Sunday, November 17, 2019

There's been a reason...

... for my absence on Blogger. Once again, I haven't blogged since the first week in August but this time I have a good excuse. Meanwhile I apologize. I have missed you all and missed blogging and sincerely hope to be back now on a regular basis. 

Here's what happened:

I went to the local doctor for the normal woman's check up. I [thought] I had a small, very small issue - a lump. He referred me to a gynecologist in the city. 

This young man did a biopsy in his surgery and not realizing I'm a woman alone, sent me home. I drove home, put myself to bed and slept until the next morning. I went over to my friend next door, where I work in the farm office and told her what had happened. She was aghast and said I must never again struggle on my own like that. 

Two days later the gynae phoned me and said come back quickly; the lump he'd removed is cancerous and he needs to send me to an oncologist gynecologist. 

I was shattered.. I sat up all night with this terrible news going through my head. Next morning early, once again, I walked over to Ronnie, who was still in bed. This time I told her I wouldn't be coming into the office that day as I need to arrange an appointment with the oncologist in Durban.  Ronnie was so sorry that I'd spent the night worrying about this all alone and insisted that from then on they would help me in any way possible.  

Long story short; a very good friend from Probus asked how I was; I told him I was referred to and oncologist. He asked how I was getting there, and when I said I was driving  myself, he said, no way: he would take me. I know both him and his wife; very close friends of mine. She doesn't travel well, so she didn't accompany us. He had had prostate cancer four years ago; had treatment and with regular check ups is now doing fine. This is why he offered to take me. To support me and encourage me. 

The specialist examined me and then told me he'd have to operate. I'd be in high-care for two days, general care for two and then he'd decide when I could be discharged. The date of my surgery was set for 3rd September. He said the prognosis was good because I'd come early; I was in very good health and I was thin! 

I came home, prepared for my visit to hospital three weeks hence.  Although I had a lot to arrange and organize with the three projects I run, I tried not to think about what was going on in my body. It worked until two days before I was due to be admitted to hospital. That morning I had a melt-down after receiving a beautiful video on my Whatsapp from my dear friend, Penny (Snap That blog).  Then I shook myself mentally and said I'm in this thing; I need to work through it and get out on the other side with my mind intact. 

On Tuesday 3 September,  John and Ronnie took me down to the hospital in the city and waited while I was admitted. They then walked to my private ward with me and the admittance nurse and took their leave. Ronnie promised to keep all my friends and Weigh-Less members informed of when I went into surgery. 

The staff then examined me and asked all the relevant questions about my health. Hearing that I'm not on any type of medication (heart, cholesterol, blood pressure) they marveled that this old gogo (Zulu for grandmother) was so healthy. I was asked to get into bed wearing a surgical gown, and a drip was attached to my left arm.

I then began to wait.

And wait. 

The anesthetist arrived and prepped me about the operation and said I was scheduled to go in at 1pm.

Midday and 1pm arrived and still no-one came to fetch me for surgery. 

I waited...

And waited! 

At 5.30pm the theater staff arrived and pushed me out in my bed.  Across the 6th floor on which my ward was situated; into a lift; up to the surgical floor - I think it was the 8th floor! I was placed in a little ante-room and told I'd be fetched in a while. 

Fifteen minutes later the recovery nurse ( I asked her who she was! ) came with an assistant and pushed me across the corridor into a cavernous room which I realized was the theater. 
The anesthetist arrived and asked me to climb across onto the slab which is operating table. I looked at a wall clock behind him; it said 5.45. He took my arm and the next thing I heard was "Johanna, wake up!" 

I was back in my ward with several nurses and the sister working on me. It  was dark beyond the window and I saw the city lights twinkling below. Someone brought me dinner: a bowl of custard and a cup of chipped ice. 

Ronnie phoned me just then to ask how I was. Shortly afterwards Grant's aunt, Carole, phoned to ask after my health!

The specialist who operated on me came in and said he was very happy with the whole procedure. He had removed all the bad stuff. It was sent off to the lab for testing and I'd only hear three weeks later what the results where. However, I took the Doctor's explanation as a sign that all will be well. 

Then I slept! 

The next two days in hi-care I was inundated with flowers which weren't permitted in the ward. John, my son, who is a captain at sea off the Durban coast was the first to visit me. He came at  12 noon although visiting hours were from 2 to 4pm.  He'd come straight off the ship -perhaps he convinced the sister on duty that he really had to see his mom!  He said he, Debbie  and the family would be back the next day. 

My friend Cheryl arrived at 2pm. Half an hour later, Carole (the aunt) arrived. At 3pm a strange lady walked in and greeted me. As we chatted and she asked how my operation had gone, I racked my brain to try and think who she was. Then she said, "I haven't seen you for about 17 years. " And it struck me, she was at my mom's funeral in 2002. This was my maternal cousin, Maryanne! 

All these ladies brought me gift bags laden with energy bars, wet wipes, tetras packs of fruit juice and chocolate. 

That night Julie-Ann and Gary from the motorcycle association Grant and I rode with, arrived. Julie with a bunch of flowers and Gary with a slab of chocolates. Julie showed me the flowers and was instructed by the sister to leave them in the passage. 

The next day at 2pm my favorite sister -in - law, Shelley arrived with a gift bag of goodies. She was appalled at the flowers in buckets of water outside my ward. I asked her to take them home - which she kindly did. While she was there, Tony, another motorcycle friend, arrived. He was carrying a bunch of flowers! 

Tony left and the next minute John, Eryn and Joshua walked into the ward. Shelley was about to leave and enlisted the help of my two oldest grandchildren to help take the flowers to her car in the underground parking. 

