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Dyslexia

Finally.

After trying to find out what Zander sees when he reads I finally understand. Last night he explained it to me in such a logical way. This is not the first time I asked: just the first time I understood.

I want to explain how he sees it. Just maybe it could help someone else.

Basically he sees the spaces between words first. Then he sees letters between the spaces that are scrambled in a way.

Somewhat like this:

This si how he seses teh dswor hatt he rades.

He has to unscramble words before reading them.  I am glad that I now understand why he battles but it saddens me to such an extend.
I can never fix that. I am just glad he doesn’t have to cope with it at school anymore, where the biggest bullies were the teachers.

I love you, Zander! More than all the scrambled words you can make.


Hi, it’s me

It feels as though I should introduce myself, my life and my many children.

2020 sucks. Too many losing their jobs. So much heartbreak around us. I lost my sweet little Bella to cancer after all she went through. I miss her when I wake up, I miss her when I go to sleep.

I had an operation two weeks ago to remove a growth in my throat 11x7x5 cm. Rather big BUT benign so that is all that matters. Since it is lockdown we couldn’t have any visitors. I was so lucky to have had an old school in the bed next to me. She took such great care of me.

Zander had an operation on his toes. They had to loosen the ligaments and scratch away bone so that his toes could straighten out. Four weeks later and he is still in pain.

Financially it is tough. I’m not going to lie. I would not have made it without my parents.

Kyla is now homeschooling as well. We just couldn’t with the Department of Education anymore. No plans at all as to when school would open but the children were getting behind by the day. So many a child at home now. Even Jason’s friend Armando is here to school most days.

I actually missed blogging. I should do it more often.


Covid-19 better known as Corona virus 🦠

When the virus broke out in Wuhan China, I didn’t think much of it. This was January 7, 2020. I found it interesting that some believed Dean Koontz predicted the virus in his book The eyes of Darkness.

Since it seemed that the virus would only stay in China I wasn’t worried too much. I would follow the news as always but it wasn’t the first article I would read.

Then the virus started to spread. first to Thailand, then the USA, Nepal, France, Australia. The spread was due to individuals traveling to those countries. Africa seemed pretty safe until tourists or South Africa came back from overseas trips.

Our epidemic started when 11 people returned from Italy. Eleven people and now we are on a 21 day lockdown.

Italy has pretty much given up. I have never seen such devastation in a man as when their prime minister said:”We have lost control”

Back to South Africa again. Our president did not take long to stand up and take control. Our lockdown is meant to last from 27 March until 16 April.

Will it be enough? We don’t know but we need to try. So far it looks as though it is flattening the curve however we don’t think our people living in locations are getting the treatment they need and therefore the country doesn’t have the correct figures. Maybe with the mobile clinics going out they will be diagnoses and get the treatment they need.

So how does this affect my family?

  • Luckily school is just the same for the homeschoolers.
  • Kyla gets her work from school via whatsapp and I think she has finally realized that homeschool is not for her 😉
  • Quintus misses his friends terribly.
  • Walter is with his brother and I am sure he is having a good time,
  • Me however, I’m constantly anxious. I have to tell myself to relax my jaws.
  • I am so worried about finances. I know I can work from home but if “my companies” aren’t working, I have no work to do. I have a lot of money outstanding but people aren’t paying and I am sure for a while they won’t.
  • I worry about our economy and if it can recover from this.
  • I worry because I could not go for my 6 month cancer check up. The big one. With scans and sonar and mri. I know it’s crazy but that is what cancer does to you.
  • I worry because Jason can’t have his operation. Chance of recovery must get worse every day. I mean he already has arthritis between the fibula and tabula.
  • I feel horrible that Zander worked so hard to achieve SA Level 2 and now it has been postponed and more likely cancelled. He also can’t practice at all now. Loosing all the hard work he had been putting in both in pool annd with the biogenetic trainer.
  • I have many other worries that is not corona related so I won’t mention them.

I’m going to repost something many people have posted on Facebook. Just so that I don’t forget how it was. How normal it felt to be lock inside our own homes.

