CHINA 2010

THE CHINA EXPERIENCE  2010 – THE ADVENTURE BEGINS

On 11th August 2010, we flew into Guangzhou via Hong Kong.   Our contact here (Marco) collected us from the airport, and he and the driver dropped us off at the Guangzhou Military Hospital after about a 40 minute drive.

The roads really surprised us, we could learn a few things about roads from the Chinese.  4 lane highways all the way, very nice, quite a few overpasses, lots of nice greenery and plants on the sides of the roads.

Guangzhou Municipality, capital of Guangdong Province, is the centre of politics, economy and culture with a population of about 9 million.  It’s the 3rd or 4th largest city.

Legend has it that riding on the backs of 5 coloured rams, 5 immortals once came to Guangzhou, bringing the locals an ear of rice and teaching them how to grow rice.  The immortals wished them a happy life without hunger forever.  So Guangzhou has two other names, Yancheng (city of rams) and Suicheng (city of rice ears).  Located in the subtropical south Asia, characterised with oceanic monsoon weather, with long hot summers and short winters.  Warm with a rich rainfall, vegetation thrives green all year around, so Guangzhou is also a city of flowers.

Guangzhou lies right next to the Baiyun Mountain which is called the ‘lung of the city”.  The Pearl River, China’s third largest waterway, also runs through Guangzhou.  It also lies close to the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Macau.  The city is named on both the list of 24 cities announced by the State Council and China Top Tourist City and was previously known to the Western World as ‘Canton’.  With over 2,200 year history, Guangzhou is rich in antiquity, unique customs and culture.  It is historically both the start of the Maritime Silk Road and the centre of Lingnan Culture.  It is also the cradle of Chinese modern revolution and the forerunner of China’s reform and opening to the outside world.  Guangzhou has been a renowned commercial centre since ancient times and is now the economic hub of southern China.

There are all the Western fast food giants in Guangzhou – MacDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut – and of course every type of restaurant you can name, cuisine from every corner of the world.  The major 5 star hotels are also there.

The Military Hospital and General Hospital in Guangzhou is a huge complex.  As our room was not ready for us upon arrival, we were shown to a waiting room with two beds and en-suite, with a kitchen lounge area to make tea/coffee etc.

Our room is quite large and good, with one 3/4 bed and one single bed, bar fridge, tv, en-suite, internet connection, so all is good.  We have 65 channels, but unfortunately haven’t found an English speaking station yet!

Our first meal (because we didn’t know where to go immediately) was Maccas – the worst meal we have had anywhere!

I have already had my blood pressure and temperature taken, and then had an ECG.  Dr Wang (pronounced Wong) is supposed to come and see me tomorrow, if that’s how I understand the Doctors and nurses – they don’t speak much English, but are very sweet.

Our friends from Adelaide are in a room next door but one to us, so once they get back from seeing their daughters in Hong Kong, we will catch up for a green tea.

***

16/8/10

Had a PET/CT scan Friday (which I was never offered in Australia), got the results today (Monday).

The incredible clarity of the scan compared with the CT scans in Australia, is quite remarkable.  The scan covered my body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, and there is a mixture of very good and good news.  The very good news is that every vital organ in my body from brain to all else is good with no problems in my organs, except for a fatty liver and a small kidney stone in my right kidney, which I already knew about.  The news relevant to my mesothelioma, is that I have 5 tumours on my left lung, one of which is more active than the others.

The good news is that Dr Wang said to use his terms that “there is a high possibility that there will be a good result with the treatment”.  The bad news is that I will need 3 cycles of SPDT/PDT (2 weeks of treatment, 1 of rest) which will delay our return to Australia.  It also involves chemotherapy combined with the SPDT with 2 chemo drugs, Alimta and Chinese chemo.  There should be little side effects from the low dosage chemo, yay.

We are so excited at the prospects of beating this meso, and feel that we came just in time to stop the larger tumour from expanding.  I am sure that everyone’s good thoughts have helped me!

Our friend from Adelaide, is also having treatment, and is looking very well.  We are good company for each other as her and her husband are a very nice couple.  Most of the other Aussies have gone home with improved results.

