From late 2007 to 2010 I received checkups every six months, this section my journal looks at the check ups I received during this era and a brief run down of
my life during each year.
My first check-up for 2007 took place in March, this was my fourth post treatment check-up. Prior to the appointment I managed to have a talk with Dean the
Oncology Counsellor and was able to give an update on how work was going as he had been concerned to whether I would be able to return to my job at the Freezing
Works, Dean wanted me to get into Accounting since he had no success trying to get me work experience in the IT industry. At the appointment Dr Bayston made the
comment that I was too healthy to be at the hospital. I also raised the issue I was having at work where supervisor were trying to put me onto jobs that required
heavy lifting, Dr Bayston wrote a letter requesting to my boss that I do not do any job that requires heavy lifting, however I never needed to use the note after
At my second check-up for 2007 in June there wasn't really much to say, Dr Bayston's advice was only to make sure I didn't overdo things at work. At the time
we were nearing the end of the season and processing frozen meat which is more labour intensive.
My third check-up was in early October and this month I received the good news that from next year all check-ups will be every six months. I was advised at
this check up to take a holiday before returning to the Freezing Works this year. I was unable to do this but took a break at Christmas instead.
At the end of the year in December I had an appointment at the hospital with Doctor Fosbender, this is the doctor who performed the Biopsy before my
treatment and gave me the diagnosis. This was the first time Dr. Fosbender had a chance to see my shoulder since when he last saw me was the day he diagnosed
me with cancer. He was very pleased to see how well my shoulder had healed and how that part of my body was functioning today.
I attend two weddings this year the first was actually on New Years Eve 2006, my old high school friend Terry and Jen were married in Dunedin.
The second wedding was Neroli and Pauls wedding during the first week of March, their wedding took place in Auckland.
Compared to 2006, 2007 was a much quiet and simple year and by now life had returned to normal. I ended up having another good season at the Freezing Works with
the 2006-2007 season running from November to the end of July, I once again worked at BP during the off season and returned for the next season in November 2007.
My first check-up for 2008 and my seventh post treatment check-up was supposed to take place on February 7 however due to Dr Bayston being involved in a car
accident my next check-up was in May, Dr Sarah Moon looked at me in Dr Bayston's absence. The check-up took place six months to the day since my season had
started at work so today was the first day I had sick days available. As a result I actually rang up sick and took the entire day off, if I had of just
arranged to leave work for an hour to attend the appointment I would have been docked an hours pay, if I rang up sick I could take the whole day off
and get paid for a whole day of work. As our sick days are lost at the end of the work season most employees will use their days before the end of
the season and this has to be in over just a few weeks. I was a bit worried about having another Doctor see me as I was worried other Doctors would
not know my history but it appeared Dr Moon had read my notes and had no problems examining me. The big issue we talked about was the condition
of my skin, particularly my hands. My hands during my work season look awful, around my knuckles skin is actually cracking and on the palms of
my hands they are so dry the surface is flaking. I was referred to a dermatologist who hopefully may have some answers as how to treat this.
In the past everyone who did my job at the freezing works, was at the time was strapping cartons, was in the past provided with protective
gloves however management decided to stop providing these gloves for no explained reason
I finally received my appointment with the dermatologist in October after going on to a waiting list. At the time I was not working at the
Freezing Works as it was the off season so the condition of my hands had improved, I also found that I was able to buy rubber gloves from
the Protector Safety shop in town as work no longer provides them. After having my hands examined the Doctor gave me a prescription for
Dermal which is a cream I put on my hands this seems to have improved the condition of my hands.
My second check-up took place in November with Dr Bayston once again, there was no new information at this check-up. I gave
a report about my appointment with the dermatologist, the advice from Dr Bayston was to make sure I wore the protective gloves my
employer no longer provides. Instead I have opted to purchase these gloves myself from the safety shop.
This year I had a slightly shorter season at the meat works with the season ending at the end of June however we had a busy season
with us working almost every Saturday in addition to the work week. In the off season I returned to BP and this year struggled to get the hours of
work, this was the last year I worked at BP in the off seasons.
In September I learned that Angela the girl I met in hospital had died, according to the notice in the paper it happened
while she was in her husbands arms. I hadn't been in touch with Angela since 2006 when I changed my cell phone number.
A lot had obviously happened in this time as Angela was not previously married and she was now living near Christchurch.
I had several flatmates throughout the year, Margo became one of my longest staying flatmates who moved in during February 2008 and stayed until the
end of 2009, Aimee also made a brief return. I also broke the golden rule of flatting and that is not to date any of your flatmates, in November I had a new flatmate Penny move in.
After living together for a couple of weeks we both realised with liked each other and I managed to bring up the courage to ask Penny out after we had a few drinks together one night.
We had some great times together while we were together but only lasted together about 5 months with us breaking up in early 2009 and Penny then moving out.
Christmas Day 2008 at my parents place.
My first checkup for 2009 and my ninth post treatment check-up took place in May during the middle of the month. The first item of concern was due to the
condition of my hands, as I have mentioned the job I do at the Freezing Works causes the condition of the palms of my hands to deteriorate significantly.
