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.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
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!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
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
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!!!!!!!!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I awoke earlier than usual around 2:30 - 3:00 am on Tuesday morning 6th April and waited with anticipation to arise to the occasion. While lying in bed , my husband sleeping soundly I heard the call of the morepork or ruru hooting about six times and flew off to find his next morsel, rat, mouse or insects that are looking for a meal or two. This did not surprise me of Nelda Tairua, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, she came to visit before she passed away. Yes! Nelda passed away this morning, bless her heart, multi-faceted beautiful lady of many talents.
I couldn't stand this anymore so I prepared myself organising my clothes how appropriate it is for me a wear violet or purple suit I bought about 15 years ago, colourful blouse that I had missed and stored in the plastic container and to this blouse or recycle and give the blouse to people who will need it more than me. Preparation for clothes to is a task in itself, my prosthesis and bra, blouse, neckwear to decorate the neck area, earring as I lost the other pair in Salt Lake City, Utah, so I am the lonesome earring keeper of lonely earrings as we speak.
Showered and feeling so good to welcome the day, the make-up is not one on my favourite list to make me beautiful (So what is beauty, in the eyes of the beholder!) in a nutshell. Last but least the Waka blond wig (canoe blond wig) arranging the synthetic hair piece is becoming and wear this with pride, because of my hair is virtually shaved and looking bald, so what better way to exercise my right than wear this hair piece.
James awoke and got out of bed after I had disturbed his peace, and waited for Roslyne to arrive at the house at 6:20 am, and is late due to the traffic from Hadfield, Orewa area. Eventually she arrived at the house, beautiful and vivacious as usual a pleasure to know this Roslyne, mentor, friend, awhi me and a woman that tautoko all women in this matter. Roslyne's passion to help all women especially the human element, contact she is partial too and executes this with ease, a talented brilliant woman I have an utmost respect for.
Before we were to leave to pick up Beatrice in Glen Eden, I happened to pass this onto Roslyne about yesterday's (Monday afternoon at Meyer Park, city area) I enlightened her about the photo session JR took of me feeding the birds and exposing myself to the elements. Quite impressive I must say, capturing the essence of nature in its true sense, life's miracle me in question? Trying to make sense of this matter, while JR focused on the subject matter that contributed to artistic provocation without any intrusion, so be it. Slide was in progress, Roslyne was amazed from the transformation and how realistic photographs does to enhance a person's image without realising it. Impressive, we left and travelled in this congestive traffic on this glorious morning to Glen Eden. Finally we arrived at Beatrice's place to be transported to the Oncology ward for treatment. Of course she smokes and stinks as well, besides that we prattled on until arriving at reception to be summoned about my appointment. Before I was to proceed we were early and change of events allowed us time to get our bearings and relax comfortable before Beatrice had her appointment for Radiation. She is one of the wahine and was a diagnosed with breast cancer, a partial mastectomy, lymph nodes were negative, thank goodness. Hiccups do occur and of course this is exactly what happened, typical and the Engineers trying to rectify the problem without anymore delays. At last Beatrice was radiated, making sure she has plenty of Aqueous cream to apply to her breast so she can not have any problems later on. This was at 9:25 am and my appointment was at 9:30 am chemotherapy treatment, so another dilemma that was corrected. At that time the Oncology nurse called the house and spoke to JR wondering where I am at, his comment is we left at 6:30 am and thought we were in good hands under the care of Roslyne, bugger! When does this ever end more bloody hiccups, we were summoned back upstairs and the eager oncology team, Karen waited with bated breath for me to appear. The staff were ushered us back downstairs to the ward 4 for the interview and being photographed by the press from the The New Zealand Women's Weekly, they were waiting too!!! Reporter Vicky Stylers and photographer Martin were part of the scene watching every minute detail while the process that was as staff administered chemotherapy treatment, another treat, bugger. Going through the motions, I mentioned to the party that Roslyne Bowring will be present for the photo shoot, so we angled for a photo shoot while Martin positioned himself for the shot of the century, Te Ha would love this and so did I. If I can get my message out to the whanau how effective it is to be involved , ask you you will receive from the magazine, any exposure is better than no exposure at all, so this is my journey making people realise how essential that talking is a powerful tool, so by making a difference.
