Friday, 23 December 2011

In the arms of the Angel

This week saw the death of another friend from cancer - this video is for all those who have lost their battle with this horrible disease during 2011. Especially Gill and Bruce.

Well fought you two darling people. We miss you.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The end is in sight (of the year I mean!) .......

Things seem to be going wrong in my head. Maybe its just an accumulation of all the nights without proper sleep but it feels worse than ever. Went to the GP about it and had a bit of a melt-down, ........ her assessment of the situation is that I am clinically depressed. No surprise there, I suppose. So now I have been started on Prozac and will see her in a week to report progress. Hopefully things will start to improve soon.

So ... Just about ready for Christmas .... cards and messages sent, presents bought (though still to be wrapped) and some visits have been planned. Think we'll keep it very low key this year.

To all who read this:

A very happy Christmas and good health in 2012 to ALL .....CHEERS!!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Keeping things in sight!

Well its been a while since I posted on this blog. Is that a good or a bad sign, I wonder? On the one hand I am keeping busy with housework (reluctantly), playing bowls (a lot) and painting (occasionally) and on the other I am so tired all the time, especially in the 'thinking' department! I can't seem to get an unbroken night of restful sleep while in the daytime I feel unable to think very hard or deeply about anything. Am I making sense here? .......... I don't think so. But I know what I mean (I think!).

Had my eyes tested last week and was aggrieved to find that there had been a significant change in both far and near vision since my last visit in 2009 (but no evidence of double vision, thank goodness). The optician assured me that this was age related so I hope he is correct and that the deterioration is not due to Feckit. So I am now waiting for my second lot of prescription lenses in 18 months.

I cheered myself up yesterday, however, when I managed to finish a painting that I have been struggling with for several weeks on and off. It is called 'Wharfside'.

Friday, 21 October 2011

No diplopia ....

Saw my GP yesterday who checked my eyes again (checked 3 weeks ago) and also tested my neurological function .... all clear. She thinks the episode of double vision was probably due to a temporary failure of my eye muscles to work in unison. If this should happen again she suggests that I cover each eye in turn to see if the 'double' image resolves with one eye covered.

"The 2 most common mechanisms for diplopia are ocular misalignment and ophthalmic aberrations (ie, defects of the cornea, lens, iris or retina). The most important clue to the identification of the mechanism is whether the patient has monocular or binocular diplopia. Ocular misalignment in a patient with normal binocular vision results in binocular diplopia, defined as diplopia that resolves when either eye is occluded. If the image of an object that is being viewed does not fall on the fovea of both retinas, then the image appears to be in 2 different spatial locations and diplopia occurs.

   Monocular diplopia is defined as double vision that is present in the affected eye while the other eye is occluded. In nearly all circumstances, monocular diplopia is the result of a local ocular aberration of the cornea, iris, lens or, rarely, the retina. Monocular diploplia is never caused by misalignment of the eyes."

So the explanation for my brief episode of double vision was nothing to do with Feckit after all ...... GREAT news!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Double trouble! ..... was it diplopia?

A very weird thing happened yesterday! I was reading in the lounge and looked up out of the window on my right to watch one of our cats, Oliver, stalking a very large Paradise duck. The duck soon flew off unharmed but to my amazement I found that I was looking at two distinct Olivers walking one behind the other!

Naturally enough I found this rather alarming so I looked away to check if I was 'seeing double' of every thing around me .... but I wasn't. I looked outside again and found that I was now looking at two Pru's (our other cat) who had followed Oliver across the lawn. This made me realise that this "double trouble" was definitely not a figment of my imagination! It only appeared to happen when I looked to the right without completely turning my head. However, all seemed to return to normal within a very short time (around 2 to 3 minutes) and I have not had any repetition as yet. 

Diplopia (double vision) is a distinct condition and should not be confused with "blurred" vision. It has many potential causes which may involve various different structures. Because one of the many causes could be interference in the pathway of one of the cranial nerves III, IV or VI it might be significant in view of Feckit's position in my brain. Even though it has only happened on this one occasiion I thought it prudent to inform my doctor just in case it should occur again.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Cancer Networks and their Offer of Hope

by Guest Blogger   David Haas

From a psychological perspective, cancer is a very scary experience for patients and can greatly inhibit a person's ability to remain positive. Doctors will always tell their patients to remain optimistic, but without a strong support system, it is very hard for cancer patients to do that.

