Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A tough week

Returned to Joburg a week early. Felt crummy, living on stopayne and hearing about my mom's pneumonia.

Got an extra treatment on Wednesday. Felt a little better but had to experience nausea and vomiting on Thursday. The previous treatment didn't do that. Got another treatment on Monday. I remember voices talking about the choice and the treatment being worse than the disease. Don't believe them! The disease is worse. I get an extra treatment on Thursday. After each treatment I feel better - even if only for a few days! Besides, they keep me alive.

The centre is about to close for two weeks in honour of the silly season. Well, most people get away for a while as it is also time for the summer vacation. It is also about the only time that the doctor gets a chance for a break. Which is why I get the benefit of another treatment on Thursday.

So is hasn't been all bad. Have been a little low, but as I feel better, things will improve. Have already been enjoying the hot Joburg weather. The pool is coming right...

By the way, the holiday wasn't a disaster. We experienced new places and enjoyed Knysna. Then the pain began and it had to end.

The new treatment has some advantages too. It goes much quicker. Once started, it takes about an hour. Unlike the previous treatment that could take about three hours and hardened the veins. The important part is that it works. E will see if it is effective in fighting the cancer or at least restoring some stability. Time will tell. At least now there is some reason to be positive.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not always easy to be positive

"Be positive". Oft given advice and a remedy for almost anything. Easily said. There have even been books written about the power of being positive. Some of the proponents make you feel quite guilty about feeling bad about anything. Even bad events can be seen in a positive light. Bad things don't happen to positive people.

Bad things do happen to positive people. But the advice keeps coming in from all directions. "Stay positive."

Through much of thisj experience of pancreas cancer I have managed to maintain a positive attitude. It wasn't difficult for a while. The marker was stable and I was feeling all right. But things change. Setbacks occur and you begin to wander what is really in store.

A few weeks ago I began with great abdominal discomfort. Then the marker changed. The new treatment seemed to help but going on holiday after only one treatment didn't. The fevers got worse. The pain increased and the Panado had to make way for stopayne. Yesterday we cut our holiday short. An extra treatment before the yer end break seemed like a better option. Not really great to be bed ridden in Knysna.

As a result I am not quite as positive as I was. That could change if there is just a little reason for hope.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Knysna and the Garden Route - some observations

We arrived in George a little over a week ago, picked up the hire car and made our way to Knysna. It never occurred to me that the 60 km journey would take over an hour. The N2 is a national road but is not quite in the highway category. The speed limit changes regularly between 100, 80 and 60 kpm.

The road makes its way through towns, unlike some of the country's major highways where the roads bypass the smaller places.

What has amazed me is the local compliance to speed limits. The vast majority of motorists comply. With a 60 kpm limit they travel at 60, not at 65 or 69 but at 60! I have not seen this anywhere in the world. What it suggests to me is that if you speed you will be caught.

As we travelled from Knysna to the Elephant Park yesterday, we came across a stretch of the N2 (a national road) where only one lane was open for a 2km stretch. The other lane was closed for roadworks. There was a system in place to allow traffic through from one direction, and then from another. As we travelled through it became apparent that the actual road works were all at the one end for a mere 30 metres. The mind boggles!

The other major observation here is the average age of the residents. It seems that it is a choice retirement destination. The result is a shortage of young people or a balanced spread of ages. This is quite a shame. It seems that most of us have to hit the cities to make a living.

We have stopped to eat at a number of establishments since arriving. The first place was excellent, but the atmosphere was somewhat lacking. A few other tables were occupied by much older couples. A beach bar in Sedgefield served chips that looked fine but were covered with 2mm of oil. I ate them all and lived to regret it later. We stopped at an Italian restaurant where I opted for an Italian salad. How can you get that so wrong? One of our worst eating experiences ever. Then there was a pub restaurant. We chose a sirloin steak, according to the menu the meat is well aged. I had vegetables instead of chips. It took me a while to realise why they were so bad. They came from one of those frozen vegetable selections! The steak was equally bad.

A drive to Plettenburg Bay provided a welcome change. A beachside restaurant provided good food at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the winds were just too strong to allow us to enjoy the beach. Finally, the Ocean Basket last night was good.

Knysna Elephant Park 2

The park was established in 1994 with two elephants. All the elephants are orphans. They have been trained so that visitors able to touch and interact with them.

Knysna Elephant Park

These are two of the babies. One is three, the other five.