Friday, March 2, 2012

Not the news I wanted.

I am not sure where to start with this entry. It has been a devastating week. I had the lumbar puncture on Tuesday. The benefit of having a very active imagination is that the reality of the situation is rarely as traumatic as you had made up in your head. My mum and I headed off to the Mater for the day procedure. The weakness and numbness had gotten so bad that I now need help dressing - so a lucky nurse helped me into my backless gown and the world's biggest paper undies. I am not exaggerating about the undies. They literally came up to my armpits. I could imagine Lady Gaga wearing them with a belt and a pair of thigh high boots. The lumbar puncture was quite an uncomfortable procedure, but not for the reason I would have thought. I have been having some pretty awful toilet issues, so Mama Bear has had me on the stewed prunes. In hindsight, not the best breakfast choice when you are having a procedure done on your lower back. Lying on my belly on the table, I could feel the rumble coming, so I had to clench my bottom as much as I could to save the poor doctor who was about to stick a needle into my back. He kept telling me to relax and I kept thinking to myself 'you really don't want me to'! It is very difficult to keep your back relaxed while clenching your bottom tightly, I would encourage you to try it.

After the procedure, I had to remain flat on my back for 4 hours in hospital and then until lunchtime the next day at home. The time in hospital passed quite quickly as I was kept company by Mama Bear, my sister and a good friend. Now we just had to wait on the results. I did ask what they were testing for and they were looking for any neurological disease and malignant cells. I didn't really give much thought to the malignant cells, I was more worried about the degenerative diseases with no cure. The next day, I was able to sit up and have lunch with mum and my sister, which was a treat, until I threw up at the table. Luckily my sister has 3 kids, so she didn't really bat an eyelid at the table vomit. Mum rang my dad and he came home straight away. Surprisingly after all that lying down, all I wanted to do was sleep. After about 40 minutes, Dad came into my room and told me that it was time to go to the Wesley Hospital. I was a bit confused about this and started to worry when Mama Bear, my sister and one of my brother's also walked in the room. The results of the MRI showed malignant cells in my spinal fluid, which was affecting my central nervous system and causing all these issues. They all hugged me and cried. Instead of my afternoon sleep, I was off to the oncologist and neurosurgeon again.

I was told that I would need chemo directly to my brain, which would require a shunt to be inserted on Thursday and chemo would commence on Friday. I was told the treatment is unlikely to result in a cure, but was about limiting further damage and maintenance. I hope the damage that has already been done can be reversed because I am down to typing with one hand and am making lots of mistakes.

I will continue this blog tomorrow about the operation and the first chemo. The rugby is on tonight and I only have 20 minutes to get prime position on the couch. Go the Reds!!


  1. Karen, you are a trooper! The Reds [whoever they are - guess I'll google them? ;)], have been elevated in my consciousness, just because you're a fan :) Thinking of you and the Pandy clan. It was fun to reconnect with you at the reunion last year. xxx Liz Campbell

  2. Karen my darling, am thinking of you loads. Keep strong my darling and start supporting a British soccer team like me,! Go Manchester United!,,
    They're reds too :-) big love, Cherril xx

  3. Karen, how you keep humor in these postings is absolutely incredible. I am so sorry to bear about your ordeal... Am always thinking bout you over here and sending a million positive thoughts your way. Xxxxxx

  4. Dear Karen, I wanted to tell you how much your blog helped me through my friend's chemo and radiotherapy. Thank you for sharing your honest account of the experience and your straight-from-the-heart thoughts and feelings. Life just isn't fair sometimes, but people like you inspire us to see the best in the cards we are dealt. I hope you get the thick shiny hair vibes we are all sending. HT x

  5. I know you're not up to writing at the moment, but don't think that any of us have forgotten you. I think of you all the time, and send hugs and strength on a daily basis. x

  6. Karen, wherever you are now it must be a very special place for you are indeed a very special person. Your farewell today was inspiring - beautiful words, beautiful music for a beautiful young woman who was loved by so many. It was a privilege to share my sympathy and respect with your amazing family. Peace to you and those who love you. The Fletchers