Up, Up and Away!!

It has not been the best of times, and possibly not the worst of times, however it could be better……

S and I are preparing to return to our home in Canada. In fact we are due to fly out next week, and we are really looking forward to reconnecting with our friends and S’s family. It all sounds good, however it is not so good. Today my GP advises my latest psa is 180, up from 140 just 27 days ago. S gave me my first Xgeva injection a few days prior to the blood test. The plan was to have the blood test first but circumstances got in the way. The psa rise could be due to the Xgeva injection??? Who knows? There doesn’t seem to be much information around about this, just dire warnings about necrosis of the jaw. With that in mind I visited a local dentist to have some work done. I was quoted around $500, but after an hour and a half in the chair the bill was closer to $1000. However they did a good job and I feel confident that my teeth and gums are in good condition, which will reduce the risk of necrosis. I cannot have any dental surgery while I am on Xgeva. I am to have injections every 4 weeks until I see my Oncologist in February 2018.

My doctors have been very helpful, providing me with 6 months of necessary medications. Plans for leaving were going well until yesterday when I woke up with severe pain in my hip, radiating to my back and knees. I could barely walk and I was worried that perhaps I had a fracture. So it was off to the ED at the Mater Hospital. After x-rays the diagnosis was no fracture, which was a relief. I was given stronger pain medication and sent home. The doctor advised me that the pain was probably due to cancer in the femoral head and acetabulum (the hip socket) rubbing together. For the record I had been driving a manual shift car and had driven 2 long trips a few days prior to the onset of pain. I feel sure that this aggravated my hip and caused pain.

Last night, dosed up on pain medication as prescribed, I slept well and woke feeling much less pain. The writing is on the wall. I need to be much more careful and take steps to prevent subsequent damage. I am trying out a 3 wheel walking frame with brakes. It will help keep me stable and hopefully warn others that I have a problem.

As I write, I am still in shock at hearing that my psa is up to 180. Hopefully it is just a blip. I will inform my medical oncologist of all recent developments via email, and we will see what happens next. We still intend to fly out next week as planned. Life is for living, not hanging around waiting for medical verdicts. We have done enough of that in the past 4 months. A cruise to Alaska is a distinct possibility at this time if we can get a last minute booking. Holland America Cruises, here we come!!

My sincere appreciation to all my blog mates with gratitude for your support.

Flight to Australia

After receiving my latest psa, we made the decision that I should return to Oz as soon as possible. We went to Vancouver Airport to arrange a flight. The young lady at the Delta check in, said she could get me on a flight May 1. There would be a $300.00 penalty payment. We asked if it could be waived. She said she had already waived a good part of it. Then my hero, S, stepped in and said, “this is a medical emergency, my partner has cancer and needs urgent treatment.” The young lady said she would see what she could do. When she came back she said her supervisor had waived the whole fee, and also they would arrange for me to have a window seat (which I wanted) and also a vacant seat beside me on both flights! Wow! What great service Delta. And all on just a few days notice….

On the flight day, I went through US customs at Vancouver airport. There were no problems, it was a very smooth process. I have a 90 day visa for the US. At LAX there would be no Customs to worry about and no bags to transfer, easy!

We took off over the water, and I got some glimpses of Vancouver Island. After that there was lots of cloud until about halfway to LA. We passed over Lake Tahoe and I got some video. I got some great shots. I could see a huge ski resort at Mount Rose just North of Lake Tahoe. The mountains were amazing, then it was miles and miles of farms around Fresno. The sun was out coming up to LA. We swung out over the sea and then circled back over LA before landing. It was a good flight with my empty seat beside me. The guy in the other seat slept all the way.

As I left the plane, I saw a man with a wheelchair, holding a sign with my name on it. So I got a wheelchair ride to the departure lounge. It was not far like last time, but I was grateful not to have to walk. My hip hasn’t been too bad lately but I don’t want to aggravate it. No customs, no baggage to worry about. I had a nice dinner and the 5 hours went quickly thanks to scintillating conversation with my Darling S on Facebook Messenger.

When I boarded the big 777 for the long crossing of the Pacific, I discovered I had 3 seats all to myself and mine was the only bag in my overhead locker. After take off a woman asked if she could sit in my aisle seat. They had put her in the middle with two fatties. She was going to Perth, so of course I was fine with that. The rest of the plane was full. How good was that. The lady who arranged my flight deserves a medal! All credit to S too, she was most persuasive and I am sure she arranged the wheelchair.

I watched 3 movies en route. Lion was good, but not exactly bedtime stuff. At the end they showed the real people and you saw his adopting parents meeting his mother. Bit of a tear jerker that one. That started me missing S again, so I had a bit of a teary moment!

After a while I watched Manchester by the Sea. I didn’t really like it. It was about dysfunctional people and I kept waiting for the good bit, but I must have missed it!

Later I watched The Meddler. Susan Sarandon. I loved it. Had me laughing out loud at times. A great movie, I can recommend it.

Later in the flight we had some turbulence and I opened my blind and had a look. There was the Southern Cross, just above the wing. I looked down and there were all the lights of Fiji. What a beautiful sight. You could see the different islands like jewels of light in the black.

The sun rose an hour before Sydney. There was very thick cloud. It was a bit better when we arrived, we did a big circle over Sydney before landing and I was able to shoot some good video despite the partial overcast. The captain gave a really good talk about Sydney as we circled. It was a good flight. The hardest thing was trying to get comfortable. My new neck pillow was a big help. When I left the plane there was no wheelchair for me. Apparently the guy was late getting there I learned later. There was a huge crowd of passengers all trying to figure out the passport check machines. I was getting pretty tired by this so went straight to Customs. I had declared that I had “restricted drugs or medications”. I expected to be searched, but the Officer just took one look at me and said “medications?”. I said yes, he said go to aisle 6. I could see people lined up in rows to go through the x ray machines, then I discovered aisle 6 went straight to the exit. My cousin was waiting to take me to her place, where I had breakfast and crashed for the day. I had been awake for 60 hours!