06/08/2016

What a Year! Or two.



What a year! Or two. I don't have fancy words but will grab a few normal ones and tell you the roads we have travelled as a family over the past 25 months.

The kids and I arrived in Qatar on 1 May 2014, stoked and ready to once be living the expat life again after a 20 month stint as locals in South Africa. Two months later (kids and I still without residency permits at this point), it was clear that the Husband was very, very ill. A swift visit to emergency one morning resulted in a 5 week stay in hospital and the Husband diagnosed with end stage kidney failure.

Without going into detail - he is still in desparate need of a kidney transplant and recieves peritoneal dialysis 24/7, meaning he is linked to a machine every single night for 8 hours and also does a manual exchange once during the day. From being a globetrotter he became a prisoner to his non-existing kidneys. His life consists out of endless medical procedures and hospital visits. He has started to to travel and can manage 4-6 days away, doing manual dialysis when travelling. The logistics to manage this is another story.

The pain we endured during that first year after his diagnosis was and still remains undescribable. After a few worrysome months, the kids and I recieved our residency permits and I started working full time towards November of that year. Finally I felt like I could breathe - not that it was easy to focus on getting a career on track whilst having to handle every aspect of our household and the challenges that come with people in our situation.

Then, exactly a year ago on 6 August 2015, I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

Bloody hell.

What an inconvenient shock.

I underwent surgery exactly a year to the date when the Husband was released from hospital. Knowing that he won't be able to give me much support during my treatment, knowing that the show must go on, I relied on self discipline, focus and strength to face the next 10 months of treatments I was embarking on. I mentally broke my treatment up in small chunks of 3 months after which I would take a travelling trip to recharge and be ready to face the next 3 months.

Today I am forever thankful for the the 2 years we spent living in Penang when I learned from the Chinese what self discipline, self control and focus really looks like. Westerners have a lot to learn from Asians. Throughout 2 separate surgeries, 6 months of chemotherapy and 6 and a half weeks of  radiotherapy, I continued to work full time and travelled to Turkey, the UAE, Sri Lanka and Europe.

There were days that I came from chemo, went straight to the supermarket, did the shopping and collapsed at home. Other times I came from chemo, went to the school for parents/teachers meetings or events, went home and collapsed only to haul myself out of bed the very next day for work again. It was brutal but I nailed it! During this time I was supported by a lot of people, but my male Egyptian office mate was the one person who moment for moment witnessed the hell I was going through. His support was second to none. I also have the most amazing boss who immediately adjusted my workload and both him and his wife gave me immense support.

I still have to undergo scans and sonars and get the NED (No evidence of disease) from my oncologist, but meanwhile I am thankful that this year is over.

 C'est La Vie.



I will now show you what the cancer bitch does to one's appearnce. I am hoping to look like picture 2 again in another year.  These are phone selfies of dubious quality and terrible filters but I could hardly bare photos of the self during this time.

Prepped for surgery

Five weeks post surgery and 10 days before my first chemo session

This was a challenging moment, I was on my way to the hairdresses to get my hair chopped off.

The human hair wig I never wore. I just couldn't bond with straight hair and wore headscarves in stead.

Headscarf looking "meh" - my Arab friends gifted me with fillers soon afterwards. These fillers are caps with tulle sown in to create the idea of volume underneath the headscarf.

My eyelashes and eyebrows only fell out after chemo and then grew back in within 2 weeks. Thank goodness for small mercies.

Hair starting to grow again. It came back 100% grey and I promptly visited an organic salon in Barcelona 2 weeks ago and turned it back to brunette. I love the grey but it was also too much of a reminder of the year that just was. Anyway, I only had a small patch of grey prior to chemo.


27 comments:

  1. How unbelievably strong you are...! With my utmost respect and love and all good vibes I do wish you all the best in the world and the power to stay strong!

    Yours tr,y,

    Anne

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  2. All the best! Petra from Slovenia

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  3. Heartfelt wishes from the US.

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  4. Oh ruddy ell... if I could reach thru the computer & give you a hug for strength I would. Hugs from Tasmania, Australia.

