Sunday, May 31, 2009


My sister has had a bad week. It began the week before when she and her husband were told that a dear friend had cancer in the kidney and only a few months to live. She discussed with his wife how to help her travel regularly to the hospital. The next day they were told he had died just 15 minutes after his wife arrived at the hospital thinking she had a few months more with him. At least the suffering was short but of course the shock was great. The funeral was this week.

At least it did not cause a clash with her regular 3 month check-up with her dermatologist. This time last year I related how she had a melanoma removed successfully. She has been visiting the same dermatologist for 20 years. Dr Collins also treated our mother so I have met her. A message on the answer phone informed her the appointment had to be cancelled and to ring for details. On ringing she was told that Dr Collins had died last month of an aggressive brain tumour within 4 weeks of diagnosis.

Another close friend of hers has had cancer for a while and is having treatment. Their group went on a little holiday together a few weeks ago and it was upsetting to see this once capable woman who used to be the organiser needing to be helped around and bursting into tears because she felt helpless and a nuisance. She and her husband sold their house several years ago, travelled around Australia, invested their money and moved into a house owned by one of their children. Like for so many these days the investment has gone and they have just been told they are to be evicted by their own children.

With tears in her eyes my sister hoped this week will be better yet she is to have the first of her cataract operations on Wednesday so it will not be a week of unbridled joy.
Please pray that this now routine operation will go well.

I also had my yearly visit to the dermatologist 2 weeks ago. He put me onto the operating table and made 4 incisions on forehead, nose and neck to obtain pathology samples. I did the shopping with 3 large bandages over my face and neck.
I returned last week to remove the stitches and get the results. The nose was a mole, the neck will just need some ointment and freezing but the forehead is a basal skin cancer (the least invasive) and will need to be cut out on June 16. He will need to make a large incision to avoid my having a permanently raised eyebrow (Oh vanity of vanities!!). After that news he then froze about a dozen pre-cancerous growths across my face which I originally expected and always dread, I would prefer to visit the dentist, so now I have a blotchy face.

Last night I attended the Blue Mountains Musical Society to which I once belonged (see various posts). They put on 'Les Miserables', quite appropriate. This is my favourite musical but luckily I had already purchased my ticket as it was a cold, wet night so staying at home was tempting.
The usher commenting on my being alone did not help my feelings. I really have no-one other than my sister with whom to attend theatre or movies.
It is over 10 years since I was a member so while I recognised a few faces, none recognised me, my hair has gone grey and I now wear glasses. I enjoyed the singing but it did not help my miserables.

I think we have had enough of "I dreamed a dream"lately so will instead give you another favourite of mine "Do you hear the people sing"


Fran said...

Oh my - wow, that is a lot.

So many prayers for one and all, Brian.

motheramelia said...

Brian, I am stunned, but that is nothing compared to what your sister and you are going through. My prayers for all. Going to things alone is tough and I know that I often will find excuses not to go. I hope your impending move will bring you into community again.

Leonard said...

Thanks for sharing the realife stuff with us somehow give me courage when you share the difficulties that you and your sister/friends have faced and face...speaking of face, I too have the little freezing burning blotches removed regularly...I also hate it (especially older, yet happy, face)...last year the Doctor says to me ¨oh, I think I´ll remove, read freeze, off a little pre-spot under your muss no fuss, he left a volcanic like hole...and me? I´m concerned folks will think I had bad Acne as a teen...such is MY VANITY! Silly me.

Blessings to you and yours and thanks for helping me stay down to Earth.


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Prayers ascending for you and your sister, dear Brian!

Doorman-Priest said...

Thinking of you all.

Brian R said...

Thanks to all of you. I feel blessed with my online friends and do read you all regularly even if I do not often comment. And among the emails reporting your kind messages I was offered $1m as long as I send all my banking details- fat chance :-)

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Surely, that wasn't anyone of u s ;=)

Birdie said...

Brian, ask your dermatologist about the prescription cream Carac. It is a chemical peel that targets only sun-damaged skin, sloughing it off before it becomes cancerous. I used it on my face, twice a day for two weeks. Week 1: no change. Week 2: looks like bad acne. Week 3: leprosy. Week 4: pink and shiny. After that, your skin is vastly improved, and all those cells that might turn to cancer are gone. This cream prevents the scarring and white spots from surgery and freezing. As a melanoma survivor, I highly recommend it.

I think at our age we begin to see and experience great loss. This is when our faith is tested and found true. Prayers aloft for your sister and all.

Brian R said...

Thanks Birdie, I have heard of these creams but both my sister's dermatologist (now dead) and mine do not agree with this treatment. They are(were) both leaders in the field here. I think the problem is the need to keep out of our strong sun for 4 weeks, very difficult in Australia. There is a new product PEP005 which claims better and quicker results but probably very expensive as not yet on our Government scheme.
Glad it worked for you.