Day to day stuff.  We are eating a lot of fruit, and going out to eat, having no cooking facilities in our room.  Today we went to Starbucks for lunch, Gerry had an excellent Chicken & Mushroom pie, and I had a cheese & chives scone – very delicious.  Then had a massage, I had a neck, upper back and foot massage for 1 hour ($A12) and Gerry due to a language problem had a 2 hour body massage ($A28).  Next time he will stress 1 hour only.

***

20/8/10

Just giving an overall explanation of the Treatment Plan whilst here so that you all understand, and I do not have to repeat myself ad-nauseam, and you can see where I am up to when I waffle on.

Dr X Wang, Director of Oncology at two hospitals in Guangzhou, China.   After meeting with Dr Wang (pronounced Wong), having tests and PET Scan the treatment is straight forward.  You ingest 2 small bottles of drops put under the tongue over 2 days. These tasteless green liquids (derived from chlorophyll) are allowed to absorb through the floor of the mouth.  Then wait one day for the sensitizer to concentrate in cancer cells and clear from healthy cells.  Each SPDT treatment day will begin with some preliminary treatment which could include low dose chemotherapy about one tenth of normal dose, unlikely to cause problems (in my case I have Chinese Chemo and Alimta chemo).  You also get ozone auto-hematology, basically removing 50ml blood, infuse with ozone and returned to the body.  This is to raise oxygen levels in the blood and make SPDT more effective.

This is followed typically by 30 minutes exposure to intense red light wearing goggles to protect the eyes.  Then about 40 minutes lying in a warm bath being exposed to ultrasound waves transmitted through the water.  The only likely symptom is tiredness, and the rest of the day is free, so if required, rest is an option.  SPDT will be repeated for most weekdays.  Progress may be monitored using angiographic ultrasound diagnosis, similar to conventional ultrasound, and causes no problems.  Two rounds of this treatment over 2 weeks, then 1 week rest.  Then starts all over again.  Two weeks minimum, but 4-6 weeks is common, depending on individual diagnosis.

SPDT KEY POINTS:

1. They treat the whole body with light and sound i.e. give systemic therapy.  Systemic therapies are the only one that can treat undetected cancer.  If the cancer can be anywhere, they have to treat everywhere.

2. Treat semi-localised areas with intense photodynamic therapy with ultrasound waves.  Generally know the approx. area where the cancer is mainly present, or where it could be, then give these areas more intense therapy.

3. They only need a general idea where the tumours are, or likely to be.  Radiation therapy and surgery require accurate knowledge of tumour size and location.

4. They don’t need an accurate knowledge of type of tumour.  Chemotherapy and hormone therapy do.

5. The therapy can be repeated as often as required and the body does not build up resistance to it.  Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are limited by treatment toxicity.

6. Photodynamic and sonodynamic therapies together are more effective than either alone.

Photodynamic therapy. Used both systemically (to treat the whole body) and semi-locally (to treat reasonably large but local areas of the body). This is a 100 year old therapy which has recently benefited from greatly improved technology.   Photodynamic therapy was first used medically in 1904 to cure skin cancer. It is now a thoroughly studied therapy in reasonably common use. A Google search of PubMed (find PubMed using the Google search, then in the PubMed web site, search the database “PubMed” for “Photodynamic therapy for cancer”) will yield thousands of references to medical journal articles.  Photodynamic therapy has been approved in countries such as Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, Japan and U.S. for the first-line treatment of various cancers.

Sonodynamic therapy. This is a very new therapy which is complementary to photodynamic therapy. Its major uses are for treating deeper tumours, and for amplifying the benefits of photodynamic therapy. The two therapies in combination are more effective than either alone.   This is a much newer therapy.  (A PubMed search will only show about 40 references.) It is very similar to photodynamic therapy except that the sensitizer is activated by ultra sound rather than by light.   Sonodynamic therapy is complementary to photodynamic therapy.  It provides further vital advantages:  the body is very transparent to ultra sound (which is why it can be used to visualize the fetus developing in the womb). This makes it particularly useful for treating deeper tumours.  Safety. To the best knowledge, there has never been a law suit in the U.S. claiming damages as a result of ultra sound treatment.

