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Tag Archives: Chemo

Wedding at Hathersage

On Saturday Rudi and I attended a wedding that I have been looking forward to for a very long time. A few years ago I was reunited with my paternal family including my father’s half brother, Hentie. Even though he is my uncle, there is only a 7 year age difference between us, so when I was little we used to play together and are socially on a similar level. I was so glad we were invited! I have been waiting for the couple to get married since he popped the question. I am just so happy for them. I liked his wife from the first time I met her. She really is a gem and also really gorgeous (I’ll find something wrong with her at some point…she’s can’t have everything 😉 ) It is also the first wedding we have been to in about 4 years.

 

Anyhow, the wedding was at Hathersage in Somerset West. What a gorgeous venue! The weather was dodgy all week, but when Saturday dawned it was a stunning day. The ceremony was held outside at the venue. The bride looked absolutely amazing. The ceremony was lovely. The pastor threw in a few jokes which is always nice and keeps the guests on their toes.

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I am so happy for them! Don’t they make a lovely couple? I was pleasantly surprised to see even more family that I have not seen since I was a little girl! My aunt was there with her husband and 3 children, 2 of whom I had never met. I wasn’t even aware of their existence till I reunited with this side of the family. My paternal grandmother and grandfather who moved 2 000 km away about 6 months ago were also there. I was so happy I got to see them again. My grandmother has officially been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it is really starting to show 🙁 She seemed disoriented a lot of the time. She just seemed so lost and it broke my heart. On the other hand my grandfather who has been receiving chemotherapy for stomach cancer got good news from the doctor saying he does not require chemo anymore. So awesome! It was very hard to say goodbye to them. Realistically I will never see them again and it is a bitter pill to swallow.

After the ceremony while the registers were being signed we collected bubbles and dried flowers to shower the new couple with as they walked past us on their way to take photos. We enjoyed some champagne and finger food offered to us by waitrons circulating with platters. We gathered in the venue, the tables were beautifully decorated. Simple, elegant and understated. The colour scheme was black, white and silver.

 

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The food was absolutely delicious! We loved *everything*. If we were eating at a restaurant I would go back there again. I also received the best wedding favour ever! The bride hand picked each wedding favour for the ladies. We all received a different one. I am SO in love with the one she chose for me and knowing she chose it especially for me makes it so special.

 

 

I mean, really. So stunning. I will treasure it! We had such a good time. Rudi and I even danced together for the first time in aaaages. We don’t get to go out alone much. We don’t have family that can just watch the kids for us any time and babysitters aren’t always readily available unless we can pay them, so an evening out gets very expensive quite quickly. We were more than willing to make an exception for this occasion though! The kids stayed with the day mother’s daughter and grandchildren while we partied till midnight. We got pictures of the girls teaching Elijah netball and playing dress up with Gabby. It was so cute!

 

 

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It was just such a wonderful event and day. While we were at the wedding I received a notification from Facebook and found out one of my friends had given birth to her baby. I was elated! They decided not to find out what the gender of their baby was, so everyone was waiting with bated breath to find out if they were having a boy or a girl. It’s a girl! She is also breastfeeding her baby and I hope to be able to support her and help her if she needs it.

 

Thanks so much to Hentie and Karen for sharing their special day with us!

Weekend plans and more

So my grandfather has received his results from his scan. It’s not good news. He has additional spots on his liver now and it seems to be spreading. His oncologist wants him to come in to see him on Monday so that they can discuss a treatment plan. The oncologist has already said he wants my grandfather to go back on chemo.  When I spoke to him last night, he didn’t sound dead set against it. In fact, he didn’t say he wouldn’t do it at all. He said he discussed this with his employer and his advice was to discuss ‘maintenance’ chemo with his oncologist. Apparently this involves monthly chemo treatments which keep the cancer isolated and prevents it from spreading any further. My grandmother says he wants to fight it, but on the other hand he would rather control it. He seems to think that will be easier, but he’ll have a hard time getting that past the medical aid. Monthly chemo treatments for one year cost R600 000. KaCHING.

