when the going gets tough

Dear All,

I had my scans today and sadly they weren’t as good as I had hoped. The tumors in my lymphnodes and in liver have grown further, being actually even bigger then their original size from March 2011. They haven’t been treated since the 11th May this year ,when the brain tumors were diagnosed. The treatment had to be changed and the brain treated first. You can’t do both at the same time.

I was hoping through my anti-oxidant-diet and detox it might have an impact on the cancer but so far it hasn’t, or it is difficult to prove. However I’ve been feeling rather well ever since. I get the odd day where I don’t feel well but it still is rare. My oncologist said I should keep it up, but we have to respond to the cancer rather quickly, it just shows how aggressive it is. So for now I will start with the chemotherapy Xeloda, from tomorrow morning onwards, 8 tablets a day for two weeks, then a week break and then the 2nd cycle starts. We are still hoping for an approval from the Medical aid for Lapatinib which is more targeted and would be “added” to the chemo. This will hopefully happen within the next two weeks, but I will have to follow up with the Medical aid regularly. If it won’t get approved we have to consider paying it ourselves or to go for the “red bull” one. As I am taking things step by step I will make the decision closer to the time.

You might all ask, how do you feel now, Helen? Well, rather crappy. I just don’t feel like doing it all over and over again, but I do not have any other choice. When she showed me the list of side effects I thought….”not again”… but at the same time all of them ( vomiting, nausea, skin rashes, diarrohea, fever, appetite loss, chest pain, mouth sores) didn’t occur to me during my last 2 chemotherapies. So I hope and pray they won’t do this time either. Dr. Pienaar always gives me and my family  a positive and peaceful mind about the progress ahead, which helps a lot. But my hair started falling out yesterday and that makes me pretty sad too. I am just sick and tired of going through it again. I know it will grow back, and I know you get nice hats, and I also know no hair and short hair suited me quite well. But I am so happy the way my hair has grown, and now to start from the beginning…. I just had enough. And you will always relate your hair to the cancer obviously, so it is different to if you wanted it to be like that.

But that’s the way it is right now, and it doesn’t help to get upset about it. I accept that this is the path He has given to me and I know He will get me through it. I do not want to put any stress on myself, rather accept it and look forward and go ahead. I let the bad times happen, feel down, sad, upset, angry and frustrated but luckily the wonderful moments still dominate and life shows me it is so worthwhile fighting for. I am reading and chatting a lot with cancer survivors at the moment and it is amazing to see how people live with it and have overcome the dis-ease! It inspires me and keeps me going and I thrive in it.

I want to make my blog a bit more interesting and was also thinking of writing a book. I will have to get in contact with a publisher. Going through all these emotions (re-)capturing these times that i have experienced and those which are still coming up, will help me a lot to keep up the strenght and fighting spirit I carry.

So I am still “the harder the better”, that is for sure!

Much love,


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9 Responses to when the going gets tough

  1. Lindy Officer says:

    Oh Helen, so sorry to read about this setback, but want to commend you on your courage and conviction and for finding inspiration to write out of all this trauma you are going through. You are an inspiration to me and I am sure many people will benefit greatly from reading what you have to say. The words that Mordecai spoke to Esther come to mind, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14. Also “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who live him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. I have no doubt that the Lord will use you mightily as you write your book.

    Your faith and the honestly with which you share what you are going through, yet without any self-pity are admirable. Be assured of my continued prayers for your TOTAL healing.

    Much love,
    Lindy O

  2. Liandi says:

    Dear friend!
    I want to click the ‘like’ button on Lindy’s comment!! I agree with her in all she said.
    Today in this moment I’m sorry about the bad news you got…
    But I stand with you and we look up and still trust God in faith for TOTAL healing.
    Much love friend

  3. Alwyn says:

    Today we all were waiting for a different outcome, but through all of this I know you are in the best hands, God’s hands. I know that you will come through this my Love. You are such an inspiration to me. We will keep fighting and praying . I know that you are healed by His stripes. You ARE healed. Love you so much , cant wait to get married to you.

  4. Fanny Lacroix says:

    Dear Helen
    How you can remain so level-headed in the face of your illness amazes me. You truly are an inspiration. you are absolutely right, as odd as it might sound, it is important to accept, and, in a way, to “embrace” your illness before you can show it the door.
    I like your idea of writing a book. It’s going to be a great catharsis and your blog will form a really good basis. I am not a publisher, but editing is part of my training, so shout if there is anything I can do to help.
    Hope to see you soon
    Sterkte, vas byt, and all that.
    Fanny xx

  5. Johanna says:

    It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle. Richard M. DeVos
    You are truly an inspiration! & You will win this battle! Keep on fighting my dear friend! Never give up, stay strong & grow even stronger! We keep on praying for your complete healing! … I like your idea of writing a book 🙂

  6. Nikki says:

    I am sad
    but I am in awe of you
    I am worried
    but am tremendously inspired by you
    I want to help
    which makes me constantly think of you
    And then I feel happy
    Because that’s what I feel when I think of YOU


    • Aygül Özkan says:

      Very well expressed Nikki! This words explain exactly my feelings. Helen, I believe in you, your power, your will. Alwyn, you are also inspiring. Thank you for taking care of my wonderful Helen. I send you all positive energies. Love to you all, Aygül

  7. Philip Tarry says:

    You are AMAZING cous! can´t wait to read your book 🙂 X

  8. Bettina says:

    liebste helen! du bist unglaublich und so bewundernswert… ich schicke dir ganz viel zusaetzliche kraft aus new york! und das buch ist eine super idee!! gros bisous ma belle!! bettina

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