Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wahine in strife!

Kia kaha! (be strong!) As Clem mentioned to me when I phoned to see how Nelda was. His words have been with me and will stay forever.
It is true that Maori wahine's survival rate is lessening and the Pacific Island women are even greater. So what does this mean? Message is to be a spokesperson, be a voice and speak from the heart about the journey, an invitation to what I believe in and talk to women and men who care.
Talking is a great way for recovery, a process talk openly and ask questions and hopefully answers, to become informed and pseak your mind. Until you have been in this situation, you will know, I am living proof of this deadly disease CANCER, this is controversial, from sensitive issues and majority are favourable, however, there are women who believe in what's install for the outcome?
Cycle 4 last Tuesday and now this is Friday, my white blood count is 1.6 pretty low after chemotherapy, I believe my blood count will improve and recovery is before cycle 5 is due in three weeks time. Down ward spiral is quite common with cancer survivors, as you are aware I am in bed again, chemo brain plays havoc on your mind, reading is the only alternative, so plenty of books to read, therapeutic and great for my sanity? James is a marvel, cooking, cleaning house, vacuuming as well, laundry and folding clothes from the dryer, his only problem is ironing is not for to do, bugger! I envisioned that being a domesticated house husband, ironing is least on his mind and to iron the clothes is much better, cleaner, neater and placed in a space that I look upon as thorough and fabulous. Ironing is not for at this stage, so in time I will get back to enjoyment in life a cleaner, healthier household. Anyway, James cleans the ceiling as the mildew is everywhere and does a fabulous job of cleaning these areas, the house is a older style home, so every year is one of our tasks to clean this place, he achieves this without any problems, superman my hero husband.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blood test?

One of my pet hates to have blood extracted from my arm. My first cycle of blood tests, and every two days more bloody blood tests, my body was reacting to the chemotherapy, so I had to endure this continuously for three weeks, dreaded every second day of more blood tests. As time prevails my body, mind, weight dissipated and the last thing I had to do is give more blood, weak and fragile I forced myself to have a shower, cool myself off, while waiting for Roslyne to show up. By drawing the curtains, door wide open, the breeze helped a lot, the cool air gave me hope to carry on. Cycle 2 of chemotherapy, Karen from the Oncology Research Team gave me three sheets of blood to take, I jumped for joy knowing the blood tests were three lots less, instead of nine bloody blood tests that I had to do beforehand.
One of these many instances we drove to Apollo Drive Labtests for blood to be taken, so one of the Phlebotomist was extracting blood and kept inserting the needle, feeling queasy and sick, she summoned one of the nurses to come and help, I was to sit on the floor and mentioned to the nurse once you put me on the floor it is awkward for me get on my feet, so they found a bed and blood was taken, thank goodness! Feeling better we arrived home without any hiccups. Two weeks ago another test was done, once again the same Phlebotomist was extracting blood from my vein and felt sick again, so the nursing staff came to my aid and l was to lie on the floor. A nasty bruise appeared and developed into a larger bruise that took about one month to disappear, so no more bloody marks on my body otherwise bruising is on the increase. When I came round I vowed that I wouldn't have this problem again and yesterday Shirley summoned me into the room, extracted the blood without any problems, feeling fabulous we drove home. James & I drove over to the Janice of Wyoming super yacht and met up with Shelly to watch 2 movies and junk food for us to munch on, quenching our thirst with bottled water? Movies were mediocre, in between did the crossword puzzles, television is tolerably and I allowed these two to watch without any interruptions? We left around about 7:00 pm loaded with goodies from Shelly, thank you so much dearest friend. A comfortable evening and slept well that night, my body is coping with the drugs and JR is watching me at all times monitoring my temperature, and any drugs I need to take if I am unwell. He is my savour a dear man that enjoys my company in my unfashionable manner, spoiling me too, love you sweet pea, love of my life.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A spoonful of sugar!

