Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rest, recovery and my favourite Red!

I can hardly believe it is only three weeks to the day since I had my brain tumour removed. It still seems surreal to me. I think the recovery from this surgery has been easier than my first surgery. In the three weeks since my brain surgery, I have had nothing else to do but focus on my recovery. I have celebrated my birthday and travelled to Canberra for Christmas. In the few weeks after my last surgery I had my eggs harvested, my portacath implanted and started chemo - with my birthday and Christmas celebrations thrown in the mix also. Also, after the first surgery I came home with a wound drain and had to see the surgeon every few days to have my wound syringed. I am not sure if it is a psychological thing, not being able to see my wound, but I feel I have recovered faster from this surgery. Thankfully, I have been able to shower and dress myself since my surgery, so haven't had to get my mother to assist me with that!

I have seen a number of doctors since my brain surgery and they have all commented about my remarkable recovery. I still get tired, but my headaches have disappeared and my balance is improving every day. It has only been in the last few weeks that I have really thought about how different the outcome of my surgery could have been. I feel very grateful that I am able to walk, talk and function just as I did before my surgery. Once again I listen to my body and when I am tired, I lie down and I don't push myself. Hence, I am in bed at 8pm writing this blog.

There have been a number of good things that have happened in the past few weeks. Once again, I have been blown away by the tsunami of support that I have received. When we returned from holidays yesterday, there were fresh flowers waiting (which luckily hadn't died while we were away!). However, one of the best things happened last week, thanks to some organisation from a friend of mine. A friend of mine contacted my mother to see when a good day would be to have a morning tea before Christmas. All week friends had been saying that a mystery guest was coming along and I was asked numerous times by a variety of people if I liked the show 'Home and Away'. I had visions of me trying to make polite conversation with Alf! I was slightly worried about this, so invited a few friends around as well, who could act as a buffer, so it wasn't just me and Alf talking about flamin' galahs!

Thursday morning came and mum and I were busy getting things ready. I was getting nervous about who the visitor could be and trying to think up topics of conversation if it was in fact Alf who rang the doorbell. When the doorbell rang I almost fell over when I opened the door to find Greg Holmes standing there with flowers! It was one of those very rare moments in life where I was totally lost for words. My feelings were a mix of complete shock and relief that it wasn't Alf from Home and Away (no offence to Alf fans). For those of you who do not know me very well - I am a huge Queensland Reds fan and Greg Holmes has been my favourite player for a few years now. He was so lovely and stayed for almost two hours and even bought me a Reds jersey that was signed by the entire team. My sister happened to 'pop in' looking glamorous with a Reds cap for him to sign. She also needed some coolant put in her car, which Greg also helped her with. He was so lovely - posing for photographs and signing any Reds stuff I could find!

I didn't know the story of how he came to be at my house, as my friends had been quite secretive about it, so I asked him. It was arranged through one of the performance managers who spoke to my friend and asked Greg if he would mind visiting a woman who was quite sick. He didn't know what to expect - but it wasn't the vast array of morning tea delights, 8 of my friends and putting coolant in my sister's car! He said he was a bit nervous as he didn't know how sick I would be, if I was going to be propped up in bed and he wasn't sure what we were going to talk about. It was a week to the day since my surgery and I wasn't propped up in bed - I had been running around making sandwiches and getting things ready for the morning tea! I felt very lucky to have had a visit from my favourite Reds player and I said to him that I didn't feel sick enough to warrant a visit. I keep forgetting that I had malignant brain tumour removed and that is pretty bloody serious!

I have felt grateful that I have had the opportunity to rest, recover and enjoy Christmas without having to worry about treatment at this stage. I have seen the radiation oncologist and will go for my planning day next week, with treatment to start the second week of January. It will be three weeks of intensive radiation therapy - 2 weeks of whole head and 1 week which will focus on the site of the tumour. Whilst I am very happy not to have to go through the horror of chemo again, I am sooooooooooooo upset about going bald - again! Just when my ponytail was getting long and my hair had started to grow down! It just isn't fair that you have to go bald for only 3 weeks worth of treatment. I keep hoping that my super strong post-chemo hair will take pity on me and not evacuate my scalp - but I think that is overly optimistic. So many people have said to me that I have a great shaped head, that there are so many cool hats out this season and that I have an array of great scarves. To those people who do not understand what it is like to lose you hair - it doesn't matter about the shape of your head, the hat fashion or how cool my scarves are - I want to keep my bloody hair!

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