February Fighter


Ill 9 years 5 months …| Advantage CBD | 

On Remembrance Day 11 November I underwent surgery to enable me to walk again with no pain.

That was followed by six weeks of no sitting. Christmas and New Year at St Francis Bay were special days with the family.

Come 2016 and come the pain again.

On return to PE in January I returned to the neurosurgeon. More cortisone but less relief.

Another operation last Monday, and 4 more days in hospital.

Home on Thursday and the first weekend of the repeat six weeks of no sitting.

It’s going to be a long time of lying on my back and I’m not sure I have the strength to fight this anymore.

I’ve been fighting for almost ten years now, and besides the discomfort there’s also the heat. I’m not good at fighting that!

I can’t wait for the dressing to come off on Thursday. Then I can get into the pool and cool down.

I have to fight the demons and my emotions, too. They are the most difficult.

How I long for those good old carefree days, for good health and good sight, for walking and running, for driving, for holidays and the Western Cape and Stellenbosch, for friends and February flights …

Exactly one year ago I was on top of Table Mountain with the Jones family … It was the start of our Canada adventure.

St Georges Hospital Day 4

Night 3 wonderful on stilnox
Woke at 5
Pills and more pills
Got up and weed … An achievement beyond the bottle!
Dr’s visit. Can go home!
Breakfast X2
Shower Sh#t and Sean to fetch me

Home by ten! …dozed off … Nadine visited … Afternoon nap

Walking … Keep on walking …


St George’s Hospital Day 3

Day 2 was a washout
Night 2 was beautiful on Stillnox
Day 3 I walked! To the shower and up the stairs and visited Ingrid on the 2nd floor! We take our legs for granted. They are a gift.
Louisa from Alicedale and jan moved my bed to the window … My window on our beautiful world. We take it for granted!
I’m dozing off. I haven’t had such contentment in a long while …

Back to Hospital

Ill 9 years 4 months | Advantage CBD | Saturday 23 January 2016

Ten weeks ago, I underwent surgery to relieve pressure on my spinal cord – a lumber decompression – and pain in my butt and legs. Things looked and felt good.

But by Christmas, the pain returned and the walking became more difficult.

For the last two weeks, I have been on cortisone to relieve the pain. Alas, no permanent relief!

So, Thursday saw me at the neurosurgeon’s office again. More surgery has been scheduled for this coming Monday.

The medical aid authorized the procedure on Friday, and I will check in at noon at St Georges Hospital. The instructions are same as last time – nil per mouth from seven am – and no sitting for six weeks after the op!

This is such a disappointment for me. In fact, I am devastated.

I have been told that the risks associated with the second op are greater than first time round, and that the surgery is more painful for both surgeon and patient.

The procedure will take some two to three hours on Monday afternoon. The only thing I look forward to is the anathaesia – that wonderful feeling as the anaethetist inserts the needle and counts down, and somewhere you disappear into the unknown only to wake up a day or so later!

Please hold me up in your prayers, for the surgeon’s safe hands and for full recovery.

In the meantime, today, as America is burdened by a massive snowstorm, we continue to be affected by a heatwave and ongoing drought. 

Hopefully, by next week this time, I’ll be home again and  we’ll be singing in the rain!


RIP Garry Clarke

Wednesday 20 January 2016 | Our 26th wedding anniversary | ill 9 years 4 months | Deuce

Twice in the last few days I have written a blog that has disappeared into cyberspace! I am distraught.

All that remains is Garry’s picture! I guess that’s life. All we leave behind is our legacy and our pictures!

So, third time lucky …

I saw the neurosurgeon two weeks ago today, after returning from leave at St Francis. By then, the pain was once again excruciating. Another xray and MRI scan showed up fluid on my spinal cord, creating pressure and pain.

So, onto steroids and cortisone for a week. That lead to being absolutely pain free by the Saturday.

But, it returned. So last week Thursday I was back with the specialist. Another op in the making …

However he gave me a week’s respite and more pills … Thank goodness my hospice carer takes note because I’m forgetting … Carbilev 10 a day, lyrica 2, betanoid 6, nexmezol 1, tramacet 4, … I’m flying high!

But tomorrow is D-day. And a decision will be taken to operate again or not. The pain is erratic, from none to some. It’s wearing me down!

In the meantime, life carries on. And so does death. During the last two weeks, we have lost so many singers and musicians. All off to the Concert in the Cosmos. And we lost Garry Clarke – Old Grey who matriculated two years before I started teaching at Grey.

He was diagnosed with MS, and despite similar bouts of pain, he always had that smile on his face.

I attended his funeral on Monday, and went to the Old Grey Club afterwards. It was great getting out and seeing so many friends and acquaintances.