For convenience they are collectively referred to as SPDT.

The therapy is carried out in a clinic, often on an outpatient basis.  There are no injections, no pain, and no anesthetics.  Except for late stage patients, the only common side effect is tiredness, which is treated with plenty of rest and by slowing down the treatment as necessary.  Later stage patients may experience very significant tiredness and other symptoms such as moderate pain in the tumours and nausea.  These symptoms are easily controlled, mainly by slowing down the treatment and controlling the resulting inflammation.  There are no known long term side effects.  Some patients experience side benefits not related to their cancer, and this is believed to be due to the therapy also attacking microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) and atherosclerotic plaque.

Well that’s it for the treatment stuff.

All is good here, no problems – but will have to learn more Chinese than Hello and Thank you.  Weather warm, mid 30’s, thank goodness for air-conditioning.  Lots of great food.  For those who have been to China will understand – very hard beds!

***

28/8/10

Just nearing the end of the first 2 week cycle of treatment, then will have a weeks rest to allow my body to recover.  One down three x 2 to go.

I am sure that if you look in your wardrobes you will find clothing made here.  The wholesale clothing and shoe market is centered here, with so many high rise buildings full with buyers inspecting them and thousands of Chinese bagging and packaging for the destinations throughout the world.

Looking around the streets, people are dressed so well, with the young ladies especially dressed in the height of fashion, with the most fabulous shoes – stilettos, wedges flats in the latest styles – and young people dressed in the latest fashion hot pants.  The new face of China is emerging with the young.

One last funny thing though – just having completed 2 days of green sensitizer drops under my tongue, with the inside of my mouth, teeth and tongue an amazing green colour, I feel that I could be in the next Shreck movie as the creature from the green swamp!

***

3/9/10

We have been having many hot humid days between 31-35 deg, but today it is raining cats and dogs, so waiting it out to see what we can do.  It is our week off with no treatment.

Yesterday went to Guangzhou Zoo.  The grounds are wonderful with lots of large trees and a few lakes, and it also has a marine park with shows.  The animals however, are another matter – many of the cages seem to be concrete and the animals don’t look happy.  They have one Panda, and a Kangaroo in a small compound with not a trace of grass, poor thing.  There is also a Cassowary from North Queensland, which generally lives in tropical rain forest, not a green blade in its cage, tsk.  We won’t go back.  When the Pandas in Adelaide finish their 10 year stint, have they got a surprise awaiting them – from their multi million $ temperature controlled enclosure in SA to basic accommodation in their homeland.

As well as the 4 Aussies here at the moment, just arrived are patients from Hong Kong, USA and New Zealand, so we are told.

***

10/9/10

I am on to the second day of drops in my second cycle of 2 weeks treatment, the green tongue days!  I also started again on the Chinese chemo, Days 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 11, and somewhere in there I also have Alimta, the chemo I had in Adelaide.  As well I am having some Chinese treatment to raise the white cells in my blood, as blood tests have shown they are a little bit low.  As well I seem to have gotten over my ‘Chinese Belly’ only to have passed it on to Gerry.  We both seem to have lost a little weight, so that is good.

The weather is about 32 degrees, with a shower most days, but quite humid.

We think the Chinese generally find us amazing, as they stare at us constantly, but most will smile back when we smile.

Guangzhou is hosting the Asian Games in November, so the city is going through a spruce up.  They do some amazing things overnight – like resurface a road, rip up the paving on the footpaths and resurface.  Every morning, very early, gangs of people both men and women, sweep the streets.  You see women working as hard as men, paving and doing all the hard jobs.

Dr Wang told us he is so busy, that he may not be able to take any more Westerners as patients, so we are lucky to have come over when we did.

We miss Adelaide, our family and friends, though!  Over Chinese food!

***

18/9/10

Not much sightseeing being done at the moment.  Gerry does go walking every day early, and sees all the sights.

I am in the second week of my second cycle of treatment, having had 2 days of drops, 1st of 4 days of blood ozone treatment, now Sunday-Tuesday with SPDT.  Then I have a week off before commencing Cycle 3.  All is good.

