Well, as you may know things have progressed with my cancer. Now there are more lesions in my lungs, brain and now my liver. This means past treatments, including the Keytruda, have stopped as they are no longer working. I have started to feel a bit unwell with things now, so it’s getting a bit more real, rather than just the side effects of the treatment. Most recently I had whole brain radiation daily for two weeks. This I would not recommend (well, unless you have to!). It laid me out for about three weeks with an awful sort of “full” feeling in my head and fatigue. My abdomen also felt sort of “full”. I also had a most unpleasant trip to hospital with muscle pain around my knees. Responded quite well to fentanyl. And naturally my hair has fallen out again. The photos in this post were taken just prior to hair fall beginning after one week of radiation.
It is awful to be back in hats again, especially in summer, but I can feel just the beginnings of stubble, so in past history I’ve got about 3 months to go in hats before I have a very short “do” again.
In the last two weeks I’ve felt much better and been more able to do more, and am once again working from home. Although I cannot teach classes as I am coughing quite a bit (not great in Covid times!), but mercifully the teaching year is coming to the end so it is just development work really at the moment, which I quite enjoy.
Good things that are happening are: my delightful friends and colleagues came to my aid in organising a Wildlife Disease Association South Australian branch day conference at Adelaide zoo, when I asked that we have one!
We had a post mortem and clinical techniques day with koalas at one of the wildlife rescue organisation’s properties with a small group of vets. This helped disseminate information and techniques I learnt at Australia zoo in January. There is a photo is of me cuddling a wombat joey at this day. I was one week into radiation treatment and actually feeling ok. I crashed for about two weeks after this day, and my hair fell out. Ah well.
I am working with the Expert Advisory Group on a Koala Disease Risk Analysis. This involves regular meetings online with many colleagues. I am enjoying the intellectual interaction with my area of research and interest, although I do feel keenly my lack of being able to be more actively involved in my research area. It is still something, and I am grateful to be included.
We have finished Dinovember just recently, which is always fun for the kids. Although the burden has fallen more onto Simon this year to set it up, I and my lovely friend Jo, have been the creative well of ideas.
We managed to get to our hot air ballooning flight, kindly gifted by my cousin Kath last year. It took quite a bit of organising but we were successful on our second attempt, although it was a very early start (3.30 am!)
I have started a new chemotherapy regime two weeks. This time it is oral. I had some trouble in the first week with vomiting, but hopefully we have this sorted out with meds adjustments. It is two weeks one, one week off.
I am on the waiting list for a new drug trial. The trial had very small numbers which were filled immediately, but I believe I am in the second round. They may offer a co-pay option ($2000 a week!) which we will have a think about.
Anyway, things tick along here. Covid makes life difficult, especially for seeing Jackie my sister in NZ. Today, they once more announced the quarantine requirements are up from 1 week in SA to 2 weeks. So we wait, yet again. Hopefully there is still enough time. She is planning on coming in January, but I feel terrible about the quarantine periods required.
Mum has managed to get here though, which is great. However, I do not think the isolation has been good for her. She is remarkable in what she still does though.
Anyway, that’s what’s going on here. Some good, some bad. But mostly, I am still alive and functional.