Friday, 31 July 2009

Hair starts to grow

Six weeks after my last chemo, the hair starts to grow. The new hair looks very fine and I can still see my scalp clearly. At the rate of one centimeter per month, by the time we celebrate our Eid (raya le) I will have my punk head! It will be thrilled to see from bald to short hair as since my teen, I always wear my hair long.

The last few weeks before I leave for home, have been busy weeks for me. The packing is over as we finally loaded our boxes into the container last Monday. The house is clear and my other half likes it very much as he can move freely in the house! When packing is done, we are now busy accommodating friends' invitations. Last Sunday Mashitah invited us for dinner - double invite (jemput) I should say and Khairi had to pick us up from home because we have no car to drive there. Today, Rin is inviting us for dinner, tomorrow Wan and the day after, Asz. Wow! I can easily gain few kgs by the time I go back to my home country...

I now have to prepare my slides for the presentation at the conference. Do I have butterflies in my stomach? Of course I do. In fact, off late my blood pressure increases to a surprising level. I had a tip from Sya during lunch just now, to take air asam gelugur to quickly reduce the blood pressure. I'll try it when I get back and hope it works. Since the last two days, I have been having pain around the chest area; felt like heartburn that I used to have few years back. I haven't had it for quite a few years - thanks to the aloe vera gel and if this heartburn continues I might have to continue taking the aloe vera gel when I get back.

I google search for ways to reduce the blood pressure naturally and I came across a suggestion to breath slowly - say 10 breath per minute. I have been practising it if I cannot get to sleep and it works. Breathing slowly puts us in a alpha mode and the body will relax, hence reducing the blood pressure. That explains why the nurses always take the BP right after we get up. Probably I should try taking my pressure early in the morning tomorrow...

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Final visit to the hospital

It's exactly a week today that I told the Oncology Research Unit that I wanted to terminate the clinical trial as I'll be leaving soon. The nurse set an appointment for me to see the Oncologist last Monday. The doctor is a little bit worried about me not having any treatment around one month prior to leaving home. He suggested that I continue until two weeks before I leave. Hard headed as I am, I just said that it won't be necessary as I wouldn't be able to complete the whole course anyway. In actual fact, I need the energy to do all the packings and to prepare myself for the conference next month. Moreover, with the swine flu around, I don't want to risk myself being in a low immune condition. 17 deaths have been reported in the UK and I definitely don't want to add to the number :-)

I'm feeling really fine now. Sometimes, I came to think that this whole thing is a false alarm. I did ask the doctor about the recent tumor marker test. He told me it was normal. Normal? What does he mean? Does that mean that the cancer has gone and I'm all clear? How I wish it's true. Let's see the report that I requested from him recently.

In the meantime, I am not worried about my blood pressure anymore. Yesterday I came across a site which states that the rule of thumb for a normal pressure is the age + 100. The older you are, the higher the pressure is. At my age, 130/100 is around normal. As long as I don't have any headache, and I don't feel dizzy, I consider myself normal. Enjen lama (old engine) what do you expect? There surely are a lot of build ups in my capilaries and having a slightly high pressure is normal. I'm not teens or twenties anymore (in myheart maybe :-)).

Of late, I've been very busy especially with the kids' school coming to an end. Sports day to go, this and that performances and so on. Tomorrow the key stage two kids are going to Twin Lakes for their excursions. I have to prepare some curry puffs for the kids as Adli's Pakistani friend, Faisal really adores my curry puff. His mum sent in some minced meat and potatoes for the curry puff. Of course, this doesn't have to do with cancer, and I'm slightly out of topic now, but just to note here for my remembrance...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Ixabepilone, paclitaxel or none?

The appointment last Monday went well. The doctor was quite surprised that the lump is almost gone but somehow, he got the measurement which is 1.5 cm. I was supposed to report how I felt after the infusion but I just told him the feeling was just the same as the rest. What worried me was the fact that I missed my regular menstrual. Am I pregnant? I can't get pregnant during chemo and thank God the blood test result confirmed that I'm not. What a relief!

The extra virgin olive oil must have done its wonders. It must have done something to my estrogen and that's why I don't get my period. Is it good? Of course! Estrogen is also food for cancer and without it the cancer cells are starving. But am I experiencing menopause? Surprisingly, I have not felt any hot flushes as experienced by women undergoing the process. No mood swing and no sign of osteoporosis either.

I had my echo test yesterday. The result is needed for them to randomize whether I'd be on ixabepilone every three weeks or paclitaxel every week. The nurse emailed me that I'd be on paclitaxel. I opt for none. I told her that I'll be leaving soon and requested for a report for me to continue my treatment in my home country. Now that swine flu is around, I can't risk myself being in a low immune condition. The nine swine flu death cases here are those with other medical conditions. I also need to look and feel healthy when I go back as I heard, upon arrival at the airport, whoever looks sick will be sent to the hospital - for quarantine maybe?

As for my blood pressure, I don't know why it has shot up quite high today. Am I worried? Angry? Something that I eat maybe? I'd better relax myself. Hopefully the trip to Skegness this Saturday will do me good. Our student union is organising its first family outing and this time is to Skegness, around 2 hours drive from here. We will go by bus and I'm sure the kids will be thrilled. The last time we went to the seaside was last year, during our camping trip at Wales. It was quite cold and windy during that time and we didn't get to touch the water. With this kind of weather, we might be able to walk on the shore...