Day 14: Singles day (Friday 11 November 2011)

I wish I could write like Tony Petani. Just sayin.’

In Australia today it is Remembrance Day, but here in China 11.11.11 is ‘sticks’ day or ‘singles’ day. There are some myths about today being an auspicious day to get married and we did notice some wedding cars out the front of the hotel as we left this morning. But my delightful and cynical friend Darrel, who is Singaporean Chinese, assures me that today is just another excuse for a Chinese festival, and an excuse to call the day auspicious and therefore round up some extra business. Classic.

Brad gets Beyonce-ed

Whatever the urban myths surrounding 11.11.11 we took the notion of ‘singles’ day and ran with it in the SPDT treatment room this morning. Allison got Beyonce Knowles’ hit Single Ladies cranking on the computer and before you could say ‘Put A Ring On It’ Allison, Julia and I were belting out the Single Ladies classic. The hairdryer worked well for me as a makeshift microphone.

We three girls were having quite a jolly time but Bradley on the other hand was less than impressed. Brad got Beyonce-ed. He didn’t like it.

SPDT

A few people have asked me for some clarification about the Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT). It is a two-part therapy process; sound therapy and light therapy. After taking the chlorophyll drops for two days per week, I then receive the light and sound therapy for the following three days. The light therapy consists of laying under lights for 15 minutes on my front and back. After that, I go to the bath where the sound therapy is administered. This involves two feet to neck body scans with the sonar system in the bath, for 20 minutes each. I had some photos taken today to provide some imagery to it all.

HiFU – proposed new therapy

This afternoon I was taken to the general cancer zone of the hospital for an assessment with HiFU technology (High-Intensity Focussed Ultrasound). Dr Yan and his colleagues believe that HiFU will be a strong complement to the therapy that I am already receiving. I understand that the HiFU will help to relieve some of the pain from the tumours, and ultimately help to kill off the cancer cells without damaging other parts of the body. The assessment today was to make sure that they could actually see all my tumours using the ultrasound equipment (because if they couldn’t see them, then obviously they wouldn’t be able to focus the ultrasound on them to actually kill them off).

I’m not sure if it was just because it was Friday afternoon, or if it was a slow day or what, but everyone down there sure was in a good mood. There were five oncologists gathered round plus three nurses and everyone seemed quite excited about the prospect of giving me HiFU. The tumours showed up on the scans very clearly. I wasn’t going to look but then I couldn’t help it. And then I cried. Most of my friends are having ultrasounds these days to look at their unborn babies moving around inside them. I get to look at pictures of bunches of tumours that are out to get me. Tears and medicos don’t mix too well around here so as soon as a few salty drops started cascading down my face I was offered a banquet of foodstuffs. Before you knew it I was being plied with mandarins, winter dates and a banana – all designed to make me stop crying and possibly to help me feel better.

Anyway, the interesting thing about this impromptu ultrasound is that all my tumours were measured. It appears that they are basically no bigger than they were when I last had scans in Perth about six weeks or so ago. It is hard to be precise about it because measuring them on an ultrasound is not as accurate as PET or CT measurements, but by and large they are the same. This is potentially a very good sign because they were growing at an extremely fast rate between July –September. I am not going to get my hopes up in any way as it will be two to three more weeks before I have a proper set of scans to see if the therapy is really working and right now it is far too early to tell. That said, I was told that Dr Yan has “good expectations” for my treatment and sees a bright future for me. Let’s roll with that!

Hyperthermia and Cyberknife treatment

Some suggestions have been made that hyperthermia treatment and Cyberknife treatment may be suitable for my condition. I raised this with Dr Yan today and he said that hyperthermia treatment is best applied to systemic cancers (mine are localised). The Cyberknife treatment is a kind of radiotherapy which can damage the kidney and therefore affect kidney function, so Dr Yan ruled that out for me as an option as well. The treatments that I am receiving are designed to protect and preserve my kidney and its function, as well as the liver and its function, while blasting away the cancer cells.

Private health insurance

Before I left Perth I applied to my health insurer for assistance with the cost of treatment here, in line with what I would have been entitled to had I opted for the ‘guaranteed death’ option of chemotherapy in Australia.

Today I received the rejection letter. It was very nice, but it was a rejection nonetheless.

Something happened between the health insurance providers and the Federal Government before the election in 2007 to preclude registered health insurance companies from providing assistance to patients for such treatments. I’m going to get to the bottom of that one, don’t you worry.

I have found out that there is a Federal Government fund that supposedly offers assistance to Australians who seek medical treatment overseas. But wait til you check out the criteria – it is so hilarious I don’t know whether laugh or cry!

a. The proposed overseas treatment (or an effective alternative treatment) must not be available in Australia in time to benefit the applicant;

….

d. The treatment must be accepted by the Australian medical profession as a standard form of treatment for the applicant’s condition.

(www.health.gov.au – Medical Treatment Overseas Program)

Give me a break. What bloody Canberra bureaucrat came up with this crap? Sorry, but I’ve seen a lot of bureaucratese in my time and this takes the cake.

If someone can tell me how a treatment can be accepted as a ‘standard form’ treatment by the Australian medical profession, and yet not be available to patients in Australia, then I will find a Freddo Frog somewhere in the depths of China and send it to you.

Serendipity

Thanks to Daniel and Bryan for the call tonight as they were on their way to eat Chinese and have a Chinese massage in Northbridge just as Brad and I were finishing up a massage here in China.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any Chinese for dinner here in China because all the local restaurants closed at 830pm and the massages that we got at a new place we tried bore no resemblance to any other Chinese massage I’ve ever had anywhere in the world! We’ll rendezvous for Chinese food and massage in Perth again soon guys J.

Epiphany

This is a bit of randomness but it needs to be recorded.

I was up at 430am for half an hour or so and remembered back to the blood transfusion that I got yesterday. I don’t want to sound like a vampire or anything but I have to say that the colour of that donor blood was just about the most perfect colour for red lipstick that I have ever seen. There is a part of me that has always wanted to run off to New York and work for an international cosmetics house, or better still, start my own. I’ve observed some of the Australian women who have started new cosmetics brands and tried to read Poppy King’s book. Friends have said just do it, but seriously, yet another makeup brand on the market? Plus, I don’t have a few million bucks spare to throw at that little hobby and every single venture capitalist I know (not that there are very many in Oz) would laugh me out of their offices.

That was, until the epiphany.

It came from nowhere in the wee hours this morning. Something that I thought would never come, but it appeared from beyond the blue. I actually had a new idea for a totally unique new makeup concept. NO!!! I’m not going to tell you what it is now. But, let this mark the emergence of the idea. Wherever it ends up, or doesn’t, is anyone’s guess. PS – hi to Theo from Priceline and all the old gang J. Hope your Dad is doing ok.

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2 Responses to Day 14: Singles day (Friday 11 November 2011)

  1. Correction – Dendritic Cell Therapy
    Hi folks. Apparently DCT has recently become available in Australia (in Qld and Vic I think). So I was wrong to say you can’t get it in Oz, it is just not widely available. JR

    • Caz says:

      I’m laughing out loud .. only YOU would have an epiphany of THAT kind at a random hour in the morning, in a foreign country, during the time you’re having. I love the idea and I don’t know even know what it is, but WHEN you get through this and LAUNCH your new brand I’ll be there to help scream it from the rooftops! x

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