Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Radiation Therapy 8 of 30

I didn't feel so tired today. The weather was good enough to be outdoors so, getting out in the sun certainly helped with the energy levels.

We have started our own veggie patch. It has capsicum, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot, limes and blueberries. We have been watering the seedlings and enthusiastically monitoring their growth. Today, we harvested our first leaves of lettuce. We ate them at lunch. It was so wonderful for child one to pick the leaves, wash and then eat them. Now, if the strawberry can ripen without being snatched by a nocturnal animal...

I had a good day today. And then, in the evening, I had two crazy incidents. One involves a lady in the waiting room and another has to do with the radiation machine. Both awkward moments.

But before I get onto those stories, I need to declare some of my fears. And, guess what, I only get these fears at night. It's when I am alone with my thoughts, when no one can see my fear and when my imagination has the most control. I have had these thoughts before but, it was only last night that I made a mental decision to record them. If you thought I was brave, you are sadly mistaken. It's not that I pretend that I am, it's just that, more often than not, the moments of fear are always when no one is around, at night. (I know I have watched too much Spongebob when a phrase that I write sounds like the little yellow guys voice, in my head, and not my own; "At night". Anyone seen that episode?)

Anyway, my fears. I really feel as though I am not myself. I am not calm, I seem to have less patience and obviously the energy is not at all what it was. This really frightens me. After radiation, I will commence a five year treatment of tamoxifen. I am concerned that I won't feel like me. What if I continue to be agitated, grumpy, impatient, depleted of energy. It really concerns me. Of course, it's better to experience that than for the cancer to spread and die. I totally get that. But...Well, let's just get it out there that I do worry unnecessarily. What's the point in worrying. I have to take it. And, when I do I will do my best to do my research to discover what I can do to make the ride smoother. Not sure if I've convinced myself...

The radiation ride has been pretty smooth. I spoke with the nurse, tonight, about getting red. She said that, in the third week I will notice redness. If I am lucky, that will be the extent of my burn. Then, the skin will settle and return to some-kind of normal four weeks after my final treatment. I was glad to have that conversation. I'll be on the lookout next week.

Moments later, an older woman entered the waiting area. She told me her cancer story. Lucky for her, she was actually in for her last radiation and so, her cancer treatment was over. I felt so excited for her. When I came out of the radiation room (there's something to tell about that in a moment) I wanted to wish her well. I walked up to her, just a tiny detour on my way out. I wished her all the best and then there was that awkward moment. I wanted to just hold her hand but then the next thing I kissed her on the cheek. Ahhhh! What? How did that happen? It was so awkward. She leant towards me. I looked around. I went to hold her hand. She turned to the side. It was just majorly bizarre. Anyway, the husband (mine that is) made a comment because it must have looked even more awkward than it felt. For both parties? I'm not sure. But certainly for me. I felt so embarrassed. And then, as I walked out of the hospital, down to the car park, I couldn't stop thinking about the situation. How stupid. Why am I labouring over this? For goodness sakes, I kissed a woman who just went through a very scary breast cancer journey. Does it matter if we had an awkward kiss. It wasn't on the lips... I kissed a lady who had finished her cancer journey. That could never be an awkward thing. Right?

Well, the other incident occurred during the burn. To do the radiation thing the machine shoots from two angles. So, it starts on my right side. Then, the machine moves around me to position itself to burn me from the left side. Well, tonight, the machine stopped half way through! I was so scared. My heart was racing. My breath picked up pace. I wanted to scream. But who would hear me? Then the machine moved. But not completely to the other side. Should the machine mulfunciton and burn me right at that moment it would go straight through my heart. Nooooo! I waved at the camera, for a millisecond, just when the machine moved again. I kept still and allowed the machine to do its work. When the ladies returned (there are always two radiation therapists in the room), I felt so stupid. I went on to explain my fear. Guess what? She said that she saw my legs flinch and my tiny wave. I felt so exposed. Anyway, little did I know that there was another silly encounter just metres away on my way out.

The joys of being human, Oh, and here was my menu:

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs with salad

Lunch: Red curry beef mince balls with salad and a muffin

Dinner: Red curry mince balls with veggies

Snack: Muffin

All in all, a good day. I hate to get repetitive. I promise not to sign off everyday like this; but, another one down.

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