 

My Evil Mother is stressing my grandparents out, but I’ve held firm. My grandparents need to understand that they allow these things to happen to them and stress them out and I can no longer listen to or deal with it. Last night My Evil Mother sent me a text message. I deleted it without reading it. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that. Don’t get me wrong, I am curious to know what it said, but at the same time I realize that it doesn’t really matter. Whatever it said would have made me feel bad, even if she wasn’t asking for anything. It is quite liberating to have done that. I told Rudi that I had deleted it without reading and he said it was wrong. He said it could have been important and perhaps I would be the only person that could help her. I told him he needs to decide whose side he is on. I told him I will not tolerate him taking her side since she has never, ever done anything beneficial for me or him without it having a hefty price tag. Rudi is a soft hearted guy, but he needs to man up. Seriously.

 

Last night was our last antenatal class. I’m quite sad that they’re over. I really enjoyed them. The next time we see each other we will all have our babies with us. We have plans for a reunion around March when all the babies have arrived. I really look forward to that! One of the couples have not found out the gender of their baby yet and it will be interesting to know if I guessed correctly (I think they’re having a girl).

 

Tonight I’ll be joining Leebeesa for her birthday dinner. We’ll be going to the restaurant where we had our wedding reception. I have only been there twice since then. The food is exquisite! Tomorrow morning I’ll be attending a baby shower. The first one since I’ve been pregnant with Babyice. That is also going to be very cool! The last proper baby shower I went to I was pregnant with Jamie. Baby showers at work don’t really count. They aren’t nearly as much fun, just a handing over of gifts with snacks.

 

I won’t get to sleep late at all this weekend, but hopefully I’ll manage to schedule in a nap or two. I also hope the nap/s won’t mess me up like they did last weekend. Hope you enjoy yours!

Sad news

So we’ve had potential bad news about my grandfather. About a week and half ago he was experiencing abdominal pain. He was concerned about it and went straight to his oncologist. The oncologist drew blood and last week he received the results. The oncologist believes the results indicate that his cancer is spreading. He had to go for a scan that costs around R6 000, so the doctors needed to get this approved by his medical aid before they could make a proper assessment of what is going on with him. He says he is ready to die. He refuses to go through chemo again. After his last chemo experience I’m not very surprised. I don’t think I’ll be able to talk him into it again. I also half heartedly decided it’s not my place to. He went for the scan yesterday and we are waiting to hear the results.

 

If I expect my grandfather to respect my wishes, I need to respect his. He feels ready to die. He feels that his affairs with God are in order. He is perfectly content not to carry on living. Not having him around will be a great loss to me. He has been like a father to me all my life. I love him very dearly. I fear losing him. I think it is brave of him to let go. I don’t think I could make that decision for myself.  To a certain extent I feel that the decision is selfish, but on the other hand it is selfish for me to expect him to spend what could be his last days suffering through chemo.

 

I have not heard from My Evil Mother since I asked her to stop contacting me, but she is haunting my dreams again. I think on a subconscious level this must really be bothering me a lot more than I think. When I’m awake I barely think about it and my grandparents do slip up every now and then, but it’s not like it used to be. Except for today, when I called my grandfather he *had* to tell me that My Evil Mother wanted to take back something my grandmother had bought for her on one of her accounts because she needs the money. My grandmother gave her the account number *dope* Stupid woman. The last time my grandfather gave My Evil Mother his bank account number she managed to get debit orders for things going off on it which he battled endlessly to stop. I kept telling my grandfather I didn’t want to hear about it, but he finished the story before telling me ‘I won’t tell you about it then’. Uh. A little late for that.

 

The pregnancy seems to be going well. It’s so hard to tell with a 6 week stretch between appointments. By the time you get to the last week (incidentally this week) you feel like you have no idea what is going on anymore. You have no idea how big your baby is, whether he is okay, whether your placenta is in the right place, etc. Luckily we get another peek next Monday. I trust everything is okay,  I feel him moving around. He is a lazy bugger though, he doesn’t keep me awake or anything. I am grateful for that.  This morning my ankles and wrists feel a bit sore. I’m not swollen or anything, but I can definitely feel the water retention. Babyice has also turned into a position where his feet or hands or whatever seem to be directly above my bladder. I almost thought I was going have an accident at my desk yesterday when he decided to kick/punch me! Ooooops! How blind would that be?

