goodness DVT did not equal deep vein thrombosis. 

Those of you that have been following my twitter or facebook status updates will know that I got checked out for a possible DVT in my right calf last week.  My leg had been aching ever since I started Uni and I  just put it down to the extra walking I was doing especially the fact that with going to Uni I am climbing a lot more stairs as well as doing more walking as a whole.  When it wasn’t easing I happened to read on the IBC mailing list a conversation about DVT’s and thought that maybe I should be taking the ache more seriously as the symptoms they were describing were very close to what I had been experiencing. 

 I rang oncology on Thursday morning and asked if I should come in earlier for them to check it out before my chemo later that afternoon. I got in there (thanks to my chaffeur for the day JMJ) and they thought it was definitely worth checking to make sure it wasn’t a DVT.  This is tested by ultrasound and they tried to organise it to happen while I was in there on thursday but ran out of time, and I had to return on Friday morning to have it. I missed my Friday lecture but managed to make to Uni in time for the Friday tutorial.  The ultrasound was negative for a DVT so they think it is muscualr but if it is still playing up in a couple of weeks it may have to be followed up by further investigation probably by orthopaedic doctors but as a last resort they would also check that there was no tumor in my leg.

Another thing about Thursday is that I had half been expecting a phone call to say I wouldn’t be having chemo as my neutrophils had only been 1.55 the first week of my cycle (the week before) so I was expecting them to dip under the allowable limit for chemo.  To my amazement when I asked on Thursday afternoon what my neutrophil level was  – somehow they had managed to be at 1.6

Just before 3pm on Thursday they sent me upstairs, from acute oncology where I had been, to the chemo daystay unit.  When I checked in with the reception upstairs they asked if my radiation oncologist Dr P had seen me.  I couldn’t think why Dr P would want to see me when it had been decided that I was not eligible for radiation therapy this time round.  It turned out she actually wanted to ask me to take part as a test patient for the radiation oncologist exams again.  These exams are for those doctors that have been training to be oncologists and this is their final exam before being fully qualified as oncologists. I have been joking with my friends that I’m going to be a crash test dummy.  Being a sample patient means the doctors sitting the exam have about 2o minutes to ask me questions and examine me (I must admit having IBC has made me much more of an exhibitionist LOL – I have had so many doctors , medical students etc looking at my chest it really doesnt worry me if a few more do.)  The doctors are then grilled by the examiners about how they would treat me from what they found out from me.  So basically if they ask the right questions and listen properly and examine me properly they should be able to answer the examiners questions.  I had to meet with the examiners this afternoon so they could check that I fit the criteria they neeeded for the sample patients and they were very impressed with my ablity to articulate my medical history and treatment up to this point – we also discussed the fact I was at university doing Social Work with the end goal of being a social worker in the health system and one of the examiners said that he would definitely give me a job.  They would have liked to use me for all the exam slots but because I am already committed to university classes in the mornings I am just doing the afternoon session tomorrow – there is also a session on Thursday morning I could have done if  I hadn’t already been booked in to have my Brain CT scan then.

As well as all this going on I went to a essay writing workshop at Uni on Saturday as I am not trained in how to do acadmic essays and I have been out of study for so long that I thought it would be good to do it to set myself up to succeed.  I spent all Saturday in Auckalnd and drove the car up and back which just reinforced the fact that taking the train to Uni is the right decision for me.  I felt so tired and unfocussed driving home.  I spent Sunday doing my first assignment which was a critical article review of one of the readings for our Sociology paper – a 750 word essay due next week and I must admit even with doing the workshop the day before I struggled to get my head around what I actually needed to write about.  My next assignment is due in a couple of weeks and is longer but I have a clearer view of what I actually need to do for that one and I dont think it will be quite as hard to do.

So that is a not so brief recap of my very varied timetable of last week and this.  And for those people who read this and wonder if I am overdoing it – don’t worry I am looking after myself!

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