This article is in the New Zealand Women's Weekly I received by post on Tuesday, waited anxiously for the magazine to arrive on Monday and still nothing had happened! I waited excitedly for the mail to arrive on Tuesday morning to read about myself in the magazine.
This is Monday evening, and played against the ladies in the club who I have played for years, I qualified to play next Monday evening at 7:00 pm for the champion of champion ladies singles event, lady luck was on my side. Feeling elated and couldn't resist, so I drove to Food town supermarket to peruse the aisle until I came across the magazine, lo and behold there I was exposed to the elements. The photographs were professionally done thanks to Martin who caught me in an unexpected moment while Vicky was interviewing me eating the pre-chemotherapy strawberry ice-cream, and a million dollar smile too. One of the ladies said to me that I am Hollywood material, and replied that I am Hollywood period? Plenty of chuckles as well, a star is born and more will follow.
This article A Spoonful Of Sugar makes the medicine go down in a most delightful way, as Julie Andrews would sing with her melodious voice, birds will join in and whistle and chortle or two. Thank you so much Vicky Tyler for a job well done, you receive a AAA+++ in my book. I wore my waka blond and people commented how well I looked and the wig suits me and has made me look at least 10-20 years younger? (Ha! Ha!) After all I am the fountain of youth, Ponce de Leon has nothing on me, this Maori wahine is ageless and beautiful too. I was hoping that Roslyne would be in the picture, so this was not to be anyway the next magazine article will be in October, Cancer Awareness Week. Catherine Findlay from Mana magazine has confirmed this and I will be interviewed by the Assistant Editor for the magazine.
On Wednesday & Thursday I bought along with me the article of the magazine and showed this to everyone at the Browns Bay and Takapuna Stroke Club, people were impressed with my attitude to life, staying positive helps a lot. They commented how brave I am to believe in myself and because of the impact I made by presenting my happy stance to life and will remain this way for the next 50 years or longer!
On Wednesday afternoon was miserable, raining, stormy weather, and I had to either stay home or venture outdoors to brave the elements and face the walk to the bus stop which is a few minutes away, so I did! The rain had dissipated thank goodness, and with my waddle I walked the few hundred metres to the bus stop, waited patiently for the bus to arrive. Twenty minutes later I boarded the bus, the driver drove to Takapuna and arrived in plenty of time, seated comfortably, sipping on a chocolate milkshake, read the same article over and over again, feeling great about myself.
Arrived at Women's Citizen Club next door to the library in Takapuna and was greeted by Mary Anne another cancer survivor, and met other ladies in the group, quite a mixture of talented women. Janice Wood and Jan Breast Nurse Specialists were present to speak about their roles on the North Shore area and Northland region. So the word "C" was on the agenda, where the group spoke about their experiences with cancer. I spoke to the group about Jane a breast cancer and spinal survivor, mother of two, one grand child, talked briefly about her situation and so on. Interesting listening to other women's experiences, that intrigues me a lot, so Jan and spoke about the repercussions in life, the dreaded "C" word. I listened about how devastating this disease is, hope and possibility is my option to life? I asked Janice why there are so many wahine deaths in New Zealand? This baffles me, our wahine need to become informed about the facts of breast cancer, knowing that information is available, be involved and know how detrimental it is to their lives! I am impressed and ask all kinds of questions so I can become familiar with the dreaded "C" word and comfortable with it too! Eventually Jan and Janice were leaving and I approached Janice so she may read the article in the New Zealand Woman's Weekly. She came over and gave me a big hug, reassured me that I have made an impact on this deadly disease, as I have mentioned before "there are no guarantees?"
There was a mention in the North Shore Breast Friends News from our President Jenny Short and this is what she wrote. There is a very interesting article which you may want to read in the latest NZ Woman's Weekly about one of our (BSC) Breast Support Cancer members, Violet, looking stunning as usual.

Anyway, this Dr Andrew Shelling will speak at the Domain Lodge on Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm about the role of genes in Breast Cancer, I definitely will go along and listen to this interesting speaker. My body has had enough for today, besides playing with Paul for 2 hours of table tennis, lunch, meeting at BSC that evening and a ride home by Mary Anne, a night of being a social butterfly and now it is time to retire to bed are on the agenda and my electric blanket waits for me to be snuggled into bed for another great night of sleeping. Adios amigos! Hasta luego baby!!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Share knowledge spread hope!

