Saturday, 30 July 2011

.... the story continues...

......My poor parents had an awful day that day.  I had just been "put to sleep" for a while and operated on, oblivious of what we were going to be faced with in the next little while... but they came back to wait for me.  I apparently didn't arrive.. not 2 and not even 3 hours after I was supposed to be out of theatre, so of course they were beside themselves.  They really started to worry when nurses came and started fussing over them and tried giving them excuses as to why the surgery was taking this long.  Mum said she really started to worry when one nurse in particular (a close family friend) came out to cuddle them with tear-stained eyes, and saying things like "we'll all have to pull together and be strong" etc...  "ALARM BELLS".

We've heard since (because we had a couple of other very close family friends/nurses who were in theatre with me... and my pastors wife who was also a theatre nurse), that they found the tumour (that I'd felt) as soon as they opened me up, and that its position was a little difficult to get at.  It was attached in a strange way to my aorta, and the doctor was going to just close me up and send me on to Whangarei,  however he continued, and managed to remove it as best as he could without causing any further problems.  He then had a poke and prod around to see that all was well in there, but he remembered that I'd asked him to "remove my appendix please", since I NEVER wanted to experience any abdominal pain like I had on presenting to the hospital this time!!!! He had warned me that if it looked "normal" etc, then he would be leaving it in place, as he didn't want to "mess with things" ... but he had promised to take a look!

When he looked further down to check my appendix, apparently he just said "Ohh shit"...... and that was when he discovered the primary tumour I had, and the cause of my acute (but not very "cute") pain.   I had a huge ovarian tumour, which sent alarm bells ringing, and needed more delicate surgery to remove.  It had gone undetected in the lead-up to this surgery, because all of the scans/investigations I had did not go lower than my navel .. since they had been focused on the secondary tumour!!  So, he removed that tumour, and my ovary/fallopian tube, and then he was a great doctor, and removed my appendix as well!! ;) back to the side room, and we were told that in a week, we'd get the results of the biopsies/tissue samples taken, and then we'd "make a plan" at that time!.

The day kinda just stopped at that point.  Once the doctor left the room, I cried and cried, all sorts of thoughts going through my head.....I found some solice burying my face into my Dad, and feeling my Mum and Dad squeezing me tightly.
My brother took it really hard. He was angry...angry at the doctor, angry at God, angry at the whole situation.
I remember him yelling "why you...?? you haven't smoked, got drunk, done drugs or anything.... this isn't fair"
It was all so surreal.

I know it's really silly, but I tried really hard to be "brave" in front of my family... I said.. "alright, that's enough, I'm okay... we'll be okay... go home and get some rest, I'm gonna sleep this off"  I wanted them to be feeling alright... and as soon as they left, I howled/bawled/had a real "sorry for myself" fest!  One of our nursey friends came in and cried with me which was nice actually... oh, and she gave a great back massage!! ;) 

My other friend who was in helping with my surgery (Pastors wife), shared how she was coming to visit me, and saw the most amazing HUGE angel parked outside my hospital door..........and she believed he was there to stand against negative thoughts/worries etc that might come with words from Medical staff etc... Woohoo... I remember saying "Thank you Lord" "Thanks for sending me that angel"................

And then the strangest thing happened... I was all cried out, and I just slept and slept without a care in the world!!

I convalesced that week in hospital, then went home for a few days of "semi-normality".  On the day I left the hospital Mum and I went up town, and two of my friends were walking down the same side of the road, saw us, and quickly crossed over.....looking all upset...  "Oh, they've heard... the news is out".... my heart sunk.
Thankfully, not everyone was like that!  Some friends were very supportive and such a big help, others were far too scared to even talk about what I might HAVE...or that I might die... It was a bit upsetting. (but then I guess we were only teenagers...and sometimes they behave...well?? weirdly!

That week had its fair share of ups and downs... and soon we were back, waiting for a prognosis/diagnosis and a "plan". 
I still laugh when I think of all the whanau who showed up to support me in that outpatients visit...and I love them to bits for even coming along....and IN the office..  There was me (obviously).. Mum, Dad, my bro Bob, My Nana and Papa Larkins, My Papa Liddy, Aunty Di, Uncle Ron, Aunty Ceri, and I think my Pastors..Barb and Mike, and we were all crowded into that little room waiting for the Doctor. 

He came in and was taken aback by the numbers in the room... and we all knew, just by the look on his face, that he wasn't just "shy" because of all the people,   but that he had bad news... I remember my Nan grabbing my knee tightly as he confirmed what we'd all been dreading...   It was Cancer.  It was advanced.  The percentages for the prognosis weren't any stretch of the imagination, and they weren't even sure if Chemotherapy would work.  BUT... did I want to try it??  I needed to go away and think about it.  Make a decison FAST as, if I was to have Chemo, I needed to start immediately and they would make a place for me at Auckland hospital within the week...