 

We have a teambuilding at work tomorrow. We’ll be going to a children’s home and spending our time improving the place for them. I don’t do charitable things often (shame on me), so it will be nice. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

Back to his senses

So I went to my grandfather yesterday. He is not looking very well. He is very weak and ill and has developed a rash on his face. He is eating, which I feel is a good sign. He told me he has re-read the documentation he has regarding cucumen and he suddenly found that everything said ‘can’, ‘possibly’, ‘may’ and ‘might’. Nothing concrete. Nothing proven.

 

I told him I understand that he is feeling really grim and sick. I told him that I understand that it is really very difficult to see past your misery when you are feeling this way. I tried to encourage him, to remind him that it will be worth it, that these few weeks of hell might seem long, but may add many years to his life.

 

We didn’t argue, even though I was very angry with him. I was angry that he was being gullible. I was angry that he wanted to give up. I was angry that he didn’t want to stay with us. Yes. I know I’m selfish. We didn’t fight though. I asked him whether he didn’t feel better that the doctor had told him that he had a ‘good’ kind of cancer, the kind that responds very well to treatment. He said that had swayed him and he was really moved by my reaction to his decision to stop. He said he’ll do it. He’ll do it for me and for his great grandson.

 

I cried. I lay in his arms and cried I was so happy. I’m crying now again. Thank God.

Peeved

So. I’m beyond disappointed at the Survivor cock up on SABC 3 on Monday night. I’ve been building up to the finale since the beginning of the season. Leebeesa and I even planned to watch the finale at my house and have nachos for dinner. I think we’ve been planning it since April or May. The first mess up was that they started the broadcast at 19:30. The entire season had started at 20:00 and there was no announcement to say the finale would start earlier. Luckily I was already watching SABC 3 and didn’t miss anything. That I could still let slide…and then…and then…they broadcast the reunion show after the final tribal council. BEFORE the votes were read and before the final 3 were made to face the jury. So we sort of gathered Todd had won…I have no idea who came second and at 22:00 after the reunion show I went to bed. I heard on the radio the next morning that the results show (with the reading of the votes and the Q & A) was broadcast AFTER the reunion show. Forking retarded. They ruined the ENTIRE season for me. Twitter was aflame with #SABC3 #fail tags. I saw last night that they aired a brief apology to viewers and sponsors. Whatever. They could have messed with the Amazing Race, or The Apprentice…but not Survivor man. It’s my favourite reality show! Ok. End of rant.

 

My grandfather is working on my nerves. His boss (a vet) has advised him that there’s no point in having chemo, it doesn’t work and he should just leave it. Also, one of his GP’s has shown him documentation about some or other herbal thing called cucumen (a derivative of turmeric) that apprently “cures” cancer. Now he wants to quit chemo and take cucumen and he reckons he’ll get all better. I am infuriated by him taking health advice from a VET and thinking that some herbal thing is going to make him all better. If it really was a cure for cancer, everyone would know about it. I don’t care how influential drug companies are. It would have leaked.

 

