When the cure is worse than the disease

Yesterday I went to our GP to find out if I should get a tetanus vaccination. To her credit, she didn’t laugh too loudly when I explained how I managed to do to myself what I did to myself. And then she agreed that I needed the jab. 

Have you received a tetanus shot?  The doctor told me that it would be a sore, burning injection and that my arm would be sore for at least two days.  What she failed to mention is that it would get progressively worse as time goes by.  When the injection stung a bit, but only a bit, I thought that everyone was exaggerating and that I was going to be different.  I am not different.  My arm is excrutiatingly sore!  Most likely this means that I didn’t need the vaccination as my immune response to the tetanus antigen is very good.  My brother-in-law reminded me of this but that didn’t endear him to me.  He should’ve felt sorry for me.  Yes, I am a drama queen.

Back to our GP.  She was my mom’s GP of choice and so I started going to her too.  Her maiden name was Odendal and my mom called her “Odendaltjie” because (1) it is a term of endearment and she is barely older than I am so she qualifies to be endeared by my mom and (2) my mom is from the generation that doesn’t call doctors by their names.  When Odendaltjie got married her name promptly changed to De Bruintjie.  I call her by her name but it is more fun (and my family knows who I’m talking about) when I refer to her as De Bruintjie.

My family isn’t very big on names.  I suspect that if there weren’t as many family names available (all 4 of us have family names) we would’ve been called Child 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Wouter loves telling the story about our family cats.  Originally we had 2 cats.  One ginger and one white.  Their names were White Cat and Ginger Cat.  Some years later we got another cat.  Since the first two weren’t around anymore his name was Cat.  Cat went on to have kittens (turns out he wasn’t a he after all).  The kittens were name This Kitten, The Other Kitten and Another Kitten.  My folks kept one of them and because he was a tortoise shell he was known as Bontkat (literally colourful cat) while Cat’s name changed to Mommy Cat.  Mommy Cat disappeared aged 117 or something like that.  Meanwhile Bontkat proved that he also wasn’t a he and had kittens.  We currently have one of Bontkat’s children, named Cat. 

So De Bruintjie should be grateful that she has a name at all!

Tonight Wouter and I went to church together for the first time since Woutertjie was diagnosed.  We really needed it.  We are both very stressed about the upcoming scans.  We really, really, really need the tumour out of his heart.  Please pray with us.  And of course what we would like most would be if there was no tumour to be found at all.  God is the Great Healer and it is perfectly within His power.

In a way it is easier on us to not know the date and time of the scan already so we can’t fixate on it.  God knows what is best for His children.  Please pray that He will heal our son completely.

Woutertjie is doing well but is still not eating.  At least he nibbled today and had a bit to drink.  His best friend’s parents dropped his party pack off (of the party he couldn’t attend) and he made quite a dent in that!  He managed to drive Carien to tantrums twice today so I think he is feeling well.

PS:  Currently Bontkat is called Mommy Cat.


Self-mutilation is so overrated

If you know me, you know that my motto in life is “no pain, no pain”.  I don’t hurt easily and I tend to suck it up and get on with it.  But sometimes the pain is beyond sucking up and I crumble into a heap and try not to cry too loudly.

This afternoon Boeta messed on the floor, I cleaned it and while I was wiping the floor he started getting nauseous.  So I rushed to where the bowl was and on the way back slipped on the wet patch on the floor.  Do you know what the underside of a hospital bed looks like?  It has ground clearance of about 20cm and then it has all kinds of metal protrusions for moving up and down and everywhere else. 

I slipped, my feet slid under the bed followed by the rest of me.  For better or worse there is no way that all of me would fit into a 20cm space.  That means that I ended up with my legs wedged under the bed but still holding the bowl for Boeta.  Hey, I’m a mom.  That’s what we do.

In my high speed assault on solid steel I managed to bruise my butt, both knees, both shins (repeatedly), the tops of my feet from toes to ankles and my ego.  Oh, and I have a nasty cut on the top of my left foot.  I am sore.

And now I am stiffening up so I don’t really know how I am going to be able to walk tomorrow…

After a whole post about me, maybe I should move on and tell you about other people too.  Like about Boeta.  He is doing well but the nausea is getting to him.  At least tomorrow is his last day and then we can go home on Saturday.

The dietician came by today.  My oh my.  I am impressed.  She asked what he liked and made recommendations on how to trick him into eating better.  Like adding powdered milk to his milk.  He doesn’t like flavoured milk anymore and by adding milk powder to normal milk the energy content will increase while leaving the taste normal.  Brilliant!  She also spoke to the kitchen manager who came by and from now on will provide Boeta with whatever he wants to have.  No more ordering off the hospital menu. He can have whatever.  Isn’t that wonderful?

Please keep a friend of mine’s baby in your prayers.  He was born yesterday and suffered lung damage as he was born with pneumonia (I never even knew that could happen).  He is in ICU and battling.  He is currently heavily sedated and connected to all kinds of tubes and wires.  Please pray for Jayden and his parents, that he will get better soon and that they can finally hold their son in their arms.

