Boy how the game has changed. All the treatment I am receiving now is designed to literally save my life. This is a tough concept to wrap my brain around.
I started radiation treatments last week. I go every weekday and will for a total of approximately 35 sessions, or six weeks. The initial set up took a long time while they measured and tattooed and drew little dots. But now the sessions take less than ten minutes each. It literally takes as long to get on the table as it does to receive the treatment. I have to undress to the waist, get on a gown, get out of my wheelchair, pivot around to the table, sit my bum down in a designated spot, get both feet onto a step stool to push back more onto the table, then one tech supports my back and shoulders while the other swings up first one leg, then the next, as I cannot raise them myself. Then I need a minute or so to catch my breath before they get started. One day we were so intent on getting me set up, we completely forgot about getting my shirt off! And I have to tell you, I have been single for a long time. I have not had a parade of Romeo’s through my bedroom. Therefore I had little concept of how shabby my underwear was until I had multiple people beholding it. For that matter, I had little concept of how shabby my boobs were, either, until I had an audience. Despite respectful staff, dignity, decorum and self-deception fly right out the window when you have breast cancer.
After approximately 7 minutes, we have to do the whole thing again, in reverse.
It sounds so simple, but it really is exhausting. Shoot, these days everything is exhausting.
I am a firm believer in the power of the mind over matter. Because you do not feel or see anything with the radiation, it is hard to remember this is a process designed to eradicate the cancer, that these invisible beams are, hopefully, destroying the malignant cells. The first few sessions I was just numb with the horror of what I was undergoing. Then at the beginning of one session I started thinking “Kill! Kill! Kill!”. That actually made me giggle. It made me think of Arlo Guthrie in “Alice’s Restaurant”.
Funny, but not a good fit.
Funny, but not a good fit.
So now I am trying to imagine beams of healing lights seeking out the cancer and making it disappear. That is definitely more comforting.
I started the hormone treatment last week, too. I am mortified to acknowledge that at 59 I am still not in menopause. Yep, you read that right, 59 and fertile. Talk about horror. Although that may account for my youthful beauty. lol So I have started injections that are supposed to rapidly bring on menopause: hot flashes, mood swings, the whole shebang.
Tick, tick, tick…still waiting.
So there we have it, the battle for my life has started. Before I was fighting to stay mobile. In retrospect, that seems almost frivolous. Now I am fighting for more time. I must believe I will win, although it is a struggle to stay positive, as I am so scared. I am ashamed to admit I am scared of suffering, of indignity, of missing out on so many wonderful things. I am having a hard time praying, so I am incredibly grateful for any prayers you might offer on my behalf. I especially want to pray for renewed faith, for strength and courage. At the radiation center and the oncologist’s office, I am surrounded by brave, serene people. They are my role models. Wish us luck!
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