Too much information too head was spinning again.......... unreal.
But I do remember the love in that room........... the total consuming love, and I really remember God being with me....... God and my whanau. 

At this time, I have to mention, my Papa Larkins.  He was also fighting for his life at this stage.  He had lung cancer, and because it was so advanced, they couldn't offer him any treatment.  He was having Palliative cares, but no Chemo or radiation.  To be honest with you, I didn't want to have the Chemotherapy if it wasn't going to really do me any good.  If it was going to just be Palliative treatment.  I didn't want to spend the rest of my life vomiting and bald and wishing for death..... (I had thought a lot about this in the week leading up to this day).  It was my Grandfather though who talked sense into me.  He said... "you have a chance.  You've been given a lifeline, and a chance.  You should take this chance and go for it with all you have"  He meant it, and he had tears in his eyes, and that was that.  I made my decision.  So...Chemo it was in 4 days... in Auckland hospital... 

We all went home.  The phone just went and went and the same story my mum was having to spurt out.. "yes she's been diagnosed with Cancer, she starts Chemo in 4 days"  I had to get out of the was all too much at that stage... My aunty and I got in the car and just drove.... crying...  we went to the beach. Cable Bay, and we sat on the beach and just watched the water, and cried, and talked until it got dark and was time for bed.

Roll on 4 days later... 12th December.... CHEMO DAY... Also, my 18th birthday. One I was going to always remember huh? 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The beginning of the long road...

I was 17, and life was great.  I had left school and was working on getting some business/office qualifications at Polytech, since I still wasn't 100% certain where I wanted to go career wise.  I was relatively fit (unlike today!! haha)  and played a few different sports, indoor cricket, volleyball, and soccer.  So, when I woke up one morning and had a weird feeling in my stomach, I didn't think much of it.  I had had a particularly rough/hard game of soccer the day before, and had accidentally got a kick to the stomach as I fell in front of the guy who kicked the ball and got a bit thought it was probably just because of that. 
However this "weird feeling" began to get more and more painful over the morning.  I still laugh now thinking how in those early stages I thought to myself "Hmmm I think I need a poo" LOL ... so off I went to sit on the loo... and while pushing my stomach...trying to pinpoint the location of the niggly pain, I felt something weird..(NO IT WASN'T A POO!) ... I felt a distinct fist-sized lump just under my rib-cage (and yes, I used to be able to feel my ribs back then (just) !).  I thought this was a bit weird, but I was only 17 and hadn't had the years of Anatomy and Physiology training I have now.... so just thought..."Oh, wonder what that is". 
No... no poos, but still with the weird increasingly more painfuly niggles in my gut.  After about 2 hours I began to get a bit worried.  Then another hour on and I realised this was getting much worse much quicker... I needed some help.  I tried to phone my Mum but she was crazy busy trying to organise her staff and out on a meeting, My Dad was in Australia visiting my brother at the time, so it was a quick call to my Nan and Papa who just lived around the corner.  I'd made a doctors appointment and needed them to come get me in an hour, so they were more than happy to come and collect me.
This is the point where it gets a bit hazy.... I remember pacing around the house... thinking "is this bad enough to go in now...instead of an hour?"  pace pace... "am I just being a sook".. pace pace...  "Oh the hour will go quick enough, I can wait it out"... crawl crawl on the floor...  and then the next thing I remember is my Nan and Papa trying to haul me up off of the floor.... I'd passed out, and the hour had gone, and they were here to pick me up... (literally)... they were in a panic and wanted to call an ambulance, but I didn't want to be off to the duty doc we went, at this stage however I was writing around in agony and NEEDED help. 
On arriving at the doctor, they got me delivered straight to hospital, where I remember (funnily now) panting like I was ready to deliver a baby... I am a bit embarrassed to think of what I must have looked like at that stage.... panting, begging for help and screaming I want to die fast please... PLEASE!!

The next 3 days were pretty much a blur, but the doctors had found a very large "mass" where I had shown them I felt the lump.... the weird thing was this was not where I was experiencing the pain.... so they did tests, bloods, gastroscopys, MRI, Cat scans, xrays, ultrasounds, you name it.....I got it. Thank the good Lord I also got some MEAN pain-relief.  (Hence the blurry 3 days). 
I was transferred between Kaitaia and Whangarei hospitals as they decided on this and that test........all I can say is thank goodness I can't remember a lot of what went on!

By day 12, they were still not sure what they were dealing with.........but my pain had finally come under control and I was now only on pethidine, so they decided I could go home for a few days, and then they would schedule some surgery just to "have a look" at this "mass" that they were unsure of....nobody had even mentioned the obvious ... so when I asked if it was "Cancer", the doctor laughed at me and said, "no this is very uncharacteristic of Cancer"  I remember thinking "whew... thank goodness".  It was only a week before this ordeal that some teenagers from Canteen had done a rally through our town and I had remembered thinking "oh those poor kids"...