On sucking it up

So after a very emotional 24 hours of feeling very sorry for myself I am back.  Meaning I am back. 

I don’t feel comfortable feeling sorry for myself even though I do it very well (if I have to say that myself).  By nature (and by drama queen personality) I am more of an optimist.  And after all, pessimism and drama queening don’t mix and I am above all a drama queen.

So as of now, until my next meltdown, I am back and “making normal”.

Today was a good day.  My middle and baby sisters were both here today.  It really made Carien’s day because she is infatuated with my baby sister and my middle sister’s son, Adriaan.  He is 3 months younger than she is and she adores him.  She calls him Ada and puts up quite a scene when she wants him here now and he isn’t.  Someone needs to explain to her that he lives about 100km from here on the other side of the mountain.

It was the CANSA shavathon and we had a family outing to shave or spray.  My mom (who wouldn’t know what to do with a facebook account even if she had one), Chrismari (aka Tiesies), Carien, Adriaan and I had our hair sprayed.  Berno (Lielie’s husband) had a shave and a spray.  Lielie was at a proper hair appointment when we took the plunge.  Chicken! LOL!

Wouter is already shaving his hair in solidarity with Boeta so he had a scalp spray and I wrote “CAN” on the back of his head.  Do you remember the ad with the tagline “cancer can be beaten” with the guy with “can” shaved into his hair?  Wouter did the hairless impression of that. 

My favourite bit of the day was when Tiesies and I decided that Berno couldn’t have a uniform shave.  Oh no.  We helped to shave his hair and gave him a mohawk.  He is soooo not the mohawk type.  Especially not the pink mohawk with green back-and-sides type.  He was such a good sport even though he knew that Lielie would have a moment. 

Lielie has lots of moments.  Compared to her I don’t qualify for drama princess or even drama lady-in-waiting.  She can out-drama me any day.  And added to that Lielie is very gullible.  So when Berno told her that he will keep his mohawk she believed him.  Because that is what Lielie does.  We love her.

She will probably flap her hands at me for telling this story but I can’t resist.  A while ago they went on holiday and Lielie was going to fly for the first time ever.  She was very excited about it.  The morning of the flight she phoned me with that tone in her voice.  The tone that says that she just heard something that simply can’t be true, can it?

Berno told her that in order to plan for the flight not only your baggage, but you yourself are weighed.  In public.  For everyone to see.  Compulsory, because after all, they need to know how heavy the plane is going to be.  Me being me, I did not disillusion her and tried to explain that she can angle her body to be in front of the scale readout so that only some people will be able to see.  Lielie very nearly called off the trip.  She got soooo worked up!  It was fun.  And because we love her we only let her steam for an hour or two before telling the truth.  We really do love her.

We are doing well today.  Boeta is still in isolation but strangely it bothers him less than Carien.  She gets very aggro after a day at home and demands to go to my parents during the day.  Oh the rejection!  Of course my parents are very chuffed.

So that was today.  Will let you know how tomorrow goes.  Boeta got his booster today (Wouter and Tiesies took him) and will get another tomorrow and then on Monday we will start with chemo again.  Provided that his cell counts are high enough so you know what we need – start praying.  We don’t want to delay chemo.

And in case you are wondering, the start day is Monday because it is a 5 day course and it is difficult to get the chemo mixed over the weekend. 

Wouter’s parents have already planned their week so that his father can sleep over at the hospital.  I wanted to put their facebook link up but they don’t have any pictures loaded so that you can see what they look like.  Skimp, skimp, ma!

See, I really am sucking it up and I’m feeling so much better than yesterday.  Thank you for commenting, praying and being there for us.

Round number 3

Today is exactly four weeks from the start of this roller coaster and Boeta received his third round of chemo today.  Not bad going for deepest darkest Africa!  I am immensely grateful for the speed and efficiency of private healthcare and that we can afford medical aid to pay for it.  I am very much aware that Boeta probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed and treated in time in the state health system. 

Woutertjie is looking well and his full blood count improved.  His platelet count improved from 70 to 280 (normal is 140 – 420).  His white blood count was 0.5 on Friday, 0.4 on Sunday and is 0.7 today.  Normal is 5 – 15 so we still have a way to go but at least it seemed to stop dropping.  Yesterday he started receiving subcutaneous boosters to stimulate his bone marrow so let’s hope it does the job!

I’m leaving hospital early tonight – I should be home at 20:00!  Let no one ever tell me that working for a boss is hard work!  I used to spend 8 hours a day working, 3 hours getting to work and back and the rest with my family.  Now I spent 24 hours with my family, 12 of that in hospital and it is a lot more work and a lot more tiring than “proper” work.  At least at UCT one gets tea breaks!

I am now off to play with Carien.  She is a year and 5 months old and is such a little drama queen!  She recently started playing with dolls, stuffed toys and anything that she can potentially call “baba”.  All she really does is picking them all up and carrying them around, scattering as she goes.  She has the attention span of a drunken fly and loses interest as soon as she sees the next thing.  She is such a girly girl.  A sure way of getting her attention is to mention clothes or jewellery.  And handbags.  And telephones.  And shoes.  Everything no girly girl can be without.