Beam Me Up Scotty!

So, yesterday was my first real venture into the world of radiation therapy.  I had no idea what was going to go on, or what they were going to do to me, but I reported as scheduled, because I'm a sucker.  I'm not sure if this should concern me or not, but I sat in a patient room for about an hour hearing whispers (No, I am not crazy!  No, I am not hearing voices!) from the halls, "Where is Mrs. Pysh's chart?"  I still don't know where it was hiding, but they obviously found it.  I had a crazy thought that it would be so nice if just like my lost chart, my need for radiation would also get lost.  No such luck.

Finally, the radiation oncologist joins me in the room and asks, "So, you're done with the fills?".   He's a very laid back kind of guy who looks more like he should be climbing the side of a mountain than radiating cancer patients, but this does not impact my faith in him as a doctor.  I can't help but chuckle as I explain to him that if they fill me any more, I'm going to explode.  And on the off chance that I don't explode, I'm not going to be a very functional human being, I've already got serious challenges. I try to explain that me and the twins are going through some "growing pains".   He laughs at me and says, "So, you're happy with them?"  I can tell by the smile on his face that he's joking with me.  What else can we do at this point?  I would laugh about it, but I can't, it just doesn't feel right, so I will joke about it and take my chances that I don't feel the need to laugh really hard about my predicament, all the while praying that I don't sneeze.

I can honestly say that I have been impressed by the quality of my interactions with almost every person that has participated in my care at Florida Hospital. (With the exception of the bubble gum chewing bimbo that gave me chemo education- and she was just wrong on so many levels!)  I have never felt like a number, and I always feel like they give me their full and undivided attention- there's no rush to move on to the next patient.  Of course, I would like to think it's just because I'm special...  My radiation oncologist has done a fantastic job of settling my fears and concerns (and there were a lot of them... I had managed to come up with about 243 reasons why radiation therapy should not be in my future, or anyone elses for that matter.  Some of which I'm sure were new to him!) about radiation therapy, and I can honestly say that I am at peace with this treatment (This might be a good time to mention that my original radiation oncologist got all teared up and actually cried when I told her that I didn't think I could go through with radiation therapy!).  But, here I am, I am ready to go. Well almost.  There's some nasty business about some tattoos, and a pre-approval from my insurance company and of course the fact that I'm not cleared until August 1 to "GO!".

After I finished with the oncologist, I met my radiation team.  There are 3 gals that will be taking care of every aspect of my 33 (yes, that's how many times they're gonna hit me!) radiation treatments.  I have to say that while I was a somewhat modest person when this breast cancer business began, it no longer phases me.  I've stripped out of my clothes and put on a hospital gown that opens to the front so many times that I've lost count.  I've said it before, I'll say it again, if you wanna get flashed, you've got a pretty good chance with a breast cancer survivor- we just don't care.   I report to the radiation room sporting a beautiful blue (I chose it over the white, it looks better with my eyes and my complexion) hospital robe, open to the front.  Wouldn't you know, they don't want it open to the front, and the tech offers to step out of the room while I change it.  Ugh, just stay put.  Three people had already checked out the twins by that point yesterday anyway!

When they start marking me, it hits me just how much radiation I'm going to be getting.  I'm pretty sure it's enough to level an elephant or at least Stage IIIC breast cancer with lymph node involvement- left breast, right breast, left armpit, right armpit, and my chest bone: 20 minutes a day plus all of the prep and stripping that goes along with it.  (I am holding out hope that the radiation will cause permanent hair loss underneath both of my armpits- it seems like the least that I could ask for at this point.)  The whole process reminds me a little bit of my pet scans: a table that's as hard as a rock, and very weird noises.  The only difference at this point, my arms are propped above my head in a very awkward position, and my oddly displaced clavicle is digging into the board.  It is going to take serious concentration for me to hold still for 20 minutes a day in this position, and I've already decided that I'm going to practice for the next 2 weeks.

Believe it or not- I had a seriously good time with the radiologist!  She was a lot of fun, and we talked about 3000 different things as she worked to get done everything she needed to.  She's good at what she does because she managed to make me comfortable and forget that the reason that I am lying on this uncomfortable table is because I'm about to get radiated.  This is good, because when it gets frustrating to drag my ass over there every day for 6 1/2 weeks, I will be looking forward to seeing her and talking to her.

After 3 hours, I leave there with purple crosses all over my chest, my chest bone, and my torso.  I'm told not to scrub them off over the course of the next week. There are clear band-aids over top of them to prevent this from happening.   I will go back next week for my permanent freckles.  I didn't bother to ask how those permanent freckles are going to get on my body- it doesn't occur to me until this morning that there are probably going to be needles involved.  I think I'm over it.

1 comment

  1. Thank you for such a personal story. I've never experienced the horrors of cancer and pray I never have to. This really opens my eyes. Thanks again and thank you for linking up at Fulfilled Fridays.


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