Day 17: Bananarama (Monday 14 November)
November 14, 2011 4 Comments
My friend from NYC, John Frederick, said today “be practical, expect miracles.” I’m running with that John!
Today Bronwen quoted Dr Seuss online. Bronwen, I’m copying it too:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” And I always thought Dr Seuss was just all about green eggs and ham!!
Just half a banana
This morning got off to a fairly riotous start when Tonya called me from Colorado. It is fair to say that she made me “laugh out loud” more than once. Tonya isn’t the warm and fuzzy type (which is probably why we get along so well) and we talked about a range of day to day topics and bemoaned a few things which I can’t disclose here. Didn’t bother with the cancer talk; too much other stuff to chew over.
Anyway, Tonya couldn’t miss the opportunity to jump on the banana bandwagon given how many bananas people are trying to feed me here to try and stop me from crying. She asked me if I’d actually finished any of the bananas that I’d been given here. What?? Then she *gently* reminded me about my bad habit of starting a banana, eating half, leaving the other half around for later but then never coming back to it. Hehehehe. Maybe not my best trait, but definitely not my worst! I haven’t left any half eaten bananas around but I have been making sure that when I pick out my own bananas at the supermarket I choose the smallest ones to give me the greatest chance of finishing one.
HiFU – first treatment day
Today I had my first treatment of HiFU (High intensity focussed ultrasound). I was pretty nervous about starting another new treatment given that I really didn’t know what to expect. I was told that there wouldn’t be any side effects, or pain and that it would all be fine. I was also told that there might be some pain, some burning, or some other side effects. Ok, now I’m confused…. I checked online before the treatment started and read something about anaesthetic being recommended prior to HiFU treatment. Great.
I went down to the treatment room and got ready to start. Before I was allowed to start treatment I had to sign the consent and waiver form. Hitch. It was all written in Chinese characters. I may not have been top of the class at law school (or even close to it!) but I do remember one golden rule: don’t sign anything you haven’t read!!! That rule gets a bit tricky to apply when you can’t read the language of the document you’re being asked to sign. This makes me think of the myriad of forms we get new migrants in Australia to sign who probably have no idea what is being asked of them either. That topic is a thesis in itself so I’d better not get started on it here. Anyway, I figured a five-minute written translation was not an option so I asked my translator to read the document to me, from start to finish. This was not a short process. Nor was it a one-woman process. Everyone in the room wanted to chime in. I was getting very, very, very frustrated. I started to make “help, save me!!!!” eyes to Brad across the room and then I remembered three words: faith hope love. So, I just started repeating them to myself over and over. That’s all I have right now. Whatever that piece of paper says doesn’t really matter. I can choose to have faith, hope and love. I can’t control what’s on the piece of paper.
It turns out there were about 20 potential risks/ side effects of the HiFU on the document. They were general and I was assured that they did not all apply to me. The risks seemed to range from heart failure through to DVT. Well, most of those risks get disclaimed on Panadol packets so what the heck. Faith, hope, love. I signed (and got a copy of the form that I will get translated later).
I was anxious when the treatment first started but when I realised that the HiFU didn’t hurt or burn I settled in. I remained on my KLT drip during the process, and nurse Julia continued to give me the chlorophyll drops while I was on HiFU. Brad was rather taken with the whole process; quite a call for someone who is such a natural sceptic! He keenly watched the monitor and communicated with Dr Yan as best as he could to understand just how the whole process works. He was so impressed by it that it was virtually all he could talk about over dinner.
The HiFU was just focussed on one of the tumours around the kidney today. After a few days they should be able to tell whether it is having a positive effect or not. If it is, then the other tumours will also be treated. The tumour they treated today was one of the larger ones and 42 minutes was spent on it. The smaller tumours will require less time on HiFU.
Cheers to Greg and Stephen
Thank you so much to our friends Greg and Stephen who are helping us navigate the visa extension process in case I need to stay in China longer than my current visa permits. Much appreciated.