January has been all about overdrive for me. Every (weekday) morning I have to complete the morning dance with my kiddos…breakfast, clothes, hair, pack lunch, shoes…any mom will resonate with me on that lovely beginning of each day. Then I drop off my eldest at pre-school, shuttle my littlest to someone who can watch her while I whiz my way downtown to radiation which lasts approximately 20-30 minutes (if they are running on time). Some days it feels like A LOT of rushing for a very short appointment, but that is just the nature of things I suppose.
When I arrive to any doctor appointment I have learned that waiting is a BIG part of the game. For anyone reading this who is newly diagnosed, or has their own health battle where many doctor appointments lay before them, I encourage you to bring a beverage you enjoy, a book, magazine, computer (or these days your phone could suffice). The other day I waited for an hour before being seen. You have to let the stress go too, because it’s not worth it. Just pick up that easy read and get lost for a few minutes…you could probably use a mental escape anyway.
In the doctor office, when I look at my reflection I never quite get used to one side of me being so ... flat, removed, gone.
The appointment includes me heading back to the radiation room, it contains a giant machine, a few lovely ladies help me get situated laying down. Before my appointment I clean my chest and I cannot put any cream on it until afterwards, which leaves my skin feeling raw. I turn my head to the side, place my right arm above my head and before the machine starts we make sure I am properly lined up, a physicist works with the radiation oncologist to make sure the treatment is perfect for my anatomy. It makes a loud noise and it passes over head then goes back and forth for 20 minutes. I usually close my eyes and take that time to pray, talking to God about whatever is on my heart and thanking Him for all I have.
Afterwards I can immediately lather up which feels soothing...calendula is the key, I have a plethora of lotions I am using including Miaderm, straight Calendula, Sandalwood Cream from Young Living and Earth Mama Angel Baby lotion.
Then I rush rush to go gather Henley and then Halen in time. We complete this every morning, we have gotten gas more times in the last month than we have in years. The last comparable time would be when I would drive from Anderson Mill to Bowie High School with my oldest in my belly. That was quite a trek.
My skin has held up pretty well, it feels the rawest in my armpit where my skin touches. It is redder on the right than the left, but not as bad as it could be. I have eight more sessions and then I am done. I am really looking forward to not having to rush out of the house each morning and driving downtown, but I am grateful for these treatments as they should kill any of those microscopic live cancer cells lurking in my lymphnode pathways and fatty tissue.
Next month will present another form of treatment. For now, I am focusing on keeping my skin as moisturized as possible. I get my blood taken every few weeks to see how my white blood cell counts are doing, and after treatment I will get a CT scan to see how it worked. This battle is a slow and steady journey, little victories along the way…sometimes we take a step backwards in order to leap forward. I am excited for January 31st… after six weeks, 28 sessions. I'll be free from radiation.