Just so I NEVER forget

Gas prices at a record low.

School cancelled till April 17, but I think it may be longer.

Self-distancing measures on the rise.

Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers 2m (6ft) from each other.

Limited number of people inside stores, therefore lineups outside the store doors.

Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.

Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.

Entire sports seasons cancelled.

Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.

Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.

No masses, churches are closed.

No gatherings of 100 or more, then 50 or more.

Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.

Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.

We are to distance from each other.

Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.

Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.

Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels and no hand sanitizer.

Shelves are almost bare.

Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.

Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.

Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.

Daily updates on SA’s new cases, recoveries, and deaths.

Barely anyone in the street or on the roads.

People wearing masks and gloves outside.

Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.

Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic….. nations world wide go into lockdown to protect their people.

One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious. To not take the things we dearly love for granted.


He can read … he just can’t read

Unless you are the parent of a dyslexic child, you don’t know what it feels like to watch him struggle.  You don’t know how it feels when you sit down and feel inadequate because you aren’t sure you are helping him enough.

I see the reality of this daily.  As a homeschool mom, I’m doing my utmost best to make things as easy as possible but yet leave him to feel able to do things himself without getting frustrated.

Just so you know…he will never outgrow it.  No amount of reading will made it ‘better’.

At a gala last year he wanted to buy some raffle tickets.  I saw him take the form but he just stared at it.  I asked Quintus to quickly go over and help him.  Zander couldn’t read what he had to complete.  He was standing between his fellow friends and teammates and couldn’t read.  Thankfully he has amazing brothers.

Last week, I gave him the card to withdraw money for the first time.  It was just us, so I knew he would be okay to alone.  My car was parked right next to him.  He just stared at the screen.  I thought to myself that surely the machine must be broken or something.  It can’t take that long.  I got out of the car and when I got to him, he asked me to read the words on the screen.  He couldn’t make out what it said.

I’m not saying he can’t read.  He can.  Not everything.  Not in every single font.  He needs help when it is a certain font.  He concentrates so much to read that he tends to forget what he read.  Is he intelligent.  Hell yes.  When I teach him via drawings or my very own funny acts, he remembers everything.  Even dates (which I really can’t)

I lie in bed at night, worried about him.  Will he be okay?  Probably but it will take more for him to be okay than it will for non-dyslexic children.

As much as many people believe it is something they can get over, I promise you so do I.  Unfortunately, that is  not the reality.


I don’t want to learn

If there is one child in our family that has the most interesting excuses, it will be Kyla.

A recent example would be her maths marks.  I told her many times that she should be learning. I could see that she wasn’t giving it her all, if any.  She definitely didn’t try more than I would try to run a 100m sprint.

You know how it is.  You get tired of asking and at some stage decide they must man (girl) up and take responsibility.

Well….she did in a very weird and her own way.

She did badly!  Not at all near the normal good marks she gets. When I asked her why she said: “I decided not to learn because I didn’t want to be cross all the time and upset everyone.  So I decided to just not learn”

I could only laugh.


What do I know …

I saw a client this morning who knows two of my children are homeschooled.

She wanted to know who teaches them. Who gives them their classes. Well, I do I replied.

What do YOU know? (In a very accusing you-are-messing-up-their-lives tone of voice) Are you a qualified teacher? What do you know about maths for example.

Well…I told her that I got 98% for maths at university. I think I know enough.

It bothered me all afternoon. How dare she. This is actually the first time that someone has asked me this to my face. Dared to judge my decision, my parenting to my face.

Tonight though I realized one of the things I do know. I know that I have a dyslexic child who just asked me to explain his maths work because he didn’t quite grasp it and he didn’t want to wait until tomorrow. A child who wants to learn.

So no, I don’t have a degree in teaching but I do know my child better than anyone else. I know to encourage him to want to learn and not force him to do so.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand” Albert Einstein


My biggest wish

Friday we were busy with Afrikaans and part of our work for the day was to conduct interviews.  Jason was promptly nominated as the first person to be interviewed and as always we had some brilliant answers from him and spent most of the time laughing.  He really could be a standup comedian.  Homeschooling would not be the same without him.

