How Breast Cancer Treatment is like automotive maintenence

The “Tune-Up”

So on Monday, I finally got to keep my appointment at the Victory Center*.  The last two appointments were “trumped” by Dr. appointments.  I had a Reiki therapy treatment by a sensitive and careful practitioner, Tom.  His method of reiki includes using sound therapy, also.  By using finely crafted tuning forks, he determines which  tones will best serve the client on that visit by using a “divining tool”, along with his experience and intuition….and he uses his own body as a “conduit” for energy field alignment, with a sort of “laying on of his hands”.

Of course the room was darkened, I was comfortable on a massage table covered in a really cozy and warm flannel blanket, and felt as though I’d been encased in a safe cocoon. After a period of tones from the tuning forks, the sound therapy evolved into a lovely nature CD of water, birds, and mellow chanting.  I relaxed almost immediately to a state of gentle floating, and it was easier than I had expected to release all active thoughts from my mind. Colors of light spring greens, pale yellows, and a bare sprinkling of whites floated in and out of my closed-eye visions.  

At some point during the session, I felt a distinct sensation of super light goose bump-type, energy movement, first across my poor surgeried, breast-removed, manipulated, and short-of-skin chest.  It was so cool, and I wanted it to last and last……but the feeling then migrated around my body, mostly on my entire left side.  It was great.  It truly was a “tune-up”.  And boy, I sure was reluctant to “wake-up” and leave.  

I scheduled a few more appointments for alternative therapies at the Victory Center for the next couple weeks and left for my next appointment with Dr. Barone.

“Fill ‘er up, ma’am?”

After the really mellow session with Tom, I went into Barone’s office not exactly prepared for what was going to happen next. He takes a look at my crazy quilt of a chest and asks if I am ready to insert some saline into the one (and only at this point) expander implant on the “good” right side.  Apparently it is advantageous to begin expansion (translated: stretch the skin some more) as soon as possible and before the chemotherapy treatment begins.

“Sure, why not?”  I thought?  “Expansion” is the ultimate goal anyway, so lets get to it!  A magnet inside the implant guided the teeny needle to the porthole in the expander implant,which was connected to the big fat syringe containing 50 cc’s of saline fluid.  One slow depression of the plunger…….”are you OK” he asks?  Me, ever the stupid optimist, “sure!” Second slow depression of the plunger…….”how do you feel now?”  Again, the least informed person in the room said, “I’m fine!” as I am reclining on the nicest doctors examining table I have ever been on (it is soft as warm butter and sooo comfy).  A final 50cc’s of saline is injected into my only implant.  If you are keeping count that was 150 cc’s of saline injected into an implant which began with 100 cc’s on surgery day.


They slowly inclined the table, I stood up and thought, holy moley…..this actually looks like some kind of a BREAST on one side.  It is a pathetic unattractive scar on the other side. And once again, my skin is so tight, and so uncomfortable, and I am bummed out.  There goes that heady sense of independance I had recently acquired just the day before being able to lift my own coffee cup with my right hand.  Now the skin is once again so tight over my chest, it just plain hurts in the sternum.  I can’t even begin to think about being able to open the “child-safe” tops to my pain meds (gotta get my kids to open the bottles for me.)  

The moral to this story is:  Don’t overinflate your tires.  It will severely impact your good mood and ability to function as a normal person.  I’m thinking that by Friday the sensitivity and pain should subside a tiny bit, because I am “willing” it to improve.  On friday I get to meet my oncologist for the first time, and hear about my odds for survival with all the neat cancer drugs available today.

*  The Victory Center is an amazing place.  It’s purpose is to serve cancer patients and their caregivers by serving their minds, body, and spirit through a variety of free services, both individual and group counseling, and unique alternative therapies which comfort and ease pain.  This is a nonprofit organization worthy of your support.



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One Response to “How Breast Cancer Treatment is like automotive maintenence”

  1. JBBC Says:

    Hi Kaylynne, I found reiki to be a wonderful part of my healing regime both during my treatment for cancer and after all treatment had ended. I believe that while it stimulates the body’s healing abilities, it also promotes a feeling of deep relaxation and well being and decreases levels of anxiety.
    Wishing you lots of wellness on your healing journey.

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