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  5. I can't believe how strong you are! That is just amazing!
    I hope you get the NED soon and that your husband gets a good kidney (or 2)...
    That the following years will bring nothing but luck, love, health,.. because you deserve it.
    Take care!
    Wishing you all the best,
    Sigrid (Belgium, Europe)

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  6. Wow what a strong woman you are. I was just thinking about you the other the other day and wondered where you had disappeared to. Hopefully the year ahead will be filled with good health and happiness for you and your husband. Sending healing thoughts from South Africa.

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  7. All the way from Sydney Australia my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family . You are an incredibly strong woman in all senses of the word.

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  8. Ik miste je al lange tijd. wat een afschuwelijke tegenslagen hebben jullie. Hou je goed en blijf vooruit kijken....

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  9. Thank you everyone, I am ready to rock and roll through life again! I will be sharing many projects with you soon.

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  10. What the hell! Sometimes life test us and give us tortous ways. You and your family have gone through moments that no one wants, but you had the strength and the will to fight them, Magda you are a great warrior! And now, as you say, it's time to rock and roll through life! Receives a big hug from here, Portugal, wishing the best for your family.

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  11. So touch by your story. I wish you and your husband all the best.
    With love from Paris! Elsa

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  12. Wishing you and your family all the best from Finland!

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  13. I admire your strength and courage. Love from Belgium.

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  14. Hej Magda, you are the bravest! I admire your strength and can't wait to hug you with a few months im Marrakech! You are an amazing woman in many ways. Xx Ingrid

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    1. *withIN a few months, with your soulsisters from SA :-)

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  15. So strong, courageous and positive in every way in spite of everything thrown your way. I have nothing but respect for you and your family and I hope that this year sees the best of everything for you, you deserve it and more. Love and hugs and all things good coming your way although I still can't believe you got the Sophie Digard necklace I SO wanted (wink x). Take care André (aggravistle on Instagram)

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  16. Very sorry to hear about the health difficulties you and M had to endure. Surely must be difficult and I pray for a full recovery of you both.

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  17. Whow.
    I came by to link one of your posts to a post I am about to write (hope that's fine with you), and than that.
    I always admired your creativity and loved your oeuvres of yarn - but now I learned, that there also must be a person to admire and a fabulous lady holding the crochet hook!

    Hoping to maybe one day getting to know you in person (we have a mutual friend in Cornel, I learnt) I'm sending all the best wishes from Germany, may the kidneys and the NED come soon! :) Alexandra

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  18. Very sorry to hear, Magda. Your positive attitude certainly stands to you. I have no idea how people's attitude are towards organ donation in Qatar, I do hope M's situation will improve by getting a transplant! I also pray for full recovery for you both. Many more countries to see, many more photo's to take!

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    1. The previous Emir had two kidney transplants and established a world class kidney center. The problem is that the resident pool is small with the majority residents being Asian - that leads to difficulty finding a match. Attitudes are positive towards donation which is good as well.

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  19. ai Magda........
    So bly jy is hierdeur. En (emosioneel) heel anderkant uit.
    Sien uit na ons saamkuier in Oktober.
    xxx

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  20. You are an amazing lady to have coped with all that. I hope your husband receives a transplant and that you are given your NED. With best wishes for a happy future for your family. Xx

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  21. Dear Magda, You are such a fighter! You should be very, very proud. I'm shocked to hear how things went for you and your husband, but it sounds like it made you even stronger! Keep up the positive attitude! All the best, Jenn

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  22. Oh Magda, I am in awe of your strength. You have been fighting like a tigress all this time. Wishing you, your husband and beautiful children all the good vibes you deserve. A very warm hug from Ireland x

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  23. My goodness, Magda! Here I was thinking your blog was quiet because you were busy with other projects such as seeing your face in magazines etc. but not busy doing this stuff! My heart goes out to you. I am in awe of how you managed it but when life throws these things at us, what choice do we have? I admire your fortitude and still can't imagine how you achieved everything that you have. I sincerely hope there is a breakthrough for your husband's treatment and that your results come back all clear. Sending my thoughts, prayers, best wishes and crochet love to you all from Australia xx

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  25. You are such an inspirational woman Magda. Lots of love, hugs and prayers for you and your family from Saudi Arabia.

    Amina

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