So home I went for a few days, enjoying my thinner body ... my pants falling off me,.. woohoo.. great side effect! haha.
My Dad and brother flew home from Aussie, and it was so great to have them there for support. 

D-day arrived, and into hospital I went for my "small laparotomy".... (or so we thought then).  They just wanted to have a little look inside, and possibly take some biopsies to see what they were dealing with, so I should just be in theatre a little while, and just have a couple of incisions when I woke up.  Sweet... no probs!  "Just in case" though, I had to sign the form to let the doc "take over" if he felt the need to do more surgery etc... (we all know the forms!!)...  so off to theatre I went.

I woke up in the most horrendous kind of pain this day, I still remember that moment clearly!  My Dad was on my left, my Mum was on my right, and it was soooo obvious they had been bawling their eyes out... and it was around about now I had discovered there was a catheter hanging out of my nether regions...LOL  I remember feeling the tube..and following it ...and going "what the hell is this????" lol    The charge nurse started to explain... "Oh love, that's a catheter, it drains your....."  "Yeah I know what it does..but what's it doing there" I cut her off mid sentence......  the thought of anyone going anywhere near my "bits" while I was asleep disturbed me more than the pain in my gut.
I remember coughing and the pain............ and then feeling that huge dressing across my stomach... it went from one side of my stomach right across ... to the other side.... no wonder there was such pain!! 

I was in a side room, and then when the doctor arrived with his entourage, and half of the nursing staff, that small side room became quite claustrophobic.  He closed the door and started with......... "I think we might have something to worry about"...............  UH OH!

blah blah blah blahhhhhh "tumour".... blahhh blahhh blahhhhh "looks like it may be malignant".......  blah blah blahhhhh "may have to start chemotherapy immediately".....   that's basically what I remember about that consultation. Nothing really sunk in.... I can't remember saying anything.... and I didn't cry, though my family did.........not just a little cry but a really big ugly cry....    .......fade to black....

To say I was a stunned scared seventeen year old at that point is an understatement.  You hear cancer, you dont think immediately of all the people who go on to make good think of death. When you're gonna die, what its gonna look like...feel like.... and you're left feeling just stunned... and helpless.
Suddenly your faith takes on a whole new look...

Where do I begin?

Well, I have been kinda "putting off" this post for ages, mainly because I've been unsure where to start, or how much detail to put into it... ?  But I have several people who are constantly prodding me about getting around to writing "my story" the one about surviving Ovarian Cancer, and miraculously having 2 very "normal" kids after being told I would never...... so, I guess I should do it.   ... Soon.  Not tonight as I'm really tired :)  Perhaps I'll do it bit by bit ....kinda like taking a little bite outta that big elephant! ;) We'll see! that I've actually broached the subject and shared that.... it might make me actually do it. 


sometime soon. ;)

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Did you like my cheeky little post prior to this one?  hahaha... I love the responses  (LOL!).

Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures etc.... I have everything totally disconnected etc... I will resume "pictorial bliss" once I'm back to normal here!

Anyway....Kendyl and I were home alone last night.  I guess "technically" that means that we weren't alone, we had each other, but it was just us girls after the boys left for a quick one-nighter in Cambridge.
~ Yay girls rule...boys drool! ~

This one night without the boys and just with my ultra-energetic bub feels like an eternity!  Kendyl has done a number of "naughty-ish" things while I have been distracted...trying to recover all of my lifetime of pics/videos/documents off my crappy 1TB Seagate external hard drive which has decided it is having a "Windows delayed write failure".  So...back to the story....I'm sitting here trying to save things....then realise Kendyl's been rather quiet, all about the same time that the aroma of "NAIL POLISH" wafts around and heightens my olfactory sense!!!!  ARGGGH.

I have to let you know what a "girl" I was.  I screamed before I even saw the bathroom.  and when I got there yikes.....Kendyl knew to head for he hills.  I am so dumb, I should have taken a photo!! 
Brown nail polish for africa!!!  all over the bathroom polished wooden floor, and the wall...and  a little on the white counter. 
Then there was the child.  Do any of you know how HARD it is to clean in between a 2yr olds toes/fingers without actually removing them (the fingers/toes that is)????  arrrghh!!  Anyway...she's "moderately clean" now, but there are still traces for Daddy to see when he comes home this avo!   The bathroom, on the other hand looks GREAT!! ((Praise ye the Lord!!)).  I really didn't know how the floors were gonna hold up to the Nail polish remover...but they did.... in fact they look GREAT!  hahaha  I am thinking of doing the Whole floor!! ;) haha.  the wall paint also survived, and if it weren't for the aroma, you'd never have known anything had occurred in there at all!  ( the before sight was SCARY ).  I am so happy that I never stripped the varnish off of the floors...or the wall.... otherwise there would have been MAJOR renovations!! haha.