The sister brought a wheel chair and when Eryn returned to the ward, she pushed me to the waiting room - Joshua walking along with us. John, Debbie and the four younger children were there. 

While sitting there chatting to John and Debbie, she said, apart from the fact that I was dressed in a green surgical gown, (they gave me a fresh one each morning!) and that I was in a wheelchair, I looked as healthy as anything. I said I felt healthy. I hadn't experienced any pain or discomfort from the  surgery and all my vital signs were apparently very good. 

After 45 minutes of chatting to the family, the visiting hours were up. I said goodbye and Eryn and Joshua took me back to my ward. When the children left, I lay back on my pillow and sighed. I was exhausted!  

I haven't been in a hospital since my mid-thirties and now I realized why there were rules about visitors.

Two days later, the doctor examined me and pronounced me fit enough to be discharged. He booked me off all activities, such as driving and doing manual work and exerting myself.

My SIL, Shelley fetched me and took me to their home 45minutes outside Durban city. Once again there, John and the children visited me. 

The next day, other Probus friends of mine, Stella and Rob had arranged with Shelley to meet them at a shopping center and they brought me home to the farm. 

Immediately we arrived, Ronnie arrived from next door to greet us. Stella and Rob left while Ronnie stayed on and chatted. As she left, Steve and Estelle (whose art shop I'd managed for two years) arrived with a takeaway meal. They sat for a few minutes and chatted. 

After they'd left, I got into bed, and slept. Being of a vintage age and undergoing surgery major surgery, was tiring! 

It's now two months plus and I've been given a clean bill of health from the oncologist. 

It was a frightening thing at first but apparently I had sought medical attention in time. 

Praise God. 


  1. Praise the Lord! over and over. I am so happy to get to the end of your story of the past few months, and find a happy ending... I missed you but figured you were really busy with all your jobs and LIFE. I had no idea you were in desparate straights. our minds at times like this will make us crazy. you are really blessed to have so many friends that visited and brought gifts and to live where you do with people who love you. as I typed that sentence, I thought who would NOT love you....

  2. Praise God Jo, from whom all the blessings flow. So happy you are back to blogging but even happier that God took control of everything on your behalf. It's fantastic that you were in such great shape before surgery as that has helped you through it. Hugs and continued blessings. You are loved. ♥

  3. Hello Jo, I have been thinking of you, wondering how you are doing. I am so glad you have a happy ending to this story. You are blessed with so many friends and family there that want to help you. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  4. I join you in praising the Lord!
    I have Leukemia, 5 years in remission. Every new day is a blessing!

  5. . . . . . . and I was thinking you must have gone off to see the world, or on an extended safari at least!!!!

    So happy to know dear Jo that all went well - early detection is definitely a lifesaver! Having so many wonderful family and friends who stepped up to help you is great news too - nobody needs to go through a scary thing such as that alone.

    You are now one of we many cancer survivors (I had colon cancer years ago in my 40's - now I'm 76! and have remained cancer free a long time) and we are thankful for each morning come rain or shine, knowing we can still enjoy whatever the day may bring thanks to modern medicine and wonderful doctors/surgeons.

    Get really well again my dear and know I am thinking of you and sending the warmest hug possible for your future good health.

    Just out of interest, how does medical insurance work there? Do you have to buy private coverage or is there a government program (like National Health in the UK)? Medical insurance here in the US is such an expensive part of life fo so many - fortunately I have great coverage with low cost thanks to my retirement plan etc.

    Take care - love, Mary x

  6. Oh my gosh Jo, you really have had a time of it! So lucky to have such wonderful friends and family around at times like this..even though they can be exhausting in their attention 😉 I'm so happy to hear you have been given the all clear, I think your strong constitution would have been a major factor there. Keep us up to date with things, big hugs xox

  7. Wow. Stressful and scary. But you did well...the surgery was a success & all the family and friends supported you in your time of need and continue to do so. Prayers for you that a clean bill of health continues!!

  8. Wow! What an adventure you have had ~ So good to 'see you' and that you are doing well ~ Great you have a good support system ~ Be well ~ Sending you lots of healing energy hugs to enjoy each day.

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  9. Hi Jo, what an adventure you were on. Really glad everything turned out great for you and now you can proceed with full trottle ahead. Nice to see you back in the blogging world. I figured you were just very busy with all your activities and work. So nice to see a happy ending to your story. :)

  10. Wow, that is some story. I'm so glad that it all came out ok and you are doing good. Wonderful that you had so many people thinking of you and visiting.

  11. Totally understandable that you'd be away under those circumstances. It sounds like you were in good hands.

  12. Wow! What a stressful time! So glad your surgery was successful. Your courage and close relationships with friends and family reveal a strong, loving and admirable character. Blessings!

  13. So so glad that you are going to be OK. After reading of your adventures over the last 5 years I felt that somehow I "knew" you as a friend and was distressed when you went silent for almost 3 months. A lot of scenarios came and went in my head everytime I checked in to see if you were back, but I never imagined what was really going on. Just glad to have you back, and please don't go 3 months again without a post.

  14. Wow That must have been a scary adventure. It is lovely to hear that you had so many concerned and helpful friends and family. Take care and keep well. All that good living and physical activity in your life paid off. When I had my face operated on the staff were surprised that I don't take any medication either.

  15. Glad to hear that ordeal is over and you are healthy. Good time to have friends around you.

  16. Oh dear I missed this post last year. But after reading today that you had surgery last year I found the post. So glad you have had a good outcome. Now to get better from your injured leg. It must be hard being on your own. Well done super granny.


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