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  • 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

Uncertainty

Subtitled : My laptop as analogy for my life

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook will know I had some issues with my laptop earlier this week.

It locked up and when I had to do a hard reboot by powering down and restarting it gave me a message on startup (black and white screen before booting to windows) – the message read as follows Smart message: Hard drive failure imminent – back up your files and replace hard drive immediately.  Press F1 to continue.

Needless to say I pressed F1 and nothing happened. I powered it down again and when OH came home he pressed F8 repeatedly as it was starting up to get it to open in ‘safe mode’ and we got it up and running again and Gary did the back up of all my files.  I do realise for those of you who aren’t computer geeks a lot of the last few sentences while not mean a lot to you but they are integral to the point of my story

Since then my laptop has been running smoothly but in talking to someone whose job it is to fix computers the hard drive is likely to fail soon.  We could replace the hard drive but with laptops it becomes an issue whether it is just cheaper and easier to buy a new laptop.

I have used it for shorter amounts of time each day and made sure I havent got several programs running at once so I don’t overtax it but today because I have been home all day and on the computer a lot I have used OH’s desk PC just to be on the safe side.  I can do this while OH is at work but it is a little more uncomfortable than being curled up on the couch like I usually am.

We are left with several dilemma’s

Do we go out and buy a new laptop and load all my stuff on it to allow for a smooth transition? Do we wait for it to die and then do it? Do we buy a new one and then find out the hard drive on my old one lasts a lot longer than expected?  I had thought to buy a tablet (Ipad or similar to complement my laptop) but they don’t do everything I need so I have  to let the idea of a tablet go.

My laptop has been my lifeline for the last 3 and a half years since initial diagnosis and will continue to be so.  Whether it is writing blog posts for ‘Get Out Gertrude’  doing my Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition  committee work, Uni study and assignments, or using Facebook for many purposes: – keeping up with friends and family, being part of IBC groups, or just playing games to ‘vege out’,  etc and so many other activities I do on my laptop, it has allowed me the freedom to be on the sofa or even lying on my bed and being comfortable while I am keeping my mind actively engaged.  I need a laptop to retain my sanity or what passes as the resemblance of sanity for me

How does this equate to my life?

I have sat at home all day waiting for some news from my oncologist as to what my scan showed.  Although he was not going to have the official report he had hoped to look at it and make some decisions before he went away for a couple of weeks.  If he hadn’t been going away I would have just seen him next week to discuss possible treatment plan changes.

Not knowing when my computer is going to fail is similar to not knowing what I am dealing with in regards to ‘Gertrude and her spawn’. As I have said in the past it is the not knowing that does my head in. It is so hard to make plans and decisions – either short term or longterm when timeframes are so indeterminate.

The not knowing doesnt just affect me – it affects my family too and their plans.  Even when we get the news of my scan results and what the short term treatment options are there is still the bigger ‘what ifs’ and whens’ hanging over all our heads.  What do I and they make as our priorities changes if I have got a shorter versus longer time to live.

And one thing that I have learnt along this journey making friends with other women with IBC or metastatic cancer is that the situation can change very fast and the end can come sooner than expected.  My friend Susan (@whymommy) is entering that phase now.  Say a prayer for her and her family-  you can read her latest blog post here

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1 Comment

  1. Hello my friend – I understand the uncertain future and I’m so sorry that you know it so well. You have been on my mind so much and will continue to be as you map out your treatments and your future. I enjoy our word with friends veg time. Many hugs and much love to you!

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