Have to share a very funny (not at the time, but in reflection) incident.  I have had 6 days of constipation (which I am sure is caused by the tablets to bring up my white blood count).  They tried all things to get me going, Chinese medicine, massaging my tummy, Chinese herbal tea – finally said the dreaded word – ENEMA!  Well there are the 3 nurses administering, Gerry and THE CLEANING LADY – all looking up where the sun don’t shine.  I was speechless, but it was kind of funny.  Incidentally, it did not work and had another that evening, with just one nurse and Gerry in attendance.  Of course, then Gerry had to clean up when I didn’t quite make it to the toilet, I guess this is the worse in for better or worse vows.  Every time the cleaner sees me, she laughs!  The second was successful, and when Dr Wang came to see me and I told him the news, he was so excited he hugged me and said he would be able to sleep that night!  He is so sweet.

Another really sweet person is Dr Chen.  She brought me in some sweet potato she cooked at home, as she said sweet potato is considered to be anti tumour medicine by Chinese – all also helps with stool!  Gerry wants to bring her home as his personal physician.

So you can see, we are in really good hands.

***

26/9/10

We are in our week off and just looking around the city, because I am not able to leave the hospital for any length of time just at the moment.  This is because the chemo is affecting my blood count and I am needing to have injections and tablets every day to bring up the white count and red platelets.  This may also affect my commencing the next round of treatment due to start Thursday, boo hoo.  I am having another blood test tomorrow, so am looking forward to good results.  I am however, feeling good other than a bit tired from the chemo, so not to worry.

The other couple from Adelaide, were told that the Garden Hotel nearby was showing the AFL Grand Final Saturday, so we both toddled off and booked in so we could see it together in a room and have snacks etc whilst watching.  After going through all the channels, no go.  We then went to Hoolies, an Irish Pub nearby, and yes they had it on.  With just a small crowd of expat Aussies, we cheered on St Kilda, not hard enough though as it was a draw (for those non AFL people) – so back again next week for part 2 of the final.  Boo to Collingwood!  WE did get to see Cable TV in English at the hotel though, yesss!

The city is having a tidy up for the forthcoming Asian Games in November, so there is a lot of excitement building up here.  I guess it will be impossible to move around Guangzhou!  The Garden Hotel is the official hot spot at the moment, and when we came down this morning, there were literally hundreds of Chinese queuing to get into some pre-game launch, amazing.

As we have said before, at our hospital there is no English TV at the hospital, so we leave the TV on with no sound and watch the sport channel.  We saw the Aussie basketball girls beat China this morning.  There is also another weird sport where two men fight each other on one leg, with the other tucked up, and they hop around, very strange – don’t even know what it is called!

***

1/10/10

All is well with my blood tests, the red and white cells are behaving themselves after having numerous injections, and so I started my Third Cycle of SPDT yesterday with the 2 days of drops.

During my week off, we looked around the shops and explored a bit more of Guangzhou.

On Monday we caught the 10.29am train from Guangzhou East Railway Station to Hung Hom Railway Station in Kowloon, Hong Kong.  We chose Superior Class which was very comfortable up the top of the train, and the 2 hour ride was so smooth and quiet we hardly knew we were moving.  It was interesting looking at the different views of the countryside, from cities to the rural areas with people working on the land. We were given peanut snacks and bottled water, other food and drinks were on sale.  All this for around A$40 pp.  On arriving in Hong Kong we looked around for about 5 hours, didn’t need to do the tourist bits as we have been there a number of times, the reason we were there was to go in and out of China’s border to get our visas renewed.  Hong Kong is not classed officially as China, it is a Special Territory.  We then caught the 6.50pm train back, and after 2 hours went through Customs etc and had our passports stamped – ok for 60 days – we don’t expect to have to do that again.

Today (Friday 1st October) is National Day in China – a public holiday, lots of flags flying around the place and I heard a cannon or something sound at 11.00am.  I guess a bit like Australia Day.  There were probably lots of things going on but we didn’t know because we can’t read Chinese!

We found a great Thai Restaurant nearby, Banana Leaf, just a couple of A$’s in a taxi.  Food is just like to Thai at home.  Really enjoyed the vegetarian spring rolls and red chicken curry mmmmm.

