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04 February 2009

My cancer diary – part 2

When Lynn Ferreira went to a doctor with unexplained headaches, the diagnosis changed her life. This is part two of her story.

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When Lynn Ferreira went to a doctor with unexplained headaches, the diagnosis changed her life. She keeps friends and colleagues in the loop with emailed updates, and now she's sharing those with Health24 readers.

This is her second email. (Click here for her first email.)

Hey everybody!
Firstly, let me say how blown away I've been by all the love and support, phone calls, visits, flowers, chocs, mags and pressies I've been given. I feel truly blessed and you KNOW how much I love presents! Thanks so much to you all.

Well, here is a quick update as to where we are.

At home
My husband and I chatted to the girls on Wednesday night and told them I was in hospital because they had found some things in my head that were causing my headaches.

I asked them if they'd mind coming back a day earlier from their holiday so that they could see me in hospital as the "human pincushion". It's my own fault - in my attempt to avoid an extra needle prick in the MRI, they squirted the gooey stuff into the drip-thing which clogged it up so it wouldn't work when I got back in the ward. They had to replace it, and FOUR tries later finally got the damn thing in! Hence the human pincushion!

I had just finished speaking to the girls when the doc came in and said that, as I was obviously feeling much better, I would only have to stay in one more night and they could take the drip down in the morning. So I said: "I don't think so… my children are coming to see the human pincushion, so you can switch it off, but you can't take it out!"

Needless to say, I think he thought I was bonkers, but I really wanted the girls to see me looking quite normal and fine, and just with a drip in my arm - that would be their picture of mom in hospital.

As it turns out, he was extra efficient the next day and came in earlier than expected, so I eventually relented and let my husband take a picture of me with the drip carefully poised so we could get home! The girls were only mildly impressed by all the needle marks. Kids!

The surgery
The surgery is definitely scheduled for Thursday 20th December. I fear the surgeon might be a bit of a fisherman because the small little slit he first described seems to have grown somewhat! Yesterday he told me that it's actually going to be more like a 10 cm-long cut (kind of like the space between my thumb and forefinger), but in my hairline (thank goodness!).

The smaller of the twins (as my husband calls them) is actually quite far forward, just above my eyebrow, but more towards my ear. So, to avoid cutting on my forehead, the surgeon has to cut a long enough slit in my hairline to peel it back and get in there. I am seriously considering asking him to do a bit of a nip and tuck when he puts it back together again…

Anyway, the hole he is cutting will also be a bit bigger than the R2 coin size I'm sure he said at first - more like R5 size… so best he doesn't lose any of it!

I have to be in early on Thursday morning so they can put some markers on my head (apparently they just stick them on and they may have to shave a bit of hair), and then they will give me an MRI to match the outside of my head to the inside - so they get to dig in the right spot.

They apparently have this hi-tech gadgetry at Constantiaberg - big cameras suspended above you so that the surgeons have a very clear picture of what they're doing, and where they need to go.

As long as they don't ask me for directions, that's all I say! Once they've plotted and planned, the op should take about 2 hours. They are also going to put a monitor in my head to measure the pressure in the brain as this is apparently something you need to watch.

And get this! The monitor will have a little aerial that sticks out! So I'm going to be like a Tellytubby! The girls are hoping it's red so I'll look like Po who is, apparently, the nicest one.

The pathologist will be there to give an initial assessment of what T1 is, but we'll only get the proper path tests back on Monday 24th and we'll take it from there. I'm really hopeful (and the doc seems pretty optimistic) that I'll be home for Christmas. We can deal with T2 after that.

The risks
Well according to Doc White, the risks are the same as any other surgery – infection, bleeding and the effects of the anaesthetic.

Because the "littley" is so far forward - and because all the veins in the head run from the back to the front - there is very little risk of some other neural damage being done if they have to cauterise a blood vessel supplying some other part of the brain, as they are at the "end of the line". So that is good news too.

Until then
Until then I just have to lie low and relax at home. I did prepare a list of activities to quiz the doc about, regarding what I could and couldn't do, and I threw in some curve balls (like whether I could go scuba diving and bungi jumping this week) just to make sure that he was paying attention.

Now I really believe that he thinks I'm cuckoo! I've got a gazillion pills to take every day and I swear I'm going to start rattling soon, but they're there to get the swelling down and to protect my brain some more.

I'm feeling great and very happy to be home again, and I feel completely surrounded by love, support and prayer. Thanks to all of you and please just keep it up!

Have a super fab holiday. You'll hear from us on Thursday afternoon, I'm sure.

Lots and lots of love

Me

This mail was dated December 14, 2007, entitled Quick Update Before the Holes.

And on the day of the surgery her husband sent the following update.

Hello everyone

Some of you already know from the SMS network, but Lynn's surgery went very well. The doctors managed to remove the small tumour (Thing 1) from the front of her brain, and I am please to say she did not call me Bob or come back all "bedonnerd". She did start trying to organise us, so we figured that her brain is very much intact and as it has always been.

I would really like to thank everyone for the support, good wishes and especially the prayers. You have all been incredible, and it is exceptionally special to see how many lives my dear wife has touched. We have been feeling very much at peace recently and it's a peace that only comes from God, because it sure was not from little us alone. So, thanks again.

Lynn is currently still in ICU, but will hopefully be moved to a normal ward tomorrow. Once she is there I'm sure you can all expect another, far more eloquent and witty, instalment in this saga.

Anyway, I'm a bit tired now, (she woke me up at 4am this morning to start getting things ready), so I'm off to bed.

Thanks again to everybody

God bless
Andre

- (Lynne and Andre Ferreira)

Click here for Lynn's first email.
And, Click here for Lynn's next message.

Read more:
My cancer diary - part 1
My cancer diary - part 2
My cancer diary - part 3
My cancer diary - part 4
My cancer diary - part 5
My cancer diary - part 6
My cancer diary - part 7
My cancer diary - part 8
My cancer diary - part 9
My cancer diary - part 10
My cancer diary - part 11
My cancer diary - part 12
My cancer diary - part 13
My cancer diary - part 14
My cancer diary - part 15

Cancer Centre

 
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