Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Strangers and a old buddy

Trying to get back out there, build up my strength,  stamina and having some normality in my life is high on my priority list.  I go back to work in about 10 days and I need to be able to manage an early rise and a full working day.  I know it is not going to be easy so I am trying to get that happening now. I wake as though it is a working day, but i do kinda lay in for a bit longer, then do the usual morning rituals but stop short of jumping in the beast and trying to get it started before the glorious journey around the lake to work.

I'm still struggling with carrying anything with any weight in it.  Handbag/shoulderbag is fine, but throw in a camera and a flash and I really struggle to lift it and carry it for any distance.  I have a number of different bags, each takes more equipment than the last, but I have yet to be able to lug one about for hours.

Monday I hit Mt Penang Gardens with a slingpack, camera and just the macro lens.  NOPE!  I lasted maybe 20 minutes with that load before I had to get the bag off and carry it.  I kept swapping it about and changing the straps, all to no avail. No matter what configuration there was just no ease or comfort.   Having a camera around my neck is an issue too, so I am wrapping the strap around my wrist, but it isn't secure enough for my liking. It was a vey uncomfortable day after that, but long term I think it was good to mark just how the surgery has affected my neck and shoulder muscles.

Tuesday I went on a fashion shoot as the VALS (Voice Activated Light Stand). My duties were simple.  I had to ensure the wind didn't whip the flash head and beauty dish over. When it came time to change locations I struggled to carry the flash head battery pack.  I carried it one short distance, but that killed so I had assistance after that.  I didn't carry any gear and I really enjoyed the day in the sun.

Wednesday I again packed a camera bag, one lens and a flash and headed to Honeybee in Darby Street, this time I was meeting up with Kiasmin Burrell, a local artist, to take her portrait for my "Strange, NOT Strangers" series.  Light load, one camera, one lens.  Found a Stranger for the "100 Strangers Project" too.  Managed quite well with the lighter load, so I need to build up from here.  The days of lugging a 20kilo backpack on a half day bushwalk seem a distant memory, but I will get back there.  It will just take some time.

So I was very pleased with my shots.  best I share them with you now.

A honeybee at Mt Penang Gardens

Kiasmin at Honeybee in Darby Street

Tim at Honeybee in Darby Street.

If you want to see more of my "100 Strangers" or "Strange, NOT Strangers". you can find them all here... just follow the links.  If you want to see the work of Kiasmin Burrell then you need to go here...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Three weeks later

It's nearly 3 weeks since the last operation.  The majority of that time has been pretty good. Sleeping, or rather remaining asleep has been the biggest issue.  Trying to get comfy with healing stitches in your throat is no easy task but there is good news.  I saw the surgeon and his newest Registrar on 13 August and was told the cancer had not spread to the left side so the option to go in for a third surgery and remove the lymph nodes will not occur at this stage. YAH for me!!!  I am really happy with the new scar and wouldn't want it messed with again!   So where to from here???  The Surgeon signed me off and has referred me to an Endocrinologist to continue with monitoring and treatment.  Surgeon said I would be having the Radioactive Iodine treatment in the future, but as the John Hunter Hospital only has one lead room,  it could be quite a wait.  Waiting is fine, more time to heal!!!

Getting back into a routine is not the easiest task simply because of the sleep problems.  Waking tired, or in a bit of a drug haze is the issue. I have cut out all pain killer but do take them at night on the really really bad nights.  I now totally understand why they put me off work for so long.
I can drive again and have been out and about, trying to keep myself busy.  I still can't lift heavy things comfortably so I use the laundry trolley to transport all the other stuff like groceries and potting mix.   Ingenious I hear you say. Yep, that me, although WHY it took so long to work out is a whole other issue!!!  Carrying my camera gear is not really an option at this stage.  So when I do go out I either take one camera/one lens...... or an assistant to carry the load. THANKS JOSH!

I did manage to get some shots last week, just of some oddities at a friends business.  Best I show you and I hope to get out again later today to get some more. I did manage to recommence my 100 Stranger Project too with a shot of Eden.  No.51 so it is all downhill from here!   But first up here are the ones from last week....  hope you like them!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Yep, It's cancer alright.

So you know how I wasn't getting to learn about the makeup of Mr Lumpy Bump until 16 July......well that changed.  On 12 July my nephew sent me a text to ring his mum straight away.  She had received a call from the surgeon and he needed to talk to me urgently.  I had had two missed calls on my mobile, but as the number was blocked I couldn't call back.  So I rang the Doc and he is all wordy and  apologetic that he has to tell me some bad news over the phone.  Mr Lumpy Bump is not a benign follicular neoplasm, he is a papillary carcinoma and I need further surgery PRONTO.  Pronto as in Tuesday July 17.  Yes, he still needed to see me monday, some pre op stuff and some form signing etc, but there would be slicing and dicing the following day.

