The (hopefully) last leg of the journey began today. It began with a spilled glass of soda and a minor meltdown. It ended with an evening of my favorite TV programs (Glee, Deadliest Catch). The middle was a mixed bag of frustration, irritation and heartburn.
Let’s begin at the beginning. I am so loved. The hubs stayed home from work today to be with me for my first day of radiation treatments, my mother called, my friend Angel sent texts, my brother called, many many friends wished me well via comments here, on Facebook, Twitter and through e-mail. I’m so blessed to be so wonderfully surrounded by so many who love and care about me. I am so blessed.
A few minutes before I was going to get in the shower to get ready for my big day I knocked a full glass of soda over into Snowy’s kitty bed. This minor mishap led to a brief meltdown that included tears and snuffling. Kids, I’m here to tell ya, I’m an ugly cryer; big ugly tears, scrunched face, stuffy nose, red face, lots of snuffling. But I got in the shower, calmed down and got the rest of my day started. We stopped for soft pretzels before driving over to the hospital. I’m telling you, the hubs is a good egg. He spoils me :-)
Once we got to the Radiation Oncology department it was an almost hour-long wait to be taken. Towards the end of my wait my sense of calm started to slip away. Finally the radiation technician came to bring me back and get things started. I took my wig and bandage off and got on the table where they started to get me all set up for my first radiation treatment. (you can see what the radiation treatment machine and mask look like at the National Cancer Institute’s website.) Getting set up is the most time consuming part of the whole process. They want everything to be perfect so as to not harm any good cells or tissue. My wonderful Dr. Hughes has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everything is perfect, which is why today’s treatment took place late in the afternoon as opposed to my regularly scheduled morning treatments.
The technicians set me up, called Dr. Hughes in to check everything out, she made her changes and they treated one side of my head. The technicians set me up again, called Dr. Hughes back in, she made her changes and they treated the other side of my head. Once again the technicians set me up and this time did a short treatment and finally almost 2 hours after walking in to the hospital I was done. There is no pain, no discomfort, the treatments aren’t loud or closed in like an MRI. The worst part is being restrained by the tight mask for long periods of time. Once the treatments are to Dr. Hughes’ liking it’ll only be like 15 minutes on a daily basis. I figure if I’ve lasted through all these really long planning visits I can certainly do 15 minutes per day.
Dr. Hughes wants to tweak a few more things before my next treatment so once again my treatment will be in the late afternoon. I had a second mini meltdown upon being informed of the time change. I’m so grateful that Dr. Hughes cares and wants everything perfect for my treatments especially after the first Oncologist told us that he would not always have the time to hold our hands during this process. I really like Dr. Hughes, she is one of the best doctors I’ve ever had. She makes me feel confident and calm. I feel like I am in good hands with her. She has taken all the time we’ve wanted to talk to us and explain things. She answered my mother’s questions when she went with me. When she was done with me after each SIM appointment she went out to the waiting room to talk to Chuck. I have faith in her. She makes me feel safe.
But, that said, sometimes I think the folks in the medical profession need to better understand that people rearrange their lives in order to make it to doctor appointments and medical tests/procedures. In my case, my loved ones are rearranging their lives and turning their schedules upside down in order to accommodate my radiation schedule. First radiation was to start on Monday, then Dr. Hughes wanted to be there for the first treatment to make sure everything was perfect so my first treatment was moved to Tuesday. Chuck changed his days off and went to work on Monday and took off Tuesday. I had an appointment with Dr. Matthews (Plastic Surgeon) scheduled for 9am tomorrow that her office kindly accommodated me by changing to 8:30am so that I would be able to make it to my radiation appointment on time. Now my radiation treatment is scheduled for 3pm and I have an 8:30am appointment to keep. My father , who will normally be picking me up after my morning radiation treatments now has to drive me to and take me home from my 3pm appointment. I know that all of these little hiccups are just that, little hiccups but I’m a creature of habit and dealing with all of these schedule changes in addition to the general fear I feel in regard to the treatments are conspiring to overwhelm me.
I’m so lucky to have a doctor who cares that everything is done right for my treatments, I’m so lucky to have family members willing to turn their lives upside down to help me make it through my treatments. I am so loved and so cared for by so many and I’ve had such good medical care from Dr. Bussey, my neurosurgeon; his nurse, Elizabeth; Dr. Matthews; Dr. Hughes and the very nice nurse Tricia, who wraps my head for me after my treatments. I really have no room to complain about anything, anything at all but tonight I’m feeling a little stressed and a little overwhelmed. God willing tomorrow will be a better day and all the tweaks will finally be made and I’ll get into my regular schedule and feel a bit more calm and centered.
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by to read and comment every day. I love you all.
With great love and much affection,
~ Carol Anne