Some of the questions were very straight forward…the usual what is your favourite food, colour etc.

Zander was also interviewed and one of the questions asked was what is you biggest wish.

“My biggest wish is to be able to read.”

There was a very short moment of silence, where both Jason and I knew we had to handle this answer the correct way.  We don’t want him to feel any less because he battles to read.  We want to acknowledge the fact that he does, as well as give him praise because he never gives up.

My heart broke.  In that very moment my heart broke for him.  Why should his biggest wish be to be able to read?  Why not to meet his hero (who BTW he said was me), get the newest electronic game, new cellphone or whatever it is that young boys desire?  Why the ability to read fluently?  Life can be very unfair.

However, I am very proud of him.  Proud that he is not embarrassed to admit he is dyslexic.  That is doesn’t mind asking for help if he is not sure how to read a word.  He is fine with the fact that his friends will correct his spelling.  I’m proud that he actually types whatsapp messages instead of sending voice-notes.  Not the lazy kind of typing (where typing 2morrow is such a time-saver!  What on earth will you do with that extra split seconds you saved)  No, even my dyslexic son takes the time to type out the words.

Zander, I love you.  I love how you accept the hand dealt to you even though I know it can’t be easy. I will forever be proud of who you are.

Remember that you are allowed more than one wish.

Love,

Your greatest supporter

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Parenting

Parenting is darn difficult.

You might be the perfect an amazing baby parent but then battle with your toddler.  Toddlers and babies might drive you insane but teenagers seem easy.

Raising your child changes all the time.  It changes as your child gets older.  Things that worked before, might not work at all now.

I had some parenting battles this past year.  Not all the time but some days were bad.  I felt as though I was losing my relationship with my child.  Something I never ever want to happen.

We had always been close (as I am with all my children) but then something changed and he seemed to drift further and further away from me.

It came to a point where I either had to discipline the heck out of him or work on getting our relationship back together. I chose the latter.

This brought some judgement from others and it got me thinking.  Look, I don’t like judgement.  I don’t think any of us have the right to judge others.  We don’t know what really goes on in their lives and cannot judge based on the little bits we actually see and know.

I was just thinking how raising your child is such a balance.  A balance between being fair to all the children.  Disciplining them equally but not the same?  If you understand what I mean?  Not all children react the same discipline.  However, not just the discipline but also knowing when to discipline and when to see the bigger picture.  When discipline will just push your child further away and into more danger than just trying to find what can work for both of you.

I don’t want to say who this child is but please know that you are loved beyond measure.  I will do anything to keep you (a) safe and (b) happy.

Soos die son


Oh cancer

Dear cancer

Two people that I personally know, in two weeks.  You have stolen two people, in two weeks.

Fuck you, okay?

Fuck you.

Now I have to hear that my cancer markers keep increasing.  Quite substantially the last 3 months.  Well, fuck you again.  You will not find a place to hold onto in my body.  Not again.

Fuck you, cancer.

Fuck you.

 


A lot has changed

The past year and a half has been tough.

First the cancer diagnoses, chemo, radiation and then a mental breakdown followed by (or being the cause of) divorce.

We are nowhere near divorced.  I might have to change lawyers?  I don’t know. Nothing has changed since the first time we went to see her.

I’m purchasing the house.  We’ve painted it in colours we love, for instance my room is grey and red.  Pretty much every room has one wall in a chosen colour and the others grey.  It looks stunning.

I changed my surname back to my maiden name yesterday.  That felt pretty freeing. Can’t wait to get my ID card.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride.  It has been emotionally tough  on me.  When I needed support, I was asked for a divorce.

Oh well.  Here we are.  Almost five months later and I’m still alive.


Bella

Our Bella is very sick. Again.

We took her to the Vet on Thursday and he said that he didn’t think she would make it to the end of this weekend. She was just too weak. Her heart battling too much.

