Thursday, August 8, 2013
Musings from the Radiation Chapter
I have now completed four sessions of my new full time job - the 2013 radiation project. In case some of you aren´t familiar with the whole radiation dealio (or rads if you are more intimately acquainted with it), I can fill you in.
So radiation is meant to be the final clean up act following chemo and should kill off the cancer cells that were weakened by chemo. That is definitely my preferred game plan and I try to channel it by whispering during every rads session, "Die cells, die!" God I hope they are listening. The thing about rads is that the actual process of lying down on a very uncomfortable table resembling a spinal board and having this radiactive beam shot at you is completely painless. I still half expect to feel some kind of pain when the huge ass machine starts wizzing around me and I can almost visualise this bright yellow beam reaching into my chest wall seeking out the enemy. But of course radiation is invisible. The process for me is 25 sessions every day with the exception of weekends. So you see - it really is like a full time job and equally as exhausting. One of the main side effects of rads is fatigue so naps become daily protocol. I found myself feeling quite anxious about it all when I showed up on Monday for round 1 as I felt kinda in the dark about the whole thing. The last time i did this, I felt prepared and my network had informed me of what to expect, how to treat side effects and what would happen longer term. But this round 2 (similar to my chemo regime) was uncharted territory as my doctor said. They genuinely couldn´t really tell me what would happen and we would have to deal with things as they came. The radiation tech gave me a mini anxiety attack by telling me that we would need to see how things go and if I started to develop open sores we would have to consider stopping. Awesome! Welcome to leprosy island folks. There is so much worry in this game and I hate not knowing what will happen and pondering all the possible scenarios. And you know what? There is this screen on the ceiling in the rads room that lights up when the machine is on and goes dark when it´s off. The scene on the screen is straight out of the rainforest filled with lush greenery. I am guessing this tranquil scene is meant to distract and relax you however I could not help but notice that a number of leaves had burn marks on them. It made me think of my own skin sizzling under the radiation beams and definitely didn´t leave me feeling at peace. Now it is all i can focus when I am lying there every single day...burning. Oh the places our minds go.
So as I continue to get the job done, my mind is already focusing on the future and what will happen next. The plan is to finish the radiation, wait three months and do another PET. That scan feels so ominous to me and holds so much hope and fear tangled all together. I want to believe it will be okay and that I will be free from this monster but I find it so hard to think that way when everything has gone so terribly wrong. In the last two and half years every time we have been given two possible outcomes, we always have ended up with the worst one. When will our luck change? I seriously need about a million four leaf clovers, a thousand horse shoes and a pot of gold at the end of my rainbow. Do you think they deliver? :) It just all feels so final right now - we have done everything we can again and now we have to wait and see what happens. There is so much helplessness in the situation and so much fear. I am so damn scared of that monster under the bed. That it wont disapear when I turn on the lights again.