Gerry is a bit under the weather, has caught a cold we think, Dr Tao gave him some medicine and said to sleep and drink more water.  He is wearing a mask so he doesn’t give it to me, hopefully.

***

9/10/10

Things are going quite well here, as I am on my last week of the 3rd SPDT cycle.  The only thing different is that due to my blood counts misbehaving themselves again, Dr Wang has decided to stop the chemo for this last part of this cycle.  Gerry and I had a bit of a cold, but thanks to the medication given to us, we are both on the mend.  I am looking forward to having a week off from Wednesday.

Some of the equipment used here for the various treatments is amazing.  During SPDT I have blood taken (similar to giving blood at the Red Cross), then it is oxygenated and transferred back into your body, and you can actually see the difference in the colour – it goes out very dark and comes back in quite a lot redder,  The machine, I am told was designed in Germany, and is worth over $100,000.

During the time we have had to stay in the room for treatments, we have taken to watching the CCTV sports channel with the sound turned off (only in Chinese) and the Ipod turned on.  Some of the things we have been watching are quite amusing.  Of course they love table tennis, badminton and volleyball and we see many games won by China.  Some of the more unusual programs are Shaolin Monks fighting for the Wushu Master title, and a game where 2 contestants tuck one leg up and hold it with the arms then try to knock the opponent down, this is played by both men and women, hmm.  Then a show with teams from Russia, Italy, France and China play a series of games involving water and dressing in cumbersome costumes and then have to go into a bull ring doing a number of strange things whilst the bull is pawing the ground and knocking and head butting them over.  The pointy end of the horns are cut off, but still it must hurt to have the bull run over you.  Everyone seems to find it immensely funny. Of course at the moment there are weightlifting world championships from Turkey, never would have watched it before, not really compulsive viewing, but hey we are bored!

Well have to go, The Shanghai Tennis Open is on, and there are a lot of Chinese Players on.

***

15/10/10

We have completed the 3rd round of SPDT treatment, and on a week break before starting the 4th (and hopefully) the final round.  All being well we will be home on 12th November, yay!  Dr Wang continues to be the most caring and sweet person you could ask for, always thinking of ways to help you out.

The weather here is cooling down a bit, which is very pleasant without so much humidity.  I have been told the best months to visit China are October and November.

We have been doing a fair bit of eating out, and have found some great places to eat, easily comparable to those at home.  It will be quite a shock to have to cook when we return.

The Military hospital issues patients with well washed striped pajamas (not me) and it appears to be quite a badge of honour to walk around the streets in your pj’s, walking, shopping, eating etc.  Always brings a smile to your face.

Now the next bit of information will not surprise those who know me and my exploits of falling down all over the world – Tuesday whilst out walking, I tripped over and broke my wrist, one minute I was upright, the next flat on my face with Gerry and 2 Chinese men helping me to my feet!  I sit here typing with one hand, in a plaster cast from fingertips to just under my elbow.  I have been told it has to be on for 2 months.  I feel such a clumsy dork.  All the nurses are fussing over me, and the local people we buy fruit etc. off, offer me sympathy in Chinglish.

***

25/10/10

Well I have started my last two treatment weeks, this week have had the drops Thursday and Friday, blood ozone Saturday, Sunday blood ozone and SPDT, ditto Monday and Tuesday.  Rest day Wednesday – and start all over again Thursday.  After that wait 5 days to have another Pet scan where all will be revealed!

It was so comical at my SPDT bath treatment today, where the oncologist, a surgeon and a nurse were all trying to wrap my arm with the cast to make it waterproof for my bath treatment – you would have thought it was open heart surgery!

The weather has cooled down, the locals are wearing coats, but we are finding it quite pleasant.  Guangzhou is a green city during the day with lots of trees and plants, as well as lots of park areas.  At night it is a city of lights, with everything lit up, flashing lights, and very pretty.

Taxis here are so incredibly cheap, but you sure get your moneys worth – it’s like being in a dodgem car race for real, with no apparent rules, having said that, it all seems to work here!  I just close my eyes and hang on to the door handle, that works for me.

