Post Radiation Review and Homeward Bound

Well we arrived back safely in Bangkok, no somersaults or acrobatics in Dubai Airport this time which is a bonus.  Jet lag is not too bad, although it was strange being woken in the middle of the night by hubby J chomping crisps.  Being hungry at weird times is the worst part of jet lag I think.

The first thing to do win Bangkok was to christen my new special post surgery swimsuit, one of my UK shopping acquisitions.  I have missed swimming terribly and Twang Arm is harbouring a sense of its superiority which is about to come to an end.  It was wonderful to be back in the pool, although my swim was a gentle introduction so that I can gradually sneak up on Twang Arm and before it realises, it will be vastly weakened!  Well, Twang Arm has been mean to me so it is time for revenge!

Yesterday saw my Post Radiation Review appointment with Dr C.  It is such a good feeling, having a hospital appointment in the knowledge that there are no scary procedures likely.  I was still a bit nervous as you never know for sure that needles won’t suddenly appear.  The usual checks were fine and after only a short wait, I was called to see Dr C.  He examined me and was pleased with the new skin coming through as the old, charred skin peels off.  He said that I might experience an odd sensation of……, and then found the word he was looking for – lightning!!  I know the post surgery nerve damage gave me very odd sensations in the first few months after surgery, but that has faded and so far I have not felt any lightning across my scar.  That would be a real touch of the Harry Potters if I had a Voldemort scar!

Dr C was pleased with my recovery from the radiation and the remainder of our consultation focused on fixing a date for the next review appointment in 5/6 months time.

With this appointment over, I am now FREE for nearly 2 months until I see Drs W and W2 for my 3 monthly check.  I cannot tell you what a wonderful feeling it is not to be planning my life around the next horrible treatment.  I just need to keep my fear of recurrence or spread under control and wallow in this a bit.

Our turnaround in Bangkok should be quite quick now and we hope to travel back to Yangon tomorrow.  It will be such a treat and novelty to unpack, knowing that the cases can stay in the cupboard and gather dust for a while.

The next benchmark will be a quiet return to the office on Friday, which will be 10 months to the day since I was last at my desk.  I wonder if it is still there and if much has changed!  I know I have.


Moving on

There are only a couple of hours left of our home leave and as always we are going through the difficult good-byes as we move on in many ways.  Returning to Bangkok and a few days later to Yangon, all being well – moving on physically.  Returning to work in a few days time and finally being able to move on professionally.  Mostly though is the move from the treatment phase towards recovery and picking up life where it was so abruptly changed 10 months ago. It’s a strange time with fears and frustration playing a significant role.

It is so good that we have our good memories and images of our special time here to help to focus constructively on the coming months.

From the recovery zone

The Dubai bruises are fading and so is the memory of radiation and chemo. 

We arrived safely on the tiny, remote Scottish island of Lismore where we are based for the next week.  It is quiet, restful, peaceful, healing and a tad cold!  We have had mostly good weather though, with sunny, fresh days and not too much wind and rain.

I am managing to walk a few gentle miles most days though twang arm is playing up still.  I am anxious to get back into the pool in a couple of weeks time.  My radiation-burnt skin is recovering and peeling in a rather disgusting fashion.  For some reasons the nails on both big toes have bruised and are very tender which I cannot understand.  Tamoxifen seems to be making me a bit maudlin which I also do not understand.  My hair is growing irregularly and in the wrong colour.

We have virtually no access to internet or mobile phone on the island so it is truly remote and peaceful.  We have ventured onto the mainland today for essential supplies and communication!  I also finally took the step of walking over the threshold into a hairdresser to do something with my mad professor hair.  It has now been evened up nicely – with the clippers!

We have another week on the island before heading off to other parts of the UK to connect with family and friends around the country. The following week we will return to Bangkok and radiation review with Dr C, and then hopefully return to Yangon.  So this haven of peace and healing is very welcome just now.

Disingenuous departure lounge design

Well, we did manage to finish packing, we did get to the airport.  We checked in with no problem and we did catch our flights.  We even reached Glasgow and now we are in very sunny Scotland.  That is in all seriousness – it is and has been very warm and sunny since we arrived.  I seem to be the only woman in Scotland wearing a coat and scarf!

Our journey was not the most pleasant I have ever had, but I can put most of that down to the discomfort of post surgery, post chemo and the blossoming post radiation  burn.  It was not helped by a “mishap” in Dubai airport where we had to transit.  It was probably a combination of lack of sleep, neuropathy in the feet and disingenuous departure lounge furniture design.  I particularly hold the departure chairs accountable.  There is an interesting little feature at the end of each row of chairs in the form of a little table.  Very handy indeed.  However, it is almost the same colour as the floor, a kind of nondescript grey.  I did not spot these little tables and managed to throw myself over one of them and land on another somewhat heavily.  A rather unpleasant way of preparing yourself for a 7 hour flight.  I managed to add some large and colourful bruises to my needlework ones and look as if I have been in a brawl!

These departure lounge tables are clearly disingenuous as defined by Encarta

1. withholding information: withholding or not taking account of known information
2. not genuinely sincere: giving a false impression of sincerity or simplicity

They clearly withheld information and gave a very false impression of sincerity and simplicity which lead to my downfall!

We are now enjoying time with family and will be heading to a tiny island on the north western coast in a couple of days to continue our family time and recover from the treatment triathlon and the journey!