Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Hubris & Nemesis

En français ci-dessous.

2nd edition with French translation. Warning: Using the French translation for academic purposes could be dangerous for your grades and ambitions.

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I've been bragging on the French health system. Well, everyone's got problems. I'll try to keep to the short version.

As near as I can figure, another hospital is having staffing problems and the oncologist from my hospital is spending half her time there. Or something. Whatever, she has not responded to any of my phone calls for 3 or 4 weeks, so that I haven't been able to complain, yet again, that the current chemo protocol is totally ineffective.

In addition to being able to feel the tumours with my fingers, I am losing control of my bladder. To empty it requires pushing on my stomach and there are occasional leaks. I believe, but may be wrong, that the sciatica that is crippling me is not caused by my usual back problem, but the tumors pressing on the nerve. So, finally, I arranged for a scan elsewhere, had a series of blood tests and, yesterday, saw an oncologist at the cancer institute in Avignon.

The bad news: My CA-125 is over 2000, again, the tumours have about doubled in size (I knew that without the scan) and have probably invaded my kidneys. I have an appointment with a urologist in Orange tomorrow afternoon and there is the possibility of radiology or surgery following that. He'll do the evaluation.

The good news: I have an appointment at the Léon Béard Center in Lyon next Friday. It is "the reference" for research/treatment centers in the region.

How I feel: Angry, leg in constant pain, not very mobile, pissed off, not exactly frightened, but somewhere in there, tired (platelets down to 35), annoyed and vulnerable.

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Mauvaise traduction du blog:

Je vantais le systeme des soins en France. Or, tout le monde a des problèmes. En court:

J'entends dire que l'hôpital de Montpellier manque des médecins et l'oncologue de l'hôpital de Montélimar passe une partie de son temps là-bas. N'importe. Elle n'a pas répondu à mes coups de fils depuis 3 ou 4 semaines, donc je n'était pas pu me plaindre, encore, que le protocol actuel de la chimio est completement inefficace.

Je peux toucher les tumeurs avec des doigts et je perds la mâtrise de la vessie. Il faut pousser sur la ventre pour la vider et, des fois, il y a des fuites. Je crois -- mais peût-être en erreur -- que la sciatique que me fait estropiée vient de la pression des tumeurs, pas du disque. Enfin, j'ai eu le scanner ailleurs, a fait faire une prise de sang et, hier, a vu un oncologue à l'Institut Sainte Catherine à Avignon.

Les mauvaises nouvelles: Le CA-125 est à plus de 2000 de nouveau, les tumeurs sont deux fois la taille qu'ils ont eu en mai (j'ai le dirais sans scanner) et ont envahi les reins. J'ai un rendez-vous avec un urologue à Orange demain soir et il y aura la possibilité de la radiologie our la chirugie après. L'urologue déciderait.

Les bonnes nouvelles: J'ai un rendez-vous avec un oncologue au Centre Léon Bérard à Lyon, la réference des soins pour la région, vendredi, 7 aôut.

Comment je vais en moi: fachée, jambe douleureuse, pas très mobile, fachée, pas exactement peureuse, mais un peu, fatiguée (plaquettes à 35), fachée, et vulnerable.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

"Dogs" and Dogs

There are gypsy caravans parked on the place, where we usually walk Nala and Van-Ly, next to the river. The gypsies are here for the fruit picking season. In our area: cherries and apricots and plums. Lower down: those plus peaches and nectarines.

The gypsies have dogs and, after a couple of days, two of them got up the nerve to wander over and check out the action.

Our "dogs" do the dog thing and sniff butts. They are not, however, into reciprocal sniffing. Nala tries avoidance. Van-Ly lifts her lip. Before she can attack, I make her sit.

The two dogs kind of get the message, but after five minutes of no further activity, the brown one bounces down into a play bow in front of Van-Ly. Now if there is one thing that annoys Van-Ly more than some moron trying to sniff her butt, it's a moron who thinks she wants to play. I make her sit, again.

Nala would be O.K. if the dumb dogs wouldn't insist on acting like dogs. Van-Ly is hopeless.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Terraces and Terracing

We have had our new friend, Thomas ("Toe-mah"), over to see if he can dig out in back of the house to make our terrace. Maybe, but there is no access for the digger and we'd have to hire the big builder to make a road first. Big bills. But Thomas had an idea.

The unpainted doors to the right are where the workshop machinery will go and above it will be the living room.

You can see the problem in the cutaway Nick made. The house is built into the mountain.

Here's the potential machine room, finally cleared after 2 months. (The manger still has to come out.) I can't show you a picture of the room above because it's not safe to walk in there.
Before starting the workshop, we knock down the current ceiling and install scaffolding. Then we knock out the rear wall of the upper story (living room) and dig from the inside, dumping the rocks and earth into the workshop. The stone we keep for terracing, so the mountain won't fall on the house, and Thomas will cart the dirt away.

We'll have a smaller terrace than originally planned, leading from the living room, and a glass wall, slightly recessed into the room. Stairs will take you to the upper garden level -- level with our neighbours terraces.

This is the design that Nick drew.

Talk about lemonade from lemons!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Not Perfect

If you have a weak stomach or a highly-developped sense of privacy, you might not want to read this. Some enquiring minds want to know.

The new chemo protocol gives me constipation, which lasts about a week. Trust me; dire rear is better. Whatever the pharmacist gave me doesn't really work. Combined with the the pressure on my bladder from the tumours, by yesterday it was bad enough to keep me in bed and calling the doctor. Then, last night I got a migraine, which lasted through this morning. There is no point in my taking anything for it at night. For some reason the pills don't work if I'm sleeping.

It is now noon on Monday and I feel fine, again. But I did want you to know I'm not perfect.

By the way, my CA-125 dropped a little, but not enough to be significant. What is significant is that it didn't go up.

I think I'm ready for Wii-Fit, again. Birthday present from Nick. I love having my own personal trainer.