He did pick up that her sugar was very high again and we increased her insulin

Loads and loads of hugs and love and she got better! Much better.

Then last night one of our other dogs bit her 😥 She got such a fright. That poor heart. He bit right through her bottom lip, making it near impossible for her to eat.

She was doing so much better.

Again though, love is getting her through this. She is doing better. Not well yet but better.

She is such a fighter.


Officially in remission!

Life has been especially rough and painful lately. Stories for another blog.

However it did influence me finally going for my scans and blood test.

I saw my oncologist today and I’m officially in remission!!

FUCK YOU cancer. You do not scare me. Not during the treatment and not now. You have no hold on me.

Yes. I will always have that nagging worry in the back of my mind but that is where it will stay.

Had to have cake and coffee with my parents and Michael to celebrate.

Sorry caner:

Melany 1 – Cancer 0


Ignorance

Ah, I do find people who have an opinion on something they know nothing of, very funny.

Schools started on Wednesday and some of the homeschool parents decided to get together and celebrate “not back to school”.

I picked Jason up from a friend just before the get-together (who also homeschool) when an older man stopped next to us.

He asked us why the children aren’t in school and we explained that they are homeschooled. He looked at us with that typical this-is-not-right look and drove on. He then reversed and said “Well as long as they know how to answer a phone one day… ”

I just had to laugh.

He said that to a child who will be an accountant and already has plenty of experience.

Another who wants to become an architect.

Uhm, yeah they will be able to answer a phone. All CEO’s know how to answer a phone.


2018

Oh 2018, if you were a human I would tell you to fuck off. Not good to see you go. Not bye. Just fuck off.

It has been, without a doubt, the toughest year of my life.

My poor body. What a fight it had to fight to make it to the end of this year. Rounds and rounds of chemo, chemo allergy, hospitalization, blood thinner injections, blood tests, sonars, xrays, MRI, radiations, operations, burns… The list is longer than I wish to remember. It was no walk in the park and in all honesty it is still not. My breast still hurts, my legs are in constant pain (sometimes agony) and my feet are permanently sore. All thanks to the side effects of my last chemo.

Emotionally I’m not in a good place. I’ve had some serious parenting downs and after finishing my cancer treatment I’ve been emotional. I don’t know why, I just am.

I’ve come to realize that people I thought would be there for me, would not. They did not support me in the way I deserved and they should have.

There were obviously some good times and good people who came into my life. For that I am thankful. I’m still alive and in remission (as is my mom) and for that I’m hugely thankful. I have a special, very honest and open relationship with my children. Different from most parents I think and for that I’m thankful.

2018… Off you will fuck.


Grade 6 – Done and dusted

So this wasn’t the easiest of years.

Zander recently told me that I was often short-tempered this year.  I was rather suprised.  That is something that I work hard at not to be.  I homeschool him to give him a better education.  An education with less stress.  Being short-tempered would go against what I’m trying to do.  I do understand though.  I had to homeschool while getting chemo, while ending up in hospital too often, through operations and radiation. All while supporting my mom as much as I could.

It was a tough year.  Yet, here we are at the end of it and he excelled.  He has an average of 79% with 3 distinctions.  I could not be more proud.  I could not be more proud because he managed to work harder when I was able to.  I’m proud because he never ever complained – even when I was short-tempered.  I’m proud because he is such a good kid.  He is sweet, caring and has the biggest heart.  He does his best to be easy-going.  He is very much like my dad.

We had his art class prize-giving this week.  He goes there every Wednesday, the entire morning.  That’s his Wednesday “school” (which means that we had to fit school into just 4 days a week!)  He loves it.  He loves Aunty Amanda.  He loves all his friends there.  It’s just perfect for him.

She mentioned that we must remember that we are firstly their moms.  That building character is just as important as education.  That the matric certificate you get to show during an interview takes a few seconds for them to look at but it’s the character that will be the deciding factor in the end.  It’s very true.

I think he built a lot of character this year.  He has grown up some.  Sooner than I wanted to, he had to cope with my illness.  The possibility of losing both his mom and Ouma.  He had to cope with seeing us in hospital (too often), sick and barely able to move around.