We caught up with our friends from Queensland in Hong Kong last Wednesday, and had a very pleasant lunch.  They were at the conclusion of a cruise.  The area has been hit by a typhoon, probably the worst in the last 50 years.  When they left Taipei to come to Hong Kong, they were called back on a Mayday call from a transport ship which had broken up and sank, and their cruise ship had to rescue some of the sailors from the sunken ship, not all alive.  This continued throughout the night. The Guangdong province where Guangzhou is, was supposed to be hit with the typhoon, but once it hit the coast it veered off.  The Philippines were very badly hit.

***

31/10/10

No internet facilities available at the hospital today – we are over at The China Marriott Hotel using their free wifi in the coffee lounge, don’t know how long I’ve got, so better keep typing very fast one handed!  Asked hospital about our in room internet they said could be ‘long time’.

Two days of treatment to go, woo hoo – after 3 months I am ready to go home!

Guangzhou is very busy at the moment, with The Huge Canton Trade Fair, and the Asian Games commencing on 12th November, things are humming.  More people than usual, traffic chaotic.  Evidently people come from all over the world come to the Canton Trade Fair, to see what China has to offer and trade.  We see people making deals in Starbucks over coffee, really interesting, to watch the mechanics of ordering jeans, looking at samples of material and actual jeans.  They all have their Chinese translators working overtime.

Whizzing past are the guys on pushbikes with MacDonalds/Pizza Hut/KFC doing home deliveries – now that’s something I never expected to see.

We had dinner last night with Dr & Mrs Wang, they ordered Chinese for us as we had no idea, and we had a great meal.  Dr Wang was talking about how he wants to make more improvements to the treatment and is thinking of Nano technology to make the particles of chemo smaller and thus can make it 3 times stronger.  The man is always thinking of how better to help his patients – it will be a sad day for everyone when he retires (for the second time).

***

9/11/10

GREAT NEWS!  We just got our PET scan back and some tumours have gone, others reduced by 50% – 75% so the treatment is definitely working.  We are overjoyed.  After talking with the oncologist, we have decided that the best course of action is to come home for a week, then come back to China for 2 more cycles of SPDT to eliminate the meso from my body!

Leaving for a brief visit home on Friday 12th November.

***

28/11/10

After a week in Adelaide where our feet hardly touched the ground, we came back to Guangzhou on 21st November.  Started treatment on Monday 22nd November, so all is going to plan to be back in Australia the first week in January 2011.

There are a number of South Aussies here at the moment, couples from Seacombe Gardens, Willunga. Brighton and us, with another SA couple arriving next week.  As well there is a Dr from Perth, someone from Germany and 2 from USA.  The two ladies, one from NZ and one from Perth have gone home with good news.  We are going to try and get together for an Aussie Christmas, so we don’t miss out.

The Asian Games finished Saturday night, then the Paralympic Games will start soon.

***

5/12/10

We have just finished the first of two treatments, and are now on our week off.  All is going well I am feeling good – except for my blasted arm.  The cast is off. and I now have one puffy hand with fat sausage fingers.  I am supposed to keep it upright and move the fingers a lot, so I suppose it will sort it out itself sooner or later.

The weather remains great, with no rain.  We walked around the park this morning, and it’s great just people watching.  Everywhere are groups of people of all ages, doing various forms of exercise, from group sword dancing, tai chi, playing all sorts of ball games, little groups of people singing – it’s really great to see everyone enjoying themselves. Older people especially seem to be involved in some sort of gentle exercising.  They certainly have a different view of life, and we could do with a bit of the same attitude.

Gerry and I had a very funny experience the other night.  We cut through one of the big hotels and unknowingly as we exited the hotel, came through the red carpet where they were awaiting the arrival of some VIP’s – it was pretty nice with a guard of honour of lovely young ladies dressed in formal evening wear on each side of the red carpet, flowers etc – then came the 2 Aussies down the wrong way, dressed very casually.  Hee Hee!

***

12/12/10

Getting to the pointy end of my treatment, only 2 weeks of SPDT, one week to have PET scan and get results, then off home on 1st January, arriving 2nd January.  Yeeehah!!!

We are on a week off, starting treatment Monday.  I am still having treatment on my hand, which is still giving me a bit of grief, but hey if that’s my biggest worry, I am laughing.