That's about it? Share knowledge and spread hope. Where and why I should start? I am one of millions of cancer survivors, wahine have the highest fatality worldwide, this is a tragedy I pray to God for solace and hopefully get my message across for all women, all ethnic women who are interested. One of my friends is Peter Loft from Achilles International New Zealand is encouraging all athletes with a disability, the mission is "Hope and Possibility", the aim is to focus on the positive in all people, relish the moment and finish a marathon. That is one of my main goals in life the fourth marathon coming up in 2011, walking the New York City Marathon. Peter named it Vi's marathon - Life's Journey 2011? There are no guarantees in life, so hope for the best and go forward to strive for the ultimate dream, live a fruitful lifestyle and beat this deadly disease that plagues my body, bugger!
Last Friday we received an email from Shelly Pollard to say that she has arrived at the Viaduct Basin on this super yacht, followed by a phone call too! James teaches at 1:00 pm, so my chemo brain hadn't reared it ugly head yet, feeling fabulous I waited for him to arrived at 4:00 pm so we can pick-up Shelly. Around 4:45 pm we drove down to the end of the wharf and Shelly appeared as ever, relaxed and needed her space by getting off this super yacht and be at our place to unwind and be free again. She showed us this magnificent yacht, teak furnishings, every whistle and bell attached by pressing a button, automatic opening and more buttons to press and instant satisfaction, sheer extravagance and opulence. Shelly stayed in the guest bedroom, luxurious and comfortable, cozy and she was snug in bug in a rug, lucky lady! The galley is out of this world, food prepared after customs confiscated the remainder foods, strict rules implemented due to the food control,contamination and so on. Shelly showed us the yacht, spotless, clean fanatics patrolled the super yacht, anyway she took out food that was prepared earlier today for us to eat, couscous, mahi mahi, mocha cheesecake, potatoes mashed, we are living in paradise without traveling overseas. I have known Shelly for 26 years from living in California, and James has known her for close to 30 years, so we are family, friends and a close relationship that will continue for the next 50 years. Shelly stayed with us about 3 years ago and loved NZ so much that she highly recommends that to everyone in Cambria to get off their asses and join us in this piece of paradise. Beautiful weather, sunny days, plenty to talk about, James and Shelly were babbling brooks, while I had chemo brain and off to bed to read my book, while they are in deep conversation about their travels. The television is a no no for me, the noise disturbs me and it is better not to watch the box, my choice is to read and feel fully satisfied by reading a great book and resting my weary body. They watch television with the volume at a reasonable level not to disturb me thank goodness, I appreciate their respect.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chemo brain back again?

