Not about Norway

This blog post was meant to be about Norway. But the promised post about Norway has not yet materialised and all has been rather quiet on the gecko front.

Usually there are three likely reasons for blog silence.  Firstly, either poor connectivity, or I am travelling, or an an escapade where there is no internet then inevitably there is no blog activity.  My Christmas adventure to Mrauk U was such an example.  Secondly, if I have something really worrying me, like the time of the wirple and I retreat into my shell and introspect and worry.  Then I tend to say nothing, until I have something to say.  Especially if it is something worrying me.  Sharing worries is not something I am good at.  And the third reason for blog silence, is because something is wrong, or something unwanted going on.  And that is the case right now.

I am still in the midst of processing this, and in fact we are still trying to stabilise and resolve this.  A great deal is still unclear but I can share some basic details.  Early last week I had a sudden onset of nasty chest pain.  I was unable to lie down, and found breathing very painful.  Cutting a long story short, I had a few diagnostic tests in Yangon which showed a possible pulmonary embolism (clot on the lung).  I was hurriedly shooed off to Bangkok for further tests and am still in hospital here.  While we are not clear about how this has arisen (a possible side effect of Tamoxifen, possibly linked to the extensive recent travel, lack of rest and many other possibilities), it does appear that this is what I have. To my already significant daily cocktail of drugs , Warfarin has now been added.  And I am currently having shots of anticoagulant into my stomach twice a day which is making me resemble some kind of watering can. A psychedelic watering can in fact, with the glorious colour scheme which is emerging!  How Sixties is that?

I have to say though, this really has knocked me for six both physically and emotionally.  I feel vulnerable and frightened.  The cancer diagnosis confronts us brutally with our mortality and we all know how that changes our perspective on life.  But this kind of episode is a different kind of scary.  With cancer I knew that I was not likely to die in the coming hours or days.  This kind of diagnosis, however, was more immediately life threatening and brought a different kind of fear with it.

In that though, there is a ray of sunshine.  A bright, dazzling ray of sunshine. The diagnostic tests included a CT scan and Dr W tells me that there is no sign that any cancery stuff is behind this. And let’s be honest, this was something obviously weighing heavily on my mind.

In the meantime, I continue the twice daily shots into my stomach, with the suggestion that I should self administer these.  To say that this thought gives me the heebie jeebies is the understatement of several millennia rolled into one.  That is the extent of my cowardice faced with needles.  However, I think it is something I slowly need to get my head round if I want to get a grip on this whole thing.  The main challenge to self administration is how to get beyond the need to either look the other way, or close my eyes firmly when a needle approaches me.  In fact, I usually do both – just to be sure.

I hope to venture over the threshold back into the outside world tomorrow, and return to the hospital for blood draws and the jabs while waiting for the levels to regularise.  And then I might be able to get the promised Norway post up here.

21 thoughts on “Not about Norway

  1. Philippa,

    I am so sorry to read this. You had me terribly upset the other night when you mentioned you were in the hospital. I’m glad you finally had a moment to give us an update.

    Cancer…. It just never stops. The fallout from the treatment and the fear associated with anything that happens. “It’s back” are words that loom large for most of us (all of us?).

    Get well, my good friend. We are waiting to read about Norway.

    Sending love and hugs,


    • I am so sorry to upset you AM, I was really hesitant about updating folks – once you say then it is out there and I needed to be ready I guess. Yes, that wretched cancer fallout keeps on lingering and causing trouble. And that is why the support and friendship from the BC community is just so wonderful, thank you so much.

  2. Philippa,
    I just sent you a DM on Twitter about your clot, so thank you for this posting. I think all of us would be scared in your situation. The good news is that it’s not cancer, and you’re getting good medical attention. I’m with you on the self-injection thing, but you’ve already walked across hot coals, so I know you will master this as well. I’m hoping we’re talking tiny needles, like the ones they use to administer flu vaccines. I don’t feel those at all.

    Sending love and prayers. Please keep us posted!


    • Thank you so much, Brenda, I have had difficulties with my Twitter DMs, but hopefully my reply will have reached you. I am very fortunate to be in such good hands, and really cherish that.

      Now, hot coals? That appeals far more than the self injecting thing! Tiny needles would be good – my doc used to use pediatric ones when I was on chemo as my skin was so sensitive!

      I so appreciate the love and prayers, thank you so much and yes, I will keep you updated.
      P xox

    • Renn, you have no idea how much this means to me, thank you so much. I heart the blogosphere and the BC circling wagons 🙂
      P xox

  3. Hi Philippa, this sucks, but it sounds as if things are under control, thankfully. Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending major hugs your way. Please let us know how you’re doing when you can. xoxo

    • Thank you for your well received wishes and major hugs 🙂 Yes, things do appear to be well under control now, I just need the bloods to stabilise and then hope to get home 🙂 I’ll keep you posted

  4. Sorry to hear what you are coping with. A PE is very scary and I am glad you are now stable. In the Uk warfarin would be given orally so that may become an option. It’s so true that cancer reaves it’s impact in so many ways. take time to recover but also I hope you get back to better health soon. All my best to you. Audrey

    • Thanks, Audrey, yes it was really frightening and most unwelcome! I am having the oral warfarin but not yet got the blood levels in the therapeutic range, hence the shots in the stomach for the time being. I guess one of the “advantages” (said grudgingly 😉 ) of the cancer fall out is that people really act quickly and take any concerns very seriously when I have any problems. My very warm wishes to you too for your health. We must try and connect next time I am in Scotland.

  5. I’m so sorry for all this, Philippa. The relief you expressed that this wasn’t cancer is something to which most, if not all, your readers can relate. I recently developed chest pains that didn’t turn out to be cancer, but the tests were very scary. And the pain still lingers on. I just know you will get the hang of the needles, but the very thought of self-administration at the start of treatment must be daunting. I look forward to reading about your recovery and about your upcoming trip to Norway. Carry on, sweet one! xoxo

    • Thank you so much, Jan. I was thinking of you and remembering what you have been going through too with the anxiety and pain, and do hope that the pain does ease. Here’s to rebuilding our strength and keeping pain and fear at bay.

      Norway pics are uploading slowly – just looking at them is therapeutic 🙂

      Thank you so much for your friendship ad support

  6. You are so strong, Philippa, it never ceases to amaze me. Take deep breathes, relax. Norway, and all of us can wait. xoxoxo

    • If anyone knows about strength, M it is you my dear! Deep breaths are indeed good though, especially now they don’t hurt so much 🙂 Big hugs to you

  7. I was thinking of you tonight, Philippa, thinking that it had been a long time between geckos (so to speak) and hoping things were OK. I’m so sorry to read that this has happened to you. Scary and upsetting indeed – and, like all of it, just so bloody unfair. I hear you on the terror of self-injecting – I am also a ‘look away’ girl when it comes to needles! I hope that this does not have to be part of your life for very long. I am SO glad to hear the great news about your CT scan, though. That’s one hell of a ray, alright – I think I can see it from here!! Please count me among the circled wagons, sending a big cyberhug from Darwin.

    • Thank you so much L, and I am sure you can see that ray of sunshine! Funnily my former Doc emailed me from Darwin (she is now in Timor Leste) when she heard I was ill so it is lovely to know there are 2 wagons circling over in that direction too 🙂 I need to catch up with your blog too – especially now I am in the land of paw paw salad!

    • Oh so true, Lois! No such thing as immunity from further yuck!! I am indeed doing much better now, thank you so much for your comment
      P 🙂

  8. Pingback: The Great Escape Part 2 « Feisty Blue Gecko – a tail of the unexpected

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