I got Leebeesa’s aunt to get someone to contact him. She is a breast cancer survivor and has undergone chemo more than once and works for the Breast Health Foundation. She got a doctor to contact him. The doctor told him that her father who is older than him had exactly the same kind of cancer, went through the treatment and is completely 100% cancer free now. She also told him he has the best kind of cancer there is as it responds the best to treatment. She told him the fact that he is feeling so ill after the chemo means that it is working really well. Last night he called me and asked me to come and see him after church, to further discuss it. In other words…he wants to try and convince me that he will be OK if he stops his treatment. I’m so annoyed and angry about his attitude that I feel like saying to him, ‘Fine. If you want to die, I can’t stop you. It’s your body, your life.’ Is it selfish of me to want him to be around longer? He kept telling me he is willing to go through chemo again to see our baby grow up a little. That doesn’t seem to be as important to him as it used to be. I understand that chemo is TERRIBLE. It is probably the most horrible thing someone will have to go through. I get it. I just really thought that he wanted to live. If he dies, I don’t think my grandmother will survive for very long after. Once they are gone, I’m the only one that can really help my aunt out. I’ve already been asked by them (in confidence) to “look after her”. It doesn’t help that My Evil Mother will be around trying to get an inheritance out of everyone…or that she’ll still be around to prey on my aunt who is weak of will. My aunt is not…capable of caring for herself. She is unable to work due to a mental disability. Luckily she is married and has a fairly competent husband who takes care of her. She is also, however, in constant need of attention. So much so that she will go to the hairdresser twice a week if she can, just because this means she will be given someone’s undivided attention. She will constantly phone my grandmother or be at their house. She has dependancy issues. My Evil Mother has similiar issues, but they manifest differently. Once my grandparents are gone…she has nobody to be dependant on. I’ll be all she has left. It is a huge responsibility and it will be very emotionally draining. So yeah. My grandparents are really worried about what will happen to her once they are no longer there.

 

Apart from that I’m fine. Need to pee often, specifically it seems while I am sleeping. Have uncomfortable stretching pains in my abdomen and for some reason my nausea seems to have returned sporadically. No more shopping for Babyice for now. I need to slow down I think before I get everything I could possibly have…leaving no room for my much beloved gifts!

 

Oh and I love my husband. Just because.

More shopping…

So this weekend was filled with lots of baby activity. Rudi organized to bring the work bakkie (pick up) home for the weekend so he could start carting all the furniture and stuff out of Babyice’s room so that we could start making room for Babyice’s things. He also fetched the compactum his mom is giving us from her house, which has already provided some much needed packing space.
 
The room is still pretty much in a mess as I haven’t quite figured out what to do with some of the stuff that I want to keep. Of my own things, that is. I did throw out quite a lot of stuff and we took a lot of stuff to Rudi’s parents house to store, leaving more space for our things. Only…our Christmas tree doesn’t fit in the top of our cupboard…and I don’t want to have it standing around in Babyice’s room. I figure I can leave the room as it is and when I come home on Wednesday the housekeeper will sort it out. She’s very, very good at finding a spot for everything. She rocks that way!
This weekend also included a lot of baby shopping! I bought the following items at Mr. Price Home (Larger images can be viewed on their website):
Baby sign

Baby sign

Boy sign

Boy sign

Pram

Pram

 

I’m really stoked that we got our pram. The handle is reversible, so you can either have your baby facing you, or away from you. That rocks and very few prams (even the very expensive ones) have that feature. We didn’t feel we needed a pram with a snug ‘n safe travel system as we’ll have a car seat. The one “big ticket” item I still have to get. I guess I’ll have to wait till they have stock.

 

Having bought all these things has taken a load off my mind. Also having started Babyice’s room and then coming to realize I don’t have to finish everything in one day because I still have 5 months left, has also relaxed me somewhat.

 

I also bought a sleep positioner and a thingie you put in the bath to support baby’s back. While packing the baby clothes into the compactum (we got a second hand compactum from my MIL, just needs a lick of paint) I realized that ALL the clothes I have are newborn. I don’t think I have enough newborn clothes, but I certainly don’t have anything else! I think Louisa said I should buy everything since people will want to buy for me, but I wanted to buy the expensive stuff (like the pram, camp cot and car seat) as I couldn’t expect other people to spend that kind of money on me/Babyice. I don’t have a high chair or a walking ring yet. Those are the other two pricey things that I still need to get.

 

I also have to start washing baby clothes at some point, but I need to get baby washing powder still.

 

All this shopping has been quite exciting! I <3 shopping for Babyice…Rudi even bought a little outfit on Sunday…although it’s 3 – 4, so it will be quite some time before Babyice is wearing it!

 

On Sunday it was my aunt’s birthday and we went to have a braai (BBQ) at my grandparent’s house. My grandfather says he isn’t feeling well at all. He ate a full plate of food which is comforting. He says that they say the first round of chemo is always the worst and he seems to be coping OK, although my grandmother says he says things in the middle of the night like ‘I want to die, please tell everyone I love them if I die’. Shame. It must be very upsetting for my grandmother to hear him say that…and for him to have to feel that way.