He did it though.  He did it with much help and love from his brothers and Kyla.  He is one amazing little guy.

Enjoy your holiday, Zander.  Can’t believe you are almost in High School!


Six months

Today, six months ago I had my last chemo treatment.  SIX months.  It feels like ages and yesterday all at the same time.

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I look better.  I have hair.  I look healthy (fat but healthy)  I look normal actually.  People think I chose this crap hairstyle.  Yes, crap because it’s still not near proper.

I’ve read an article lately.  Just some extracts:

The pain, the scars are a constant reminder that I have changed so much.  How could I not.  But at the end of the day, I’m still me.

This is the part I’m struggling with now.  On the outside I look healthy.  You don’t look at me at the grocery store and make eye contact and think “Oh that poor girl, I bet she has cancer”  On the inside though, I’m constantly reminded that I had cancer.  In the shower, it’s all the scares.  The weight gain.  I don’t have … my body hurts all the time.  I’m tired.  I never forget I had cancer.

I fear that other people have forgotten, will forget and expect me to be back to normal.  I fear that when I can’t focus at work or more recently forget everything because of chemo brain. It is not just a funny excuse.  It’s real.  That people are going to get mad at me.  When I cancel plans because I am still so tired.  All the time.

This is cancer.  This is real.  This is life after you ring the bell.

It’s not completely like that for me. I definitely don’t want pity, it’s not that I want others to feel sorry for me. I found some truth in it though.  I have so many clients who actually thought I chose this hairstyle and they had no problem to comment on how it doesn’t look proper.  Even though I just smiled, it hurt.  I didn’t choose this.

I’m in pain.  Every day.  My legs are in agony thanks to the last chemo I had.  I can’t stand long periods of time.  I can’t walk far.  I hide it.  I don’t want sympathy. I hope that will get better.

I can’t breath.  It’s like my one lung just can’t get enough air. I know that will get better.

I forget things…the names of things all the time.  I feel so stupid.  I know that will get better.

I’m tired.  I’m always tired.  I wake up tired.  Go to bed tired.  I know that will get better.

I do less than I used to. I know it will get better.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’m still here.  I get to be with my children.  I get to spend time with them.  I get to tell them I love them.

For that I’m hugely thankful.  That’s what I focus on.  Just don’t expect me to be 100%.

I’m not there yet.


When he got his license – twice

Not many people can say that got their license the first time…twice.

Well, since we do like doing things differently Quintus can now say he got his license twice, the first time.

See he went for his driver’s license on Thursday last week.  He did absolutely everything right.  More than enough points to go on both his road and yard test.  Then right before he finished his road test the instructor asked him to cross lanes at an intersection.  Look, we all know they try to catch you but this was blatantly wrong and I’ll explain why.  While crossing lanes at an intersection is an @sshole thing to do in my opinion, it is not breaking a traffic law.  That is why if you look on the form they instructors fill in, it is a 3 point penalty.  Not breaking a traffic law.  If he got the 3 point penalty he would STILL have passed with flying colours.

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See, he was the only one there that day.  Literally the only person in the office building with the instructor.  And then me when I walked in after the test.  He added up all the points, did not write that he failed.  He even started drawing him a picture as to what he did wrong!?  Still didn’t write on the test that he failed.  He looked at me, I didn’t say anything and then he failed him.

Only later did I think of the fact that the only reason he failed him was because he wanted us to “ask him if he is hungry”.  I’ve just never done that before.  I don’t bribe people.

He continued to tell Quintus that his driving is really good and that he would definitely get his license on Monday.

I spoke to the lady who did Quintus’ driving lessons (best person to go to BTW) and she was livid.  She was actually the one to point out to me that he could not fail on that!!!  That he had passed!!!  I was SO upset.  I wanted to go back and give him a piece of my mind but what would it help?  They would just make sure to fail him the next time he went.