The same scenario as previously, Roslyne arrived at 6:40 am on Monday morning. so we proceeded to pick-up Beatrice as usual. Arrived early, the traffic was great for us and at the Oncology Department, I'm afraid we are not alone, a lot of people were waiting in the queue for their appointment, we are one of the many! Ascended downstairs to the Radiation area and made ourselves at home until Beatrice to be radiated. However the machine needed to be repaired before we were to continue, bugger! Upstairs again, so what to do? Working on the jigsaw puzzle, a lovely scenery of people at the circus, frolicking around this area, bustling and having a grandiose time, enjoying the activity that eventuated that day. Along came this woman who invited to help me with the jigsaw puzzle, mainly the sky formation and the pathway to fill in the gaps. This woman was waiting for her "baby?" to have radiation and lo and behold baby Gladys (her partner!) arrived for treatment.
This wahine is from Ngaruawaihia, is on the waiting list because of her heart problems, surgery in four months time, tattoos, doesn't smoke thank goodness, and a affable person to talk to. Minding my own business busying myself to solve this mystery puzzle another wahine joined in and helped me and I am intrigued. This woman's daughter has a tumour on her brain, and she is living at the Domain Lodge. She has a 7 year old son living in Hamilton, her daughter has another six weeks of radiation treatment, bless her heart and soul little darling.
The process of elimination to finish this bloody puzzle to no avail because Beatrice had radiation which takes about ten minutes to complete, and than we adjourned upstairs for my treatment at 9:30 am in the Day Surgery on the ground floor. Apparently the staff had problem with the medication so I had to wait for the Oncology nurse Catherine to escort me inside for chemotherapy treatment. Since the previous 2 cycles, chemotherapy has gotten better, so off to one of the rooms to be treated on the bed instead of previously on the chair. Making myself comfortable as possible, Roslyne as patient as ever waited until the taxotere was administered and left to drop off Beatrice at her home in Glen Eden. Beatrice had other things on her mind, smoking again, bugger! This wahine needs to quit instead of killing herself by smoking incessantly, lung cancer is rampant, especially with Maori, statistics have shown that this killer is on the increase and you are one of the many, which is a shame. Also, Beatrice wanted to be dropped off in the city to do some shopping but Roslyne realised that it is not on and instantly took Beatrice home. The radiation has made Beatrice tired and sleepy. Roslyne arrived back at the hospital and I was eating lunch and we ate together, offering me grapes that were yummy. My neighbour Toro an attractive Samoan woman and husband Tonga who dotes on his lovely wife, bought her muffins from Muffin Break cafe. I introduced myself to Toro who works for Bunnings in Penrose Head Office as a payroll clerk. Toro also knows my neighbor Mathew Southerden a young man who works with Toro on a daily basis. Mathew works and travels around various branches throughout NZ as a team leader for the company, working mainly on the daily basis for payroll, an invaluable asset having this man around the place, so Bunnings you have a winner! We chatted and laughed for awhile, thinking that Toro was finished with her treatment for today to no avail, she had one more drug to be administered intravenously before she can go home. A vivascious woman, we said goodbye until our visit in three weeks time, then left to go home. Feeling great and arrived home at 3:00 pm as Roslyne had to meet up with Dale her manager for the presentation that she will talking about at Orakei Marae and not having any inclination what it is for, bugger? Being intuitive and smart they would manage with a professional attitude to get their message across to the public. She left and around about 5:00 pm James arrived home.
This is day five now and in two days time my blood count will be at a low, so I monitor by checking on my temperature to see whether I am sicker than usual, at this stage I am so ready to meet Shelly at the Viaduct basin, the super yacht is in port and we will meet her around about 5:30 pm or later on this afternoon. Chemo brain does wonders for me, my thoughts are favourable and precise, my mind is racing a bit so I will rest up for an hour or so before we leave to pick up Shelly. Shelly is an remarkable woman, learned, well travelled and knowledgeable about her experiences, it is great to be re-united again. Shelly will stay with us for awhile until her next adventure, some exotic country and cooking gourmet meals that you can not imagine, lucky lady!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


When I was diagnosed with HER2 breast cancer, Roslyne my dearest friend, told me about Nelda Tairua, who was diagnosed with the same disease and would love to meet her. The following week I met this beautiful, gracious loving woman, who asked me all kinds of questions, so being new to the game I left this in Nelda's capable hands. She told me after the first cycle of chemotherapy, within a period of three weeks or longer your hair will fall out, bugger! Something I am looking forward too having a bald head, looks weird though. So I prepared for the inevitable, loosing my hair, armpits, pubic, legs, what is a woman to do, check my list of hairless wonders, anyway, I made my husband James trim my hair as bald as possible, so in his infinite wisdom he shaved my hair. After ten minutes of shaving my hair, I would tell JR to be kind to my head, it hurts and be gentle instead of hacking at my follicles in my head, he chose otherwise, butcher man. When JR finished my head, was completely bald, off to the shower to wash off the excess remaining hair on my head, feeling fabulous, preened myself for the obvious, bald head is different. JR hugged me passionately and made a lovely compliment I have a shapely head, whether my head is covered or bald, pretty face with high cheek bones and exotic too. A compliment that I have to get use to, so repeated compliments by JR rest assures me that I have a quality that other women would love to have. Along came the wig, I am having a hard time washing this synthetic wig, following instructions from the booklet attached I will eventually make an effort to wash the wig and dry this naturally on my new wig stand. Strange when you have are washing my bald hair, tiny follicles appear and keeps growing, bugger! Now six weeks later a patch of baldness, so men who are bald like my look and this is temporary, a circle around the crown, neat bald patch, so my dearest husband the baldness is fine, and with your hairless wonder bald head I still love you with and without hair is fine.
One of many favourite song is HAIR, here it goes.

