Thursday, 27 October 2011

Living in Retirement

I don't think it has fully set in that I am retired. It is certainly a new financial situation for the family and I to be in and it will take some serious adjustments to get by. However there was no choice in the matter in the end so we just have to move forward. I want to thank all those that have stepped forward and helped in these trying times.
Medically things have been pretty stable the last several days although I did have a couple of really nasty fevers. The worst two came after watching the rugby. Even though I lie down to watch TV, it was too late for me and I pushed myself too hard.
I did get to see the specialist yesterday which was a physical strain. I think next time he will come and see me. His view is also that things don't seem to be changing much at the moment so we just have to wait and see what will happen. I have started a new medication that should give me an energy boost and if this occurs it would be great. In the meantime it is just a routine of eating sleeping resting and watching a little TV in the evenings.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Go All Blacks (jersey!)

A colleague of ours won a signed All Blacks jumper autographed by the entire All Blacks team. It is being auctioned on TradeMe (NZ equivalent of Ebay) to raise funds for the Pullan Trust. If you like rugby memorabilia, or know anyone who does, or just want to watch the auction progress check out:



Thursday, 20 October 2011


A lot has happened since my last posting. My blood test results indicated that I did not need a transfusion (I will be getting another blood test today and for the next few weeks to keep a regular watch on my blood count). I am back to typing my own blog and my fatigue levels are not as bad as they were (although they are still pretty bad at times). I am also essentially pain free as my body has settled down a bit (I still get quite a lot of discomfort at times but I don't consider that to be pain). This has made quite a lot of difference to my day to day life.

On another note, it is with a greet deal of sadness that I have decided to retire on medical grounds so that I can focus on my recovery and my family. My retirement will require some adjustments be made by my family, but it is in the best interests of my family that I do this now. I am confident that when I am well the University will have me back in some sort of role so I am thinking of this as just a temporary measure.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Things not going according to plan

Although I am getting the worlds best treatment for my condition and this treatment is clearly working on the tumors, recent events have made me realize that this may not be enough. My fatigue continues to increase while my appetite continues to diminish. Each day is a little harder than the day before. I am having increased contact with medical professionals and the very real prospect of the worst outcome is now in the foreground. While there is still lots of hope, I have been forced to face having to plan for a less than optimal outcome.
At this stage I can no longer type this blog but dictate it to my wife. I had blood tests taken yesterday at home and these may well indicate that I may need another blood transfusion (I would be surprised if I don't). There are at least two choices as to where I could get my blood transfusion and I will likely opt for Mercy Hospice if there is a bed available. Hospice staff have indicated that they could get my pain symptoms managed and I may well give them this chance, as I don't want to continue down the current path (it would be great to be pain free).
On a lighter note I enjoyed watching a movie with my son yesterday (although I had to lie down the entire time). He has just returned back from rowing camp and seems bigger and stronger than ever.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

My Hospital Visit

My last update of my blog was nearly two weeks ago. In the first of those weeks there was not much new to report - I was still getting bad fevers and still getting weaker. When the oncology nurse made her regular visit on Thursday I think she was a little concerned about things and wanted things progressed a bit quicker. After talking to my specialist they had someone come to my house to collect some blood with the specific intention of seeing how anemic I was and whether I would need a blood transfusion or not. There was not much else for me to do but wait, and I had planned to update my blog when I knew about the blood transfusion.
Saturday was the usual day for me, but on Sunday I was woken around 3am with a sharp pain in my right hand side. After several hours of taking my extra pain meds I managed to take the edge off the pain and by the time I went bed I was comfortable enough to sleep.
Monday was another level of pain all together and it was the worst most intense continuous pain I had ever experienced. It started around 330am and it felt like I had knives stabbing within me and every time I breathed the knife went in deeper. I could not find a comfortable position at all and could not find any letup. I got hold of my specialist who told me that the best thing I could do was come to the hospital and let them sort out what was going on. I told the specialist that I didn't think I could do that as I was so weak and could not even see myself walking out of the house let alone making it to a car to be driven there. Time for an ambulance I was then told, so that is what we did. The ambulance crew managed to get some IV morphine into me which took the pain edge away for a little while. Because of where I needed to be in the hospital, which was a non-standard place for an ambulance to take someone, there was a bit of paperwork to deal with. However that seemed to go smoothly and I ended up in the correct holding pen for much of the rest of that day. More blood work was taken and then I was left on my own (to be clear Patti was always by my side).
We finally saw a doctor going on to 6 and was admitted into ward 64, my home until yesterday evening. Whilst in my holding pen I was regularly having my vital signs checked and getting significant morphine doses when required. Once in ward 64 I was placed in a room with 3 other people (it was later admitted to me by several nurses that it was the noisiest room in the ward). I was advised I needed a blood transfusion and my first unit of blood was given almost immediately. At 10pm that night I was given a CT scan. During the first night my vitals were checked every two hours and more pain meds were administered if I required them. Very little sleep was had between vital sign readings and the noisy other patients. The next morning I was given another unit of blood and later that day at 5pm I was transferred to a quiet new single room at the end of the corridor. Compared to the first room I had, this new room was like a five star hotel.
In the afternoon on Wednesday I was given another unit of blood. In the first two days I had also been given three large bags of saline intravenously. The rest of the week passed slowly. I did not get to see the dr much and when I did they advised they were waiting on results and information. On Friday I was advised that I could be going home if the doctors got the answers they needed. Around 5pm the registrar came with the paper work and new medication scripts. Not much has changed on my routine medication except my overnight dose of slow release pain meds has been doubled. So I have come home recharged in some ways but worn out through sleep deprivation. Today ( Saturday) I have done very little except sleep.