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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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  • SUSAN’S ARMY

    No Princess Alone button

Break? What break!?!

The last two weeks have been a break from Uni – but I still feel like I need more of a break.  Easter was good with MD and SB up from Christchurch for the long weekend and YD home for a couple of days from her house.  But …I must admit it did make me face my fears a little.  It really got to me that this is the second Easter that I have been in treatment.  The important family times  – two Christmases and two Easters have come and gone since Gertrude first came into my life and I have been in active treatment both times – and it made me wonder what next Christmas and Easter will bring.  I want so badly to believe that I will go into remission and stay in remission this time but there are no guarantees that I won’t be back in treatment this time next year.  That is the cloud that hangs over not only me but the rest of the family.  One of the things MD said before last Christmas was that she had hoped for a ‘normal’ Christmas last year.

After YD went home on Easter Sunday I crashed energywise in a big way.  I think I have been getting through Uni on pure adrenalin and pushing myself.  When I gotthe chance to relax all I wanted to do was sleep.  SB went back to Christchurch on the Tuesday and MD stayed longer as it was YDs 21st birthday that Thursday.  The second half of the week was doing preparations for that.  OD, MD and I took YD out for a birthday lunch on the Tursday and then spent the afternoon looking for a party outfit for her.   OD took a photo of me that afternoon and I look so tired ( I dont photograph well at the best of times but this photo made me look really tired.)

me looking as I was feeling

This is me looking exactly how I was feeling that first week.  (Its only a little photo because I copied it off her facebook page – she had tagged me but I untagged it because I didnt want everyone seeing it but on here I’m more anonymous).

On the Friday MD, OD and I went up to Auckland so that we could look for a wedding dress for MD – we didnt manage to find it that day but MD did try on 3-4 dresses just to get a feel for the style she wanted.  The afternoon was curtailed by the fact I had to be at Greenlane hospital at 3 for an echocardiogram of my heart. 

Saturday was taken up with party preparation and Saturday night went wonderfully for YD’s 21st birthday party.  JMJ and SMJ provided a clown show and YD handled the party extremely well. 

On Sunday there were two wedding expos on in Auckland so MD, OD and I went off to those.  MD managed to find a bridal shop that had the design of gown that she wanted and they could make changes to the decorative band under the bodice to make it more what she had in her minds eye.  SB’s and MDs original plans were to get married next February but with money being a bit tight and uncertainty of SBs possible being on excercises or deployment with the army they have decided to put it off a bit longer.  We are still looking for things now though because if we organise things that can be organised ahead of time then when they do set a date we can go full steam ahead with some things already done and dusted. 

The second wedding show we went to on Sunday was at Sky City.  I had never been to the casino there so in the spirit of doing things that I have always wanted to do, we spent an hour in the casino – trying out the pokies, roulette and a quick chance wheel.  We walked out with OD having doubled her money ($5) MD having lost $5 and myself down $10 but I thought it wasnt a bad price for an hours entertainment. I would like to go back there and try my hand at the cheapest blackjack table because thats the one card game I am good at.

MD went back home to Christchurch on that Sunday night.

On Tuesday I had my oncologist assessment but we didnt discuss a lot because until he gets the results of my echocardiogram and the scheduled CT scan (happening this Tuesday afternoon) we can’t make any concrete plans as to where to from here.  The plan is for next Thursday to be my last vinorelbine chemo and then I will see him on the 4th when he has those results and if they are as good as we expect I will just have herceptin  on the 6th by itself and every three weeks thereafter.  I also intend to ask him on the 4th about my planned trip to Samoa in July – whether or not I can book now or whether I should leave it a bit closer to the time.  The other thing I want to ask him that isn’t cancer related as such is how long I should wait before getting a tattoo.  I have always wanted one but have put off getting one because of my fluctuating weight etc but the design I want has remained constant for the  past 30 years.  Its another thing I have decided to go ahead and do because I’ve always wanted to.

On Tuesday night I talked to the mother of a young woman called Angela who is one of the few other woman I know of in New Zealand fighting IBC.  I encourage you to go and look at her website as she is a 36 year old women with a 4 year old son who was diagnosed only about 6 weeks after I was (September 08 ) but has already developed several brain metastases (they were diagnosed July 09)  Pharmac won’t pay for the only drug that is likely to prolong her life so she is paying over $2500 every two weeks and relying on fundraising and the generosity of others to give her as much time with her son as possible.

Her story puts my worries into perspective.  As I said to a friend at a gathering I went to on Saturday night – “I’m still here  and I’ve still got  a chance”

Uni starts again tomorrow and I think my energy levels will pick up once I get back into the groove so to speak.  I haven’t done as much work on my assignments as I should have but I only have one due this week and thats on Friday and I’ve done most of that one.  I only need to get through this semester and as long as I’m only on Herceptin the tiredness and other chemo side effects should gradually wear off over this time.

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