Day 42: Disappearing Dumpling Lady (Friday 9 December)

Thank goodness my general feeling and demeanour improved significantly from yesterday. Today was a much better day.

Today is the day for my first progress PET scan. I won’t get the results until either tomorrow or Monday.  Fingers crossed. And toes. And everything else.

I had to do SPDT early at 730am today because I was told that the contrast for the PET scan could interfere with the efficacy of the sensitising agent for the SPDT. So it was SPDT first, then off to the scanning area on level one for the PET. The procedures seemed the same as the ones that I’ve had to follow in Australia, so that was reassuring. Mum and Brad waited patiently while I was indisposed as I could not talk or move for 40 minutes after the contrast injection. The scan itself was quite quick and then finally I got to have my first food of the day after it was all over (I seized on the apple that Mum had in her bag).

Around mid-day we were back at the hotel with the rest of the day clear from any further treatment. We had a bit of lunch then I went to bed for the afternoon and stayed there til after 6pm. Mum went off walking and exploring and Brad was head-down-bum-up working away on the computer. I think I chose the better use of time for the afternoon!

Each week we try and reserve one night when I’m feeling well to go to the dumpling place (the one where the lady speaks a little English). This week, tonight was the night. At seven we set off for dinner and easily got a cab to drop us near the restaurant. We walked around the complex where the restaurant is located passing the many jewellery stores, McDonalds and a Subway on the way. Mum was relieved that we were not taking her out for Subway.

I was expecting to see more lights on the strip beyond the Subway – it seemed unusually dim. The tea place was lit and open and the dumpling place is right next door. Don’t tell me it’s closed! We arrived at the restaurant and got a very rude shock. The restaurant was closed tonight – there was no doubt about that. But the premises had also been gutted in the week or so since we’d been there and there was no sign of the delightful dumplings or the people who served. We were devastated! We wanted to show Mum a slightly different style of Xian cuisine, and chow down on some dumplings and eggplant with tomato ourselves. It was not to be. We ended up eating at another place close by with questionable hygiene standards and where each dish that we ordered came with at least a cup of oil per plate. Though I did quite like the style that one chef displayed – he wore his PJs under his chef’s whites. Guess it’ll speed things up for him when he gets home to bed!

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Day 41: Fatigue, pain, misery and fear (Thursday 8 December)

Two good days and one almighty shit of a day. That’s the rollercoaster ride of my life.

I awoke sometime in the early hours with pain in the right flank. I decided to ride it out and skip taking any drugs. By get-up time things had not improved. I stumbled to breakfast feeling bloated and inflamed, in pain and generally feeling miserable. I didn’t want to speak. In fact, I barely spoke all day.

Today was a day of fatigue, pain, misery and fear.

SPDT was very onerous. Afterwards, I returned to my room and slept through for four hours or so while I was on the drip. I was woken up to go to HiFU and reluctantly made my way down to the treatment room in the basement. There were tears. It was just a bad, shitty day.

The only upside of the day was that it finished relatively early. We came back to the hotel and settled in. There was no way I was leaving the room to go out in the cold for anything so Brad was on take-away duty again. Mum bought a bunch of fruit from the market so we had that to munch on too.

After some food there were more tears. Lots and lots of them. I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen to me if the scan reveals that the treatment isn’t working. Where would I go? What would or could I try next? How much time would I have to live? I made Mum cry. Then Dad rang, and I got him crying too. I think the barrage of bad thoughts was kicked off by two bad dreams that I had, one last night and one during my afternoon nap.

I just don’t want to die now.