I have struggled to write this blog post, updating what happened at the oncologists last Wednesday, and have put it off until now because what is going on with me seems so inconsequential compared to what happened in Christchurch a week ago today. At 12.51pm NZDT on 22nd February a 6.3 earthquake that was centred just outside Central Christchurch caused wide spread destruction and as of today the confirmed death toll is 154 with more still missing.
If you dont know New Zealand geography here’s images from Google Earth to explain where I live in relation to where Christchurch is. As you can see I live a fair way away from the earthquakes. But New Zealand is a small country of only 4 million people and as such when a disaster of this magnitude strikes it brings us all together as if we were just one big village.
I have ties to Christchurch – ‘Bro’ has lived down there for nearly 40 years ever since he first left home as a teenager. Since I have started this blog I have written posts about visits there, in this post and this one and this one, as well as on the earthquake in September last year. MD has just moved home from there , if she had stayed after the breakup with SB and with University starting last week she could have easily been in the central city when this devastating quake happened.
- Bro and his family are OK but my heart was in my mouth for the few hours until I had found out that everyone I knew in Christchurch was safe. I can only imagine what it was like for families actively caught up in the turmoil. It is another reason I have hesitated to write about it as I am so aware that it is not my story as much as it is theirs. The images in the newspaper and on television have been heartbreaking and I am only viewing them through a lens not experiencing it in reality.
It was against this backdrop of national shock and mourning I had my oncology appointment on Wednesday. I had been hoping for the all clear so I could start university this week with no extra scans, treatment etc to worry about. Although it was good news on the lung and bone front they are now looking at another area of concern.It can best be summed up by a letter I had to write to my lecturers yesterday
- “Subject: Keeping you advised of my health status
- Although I have already had a quick chat to A on this subject I thought that advise you all in writing about the status of my health. I had a ‘routine’ CT scan in December for them to check for another recurrence of my Inflammatory Breast Cancer (I have been in remission from first recurrence since May 2010 – initial diagnosis and treatment Aug 2008 to April 2009 recurrence September 2009).
We were expecting nothing but at my appointment in January they told me they did find a couple of points of concern (small spot on lung and bone pain) which required further investigation. I had a followup appointment with my oncologist last week- 23rd of February, where we hoped to get the all clear for me starting University with nothing to worry about. Although they have ruled out the spot on my lung being cancer and my bone scan being clear, they are now concerned about a shadow on my liver.
they have booked me for an urgent CT to be done within 2 weeks of last Wednesday and depending on what it shows more follow up may be required. If the shadow has disappeared then it isn’t cancer, if it has stayed the same I am looking at having a liver biopsy to rule out cancer and if it has grown they will make the assumption without biopsy that it is Liver metastases and I will go back into active treatment instead of just being on 3 weekly infusions of Herceptin.
I am only part-time this semester doing Socwork papers 215 and 216 so even if I do need treatment I am hopeful of carrying on with study. I may have to take time off over the next couple of weeks to get this sorted. Hopefully I will get the all clear and be able to carry on the rest of the semester with no additional treatment, scans etc.
I will keep you all posted as to what is happening. Here’s hoping it’s nothing”
- My over-riding thought since Wednesday is even though I am worried about this, it is nothing compared to the reality that many people are facing in Christchurch. I’m still alive and my family is still all around me and for that I am extremely grateful.