Well, this is soooooo not what I had expected.  Blew me away. When I rang him I really thought he was ringing the change my monday appointment time, not tell me the news I had never expected to get.   I was a bit lost for the moment and due to the environment I was in, it was hard to hear everything he said.  I was waiting to get a haircut when all this happened and when I eventually sat in the cutters chair I had no real idea what was ahead of me and I have no way to articulate what I wanted done to my locks.  I exited the hairdressers with much less length than I expected, but it will grow back.

When I got home I had to tell a few people about what was happening next and that included my two office buddies Louise and Lexi.  I rang the boss first and asked for him to give me half an hour to tell the girls before it became common knowledge at work.  I also rang my buddy Jen who is in hospital at the mo fighting the good fight against breast cancer.  I wasn't sure whether to tell her or not, but she was going to find out sooner or later, so it was better coming from me. I rang a few special folk and much much later in the evening I put the news up on facebook page. My facebook page is private so only selected people can see what I write.  So many people have responded and I feel bad that I just haven't had the presence of mind to respond.  You see for the first time I have not felt positive about this.  I am apprehensive about op number #2. I fear carrying on like a pork chop in recovery again and that feeling when all I wanted was ice that I thought I would die if I didn't get a sliver of ice in my parched mouth.

Knowledge is power and I know I will be feeling much more positive after I have a chat with the surgeon tomorrow, but that doesn't help how I feel today.  Worse still I have soooo much housework to do. Loads of washing.  I need to clean out the fridge and tend the veggies and I have no energy to do anything but sit on this stupid time wasting machine feeling miserable.

So I'm thinking this is so negative I will never post it.  I'll just save it as a draft and see how it goes.

Well I held the above post in "Drafts" until today.  Here comes part 2. Hang on to your hat!!!

I saw the surgeon on 16 July and went to hospital on 17 July only to be again bumped out of the surgical list due to lack of time.  Surgeon was very concerned that I didnt get a cold and he'd have to postpone me again so he put me off work and back into home isolation for a fortnight.

On 31 July I arrived at the John Hunter Hospital at 6am and hit the Operating Theatre 1 at 9am.  The second operation was called a left hemithyroidectomy and took 96 minutes in total.  Just before I went in the Docs changed the consent form from WITH neck dissection to "blank".  I was a bit groggy and had no idea what this meant but later found out that they were going to try to preserve the lymph nodes.

I spoke to the doctors about the wrestle I had in recovery after op 1 and so they changed the drug they used on me...... and it worked a treat.  I woke up to Rebecca pumping morphine into my arm and ice into my mouth and the world was rosey.   There must have been some blood as I recall them cutting off my gown and I awoke washed and refreshed in a white gown, instead of the surgical blue.   Nice not to have blood caked in my hair this time!  It was early afternoon when I was taken up to the ward.

I had a two night stay this time.  Restful is not a word to describe hospital.  I was continually awoken for more blood tests or tablets or to check my drip or blood glucose levels.  The surgeons called around twice a day as well as the ward Residents and Interns.  It was pretty hectic and I was glad to finally be released.

One thing I hadn't reckoned on was the medication.  I came home on 20 tablets a day.  A mix of painkillers and antibiotics, but now, 11 days on, I am down to just 3 for the thyroid.  The daily blood tests end monday......well at least I hope they end monday.

Yes monday..... tomorrow.... an early start.  9.30 blood tests at the hospital followed by an 11am appointment with the surgeon.  Hopefully he will have a plan of attack ready for me for ongoing treatment and details on what was found in the other half of my thyroid.

In the second op the Doc reopened the initial wound and extended it.  In the process he straightened it up so I am very happy with the result. Looks good and is clean and a nice colour.  It is very sore.  It was probably this sore last time too, but I can't clearly remember.  That first op seems so long ago.

My boss has been excellent, ringing and texting and bending over backwards to make this easy for me. My friends have been supportive and helpful and the offers of assistance have been coming in thick and fast.  My nephew Russell has borne the workload.  Driving, shopping, lifting, gardening and doing all the stuff I can't do.   He's a good kid.

The Boss broke the "no flowers" rule and sent me an enormous bouquet.  What's a girl to do, but to take  photos of it!  Here are some!