Well, if you would have asked me a long time ago if I would ever be heading down this road that I am on, I would have said "Absolutely not!." But isn't it funny how time, perspective and just LIFE can change our minds? I had hoped to beat my cancer this time, like last time...all naturally but I just didn't have the same situation and statistics this time around. I started radiation today, not a big deal to many, and I know that you all know someone who did it and they were fine. You may be thinking....why is she so upset and unsure about this? There are a couple of different reasons, but it really doesn't matter now, this is what I have decided is the best decision for me and my family. I pray that it does all that it is suppose to do, but I did sign a paper today going into this, that there is no guarantee, and that the hospital or DR is not responsible if any thing goes wrong or if the cancer comes back. No guarantee, gee... there were never truer words spoken. When it comes to cancer there is no guarantee and I think that is why cancer is so scary. It is truly the luck of the draw and I personally am not a gambling woman, I would like better odds. That is another reason I believe that Cancer robs life from people, it seems to be ever looming over you and every ache and pain, makes you wonder if it has returned. Not a good way to live.
The appointment was suppose to be around 2 hours, so that is what I was mentally prepared for... but I was pleasantly surprised that it only lasted an hour. Jeff stayed right with me and even though he had to wait in the waiting room part of the time... I felt better knowing that he was close by. I first went in and got on a gown and then they took me into the CT room, I laid down on the narrow and cold table and then they situated me with supports for my arms and legs so that I could be as comfortable as possible. It was a bit hard to keep my arm stretched back that far above my head but it wasn't for more than a half hour. Next they put warm blankets on me because the room was cold and usually I get extra cold when I am scared. The technician then got me aligned on the table with a laser beam to make sure my body was perfectly straight. One thing that I thought was nice, is above all the treatment areas... is a circular cut out in the ceiling and they have it painted to look like the night sky with lights that twinkle like the stars. That did help you to feel a bit more relaxed than looking at just a plain old ceiling the whole time, it was even in the CT room where I was too. Whoever designed that, did a very good job. The doctor then came in and measured and looked at my chest wall and arm pit and told the nurse exactly what areas to mark and put the wires on. He left and she drew on more marks and added more wires and then she had me lay very still and go into the CT machine and scanned me for 4 minutes the first time and a couple minutes the 2nd time. I am not claustrophobic but, I always close my eyes anyway. I try to focus on something else so that I can relax more. Then she brought me back out, took off the wires and then tattooed the two areas that we agreed to have radiated. She was very nice, the tattoos felt just like a shot. The one on my chest wall I barely felt because it is still numb a little but the one under my arm pit, stung. Now, I know for sure tattooing is not the thing for me :).
After that, she wiped off as much of the markers that she could and then she told me to get dress and meet her back in the waiting room. There she gave me my 35 days treatment schedule and then told me what to do when I came in next Weds. for my first appointment and what areas to park in each day. So I am on my way. For those of you that don't actually understand what radiation does or is, then here is what I was taught. RADIATION THERAPY IS A TREATMENT WHICH GENERALLY USES HIGH ENERGY X-RAYS TO KILL CANCER CELLS LOCALLY IN A CANCER AFFECTED AREA. THE DNA OF THE CELL, WHICH STORES, DUPLICATES, AND TRANSMITS INFORMATION NEEDED FOR CELL FUNCTION, IS THE TARGET OF THE RADIATION. RADIOTHERAPY TAKES ADVANTAGE OF THE FACT THAT X-RAYS HAVE A GREATER EFFECT ON CANCER CELLS THAN THEY DO ON NORMAL CELLS. THE LINEAR ACCELERATOR IS THE MOST COMMON MACHINE USED TO DELIVER THESE TREATMENTS. So there you have it, if you were ever wondering how all this works, (I wasn't personally wanting to know but now that I am) I will try to document it for any other cancer patients who may have to go down this road.
Thank you again for supporting me on this journey. I spent a lot of energy yesterday with all that I had to do and just preparing for this today took a lot of energy too. One of those sweet Angel friends of mine, was kind enough to realize that I might be tired from all of this and she brought our family dinner tonight. Sometimes I wonder how in the world I will ever be able to thank people enough for their continuing kindness? I will think of a way! :) Have a good evening!
"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."
~ Ursula K. Leguin
"The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surrounding."
"Making difficult matters mentionable is one of the best ways to help make them manageable."