Sunday, March 29, 2009

Radiation Week 2

Cory left Sunday morning to head back up to Houghton to finish school and my Aunt Marlene arrived on Sunday evening to stay with me and drive me to radiation for 3 days. This was the start of my string of guests, that I thought would be fun. My Aunt Marlene is herself a breast cancer survivor and was her husband's care giver while he fought lung cancer that metastasized to his spine and brain, so I knew she would have a bright, strong attitude towards what I am going through. We ended up talking all evening and looked at the clock and it was 10:30, my new old lady bed time thanks to radiation tuckering me out. My aunt and I had made plans to get my sewing machine running so I could make a couple duvet covers and she could teach me how to make button holes. Again my skills of planning taking over.
So Monday morning we got up and were ready to head out to treatment a little early, so we went. I ended up getting in before the patient before me since they hadn't checked in yet, note to self earlier is better. I had a couple x-rays before treatment to recheck alignment and treatment, which is a Monday regular since I see my oncologist on Tuesdays. I walked out of radiation after less than 20 minutes and surprised my aunt, she thought it would be a bit longer since we got there early.
We then headed home and figured out what all I needed for my sewing machine, then went shopping for a couple hours. We had a lot of fun walking through the crafts store looking at things neither of us needed. We came home and she started working on my sewing machine and I did actual work for a couple hours. We got the two duvets sewn together by ~10 pm and then headed off to bed.
On Tuesday we got to U of M early and I talked with another young girl, Becky, whom I had seen on Monday and the prior week. Becky has a tumor growing on her hip that is pushing on her sciatic nerve which is incredibly painful and makes it difficult for her to walk and sit up right. Becky has an amazing attitude towards her situation though, she leans/lays on her right side when sitting and nicknamed it Cleopatra-ing. We figured out that we both had radiation at the same time and in fact had started on the same day, so we would be seeing each other daily. Radiation was quick again since my oncologist was out of the hospital that day.
My Aunt Marlene spent the rest of the afternoon sewing button holes and I tried to work. I had some work that needed to be done and naturally I couldn't connect to my work's network. I tried for 4 hours and was completely frustrated when it finally connected at 5 pm, when everyone else left work. Throughout the afternoon my Aunt and I fixed a couple pairs of pants and made plans to go out to dinner with my Aunt Terese and Uncle Mike. So by the time I was finally able to work it was time to head out for dinner. This was the first thing that showed me how easily frustrated I get these days, I didn't even want to work anymore that day.
On Wednesday radiation was running late so I was able to talk to Becky more. When I saw the young child come out of my treatment room sedated and on a gurney I completely understood why it was late. It was hard to see such a young child being put through radiation, but I know it is helping them fight their cancer. After radiation I stopped at the nurse's desk to discuss an ear ache I had been having all week and wanted to make sure it wasn't radiation burns, which it wasn't and it went away by the weekend.
I then went into work, since I hadn't been able to successfully work the day before and found out that the entire network was slow yesterday. I was surprised when I was immediately approached with problems, shows me I am still needed at work and made me want to work more from home.
On Wednesday night my friend Amoret was flying in to visit for the weekend, so Gary was going to pick her up from the airport and I went to dinner at their house. On the way home Amoret called me to say that her flight was delayed 2 hours due to weather. Well there was not bad weather at either spot so we were confused, but what can you do. So I had dinner with Cynthia and Gary while waiting for Amoret's updates on her flight. It ended up that her flight got canceled and she was re-booked through Minneapolis to Detroit and arrived after 1 am. She started drinking before she got to the airport which made all this tough for her to handle. She kept whining to me about how tired she was and how much this sucked. I didn't know what to tell her besides we can't control the airlines. I ended up waiting at Cynthia's until it was time to pick her up. Gary and I drove down to pick her up and she was so drunk and upset that she wasn't excited to see me. We started the drive back to my house and she just fell asleep. I was getting pretty ticked off by this, cause I had started to get the fatigue from radiation this week and was still awake. We got to my apartment and both went to bed.
On Thursday morning Amoret took me to radiation and went back into the patient waiting area with me. We then had to see the doctor and I couldn't help but notice the green denture Tupperware and wanted to snag a couple, but didn't have my purse to put them in. After treatment all I could think was that I wanted to nap for a couple hours before we did anything else. We ended up napping and watching movies most of the afternoon and then went out to Red Lobster for dinner. So delicious, I decided I like lobster and their muffins kick ass. Afterwards we went to the craft store so I could replace one side of her Bronco's fleece blanket that was tearing. We were suppose to watch Survivors and Grey's Anatomy like we use to, but Survivor was not on thanks to march madness, booo. So I ended up fixing her blanket and watching a movie.
On Friday we of course got up and went to radiation, which again went right on time. I also noticed Becky was sitting up, she was seeing the first signs of her radiation shrinking her tumor. She also said she forgot to take her pain killers that morning, what a huge step. In some way that upset me, cause she is seeing the results an I know I won't get to see the results except through my MRIs. The little things really do make a big difference when you are fighting cancer. On top of this I started getting annoyed with having to give directions to everybody that was driving me, probably more so from not being able to drive them around in my town. I think not being able to drive has been the toughest restraint from my cancer, but hey only 2 months and I can drive again!
I've noticed that my friends are not fully capable of understanding where all my frustration comes from and that my out bursts just need to happen and I need to get through them. I wouldn't expect them to be able to understand what I am going through, but it would be nice if they didn't blow right back up at me. A lot of times I just think how unfair it is that I am just getting started with my adult life and just barely got to enjoy it before having to fight through cancer. What 26 year old needs to start worrying about fighting to live? Sometimes this completely consumes my thoughts and makes me want to encourage doctors to pay attention to patients whose families have cancer in them for a more thorough screening at each physical.
Amoret and I continued to have a fun weekend, with shopping, eating out, watching movies and I even made her an amazing hemp necklace and lanyard. She found a beautiful glass pendant and I was able to make a beautiful necklace with it. Each time I go bead shopping I think how much I want to learn how to make glass beads, another project for when I can drive. We also went to REI, always a dangerous store, to pick up biking needs for myself and I was reminded how much I wanted to find a good indoor rock climbing wall so I can climb again. There is so much I want to do again these days, which is so much like the person I was before this tumor took over my energy.

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