The cancer support community  is just one example of how cancer networks offer hope to patients and people who have loved ones with cancer. Additionally, in-house cancer group sessions occur every week and contain new cancer patients, patients in remission, and friends and family of cancer patients.

Doctors of all different kinds of cancers from the very common like breast cancer to the very rare and deadly such as mesothelioma will always recommend their patients to cancer support groups. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, patients can receive extra knowledge from attending support groups. It is reassuring to know that there are other people who are going through the same thing you are going through. It is also reassuring to know that there are people who have overcome the same illness you have.

Cancer support networks are therapeutic to all types of cancer patients. Patients in remission may find it the most beneficial because it allows them to talk about their past experiences and help other patients who are going through it for the first time. Having the chance to help other people is a rewarding experience, and new patients greatly appreciate the help and encouragement they receive from patients in remission.

Relaxing is something that many cancer patients forgot how to do. Unfortunately, though, relaxing is a vital aspect of recovering. But by being surrounded by other people in the same situation, cancer patients may find an avenue to expel his or her fears and anxiety, allowing the patient to relax and let their mind be at ease.

Friends and family can also greatly benefit from attending cancer support groups. The information they learn can equip them to help their love ones cope with their condition. It will also give them a greater appreciation for cancer patients and a deeper perspective of what cancer patients endure.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, find a support group that can help. Thankfully, there are thousands of support groups nationwide, and there are even online support groups that can help.

David Haas
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Guest Blog

Thursday, 15 September 2011

NO comment!!!!!!!!!

Hells bells ... cannot get the Comments facility to work .... its driving me nuts! Have tried everything I can think of and now posting this in the hope that something will happen!!!!!!! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Update ........ On (Not So) Golden Pons!

Having previously combined this blog with my art blog I have decided to "uncombine' them!! The reasons for this are that people who read about my art may not be particularly interested in reading my "meningioma diary", while those who are may not be able to follow the relevant posts very easily when tucked between my art postings. Also I now suspect that Feckit is not quite vanquished and may even now be twitching!

My last posting re health was in April when I fell and broke my arm. Its a bit annoying to have to report that after 6 weeks in plaster, followed by several weeks of physio, the wrist is still giving problems. A recent visit to the orthopaedic surgeon revealed that cartilage between the small bones has been permanently damaged resulting in pain and stiffness on movement.

The surgeon has suggested bone removal and replacement with a metal rod to immobilise the wrist - the object being to relieve pain. However, this idea does not appeal to me very greatly (are you surprised?!), particularly as it would mean permanent loss of flexibility. So we agreed that progress (or not, as the case may be) should be reviewed in another six months.

It is now 2 years since radiosurgery was completed .... so what is Feckit up to?

Causing headache and nausea at night?
Spells of nausea and vertigo during day?
Pain and tenderness on left side of head and in left ear?
Memory problems?
Tendency to choke on liquids/saliva?

Seems so, yes!

But neither the neurologist nor the radio-oncologist have been able to explain these symptoms which, by the way, are the very same ones that sent me to my doctor in the first place in 2008!

Weird, eh?

The most recent MRI report (February 2011) mentioned that "The mass abuts the left side of the pons, which is minimally indented", whereas at least two previous MRI reports have stated that "It abuts but does not distort the pons".

However, the reports describe the tumour as 'stable' so I am probably way off track in wondering if a 'minimally indented pons' might possibly be significant!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Gill - a fond farewell

Dear Gill,

Lovely friend and artist, you have lost your courageous fight with breast cancer and will be sadly missed by all who knew you. Thank you for your friendship and support, and for the great times we had together with friends Jill and Diane.

Diane, Jill and Gill

Gill, Jill, Lesly, Diane

Gillian Hammond who died 15th August 2011. Remembered always.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

bowled over???

Life has proved a bit of a bumpy ride just recently! First came my follow-up appointment with the neurology consultant after my annual check MRI.

Oh, how I fail to see any point in seeing this man .....