She asks me why...I'm just a hairy guy.
I'm hairy noon and night, Hair that's a fright.
I'm hairy high and low,
Don't ask me why; don't know!
Its not for lack of bread.
Like the Grateful Dead; darling.
Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, Gleaming, Steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair
Shoulder length, longer (hair!)
Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy.

Hair! (hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair)
Flow it, Show it;
Long as God can grow it, My Hair!
Let it fly in the breeze and get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas, a hive for bees
A nest for birds, there ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendour, the wonder of my


I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty.
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining
Gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted; Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangle, tangled, spangled and spaghettied!
O-oh, Say can you see; my eyes if you can,
Then my hair's too short!
Down to here, down to there,
Down to where, down to there;
It stops by itself!
doo doo doo doo doot doot doo to doot
They'll be ga-ga at the go-go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond, brilliantined, Biblical hair
My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore.
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don't my Mother love me?
This is one of the many songs I sing, mainly way off key, and I will bellow this out as loud as can be, my neighbours tolerate this singing prowess who cannot SING!

Today I had an appointment with the Oncologist, Ruebin Broom at 11:00 am this morning, so he would check the previous cycle 2 and any other problems I had encountered. Previous diarrhoea for 4 days last week ago, no vomiting and fatigued over a period of 9 days, now I am feeling great. I am on the road to recovery, feeling well and eager to do my walking again. This assessment today follows onto cycle 3 on Monday 26th April, I will be having administering intravenously this toxic chemicals to kill the cancer cells, I have gotten used to the regime, the staff are efficient and professional so they are treating me with respect and talking all the time. Roslyne my dearest friend will be with me on Monday so we will leave at 6:15 am, picking up Beatrice the smoker who reeks of stinking smoke at her home in Glen Eden. Lovely Maori woman, gentle nature person, who loves to talk until her appointment that morning for Radiation. On Sunday I will be picked up at the house to walk with the group at Victoria Park and Daldy St in the city, looking forward to meeting up with the group from Achilles International New Zealand, for coffee and cake. The team named my challenge for the NYC Marathon is Vi's Marathon - Life's Journey 2011, another achievable goal I am focusing on! I believe goals are one of my many avenues to reach my peak performance to strive for excellence, believe in yourself, positive thoughts and HOPE & POSSIBILITY is on my agenda and so it is with my niece Nellie-Anne Rerekura, who is so determined to excel in her goals. Keep you all up to date on my progress as WELLNESS will keep me alive, active healthier than I have ever thought possible as we speak.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Waka blond wig (Canoe blond wig)