I’ll keep in touch, and hope not to lose any more blogs …

2016 Cortizone

Saturday 9 January 2016 | Ill 9 years 3 months | Advantage Ed

I have not blogged for many many months now. Since returning to SouthAfrica from Canada in July last year, I have been fighting the CBD on many fronts.

The discomfort has increased and the pain at times unbearable. I have woken every morning to ongoing bouts of pain, in my backside, legs, muscles and back.

I visited the doctors, specialists, chiropractor, physiotherapists, Biokineticist and masseuses.

Yet more and more tablets have been prescribed, exercises given and X-rays and MRI scans taken.

On 11 November, Rembrance Day, I underwent surgery on my back to release pressure in my lower spine. After the op, thanks to many painkillers, I returned home with very little pain and was able to walk upright again and without walkers, crutches and walking sticks.

Each day I became a little stronger. For 6 weeks I was not allowed to sit – only lie down or walk or stand! Things looked more and more promising.

Then we went to St Francis Bay on 14 December for the summer holidays. It was just short of the six weeks, and I looked after myself strictly  according to doctors specifications. But just short of Christmas, the pain returned, this time in my right butt and right leg.

I was once again almost unable to walk! So on Wednesday I was back at the specialist, and yet more X-rays and MRI scan.

On Thursday I returned to hear the bad news that once again there was pressure on my spinal column – this time fluid trapped in the lower vertebrae.

The good news is that the specialist is hopeful that it can be rectified – either by medication or yet another operation!

So on Thursday afternoon I started a course of cortisone. Friday morning I woke up with the usual pain and inability to shower or ablute properly. The pain is horrendous!

But on Saturday morning, for the first time in 7 months I woke up with no pain at all. I slowly put pressure onto my legs and back, got up out of bed and there was no pain!

It’s been a great day so far (now Saturday afternoon) and still pain free!

I’m on cortisone for a week – hopefully and prayerfully this will continue beyond this week. The pain has been wearing me down!

I don’t want to think of the other option  – yet another operation!

So, I’m back! Walking, sitting, writing, whatever … Happy New Year to all of us!

The Sounds of Silence

Its been a week since my back op. Thanks for the good wishes. I’ve been rather quiet in cyber space, partly because of the pain, the uncomfortableness of lying on my back, and however many other excuses. Slowly – I will return! Marchons! Marchons!

I Wanna Break Free!

A NORAD military blimp, the size of a football field, has broken free from its tether in Maryland USA.

It is now somewhere over Pennsylvania, dragging its tether cable along the geound, and cutting off electricity to thousands of homes.

Watch CNN for breaking news. 

It is now on the ground!  (22h00 Gmt +2)

Spring has Sprung

9 years 1 month ill | Physical: Adv CBD / Mental: Deuce

I haven’t written for a long while not since we returned from Canada and the USA. This has been as a result of numerous activities that have kept me busy, but mostly because of my health and all the pain that I have had to endure over the past few months.

Firstly, let me thank all those people who made it possible for Pera and I to travel to the Americas. I shall write more about that when I have the chance. Glynn and Carol andthe whole Jones family and the Whitley’s and Frederick’s in the USA – thank you so very much for making it all possible. I had never thought that I would see you all again. And to those of you who were at school with me in Oklahoma and made huge efforts to come and see me – thanks again!

Please remember that our home is always open for those of you who are brave enough to cross the Atlantic pond and to visit Africa – you will not be disappointed!

So much has happened since we got back. On the world stage there have been all kinds of political developments – the world is in turmoil and everyone appears to be on the move looking for a better place to live. There have been wars and more wars; planes, buses, boats and cars have crashed; people have been injured, friends and family have passed away; governments and politicians have come and gone, babies have been born, and only the Queeen of England remains steadfast in an ever changing world!

There have been all the geographical occurrences: earthquakes, typhoons, tornadoes, global warming, and even the discovery of ancient Naledi humanoids and etc etc etc.

On the health-front, the very reason for me trying to stay in contact with you, I have seen a steady decline in a number of areas including my walking, speech, memory and for the first time ongoing excruciating pain in my  backside. I have used my walking stick, my crutches, a walker, a wheelchair and my golf cart!

I have seen doctors, physio’s,chiro’s, specialists, taken pills, medicine, et al and had exercises, massages, et al and more.  I have become the proverbial Guinea pig! Still the pain persists!

Hopefully, my visit this week to the neuro-surgeon will result in something more concrete, and a solution to the problem. The good news is that the pain is not related to the CBD. The bad news is that there is a physical problem in my lower spine.

I have not traveled much since getting back from Canada. We did however, manage a quick flying visit to Keurboomstrand to see our family from Bristol in the Uk. It was great being able to visit with cousin Margaret and Gerome and their family. 

So, as we enter spring and the season of new life, we look forward to new beginnings and I hope, a solution to this ongoing pain.

As I remember more events to share with you, I will add to my blogs. Thanks for reading, for caring and sharing.