big day

Monday September 14, 2009

Dang, today was a big day.  Radiation set-up at Flower Hospital, reiki with Tom, and yoga nidra with Nancy.  

How I love to start the morning with a blood draw.  Makes you feel….uhhh, yea, makes you feel like you are really… doing something that day.  And by golly, I, or should I say, we did quite a bit even before noon.  In the blood draw area, the brusque phlebotomist called it my “sims”.  I felt a little stupid asking, “ummm, what does that mean, mysims”.  Almost annoyed, she replied, “Simulation!”  Oh.  Yes.  Of course, my radiation simulation.  Just that I hadn’t heard that term before, so sorry…  It’s OK, I didn’t have to camp out with her for long.  Went back to the waiting area, was sent to another waiting area affectionately called “the fishbowl” for its large fish tank.  I have noticed that fish play a predominate role in cancer centers.  Must be the cheap way to bring a nature buzz into a sterile environment.  Waited and waited and finally got to spend a little time with the nurse who would “educate me” and then “poke me”. 

Eventually I was sent to the big cold room.  That’s just how I’ll remember it.  Not a lot of explaining but a lot of “doing”.  You could tell these radiation technicians had a job to do, and they were doing it now.  Take off your clothes from the waist up, put on the booties, sit on the bench, which arm do we poke, tourniquet the arm till it  hurts.  Nurse loved my veins (they all say that!) and stuck in the works for my IV.  At that time, I thought, IV?  For what?  Again, I felt stupid, did they already explain that to me and I missed it?   (Didn’t know I was soon to get an intravenous “contrast”….I thought it was a “drink it” contrast.)   

Dr Rubin and two Radiation Technologists together directed me into what will be my radiation position for the next 6 weeks.  Laid down on the hard narrow “bed” on top of a big rectangular flat kind of pillow thing that seems like it is filled with bean bag pellets.  Then all three of them pushed and pulled that pillow until it formed an outline around my position, and I think they sucked the air out of the pillow so it created a perfect “mold”  for me to lay in so I am in exactly the same position everyday .  Now at this point, I can’t see a thing because my head is positioned up and away from the planned field of radiation, and both arms over my head.  That’s good, but for me, not being able “to see” is disconcerting.  When Dr. Rubin was directing the positioning, he kept moving my left arm up and around until he got the exactly right placement, arm out of the way, but no folds in the skin.  Apparently “folds” in the skin and radiation don’t go together.  More talking, more prodding.  Then quiet.

Now I couldn’t tell what happened next, because of course, I couldn’t see, but it took a few seconds for me to realize I was alone.  Alone on a hard slab that was moving through a BIG doughnut shaped contraption that had a green light inside that went aroundandaroundandaround.  It was a part wierd, part creepy, part isolated feeling.  Alls I know is that I wasn’t moving a millimeter.  I try really hard to be a good little patient, even if I don’t like it much.  And I was so very cold, of course, completely undraped from the waist up.  My chest wasn’t so bad because I have no feeling there, but my hands were freezing.  Then after awhile, the whole party came back into the room made some changes, and zipped out again.  Seems like this happened three times, but I got kind of lost in the whole thing.  Somewhere in there, the nurse came in and had to fish out my IV end and said, “I’m putting in the contrast now, you’ll get a metallic taste and feel like you peed your pants but you won’t”  Oh man.  What a BIG disappointment.  I hate having those kind of surprises.  On Sunday I was so excited because after almost 3 weeks from the LAST CHEMO I was finally losing some of that horrible no-good metal mouth flavor, and now I got it again.  Right now, 13 hours after the procedure, still the yucky taste in my mouth.  Yuck, Ick, Blaaugh. I’d rather pee in my pants than get the metallic taste (I think).

Then as fast as it all began, it all was over.  They want me up and dressed and out.  Before I had my clothes on, they had the slab all set up for the next patient.  It was for a head/neck cancer.  Yep that’s right, another reality check.  In my mind I was whining about metal mouth, and the next guy has cancer in his head or neck.  I’d rather have the radiation in my chest I think.  When you have a head/neck cancer they have to make a mold of your face so they can put it on kind of like a mask to hold you in exactly the very same position for every single radiation..  If I ever know anyone who needs this kind of radiation, I’ll remember to do something fabulous for them at that time.

Lucky me.

Lucky for me, the rest of the day was pretty blissful.  I was fortunate that I had a Reiki treatment at The Victory Center* with Tom after lunch.  For me, the reiki completely mellows out any stress that has accumulated.  So in theory, I should probably have it every week, what with kidz ‘n cancer….  I’m just thrilled that I manage to get an appointment once a month with Tom.  He is the greatest.

Then, as if that weren’t wonderful enough, I was lucky to get into an Introductory Yoga Nidra Integrative Relaxation class.  Here is the course description:  The body has an innate mechanism for maintaining balance and health.  Chronic tension and stress weakens our ability maintain this balance.  Learn step-by-step mediatation techniques to reverse the effects of stress and create a state of physical, mental and emotional relaxation and wellness.  Bring pillows for body support in comfortable lying meditation. 

Oh my heavens.  I had no idea what I had signed up for, but I figured if you needed to bring pillows it couldn’t be all bad.  In fact, it was even more wonderful than I could have imagined.  The class was held at “The Cottage” at the 577 Foundation**, which is just a hidden gem in Perrysburg.  The birds were chirping, the crickets were singing, and peacefulness filled the room.  The leader of the class, Nancy, is a neighbor of mine, that I have always wanted to meet, but never had…what a great opportunity!  She is incredible, too, and has a beautiful and radiant sense about her.  By the end  of the 2 hour session, we were all so blissed out, barely anyone in the room could speak.  This is the best yoga class I have ever taken in my life.  Yoga Nidra is it for me, for at least the near future.  Combined with a little reiki and “Healing Touch” (also from The Victory Center) and my daily exercise routine, I think I will have done everything humanly possible to maintain balance and forge a wide path back to wellness.

 So see, the Cancer experience isn’t all  bad.  ;^)


*  The Victory Center is Northwest Ohio’s only independent, non-profit cancer wellness center.  If you know anyone diagnosed with cancer, you would be doing them a favor by getting a welcome packet into their hands.

**  From their website: “The 577 Foundation, open to all, is an ecologically sensitive place that encourages diversity and seeks to foster exploration, experimentation, personal enjoyment and creativity in education.”  What a great place, and within walking distance from my house!



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One Response to “big day”

  1. gaely Says:

    I’m sure glad you ended the day with the Victory Center and Yoga…the clinical part of this day sounded awful and much could be learned here about “bed side manners” me thinks. Hugs and good thoughts to you.

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