Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stomp on it!

  The huge "CANCER CENTER" sign I walk under every day isn't as huge any more.  Really.  Just this week, I did a double-take and actually thought they replaced the ominously large letters with smaller ones!  I think that means something.  It means something to me.  I'm not as scared anymore.
  I haven't written in a whole month...since a week after my last chemo treatment.  I want to say there's not much to write about, but that's not true.  It's just that the changes and the effects are much more gradual, so they're not as alarming or terrifying.  Kinda like when the big hairy spider is in a locked-tight glass case.  While staring into it's beady little eyes, you plot it's horrific, blood-spattered death, and the bottle-cap sized monster doesn't seem so scary anymore.  Cancer is the scariest spider I've ever seen, but the "medicine" is making sure that little bugger doesn't lay any eggs to haunt me after it's gone!
  I marked my six months from diagnosis with my third week of radiation.  Radiation, BTW, is a pain in the butt.  It's not even close to the literal pain of chemo, but it still sucks.  It's like having to go to the grocery store- every day.  The actual treatment takes a few minutes, and it's just zapping an 8" by 8" square of my chest, but I have to drive there, park, check in, change into a robe, wait for my turn, get in position, time the radiation buzz, change back, and then drive home.  Don't get me wrong...I love visiting with the other "radiant" people, and I love the crew that makes me feel like I'm not just another five minute victim on the bug-zapper.  But I just finished #17 out of 30, and it's beginning to seem like that fancy new dishwasher that was fun to load the first ten times.
  I don't know if radiation is affecting me, because I still blame every little weird thing on chemo.  My muscles...every muscle...feels like I had a tough weight lifting workout three days ago.  My back aches, and even stretching makes me feel the fatigue in the muscle.  It's not so bad!  I get the feeling of working out, without actually doing it!  Really, I just figure the poison is working it's way out of my system, including the steroidal anti-nausea medications that affected my muscles.  The actual radiation has caused a big square sunburned heat rash that itches like crazy.  It doesn't hurt, but it itches, and is pretty dang ugly.  I can't hide it with makeup, because the makeup might contain aluminum or other metals, that act like foil in a microwave.  I can't wear anti-perspirant either (and trust me, the organic stuff doesn't work as well!)

Getting Radiated!

  I also feel a little more like me every day.  My head is clearer, and I feel like I'm a bit more "Mary the smart-aleck" each morning.  Ron and Casey had better look out!  I'm still tired of gluing on my eyelashes every day, and of wearing a wig, but I know that won't be forever!  Some good news is, I get to skip two radiation sessions to go on a family vacation to Orlando (for my daughter's volleyball team to compete in a national tournament) but I have to leave after they do, and come home before they do to make my appointments.  Hey, the sooner this is over, the better!
  The kids are out of school for the summer, volleyball camps are already starting, basketball and baseball games await this cheering mom, we need to get our 15-year olds their driving permits, we get to go to Harry Potter World, and I will follow the protocol recommended by my smart doctors.  And all of this will happen as I watch the "Cancer Center" letters get smaller and smaller.  It does mean something.  It means we're winning.