Guangzhou is on the Pearl River Delta, and last night the 4 of us did the Pearl River Night Cruise, which was really good. for about $A10 we had a one and a half hour cruise down the river, with all the buildings and bridges lit up, along the banks were the decorated boats used in the Asia Games closing ceremony – it really is a sight to see.  If we could have only understood the Chinese commentary, it would have been good.  We did go past, the newly opened China Tower which is the highest in the world.  We hope to get time to go up it before we leave.

***

20/12/10

The past week I have had the first of my final treatments, which will conclude on Christmas Day.  Everything OK, but am getting a bit tired after nearly 4 and a half months of treatment.

We had a couple of interesting things happen this week.  We were going on the freeway to the Friendship Hospital for treatment when we saw a woman trying to jump off the freeway, there were Police there, but she was hanging on to the light pole like a limpet with both arms around the pole, on top of the bridge.  We never heard any more about it.

A funny thing happened this week though – we were watching the TV which featured couples skating (very well), when the two cleaners came into the room to change the bedding.  They popped themselves down on the bed and grabbed the TV controller so they could turn the volume up – then just sat there watching the TV.

On Saturday as it was a beautiful sunny (but cool) day, we went to Guangzhou YueXiu Park, and caught the little bus around all the attractions finally arriving at the Five Goat Statue, which is the symbol of Guangzhou – you may remember telling the story early in my Updates.

After that we walked to The Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King.   This tomb was discovered in 1983, intact and not plundered.  10,434 historical relics were unearthed, including the gold seal of Emperor Wen, which proves the identity of the tomb occupant to be the second Nanyue King, Zhao Mo, together with 15 sacrificial occupants.    The tomb is the largest and best protected found to that date in the Lingnan Region in South China.  The museum also has a collection of over 400 ceramic pillows from the Tang Dynasty to modern times (they look like china blocks of various sizes and decorations).   After looking at them, I still prefer my western pillows!

We will try to do more trips to various points of interest before we leave Guangzhou.

***

31/12/10

Well, our adventure in China has come to an end for this trip.

The results of our latest PET scan have come in, and the good news is that from my original scan in August, the measurement of the largest tumour was 3.5cm X1.2cm – now the measurement is 0.5cm – what a great result!  There are 4 small tumours in all now, and a treatment plan in future should enable me to lead a normal life with much more traveling until Gerry gets too old to carry my bags for me.

The very nature of mesothelioma makes it very hard to treat, and the prognosis usually doesn’t offer long term survival, after being diagnosed most patients do not make it past a year, so having survived for 3 years in December is a great result in itself.  When I came to China I was on daily morphine patches, and pain medication – now on no medication.  So the treatment has bought me a better quality of life.  It has also opened more avenues of treatment for the future.  As I always say – you can’t keep an old duck down!

There have been many memorable moments whilst in China and we have met some wonderful people – but the one that comes to mind is the opening ceremony of the Asia Para(lympic) Games held here in Guangzhou.  Two disabled athletes, one man and one woman, each only having one leg, received the torch at the final handover then dropped their crutches to the ground, and commenced climbing up a large mountain structure (like a climbing wall) each going a distance then handing the torch up to the other, and at the top, ignited the flame together.  It was so moving that it sent shivers up your spine.  Now that’s real courage and endurance!

The weather here has become a little cooler, with all the Chinese wrapped up in their heavy coats.  Gerry remains resolute, wearing his shorts every day!  We noted it was 41 deg in Adelaide today!  Looks like we will get a warm reception at the airport Sunday.

***

2/01/11

We will be going back to China in the near future to continue with another type of treatment now my tumours are at a smaller manageable size.

To see 2011 updates click here https://lorrainevilladon.wordpress.com/china-2011/

4 thoughts on “CHINA 2010

  1. Absolutely fascinating Lorraine

  2. Evelyn Dunne says:

    Go girl so proud of you. Luv you forever xxx

  3. Ness says:

    One tough cookie!! Love to you and Gerry, Ness and Berns xx

  4. Kat Burge says:

    Excellent blog Lorraine, really enjoyed everyword, the best part is that it is working.

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