Consultation time is usually around 5 minutes if I'm lucky, - for which I have to travel 40 minutes by car, find parking, etc. For a start he and I do not seem to talk the same language - he asks questions, I answer, and he brushes whatever I say/ask aside.

He sometimes does a full neurological examination, but usually just tests my eyes and my hand grip. I cannot TALK to him ... he is so remote and appears disinterested
. "Just another neurotic ex-nurse" - I can (almost) read the words ticker-taping across his forehead!
Yes, a pointless exercise.

Happily, bowling this year has proved far more rewarding! This is my last season as a Junior player (less than 5 years) and on Thursday night I received the following awards (trophies and/or certificates) from our Bowling Club - Junior Ladies Singles Champion, Ladies Singles Champion, Ladies Pairs Champion. What was even nicer was to receive the annual award for Most Improved Player!

The Presentation evening was a very jolly affair and finished with a Pot-Luck Supper, - my contribution being a large platter of spicy chicken drumsticks.

While I'll admit to having three glasses of wine during the course of the evening I can assure you that this did not cause the fall which happened after I got out of the car on our return home!

This resulted in me spending the night on a trolley in the A & E Department, having sustained a fractured arm, a cracked cheekbone, several grazes and bruises to my face, hands, legs and chest. I do believe in doing things thoroughly!

So now, a couple of days later, I find that I am feeling a lot better even if I do still look like Bride of Frankenstein! And today I've received loving messages from my kids, both here and overseas. And hugs, cake and lovely yellow gazania flowers from my two Kiwi grand-daughters!

Now THAT has bowled me over and no mistake! XXXXX

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Good and bad news ..... making sense of it all

Saw the radio/oncology consultant yesterday following my annual MRI (its now 19 months since I finished six weeks of radiology treatment). The GOOD NEWS being that the tumour has not grown. In fact there has been no change at all - its no bigger, no smaller. Although there is no sign of cell death within the tumour I am so very relieved that there is no signs of growth. The results do explain why I am still having some symptoms, so its a case of carrying on as I have been and living life as normally as possible.

But any possible difficulties pale into complete insignificance compared to the BAD NEWS of the week, - the
Christchurch earthquake. Even though we live 4 hours drive south of that city we still felt the quake and our house swayed back and forth. We knew at once that there had been a big one somewhere. What we could never have imagined was that it was a second earthquake near Christchurch or that it would take such a dreadful toll in human lives, serious injuries and severe damage to properties, amenities and services. The full implications of the tragedy have yet to be revealed but it will certainly be many months before some sort of normality can be restored for those living in and around the city.

TODAY (Day 4)
- concern as wet, cold weather forecast

- tough and quick decisions to be made about damaged buildings.

- 113 confirmed dead; 228 missing; 70 live rescues; five bodies recovered overnight.

- more than 90% of the CBD has been checked and assessed

- Defence Force personnel are supporting the 3 services with patrols, engineers and medics.

- Housing NZ's help line has received over 1800 calls offering short term accommodation

To HELP THE PEOPLE OF CHRISTCHURCH please follow link for a list of agencies where donations of money or services can be made. Thank you.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

When you need a friend ..............

Golly but I'm really bogged down about art at the moment. Absolutely drained of inspiration, ideas, or the mental fortitude to try, or so it seems. But at least I have my art friends both locally and on-line ..... and that really helps to keep me in touch and hope alive!!

Here is a link to a great post by artist Martha Marshall entitled 'When solitude isn't enough' in which she talks about the necessity for contact and input from others for the nurture our artistic selves. In this really interesting and inspiring article she also links to writings of other contemporary artists on how they deal with the trials and tribulations of making art!

Martha talks about keeping regular contact with other artists and we have a thriving little art community where I live who meet regularly for workshops, to 'show and tell' or just to touch base for a chat and a coffee. Here are just a few of the group from a couple of years ago, having just tried out working with pastels with me for the first time.

And of course I must mention again my three art buddies and best friends, who not only inspire me to keep trying with my art (and patiently listen to my moans!) but have been so wonderfully supportive during the course of my tumour diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Di, Jill and Gill

Thank you girls, for all the love and laughter! XX