Saturday, 17th June

Greetings everyone.  So much for taking a break from the blog till January....it is mid June which means it is just over seven months since I last shared any news with you.

I have just updated my timeline tab here on the blog and I am happy to report that we have crossed a few positive milestones.  On the 23rd of January we celebrated two years since Jimmy's stem cell transplant.  On the 15th of April it was three years since Jimmy was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and on the 4th of May we celebrated two years in remission.  Our other good news is that during May 2016 Jimmy started a one year Thalidomide maintenance treatment and at the end of last month he completed this too.  Generally Jimmy has been in very good health.  His platelet and white blood cell counts are still low but this is to be expected as these are suppressed by Thalidomide.  Three weeks ago Jimmy woke up with flu symptoms and by 11am he had had a temperature spike.  I packed his bag for hospital and we went through to the chemo clinic where we saw Prof's medical person.  He was happy that we had caught the infection early enough and sent us home with a strong dose of antibiotics, meds for the fever and strict instructions to monitor the situation very closely and take Jimmy's temperature every hour.  Jimmy's temperature bordered on high for about three days and although he was quite sick and extremely weak for two weeks we got through it without an admission to high care.  Jimmy is still seeing Prof Novitzky every month, who has suggested putting Jimmy on a course of meds to boost his immunity but also said he would monitor his rate of infection for the next while before making a final decision.  He is sure that Jimmy's white blood cell and platelet count will improve drastically now that he is no longer taking Thalidomide.  Jimmy has his next monthly appointment with Prof on the 26th of June when he will schedule another bone marrow biopsy.  They are still doing monthly bloods for his M-Protein reading (cancer count) but the bone marrow biopsy is a fail proof way of making sure there are no nasties lurking around.  If all goes well then Jimmy will start seeing Prof every three months and the only medication he will be on is Puricos for gout.

Going over the milestone dates I shared above I can't help thinking that he has only been in remission for two years as that first year felt like ten!!  We are truly blessed and I feel even more so when I read the blog updates of our fellow Multiple Myeloma sufferers.  Very sadly two of them have come out of remission in the last few months and are having their second stem cell transplants as you read.  The scary part is that you think you have been through this before and know exactly what to expect but unfortunately this is not the case.

Loren arrived home from America in February after a year away working as an Au Pair in Virginia.  She enrolled with UNISA (University of South Africa) and is studying teaching.  She has just completed her first semester exams and she will be doing her 5 week practical block at Claremont Primary school.  Emma is in matric and writing her June exams at the moment.  Schools break up at the end of the month and shortly after they go back at the end of July she starts prelims and then basically into her final exams.  It's hard to believe we will not have any children in school next year.  Megan and Cosmin are still with the Norwegian Cruise Line, they are both on the NCL Spirit at present.  Cosmin is Shop Manager and Megan got promoted to Jewellery Manager a few weeks ago.  They will both be in SA for their vacation during September.

Although Winter arrived quite late in Cape Town we are now definitely in the throws of colder weather.  There was even a scattering of Snow on Table Mountain last week! In my last update I recall talking about Spring and water restrictions due to the drought.  Well, we are now in a dire situation and we have had no where near the normal amount of rain for this time of the year.  We are not allowed to use any potable water outside at all, this includes filling pools, watering gardens, washing cars and windows etc.  The water consumption per person has to be below 100 litres per day, this includes washing, cooking, flushing toilets, cleaning, laundry and consumption etc.  We have buckets in the showers where we catch water and use this for flushing toilets.  Clean water is also collected from the shower while it warms up and this is used in the kitchen and for cleaning, cooking and consumption.  We had quite a bad storm the week before last with much needed rain but not as much as was expected.  Schools were even closed for a day....a first in my memory.  As things stand it will take approximately 3 years for the dams to fill up if we have normal average rainfall but this doesn't look very promising.

Some before and after photos of my poor garden :(