 

Now it’s Monday and I’m exhausted from my weekend. Just doesn’t seem right!

My Oupa

So my grandfather started chemo again yesterday. He was there for about 6 hours and they put a lot of fluid into him. He already started feeling unwell while he was there. He called me and it broke my heart.  My grandfather is full of life and love. He is energetic and thirsts for knowledge.

 

When he has had chemo he is a broken man. He is frail and ill. I hate seeing him like that, although I know that it is all for the greater good. Did you know we share a blood type? I found that out recently. I also have his eyes…and his tendency to sneeze and vomit very loudly. Genetically I feel very close to him.

 

Last time he went for chemo he went once a month and had to take 12 chemo tablets every day.  The tablets made him very ill. By the second last time he had to go he got so badly dehydrated that he was on the brink of being admitted to hospital. Eventually his doctor told him to stop taking the tablets. He went for one more treatment and after a week or so he started feeling better, although still suffering from the normal side effects such as not having any taste and having numb fingertips (amongst other things).

 

This time around he is going for chemo once a week. This means that he will be going for treatment just as soon as he starts feeling better. The horrible thing about it is that he will feel sick constantly for about 6 weeks. The nice thing about it is that it will be over quickly (in comparison to the 6 month treatment he had last time). He gets terribly depressed. Understandably so. When I was constantly ill when I was pregnant with Jamie it was very hard for me to accept. I also became very depressed, negative and resentful even. My grandfather and I were going through these things at the same time…which made me understand on some level what he was going through.

 

Before he refused to go for chemo again, but as is God’s plan I’m pregnant again and this has given him enough reason to want to live longer. Perhaps that is why I had to go through everything I went through last year, so that he would have a reason to keep fighting this year. You never know.

 

All I can really do is show him love and support. To keep telling him that he has a reason to live…to make him excited about life. I sincerly hope this will be the end of the cancer for him.

My Evil Mother and Grandfather updates

So. Great news! My grandfather’s colon is cancer free. He is so elated by this news that he is even considering another round of chemo instead of the operation on his liver. The chemo will make him very ill, but he feels he will still be able to work when he is having chemo whereas he will be off work for a full month if he has the operation to remove the cancer from his liver. He’ll be seeing a specialist in about a week to discuss his options and take things from there.

I took them out to dinner last night to celebrate his health, their 47 year wedding anniversary, his birthday (which is on the 13th of June) and to thank him for looking after Amber while we were away. We had a nice quiet dinner. It was lovely.

My Evil Mother is up to her old tricks. Her husband let it slip that my aunt could afford to ‘lose her pension’ as she works from home. Just goes to show what they must have been scheming about. My aunt’s pension, which she worked hard for. My Evil Mother is still living with my aunt and uncle, although her husband was kicked out after one too many drunken tantrums at all hours of the morning. She tried to get him back in with promises of money (seeing as how they don’t pay rent or contribute in any way) and some luxury food items. Luckily, for once, my uncle stood firm and kept by his decision. My Evil Mother has been hell to live with ever since. Rudi could not believe the way My Evil Mother spoke to my uncle in his own house. If My Evil Mother is really that desperate to be with her husband, then she should go and stay with him and his mother. My Evil Mother has told us horror stories of how his mother is evil and how she is an alcoholic. I think the actual story is that she is much more demanding about incoming contributions and them pulling their weight than my aunt and uncle are.

My Evil Mother *loves* throwing our religion/beliefs in our faces. She’ll often say things like ‘God doesn’t sleep’ – she seems totally oblivious to the fact that the same applies to her. Sometimes it’s funny, but for people like my grandfather and my uncle who both hold ministries within the church the guilt trip she takes them along for is often effective. Last Wednesday in church she went as far as to keep her communion wafer and to shove it in my uncle’s hand after church saying ‘You need it more than I do’. I cracked up when I heard this. I’m actually quite sure my uncle – who was giving her a lift home from church at the time, the selfish bastard – might have cracked up also. He has a good sense of humour. My grandparents on the other hand, didn’t think it was funny.