For the whole season the condition of my hands has remained good thanks to me buying some protective gloves for use at work, previously the company had
provided them to us but a year ago our Operations Manager stopped providing them for unspecified reasons. Several employees including myself starting buying their own
protective gloves which I had no problem purchasing however when our Operations Manager saw us wearing them he actually made us remove them citing the reason for them
being banned is the gloves have the ability to perish and end up in the cartons. This is despite the cartons actually being closed before they arrive at our work
station. I actually ended up taking the matter up with our union and the medical centre at work but never got a positive result.
I did ask Kate to write me a letter at this check-up that I could produce to my employer but the answer seemed to be to just move me to another
job. I wasn't happy with the idea of doing a different job as what I was doing caused no pain to my shoulder and was one of the better jobs in our department.
I have been having concerns about my weight dropping significantly; I was 85kg a year ago and now below 75kg. As a result Kate has insisted that we
monitor this so I was required to have an additional check-up in August, by August my weight had increased slightly.
I also requested a fertility test during this checkup. Prior to my treatment I had banked my sperm but I wanted to know whether I could still father children naturally, Dr Bayston
believed with the amount of Chemo I had the chances of me fathering children naturally were not good. The result came but with a low sperm count, I was advised to take another
test in a few years time as there is a chance my fertility could improve with time.
I ended up experiencing my shortest and worst season at the freezing works this year, the season didn't start until the last week of November
2008 and we were finished before the end of May, not even six months work. During the season we did work some Saturdays but we also saw shorter
days for a period of time and what really pissed me off was they allowed the room next door to carry on working on both day and night shift but
finished our room on both shifts so someone who had only been with the company for 1 season in the room next door had a longer season than
someone like myself on my sixth season.
The shorter seasons at the freezing works lead me to decide to take a new path, back in 2001 I completed a Diploma in Business Computing
but never found a job in the IT industry afterwards instead I opted to work at the freezing works from 2003. So this year I decided to refresh
my knowledge by going back to study, I chose to do the Bachelor of Information Technology degree at SIT during my off seasons. As my old tutors
took this course they were prepared to allow me to cross credit some papers based on my prior knowledge reducing the 3 year degree to a shorter period.
I had a rather successful first six months at course passing all four papers I took getting a an A in one paper and B's in the other 3 papers.
In June I became a member of the Southern Pride Lions club. Just weeks after joining I began building our club a new website. I did this
as part of a second year project for course. After just 3 months in the club I became a board member taking on the role of 3rd Vice President,
I also have the role of organising visits to other Lions clubs.
My first check-up for 2010 and also my eleventh check-up post treatment took place in March. I raised concerns about having a shortness of breath
during the last week of November last year this was around the weeks of my final exams for the year. The issue did go away so Doctor Bayston does
believe it could have just been anxiety in the lead up to my exams. This hasn't been an issue since however I was referred to have an appointment
to check out my breathing. Kate then asked when the last time I saw a dentist was, my response to this was way back in 2003. During my treatment
Kate did mention I may need to see a dentist following my treatment as the chemo can do damage to your teeth. I asked if it was possible to have
the hospital dentist examine my teeth given the fact that if there was any damage to my teeth this was likely to be caused by the chemo. Kate was
unsure if I would qualify for such treatment given the time since my treatment but still put in the referral. Weeks later I was given an appointment
to see the hospital dentist. The reason I haven't gone to see my own dentist in so long is the cost, my last visit cost over $200, I have been informed
that now days the cost of having fillings done can be near $800.
My second check-up was in the middle of August. Once again there was very little news to report perhaps the best bit of news would have to be that
my check-ups from here on will be reduced to once a year. I am to continue to have check-ups once a year for the next 5 years at this point assuming no
further problems I will receive no further check-ups and can be assumed to be cured.
I received my dental treatment through the hospital in August and ended up having about 3 fillings. The biggest pain was the $300 bill I received,
I was not happy about this as I was at the understanding I wouldn't be billed for treatment through the hospital I did manage to pay this eventually
I had a slightly better season at work with a slightly longer season than the previous year. We started the same day as the previous year
which worked out well since I went straight from course at the end of 2009 to work. I moved to night shift in February so that I could work and study at the
This was certainly a great year at course, this year I decided to do the third year project. I managed to find my own project building a website for
a now defunct radio station in Wellington. I spent many hours putting together a site for this station only to have them go out of business in September,
fortunately my tutors were more than happy to make sure I still received full marks for the project despite it never being delivered to the client. The
rest of my subjects I managed to get mostly B's once again however I did get an A+ for the project and a web design paper. I did also end up getting one
C+ in the 3rd year networking paper my only C.
In October I started going out with Cheryl who was doing the BIT degree with me. Cheryl and I first met at the start of the year when Cheryl quit
her job as a barrister to return to our course, Cheryl had been doing the degree some years earlier. I first became interested in Cheryl back in May
however it wasn't until July when I became really serious about asking Cheryl out even then I held off as I wasn't sure if she would be interested in
me so I just focused on us becoming good friends first. We finally started going out in October.