We humans like to plan and execute our lives specifically if possible. But every now and then Life wants us to know who is really in charge. And it ain’t us.
In early April, the day before we were to fly to Adelaide for my foot surgery, Don’s flight from Melbourne was cancelled and he couldn’t get back in time to go with me. Six months previously, way back in November, he woke up one morning, virtually blind in his left eye. He was in Melbourne and had a 10 day working trip ahead of him before he could get home to have his eyes checked. How he maintained his ‘cool’ I have no idea because the minute he was back home he was diagnosed and treated for Wet Macular Degeneration, an affliction that will certainly blind a person who is not treated. I was still recovering from a very nasty flu virus (even though I’d had the seasonal vaccine earlier) and was only barely coping on my own at home, and hoping to be well enough to fly to Adelaide for Christmas with our daughter. Two weeks prior to that, we’d had a micro burst storm in Alice that did massive amounts of damage in several suburbs. Seven months later we were still awaiting insurance repairs. I mention this because by the end of this post you will see this was one of many moving parts in our life these last months.
So, on the day we were to fly out for my surgery in Adelaide, Don had an appointment to have another in the series of eye injections to treat the Wet Macular Degeneration. Qantas cancelled his flight and he would not make it back in time for us to fly together to Adelaide as well as receive his treatment. We frantically rearranged his appointment with the clinic who was very short of staff to answer phones. This eventually meant I had to drive to the clinic and explain to them in person our situation. They know us both and were very helpful.
We had worked out that I would drive to the airport and leave our car in the parking lot, so that when Don flew in he could drive home for the night, have his injection the next day, fly to Adelaide later that day, and meanwhile I would fly ahead to Adelaide as planned and check into the hotel. Phew. Are you keeping up? Honestly, if I had known this was the start of a string of months like this…well, let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t know.
On that same day his flight was cancelled, as we exchanged hugs and the car at the airport, Don told me he had discovered results of the routine PSA test he’d had for prostate cancer was very high. It was a shock to us both as he has no other symptoms, family history or test results that would indicate any problems. But that’s the way prostate cancer works.
He was able to get an appointment with our GP the next morning who gave him paperwork to have a second PSA test done, just to double check. Once in Adelaide we discovered there was a lab very near our daughter’s house. He walked and had the test done there. The results were the same…21—anything above 3 is suspect. Not good. But PSA tests are notoriously unreliable for telling the whole story. More tests needed to happen. Don had an appointment to see a Urologist who then wanted him to have an MRI. We stayed on in Adelaide a few extra days to get that done because the waitlist here in Alice was about three or four weeks away. We were pushing our departure date of 14 June for an overseas trip to the US and UK, so we needed to keep things moving.
The Urologist felt certain he would need to do a biopsy and went ahead and scheduled one for five days after we had gotten home to Alice from nearly a month in Adelaide. The doctor’s experience was correct. The MRI showed a lump necessitating a subsequent biopsy for which Don had to return to Adelaide. It showed a stage 3 cancer in the prostate. We returned to Adelaide this week for Don to have a PET scan and see the specialist again. The doctor is fairly certain it will be treatable with hormones and radiation, which might knock Don around a bit. So I am finishing this post off from Adelaide…again. One wonders if we will soon have to declare a change of address.
Meanwhile, before leaving Alice, we celebrated my 70th trip around the sun on a beautiful, crisp winter-like day.
While I’m progressing well regarding the foot surgery, I’m no flash in the pan yet. On our second night here I fell over Leni-the-snuggle-dog’s access ramp. I had my arm full of clothes and didn’t see it. Lucky to be only bruised. We are the walking wounded, but no longer hobbling toward that overseas departure date. We cancelled the trip nearly a week ago. The doctor told Don not to cancel our plans, so we hadn’t. However, when the insurance company finally resurfaced, saying they would like to start the repairs from the November storm almost immediately, the pressures of everything were tipped into negative balance. Life need no longer show us who is in charge for a while. We’ll go where the flow seems to direct us…as best we can.