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I had a wonderful week at Pukehina beach, followed by five days in Whangamata with all my children and five of my grandchildren. The days in Whangamata began with my second son bringing me a cup of tea first thing in the morning, sitting on my bed and then chatting about things like what lies ahead, the decisions to be made, how we are feeling, our work, etc. My daughter joined us on the second morning and these conversations resulted in important and potentially life-changing discussions and decisions amongst the others. It was truly an amazing and emotionally rewarding five days.

UPDATE: A few photos of our day trip up to Hot Water beach

However I returned from holiday to find myself having to go into battle for my next CT scan. My oncology clinic appointment on Tuesday 10 January focused on whether I would be turning up for the next three chemotherapy sessions. As I hadn’t even been given a date for the next CT scan I was urged to resume hassling Waitemata DHB and not give up until I had an appointment. Dr S. informed me that he had ordered a scan for me for the first week in January 2017 back in November because he wanted to try and avoid any delays. He also had another three patients experiencing similar problems getting a scan and I think he hoped that I could get things sorted for all of us.

It was difficult to make an informed decision about having further chemotherapy without having the CT scan result which would reveal the effects of the first two months of paclitaxel. So I made an uniformed one – no more chemotherapy until I had had my next scan. And for the next three days I started my day by phoning both Waitakere and North Shore hospitals and was repeatedly referred back and forth between the radiology booking clerks at the two hospitals. On the third day, I was kept on hold for over 40 minutes, and because I was in serious danger of dying from boredom I decided to call the same number on another phone line and see which would get me through first. Much to my delight the second phone call was answered within a few minutes and within an hour I had received a call back advising me that I was booked for a scan first thing on Tuesday morning.

I just hope that the other three patients of Dr S also got their appointment times as well. It’s exhausting having to fight so hard to get what you need to make an important decision about your future treatment.