The wonder bra or wig is a testament of fashionistas, so watch out, Vi's in Auckland city and alive to tell the story. This wig is about four weeks old now, getting use to the blond wig, people complimented on my new profile, feeling great and proud to wear this wig.
Wednesday morning Roslyne my partner in crime, a woman whose intellect is so enriching, she arrived at my the house to me pick-up and purchase the blond wig I envisioned will suit me or kill my reputation, trying a wig that is suitable to my skin, colouring and facial features. Here is goes, with the chemo brain, I am a worthless cause and Roslyne is unfamiliar territory in the city area, Pitt St, K'rd onward to Wig Consultants on Karaka Street in Newtown. My brain functioned reasonably well, giving directions to Roslyne with ease, my chemo brain and Roslyne's driving skills we were in top shape, nothing with our brains are better than no brain at all, so this Roslyne's suggestion?
Driving up the main street, we stopped and I walked into this wig store, the same setup as place we had in mind, this young lady did not know of Karaka Street, bugger and she works there, this is concern. Back in the car and Roslyne with her sleuth instinct found this street which is around the corner from where we were at, so off to this place of beauties will parade around the store and feeling fabulous. Eventually we arrived, staff were busily doing what they need to do, Owners same too. The consultant ushered to a comfortable sit, feeling a bit disorientated, Roslyne continuously talking to me while this young girl checked out various wig, Brown colour made me look like an old woman, the wigs were no differently, after ten attempts I mentioned to this girls I always envisioned wearing a waka blond wig. So instantly she came out with two wigs, tried on one of the wigs and looked okay, that's look is promising, off this wig and the attempted to try on the other wig, closed my eyes and hoped for the best or worst of my outlook? Lo and behold, the wig fitted like a glove, opened my eyes, Roslyne's surprised look on her face and said I looked beautiful, smiles all around as this young girl rearranged my wig with ease. I looked beautiful, enraptured and smiles all the out of the shop. Other staff members came to investigate and were impressed by the response, jublilated and loved my wig, there was no charge, $400.00 of a synthetic wig for me to wear at all times. Roslyne could not believe the transformation, a sick chemo woman (me) to a radiated beauty queen, I am beautiful and proud of my fashionable wig of the century. This young went through the process how to care for the wig, be aware that inflammable substances is not kosher and will burn rapidly, candles and heaters are a no no, listening with intent while reading the instructions.
Homeward bound, another check list is a blood test in Glenfield Lab test, shopping and home James for the duration of the day. James is teaching at Uxbridge today and tonight, so I received a lovely text saying I love you before commencing class and replied with the ditto response.
Wearing the wig has a new lease on life, a grandiose transformation this has given me, people stare and comments are electrifying. About two weeks ago we decided to catch a bu sinto the city, North Star to Brittomart Station, lunch is prepared fluids to drink, we walked up Queen Street, hoping to check out the Art Gallery on Lorne Street, the weather is perfect hot and humid, so we walked until we walked to Myer Park next door to Upper Queen Street. Instantly walked, observing people eating food on the bunch, birds eating the orts and one pretty girl is crocheting a orange blanket, diligently working on her task, listening to an ipod, we sitted about twenty feet away, birds hungrily picking at whatever that was thrown at the birds. Lunch is on the agenda, muffins were a day older, so JR feed this to the birds, a flurry of seagulls, sparrows and pigeons scurrying around the area to devour the crumbs. Besides feeding the birds, teenagers swinging merrily on the swings, laughing and playing silly games to each other, priceless and kids playing the slides and jungle gym, precious indeed! James positioned me while he took photographs of me in the fore and background, posing while sitting and standing overlooking the city area, capturing the skyscrapers in the distance. Photos were taken, we left Meyer Park was gifted to the people in this area, we are so lucky to discover this prime location for the people to enjoy this beautiful city, adjacent to Queen Street. Walking downtown to Brittomart, people walking and enjoying there ipod, people bustling about the place, eating from restaurants, cafes, ice-cream parlours, fast food places, I'm amazed that Kiwis and other ethnic cultures eat far to much food, devouring as if it is no tomorrow, how sorrowful my people are, obese and heart attack material, observing while wearing this wig. This baffles me, because when I was intact, both breasts attached and feeling fabulous, now I look at my life from another perspective and watch with interest who much food is killing my people rapidly? " What does this mean?" Arrived at the destination, and caught the bus home for yummy Asian style cooking tonight, I'm cooking again and loving the recipe with bated breath, double checking every detail that is included in my preparation, Asian cooking I enjoy very much. Food was tasty, spicy and yummy too!!!!! Until chemo cycle 3 I will sign off for now, as I am tired after typing a lot this morning and my body tells me to rest up for the day, Vi, so I am listening to MY BODY, REST!!!!!!!!