Updated 12 April 2017

My cancer diary – Part 13

After some chill-down-the-spine news and a few doses of cortisone Lynn gets an unexpected diagnosis – Andre fills us in on the details.


He e-mailed this message on 26 September 2008 with the subject line " Them stones, them stones ..."

I’m now fairly convinced Lynn’s body gets bored when things are going well.

Other than the upset of the liver spots after the PET scan a few weeks back she has been feeling and looking very well. Until last weekend that is. A low grade stomach ache was all the warning we got.

We should of course know by now that nothing is what it seems, but when the ache turned into a searing pain we assumed the return of the dreaded stomach ulcer again (past evidence to support my bored body theory). A quick visit to the local GP and a course of antacids seemed the sensible option.

So off we went. At home later the pain was not getting any better and the mega-maxi-knock-down-a-horse painkillers we had from a previous iteration of Lynn’s body getting bored were not having their usual effect. So it was back to the GP again.

After some consultation with Doc Wilson (the Oncologist) it was decided that the cause may be the liver tumours starting to inflame the liver’s outer lining. This is chill-down-the-spine kind of news, and to make matters worse the prescribed medication is none other than our old friend (or is that fiend) cortisone. This is the miracle medication that somehow manages to reduce swelling inside the body while making the outside swell up like a balloon.

We were not amused.

Anyway, after a day of cortisone things seemed to be getting better. Lynn did not need quite as many painkillers to sleep and we thought we had this one under control.

Not to be
Thursday started very early, around 3am, with Lynn waking me up and using language I’m sure she never learned at St Dominic's convent. We finished off the painkillers and waited somewhat impatiently for morning to arrive.

A call to Doc Wilson had us scheduled for a liver ultrasound and off we set for the familiar surroundings of Constantiaberg. It’s not really a good sign when you know the porters at a hospital by name...and they know you!

After some tense moments waiting in the ultrasound room for the doc to arrive the scan started. The was some um-ing and ah-ing from the doc who was looking for haemorrhaged ulcers and other equally nasty-sounding things. So far he was not finding anything. The liver twins were as they had been during the previous scan and the liver looked ok, all things considered, (well, that’s what the doc said – how they see anything in an ultrasound is beyond me, but I guess they have a course on that at med school. Imagine the faux pas – Congratulations my dear you have twins, oh no, wait, it’s liver tumours, sorry, my mistake. But, I digress)

Turns out Lynn has gall stones! Who would have thought. And not just one, but lots – less the one she passed on Tuesday that is. Apparently gall stones are fairly painful according to Doc Wilson (this we already knew). It is said about the pain that patients are often not afraid they will die - they are afraid they won't die.

What turned out to be a quick visit to the Doc for a scan ended up with Lynn being checked into Hotel Constantiaberg to have her gall bladder removed. The actual removal is fairly straight forward and is done through keyhole surgery, but with Lynn there is always some fun along the way. In this case it’s the fact that she is on Warfarin to thin her blood following a previous episode, and it further enhances my bored-body theory. They have to wait for the blood clot level to reduce to a more normal level before they bring anything sharp near her.

So, it looks like sometime next week Lynn will emerge pain free and without any gall.

Thank you very much to all those who (once again) sprang into action and prayed for us.

Never a dull moment with my dear wife, if only we could somehow keep her body from getting bored ...

- (Andre Ferreira, 26 September, 2008)

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

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