So..that's kinda my morning....Im going to quickly write this..then go OUT of the house with her, we were supposed to be at church this morning, but my "cleaning up of the bathroom" has meant we're quite late, so I will "wag" and have a "Kendyl and I morning".  I think we'll go do some christmas shopping and some "7yr old" birthday shopping for Ashers birthday in a couple of weeks.  Gotta do something to keep this child occupied!! ;)

So...catch up with you all soon :)
Love and hugs this nice Sunday morning xxx

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Man oh man, wasn't it sad tonight??  Okay, I cried and cried, and got a little bit annoyed when hubby leaned over and said..."are you crying??"  ARRGGH!
Yes I was ruddy crying, how could you not cry... Bye Mel, Poor ol' Ben...  crying was the least I could do.

The funny thing is, I knew what was coming (as I have several family members in Australia who saw this episode last year)... also I can never help myself and I googled the episode to find out all the ins and outs of what was going to happen... (yes I'm the kind of person who flicks to the end few pages of a novel and reads the ending!!).  haha. 

So....who else cried?  Come on, I want the truth!!!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Miss Saigon

I got some free tickets so took a friend to see Miss Saigon.  Wow, great cast for locals (and a Wellington leading lady).  I have seen MS before, and it was over-the-top amazing, so I kind of hoped that our local production would at least make a "semi-decent" job of it......but they were great.  There was only really 2 or 3 times that I thought it didn't quite step up to the bar, but those instances were not very gret at all....
We had a ball...loved it....amazing cast!! If you get the opportunity you should go get a ticket before it's all over. made me miss performing in theatre though.... :( Oh well one day...One day).

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The view from my bedroom window

.....hey remember me??....

heehe... its me, the "SLACK BLOGGER"!!  Oh man.  It seems like I'm forever having to apologise for not being on here.... but I've had stuff on....stuff to do.... REAL LIFE stuff!!  So, I will say it only once this blog... "SORRY".  And a huge thank you to all my very patient followers/friends!! 

So... today was cool.

What did we get up to today you might ask?

We had a space day at my sons school.  Hmmmm sounds fun??  Well, actually it was great fun!  They have been studying "Space" this term.  They've learnt all about planets, spaceships, astronauts etc, and enjoyed a night-trip to the local observatory (poor teachers the next day with a classroom full of grumpy sleep deprived kiddies!! lol).  They've had some (quote from my 6yr old) "cool fun man!". 
So, today we had a day where we parents and family/friends could come along to the school to see what the kids have been learning, and the work they've produced.  Being a theme day, they all dressed up, and then we had a shared "space theme" lunch.
We took dissected Aliens covered in blood (thinly sliced sausage rolls with randomly splattered sauce)
Shooting stars (star shaped cookies with glittery icing and sprinkles)
and space rocks (coloured fruity flavoured popcorn).

My Asher was an astronaut.  Daddy ordered a pair of those thin white papery overalls, and I just "authenticated" them with a bit of silver tape here and there, and a few nasa badges etc.  In a day and a half we glued together some old water bottles, a bit of Dads vacuum cleaner hose, and some little finger lights, nuts and bolts and other "round the shed" bits and pieces, and soon, we had one "astronaut life system (o2 breathing apparatus), and we taped together some broken old headphones and an old computer microphone to make a communication system inside the helmet!.
I just cut off the excess long legged bits of the overalls, turned them upside down...taped them to a pair of smelly old shoes, and that was the white boots... and that was our space day costume over and done with!!
We also taped a small little LED light inside the helmet so that it illuminated Ashers face, though I don't think you can see it in the pics.
We made a little "panel that we just stuck with double sided tape on his chest to look like .....?? well...whatever astronauts have on the front of their chests...heehee.

Asher was stoked with the outcome :) 
I was pretty happy with my creation too!!  As you can imagine, the boys at school loved it, and quite a few had a "try on" of the outfit. 
My boy was pretty proud when he won the prize for his costume!! Yay.

There was one downfall of this costume though..... the moment when Asher said... "Oh Mum, I need to go for a pee!!"  I was like "Oh no....there's no quick way of getting out of this!!! I should have cut a "toilet flap" heehee...anyway after a bit of wrangling, we got him out of there and toileted and back in before the costume parade around the playground!! ;)
Kendyl got in on the act too!.... Ashers teacher "Ms Jurisich" covered Kendyls face with Stars....and Tai (Buzz), Kendyls lil mate played happily down in the classroom while we watched all the kids doing some of their work.  (They had fun!).

So...that was our "space day" at Maungatapere School!
It was fab fun!
(((I have posted this late too, as I had written it ... then thought I had lost it, but re-found it again tonight!))).