3 am saturday

Well, yesterday, the 28th and final day of radiation was no fun thing.   I knew that getting into “the postion” would be painful, and of course it was.  I’m not usually a crybaby, but involuntary tears rolled down my cheeks as soon as my radiators scurried out of the big room with thick walls.  Thank God for the Dali Lama!  The chanting CD  became incredibly important in this little radiation adventure.  Something about it enabled me to pretty quickly drop off the edge of conscious thought and into some kind of “zone” that I can’t really explain very well.  All I know, is that as soon as I surrender completely to the chanting vibrations, the clicking and hum of the great big radiation machine disappears completely.  It’s as if everything disappears and I drop into some light level of unconsciousness……  That’s a great gift when you get radiated for 20 minutes every day.

Except that “radiated everyday” is in my past now.  Something about the physical pain of this week combined with the emotions of knowing that daily physical treatment  came to an end wrapped me in a big insecurity blanket and made me, normally the level-headed one, feel completely emotionally raw and exposed.  It was a wierd mix of happiness and fear.  Fear in the lighter sense for my physical self.  My chest is supremely uncomfortable.  My fabulous oncology nurse called me back at the last minute to put some special treatment dressings on my burns, and now, 10 hours later, I am kind of  “OK”.  My great radiation oncologist, Dr. Rubin, encouraged me to take the pain meds he prescribed, saying, “In the US we don’t medicate cancer patients enough”.  So right now, sitting up in the middle of the night in my bed, I feel not great, but OK, and I’ll take that as a gift.

Emotionally, I don’t know where I am.  I feel insecure.  Dr. R told me on wednesday that I have a great prognosis with better than 80% chance of survival.  Just that 80% doesn’t sound good enough to me.  And I am fearful about my follow-up care.  I don’t know why.  I still have a bunch of medical appointments on my planner for the rest of November and a few into December, but at this time, I’m still not clear about exactly how we manage the next year……..  And all the while I struggle with the pain and the insecurities, I know that I am lucky to be doing “so well” and feel a little guilty being so wrapped up in this self centered examination of the details of cancer.

As awful as my radiation experience was, it was made bearable by the professional people at Flower Hospital who cared for me and about me.  From the moment I walk through the door, the medical receptionists know my name and check me in like a VIP.  I can’t say enough good things about my Radiation Technicians on C machine.  Thanks for allowing me the time to cry on your shoulder, and for coming in on your day off (with your special surprise!!) to see me on my last day.  Both were moments I won’t forget.  I just love the onco-nurses, especially Pat.  Thanks for listening to me.  And quirky Dr. R……I do have great respect and admiration for his manner and knowledge.  Lucky me to have experienced all of these compassionate and intelligent people.

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One Response to “3 am saturday”

  1. cathy z Says:

    another step on the road to healing is done. Your patience has been tested and you are weary from the trip thus far…. Make time to rest to rejuvenate your spirit. Sending positive thoughts and energy rays! -cz

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