It is beyond me that My Evil Mother is still a free woman. The amount of fraud she has committed…and I’m only aware of a portion of it…must be substantial. Her ethics have always come in to question where she was employed. Just recently she went to work for a company. She had been there for less than a week and was given the company credit card to buy coffee, tea and a few other office supplies. She ended up spending R2500.00 and buying clothes and shoes for her husband. WHO DOES THAT?!

Did I ever tell you that she faked her suicide once because I refused to draw R500.00 and ‘lend’ it to her? This was before my eyes opened to her ways and I was in a total panic. I even phoned the police. She came home with a total BS story that didn’t even make sense about how she had parked her car on the side of one of the national roads and put a pipe from the exhaust into the window (nothing blocking the open gaps in the window to prevent ventilation – DUH), she also claimed the pipe and everything were already in the car. Some ‘valiant’ man pulled over, took her to hospital and paid the bill apparently. What a load of bull.

Anyway…

I’m working in another portfolio today. I hate this portfolio. More often than not the feedback I have to give customers is negative and they usually get angry. It’s not a nice way to spend a day. I’m the only one in my team who hasn’t had a turn yet, so by default I have to go over today. Suck!

Dark clouds and illness

I spent the entire day alone yesterday for the first time since we found out that there was something wrong with our baby. It wasn’t easy. I broke down at some point and felt like the walls were closing in. I wanted to run. Instead I took a shower, washed and dried my hair. I still didn’t feel better, but fell asleep. Sleep is a wonderful escape. Now that my hormones are not going crazy I’m not dreaming so much anymore. I’m sure the sleeping pills the doctor gave me aren’t hurting either.

I think I have a cold or the flu or something. My throat has been extremely sore since Sunday, I’ve been coughing, my ears are blocked and sore and my nose is blocked. Luckily I am already booked off work, but I wish that could focus this time on mourning and grieving instead of focusing on all these physical issues. Maybe my emotions are manifesting themselves physically, since the gravity of everything hit me on Saturday for the first time. I know that happens with Rudi.

Our church is having a family day at Ratanga Junction on Saturday. Rudi has never been and begged me to get tickets. He wanted to go while he was on leave at the end of the year and I would have had to stay home. I’m pretty sure pregnant ladies aren’t allowed to go on all those rides…but now I can go with him. I’m just hoping that I feel better by that time and that I’m not still sick.

My cousin, Carmie arrives from London on Saturday for her yearly visit home. I’m excited to see her. While she was in South Africa we didn’t see much of each other, but somehow since she’s left to live and work overseas I want to see more of her. Always wanting what I can’t have I guess. My goodness I’m dying for something sweet to eat…

I better start getting ready. My grandfather has gone for his chemo drip again today and he’s picking me up on his way home. He’s been dreading it for days. I wish there was something I could do to help him feel better. I suppose I can only spend time with him and let him know I’m there if he needs me <3 Speaking of love, I love my husband now more than I ever have. This whole thing has brought us closer together and opened up a new level of communication for us. I suppose every cloud has a silver lining.

Antibiotics

I woke up with swollen glands this morning. First thought that Rudi had somehow hit me in his sleep, but later I figured out my glands are really sore.

After chatting to my grandfather and seeing a sister I decided to go to the doctor. The doctor prescribed some antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy.

My grandfather seems to be doing OK after the chemo so far. He feels tired, but other than that he is OK. He says he won’t be able to work for 5 months due to the side effects of the chemo. I don’t know what they are going to do for money. He gets a small pension, but that won’t cover their rent, bills and food. We’re going to have to try and help them out as much as possible.

My Evil Mother has lost her job again. SURPRISE! “Rentrenchement” again. Funny how she gets retrenched every second job. I’m curious to know how many she’s had in the past two years. We estimate around 20. According to her she’s never done anything wrong. It’s either they company goes down, they retrench or the boss doesn’t like her or the boss is sexually harassing her. It’s hard to make up a different excuse every time. I wonder if she thinks we are too stupid to notice she’s repeating the same ones over.

I better go. Rudi will be picking me up any minute.

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