Monday, August 31, 2009
I made the decision to go by myself again today, to my doctor appointment with my radiologist. Keith needed to be on the job site today, and knowing that once I get to the radiology department, and they call my name, whoever goes with me would just end up sitting alone in the waiting room, I hesitate to ask anyone to go with me. I took my book to read, and signed in, but barely got half way through a chapter when they were calling my name. I followed the male technician back through the maze of hallways, until we finally arrived at the room. It contained a huge machine that looked alot like an MRI machine or CT machine. It was a huge donut looking machine, with a bed that passed back and forth through it. He gave me my instructions, then handed me a gown, and told me to knock on the door when I was ready. Hmm, I was pondering that part of the instructions, while I got undressed. How does one get "ready" for this? I don't think I am gonna be ready for this at all, so what does that mean? Do, I just hang up the gown, and exit the building?? Don't tempt me! I scream at the voices in my head, as they begin to urge me to run. But, after all the arguments about whether or not I actually need radiation, I have given it to God. Or at least I thought I had. If I really and truly had, why do I still not want to do this? Why am I still not "ready"? Why am I still having all these anxiety attacks? Oh well, I do as I am told, and after carefully folding my clothes, removing my ear rings, necklace and glasses, I dutifully knock on the door to signal that I am indeed...ready. This time, not only it is the same male technician, he is accompanied by two female nurses or technicians, whatever their titles are. They began to position me on the table/board correctly. They quickly tell me that the chemicals they have mixed in the huge trash bag will feel "quite warm, let us know if it is too warm". OOOOOKKKKKKKK. This is to form a mold around my body, so as to insure that every time I come for radiation treatments, I am indeed laying in the exact same position each and every time. Exact same position. I feel the bag begin to swell around me, and the three people assigned to me on that day, are working quickly and diligently to push and pull the bag to make sure it goes where it is supposed to go. Once it is done doing whatever it is supposed to be doing, they begin to cut away the un-needed "foam" that has oozed out of the bag. I am holding my arms up over my head, and it is beginning to get somewhat uncomfortable. To get a feeling for what I am going through, go lay on your dining room table, pretend like something you need badly is laying behind your head, about 3 feet, and try and reach it, without moving your body in any way. You are not allowed to turn your head to see if you are getting close to reaching it. You are just supposed to reach, keep reaching until your shoulders are backwards, pretty much, and stretched as far as they will go. Now, hold that position..........for an hour. To make that easier, they gave me two wooden dowels, at least that is what they felt like. No way, could I see what they were. Anyway, now grab onto the dowel rods, and that will "help you keep your arms in that position". Ok. No pain, no gain, right? After about 30 minutes, they began to ache and after taking the pain as long as I could, I asked them if I could put my arms down for just a few minutes. They said yes, but stood there, watching me, like....ok, can we get on with our job now? Ah, to be young again and be able to put my body in whatever position I want without my body rebelling and trying to remind me that I am not 18 anymore. I can smell the paint pens they are using to mark me up. I can't feel them. They are working on the mastectomy side, and on that side I have no feeling. It is quite weird to be able to see them leaning over me, with paint pens in hand, be able to smell the paint, but yet, not be able to feel anything they are doing. They begin to inform me that when I take a shower, I am to let the water hit me on the back, not the front, and try not to wash these marks and lines off. I will not be getting the tattoos today, because first, Dr. Taylor wants to take a look at all these markings, and if it is decided these are sufficient, then I will come back and get the tattoos. And, hmm, it says here on the chart you are going on vacation. I don't know where you are going, but you need to not get in the water, except up to your waist maybe. But try and stay out of the water. Yea, ok. I am going to Florida. I am going to be there two weeks. I have been through Hell this year, starting right after Thanksgiving last year. Lots and lots of mammograms, biopsies, scans, tests, chemotherapy, lost my hair, right side mastectomy, and now preparing for six weeks of radiation. While everyone else took their vacations to the beach, I was still doing treatments. Now, it is my turn, and you are telling me I can't get in the water? Not only that, you are marking me up with paint pens and not the permanent tatts that were discussed so I could enjoy Florida. Whatever. Finally, they announce we are done, and I did great. Whatever that means. They tell me to get dressed, then knock on the door, and they will come back in to go over the instructions and my next appointment. I try and get dressed with these things hanging from my shoulders that are numb and tingling. My shoulders are sore and aching, but I manage. I look in the mirror that is hanging there, and begin to tear up. The marks are up under my chin!! Like I can hide these bright blue lines! People are going to be staring at me wondering why I let a two year old make a road map with bright blue markers on my body! I went ahead and got dressed and knocked on the door. They come back in, and give me, again, instructions on how NOT to wash these paint pen markings off of my body. I listen, on the outside, but on the inside, I just wanted them to shut up and let me leave. Finally, they say we are done, and for me to have fun on my vacation. As I follow the nurse out, again, feeling a bit like a mouse in a maze, we finally make the final turn bringing us out into the waiting room. The crowd in front of the elevators was more than normal, so I turn and go out the back of the waiting room towards the elevators that only the regular cancer patients know about. Ah, there was only a lady pushing someone in a wheel chair, and me. I hold the door for them, then stand there and watch the door close. I was kinda in a zone. As soon as I realized I was supposed to be on that elevator, I reached out and pushed the up button again, and the doors opened, and I stepped on with the lady and the person in the wheelchair. She looked at me, and with amazing insight, said to me..."it does get better honey." I just started crying. I couldn't help myself, it was so crazy. Who was this stranger in the elevator that could just look at me and know she needed to say something encouraging? Am I that transparent? Did I look that bad? Or was it the blue lines all over my neck? Thank you Lord, for putting the angel in the elevator with me today, regardless what it was. As I stepped off the elevator on the third floor, I felt like my feet wanted to run as fast as I could to the parking garage. I did not want to make eye contact with anyone, I just wanted to run to my car and have a meltdown. I seriously needed a good cry today. The cry will have to wait for a more convenient time. I forced my feet to walk, one foot in front of the other, all the way to my car. I unlocked my car, put my bags in, and slowly wound my way down to street level and out into the sunshine. I cried off and on all the way to Herky. I cleaned up my face, and ran through the drive through, grabbed a salad, and went to Sapaugh's to get my oil changed and tires rotated. After all, I am leaving on vacation in 3 days. My husband will be joining me with the rest of my family a week later, and because he is working non-stop these days, I knew he would not have time to do this. He works days pouring concrete, then comes home and goes to the room addition and works there until past dark. He then comes in, eats supper, takes a shower and falls into bed. I know he is tired and working himself way too hard, but he is a man on a mission. I love that he is so compassionate. Thank you Lord, for giving me such a wonderful husband. I am going to go home, eat the supper my daughter has prepared, go and try and help my husband. Eventually, tonight, I may take a long hot shower, maybe cry while I am in there, and maybe, just maybe, wash all these blue lines off of my body. What will that do to the schedule? I have no idea. Maybe put it off another two weeks, if we have to do all that we did today, again. But I just don't know if I am up to explaining to my mom why I have these blue lines all over my neck and chest several times over the next two weeks. I don't know if I would be able to do that without crying, and if I were to break down and cry, I am sure that would upset my mom. And if my mom gets upset, then she gets more confused and begins repeating herself worse. So, I think I will just go wash these lines off, and take the next weeks off from cancer. Can I do that? Might as well, because after all, I am "pushy, domineering and severe". I get it honest. I get it from my mom, LOL!!