So he went again yesterday.  I was SO stressed.  What if he failed this time?  I mean failed because he did something wrong.  Well, he didn’t.  He got his license.  Since it was a illegal unnecessary fail the first time around, this was him getting his license for the first time this time.

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SO proud.  The whole family so happy for him.  A happy time.  Until he wanted to actually GET his license paper.  It took 2,5 hours!  First a forever wait in line to get his fingerprints done.

Then after waiting in line to pay, they said he needed more photos.  So he had to leave the line and go get a photo taken.  He had to fall in the line again at the back!  Get to the front and the lady tells him that he didn’t pass.  The computer said he didn’t pass!  He had to go to the other department again and speak to the instructor so that she could fix it.

Back again and he had to stand at the back of the line AGAIN.  Gets to the front and the instructor had taken out some of his papers, so he didn’t have everything he needed to pay! He had to leave the line AGAIN and go back to the instructor.  The lady then continued to tell him that he won’t be allowed back into the building until after lunch.  So he would have to wait another 40 minutes.

Some swear words later, he got the missing papers and just opened the door and walked right back in and to the back of said line AGAIN.

This time he came out with a somewhat grin on his face and his license in his hands!  FINALLY a licensed driver.

It was a long weekend….  where he just wanted to drive and I felt that he could because he actually HAD his license but he didn’t have it, so no he could not drive.  Now that he does, I haven’t seen much of him 🙂  As it should be.

Congratulations Quintus.  Please always be safe.  I need you here with me.  Remember you have the lives of others in your hands.

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Wesvalia Matriekafskeid 2018 (37)


Grade 6 week

The public school children went on their Grade 6 tour two weeks ago. Since I try to give Zander the same opportunities and more as his public school friends, I decided to give him a little tour of his own.

We went zip-lining on Tuesday.  It was a first for all three of us (Jason went with, since it was just days after finishing my cancer treatment and I didn’t know how my body would cope).  We loved it.  My body … not so much.  Shame, the one guy was actually very worried about me.  In the end I could barely get onto the bakkie.  I couldn’t speak, I was so out of breath.

Let’s focus on how much fun it was though!  Poor Zander was a tad light and on the last zip-line he got stuck on the line.  His weight could not bring him all the way down.  He handled it like a pro though and just enjoyed the view while waiting for them to get him down.

That Thursday we decided that it will have be an educational trip, so took him to the Cradle of Mankind.  He then went into the Sterkfontein Caves with my dad.  This was a big deal, since he has claustrophobia.  He did so well though.  He loved spending the day with my dad.  There is something special about learning from your grandparents.

We knew that the school were spending their last day at Gold Reef City.  So we planned our week in such a way that we would be there at the same time.  Quite a gamble since it’s a big place and we might spend all day looking for his friend.  We were lucky though and managed to find him.  Zander spent most of the day walking around with him.  I was SO proud of him.  He went on almost all rides.  Even ones with a 9/10 fear rating!  My poor dad went on one of the rides with us and was sooooo sick afterwards.  I felt so bad for him.  Gold Reef City was definitely the highlight of the week for Zander.


Pocket money

I really am blessed with children who have the most caring personalities.

Zander and I were driving in the car yesterday when he said the following:

“Mom, I get R100 pocket money”   I want to give R25 of that to …… and R25 to ….. because they don’t have a lot of money.

Now, R25 is not going to buy them much if anything but that is not the point.  He is willing to give away half of his pocket money because those families have less than us.

How absolutely sweet of him to be thinking of these families.  We weren’t talking about people with less money than us or how blessed we are.  They were just on his mind and he wants to help.

I do love that child very much.

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What did you do?

What did you do when you turned 16?

Well, Jason spent his afternoon donating blood.

 

He has been wanting to donate blood ever since I was diagnosed with cancer.  However he was still too young and could only do so once he turned 16.  He wouldn’t wait one day longer and did it on his birthday.

You make me so proud, Jay.  Such a selfless act and in honour of me.

He received two gifts, since it was his first time.  On our way home Jason saw a homeless man and gave the scarf he received to him.