The interview and photographs took about 20-30 minutes later, I am happy with the results, so in two weeks time this article will be on the shelves in the supermarkets, bookstores etc., to here it is Vi in question, me in a nutshell, exposed once again? The treatment took about 5 hours of intravenous drugs in my system, feeling great, Roslyne drove me home and continued her time with Te Ha meeting wahine who were diagnosed as well, "We are all in this together", thank you Salvation Army the catchy tune. James played golf today, so I prepared dinner, stir fry rump steak pieces, bok choy and crispy noodles, a delicious meal and realise that the recipe I left the contents and wrangle this by improvising and cooked to perfection. At this stage my treatment of cycle 2 is fine, I believe it is much better than cycle number 1 after 11 days of lying horizontal while James pampered me throughout my recovery and their is more. Tell you all after my horizontal position as we speak.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Oncology assessment yesterday Friday 1st April 2010.
To each and everyone other person who were born on April Fool's day, so help me God another person who bites the dust, and ages gracefully?
Like every other day my friend Mandy Paku arrived from Whangarei and stayed with John,husband number two for a few days, so I invited her for lunch at the house. At 12:30 pm Mandy arrived with dumplings, delicious apples, followed by home made shortbread cookies, yummy too! I prepared lunch as well with salmon, Maori potatoes, kumara, brussel sprouts and pumpkin, served with apple crumble, cream and of course hokey pokey ice-cream. For all of these weight conscious, waif eaters, forget it, calories is the agenda I had in mind, since I had lost weight from this killer disease? Mandy arrived with delicious fattening dumplings, warmed and ready to devour, so much for the lunch I recently prepared, tomorrow is another day to eat for breakfast, lunch and tea, bugger! James had to teach at 1:00pm so he had to leave, busying us with plenty to talk about, eating this food and forcing ourselves with a bite here and there, before being stuffed by eating to many calories. Quenched this with apple cider and honey hot drink, refreshing and satisfying too. Mandy's son died of Leukemia about 26 years ago, followed by her husband Greg died of a brain hemorrhage as well, so this was a grieving time for Mandy and father and son's ashes in Te Awamutu many years ago.
Roslyne arrived at the house promptly at 2:10pm expecting us to leave asap, introducing each other, and wearing my waka blond wig, looking like a MCQ (marathon cancer queen) in full regalia, prancing around with my nose in the air for two seconds and back to normal the ageing queen.
The team Roslyne, Mandy and myself drove to the Auckland hospital Oncology area ready for my assessment with Reubin Broome, Oncologist, smart individual and has a great sense of humour in a nutshell. Went through the process, weighed myself and found that I hadn't lost any weight, still 68 kilos. I believe the scales are wrong, with the amount of weight loss something is obviously wrong with this picture. My clothes are smaller than usual, my legs are skinnier too, svelte and looking like a 25 year old again, bugger!
My white blood counts were fantastic, another cycle of diahorrhea and vomiting temporarily,
besides the loss of appetite, fatigued I am on the road to recovery and survived another of drug induced toxic chemical poison, that plagued my body over a period of three weeks, and I can hardly wait for cycle to commence on the 6th April at Oncology Day Surgery at 9:30 am on Tuesday morning. The reporter Julie, photographer Nathan and Vicky Styliss will be present while I am being interviewed and photographed by Nathan, Roslyne is definitely going to be in this article in the NZ Women's Weekly if I have anything to do with this. This woman has been with me since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so she has a right to and include me while I am eating this strawberry ice-cream. The more I eat this medical food the more I detest while forcing myself to eat without any convictions or reservations, this ice-cream I will eat without protest from my husband, who reads the right act to me about the purpose behind part taking in this clinical study, so I have no other choice to eat this bloody ice-cream and enjoy this as well. After 9 weeks of eating this medical food, I will eat this for another 10 months on a daily basis, recording the daily intake and checking on my bowel motion(s) and any other products to help me with bowel motion, that sucks too! Eventually I will detest eating another bloody strawberry ice-cream as long as I live and no more ice-cream PERIOD.....
What an exciting day with the gals, lots of laughter, wearing my fashionable waka blond wig, people commented how lovely the new style has done for me, makes me look younger by 20 years (I lie a lot too) not a figment of my imagination so be it! My out look, new bra and prosthesis, wig what more can a woman want, more chemotherapy over a period of 4 cycles, followed by Herceptin for the rest of the year so help me god.
My dream is to live a fruitful life without any more problems to my health, I want to live and travel the world talking about my experience to life, so if anyone or other businessess who will welcome a Maori woman as an guest speaker to the world, contact me asap.
Ka kite ano (see you later)