Strike one…

It was my birthday on the 13th. I’m not one to hide my age, so here’s a clue. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m…” If you don’t know the answer, you’re too young 🙂

I had a quiet but lovely day. One or two visitors popped by and we indulged in black forest cake, but no bubbly. I was just about to settle down for an afternoon nap, before a family supper of sushi, when the phone rang. My doctor had a little bad news to share. The first chemo session was to be postponed due to an admin glitch on our medical aid side. Anxiety overwhelmed me and I managed to convey that. But there was a little good news too. My cat scan, for the rest of the body, was clear. Actually I underplay this. It was the best present of the day! So I resigned myself to the delay and hugged the knowledge of my good result.

Just as my daughter and sister in law arrived with a mountain of sushi, the phone rang again. Pressure from my amazing doctor had chivvied up the medical aid people and we were back on track for the 14th. Strange as it may seem, I was anxious to get going with the treatment.

On the morning of the 14th, my husband drove me to Vincent Palotti. The doctor took us along to the oncology treatment room, where I was ushered to a leather lazy boy and told to make myself comfortable. A needle was wedged into my hand and the first saline drip went up. I took out my journal to write, but my neighbour, a regular in the unit, began chatting to me. He was a mine of information and even persuaded me to have a packet of salt and vinegar chips before the “Red Devil” was hooked up. “Eat while you can. Trust me on this one.” I turned my eyes towards the evil looking crimson liquid being prepared for me. “Look out at the garden,” my new friend suggested. “There’s a lovely view to focus on.”

The time slipped by and my journal remained unopened as the other patients chatted and shared jokes. Nurses milled around, checking that we were all okay and when lunchtime arrived, I declined the cheese and tomato sandwich on offer. “No. Take it. It’ll do you good,” my friend insisted. I bit into the wholewheat bread and realised that I was in fact hungry.

A nurse came to put up the last saline drip and explained that I would probably feel fine for the next few days, but that I’d take a dip over the weekend. Apparently the third week just before chemo number two, is when I’d feel better again. Darkest before dawn in reverse. I knew in my heart of hearts that I’d be the exception. I’m the girl who gets seasick on the harbour wall, let alone on the yacht! The drive back to Hout Bay is a long one and I managed just fine until Constantia Nek. Then, I knew I was in trouble. I managed to stick my head out of the window and gulp enough fresh air to get me into the house. Then I ran…

My silent hunter joined me as soon as the light went out and I was treated to his special blend of therapy. He didn’t go out hunting at all and stayed long after the first birdsong. I have a feeling he’ll make up for it tonight!



6 Replies to “Strike one…”

  1. Val Furstenburg Van Zyl says:

    Gail your posts are so inspirational . My husband was diagnosed with 3 types if cancer in May 2019. The day if the operation, which was meant to last 2 hours lasted over 8 hours, he had a major setback and was on a respirator and we did not think he would make it past the first 24 hours. Gail be sure that i am praying for you every day. Wish I was there to give you a hug. Lots if love Val


  2. Sheryl says:

    Strongs girl.


  3. Jane Vink says:

    Lovely to read your posts, even though it’s grim times. Walking with you dear friend & sending love ❤️ xxx


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