Thank you for being the awesome son you are.

Happy birthday.  I hope that life treats you well.  That you will have more smiles than tears.  That you will learn from your mistakes.  That you will always know that you are much loved.

Soos die son.

 


Remember when

Remember when you first have your baby and you don’t sleep at night?  You tend to think that’s the worst part of being a parent.  The no sleep.

Then it’s their 2nd birthday and it’s almost as if tantrums were in one of the gift boxes.

Then at three where they believe they can do everything themselves and heaven forbid if they want to wear a unicorn outfit with elephant shoes and they can’t find something like that.

Then school, first exams, first love … and heartbreak.

It doesn’t compare.

Giving your child their first car.  That’s tough.  Yes, I know there will be other things even more scary but this is his life.  The lives of his friends, in a car.

I hope you understand how much I love you and how much I need you here with me.

Congratulations on your first car, Quintus.

Please be safe.

I love you.

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Hair and radiation

Let’s just start with the fact that my hair seems to like being this short! So much for hair growing out faster after chemo. 🙄

I started radiation on the 2nd of July. Blond and short hair as I started my first session. I remember seeing one of the chemo nurses and we spoke about hair. She wanted to see if my hair has grown much and she commented on how white my hair was. I personally loved the idea of blond hair.

Jump to the following morning, the day after chemo. All of a sudden I have short, DARK hair!! Literally the next day.

Coincidence, maybe but wow the very next day after my first radiation?

Oh well, so there goes the blond hair. Thought I might be blond again, like when I was younger.


Lesser known side effect

There are so many side-effects when it comes to cancer treatment, that I don’t think it’s possible to name them all.  Some less important, that doesn’t affect your day-to-day life too much and others that do.

When they realized I was allergic to the chemo … the second one and then the third they gave me because I was allergic to the second one.  Go figure.

Anyway, they mentioned that my nails might fall off.  I shrugged it off.  Who’s nails just fall off!?

Apparently mine.  Although I’m doing all I can to keep them, while giving my nails the chance to grow out healthy.

Unfortunately I had already put gel on my one hand before I thought of taking a photo.  My right hand is the worst.  Where my nails are white, they are no longer attached to my finger.  Imagine putting your hand in your pocket, picking up anything, taking something out of a bag.  All with nails that lift up.  I’m trying though.  Trying to protect them.

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I honestly hope that they won’t completely fall off.  One can only live in hope.

 


First radiation appointment

I searched the internet for days. I could not find anything about the very first radiation appointment. I didn’t want information on the first radiation session but on the first appointment.

What happens when they say they measure you? What do you wear. Do you have to get undressed (you know, for matching underwear’s sake)

So, for the sake of keeping record and someone else searching for the same answer, here goes.

It is not the same as getting radiation on your face. This I know from when Tommie had skin cancer and got radiation for that. There they make a mask that you will wear with every session. The mask gets fixed to the table so that you can’t move. Since I am claustrophobic, I am hugely thankful I don’t have to do that.

I met up with one of the nurses, who went through the treatment with me. How many sessions and what it will cost. Let’s just say that I am thankful that we have medical aid. I signed many a form and got some advice on ointment I could use. I was also told that I could not get any water on the radiation site, which basically means I won’t have a proper bath for that seven weeks and four weeks after radiation stops. Here’s to hoping that we have a long winter.

After that I went to radiology for a scan. Well, they gave me a little piece of cloth that is supposed to go around my chest. I will wear this at every session. I found it hilarious. There I was lying with said boob cloth and they pull it up to take measurements and put it back. Over and over again. I mean really….were they trying to hide my breast from me because clearly they needed to see. (Yes, I know most people feel more comfortable having it covered) Also, once radiation actually starts I will feel more comfortable being covered too).

My arms were up in some contraction and off I went into the machine. Lights were used to make sure I was correctly positioned. Once they were happy, I got my very first tattoo ever. Then three more. Just four tiny dots to make sure I lie in the same position every time.

Four tiny dots that will a permanent reminder of what I have been through…