Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some Beach, Somewhere

Hi, everyone! Well, today was my dry run at radiation and everything went fine as far as I can tell and I'm officially ready to start my treatments and chemo on Monday. My appointments are at 7pm each day. I was kind of surprised they were so late, but that time will actually work really well once I am back teaching. I'll have time to go home and change into comfy clothes, rest, and let the traffic clear some.

I heard this song on the radio on my way today and thought to myself that picturing myself on some beach, somewhere, during the radiation treatments was a good idea. Then, when I got there and they put me on the table, I had one of those panic attacks like I did the day I had my port put in. Tears just started streaming from my eyes and I had to grit my teeth hard to try and keep under control. I think it was just all the anxiety that has built up over this past month of waiting for this day to get here. The worst part was I had to hold absolutely still, so I ended up laying in a pool of tears because I couldn't wipe them away. It was kind of embarrassing! The radiology therapist told me to just close my eyes and picture myself in a happy place - just like the song!

It took forever! About an hour on a hard, narrow table with my arm over my head and not able to move. They took a zillion x-rays, wrote down a bunch of numbers, drew all over my chest with magic marker, took polaroids (which they assured me didn't include my face and wouldn't show up on the Internet!), and then did three tiny tatoos. Finally, I was finished. They assured me that today was the longest day and that the actual treatments would go much faster. I sure hope so; my back was killing me by the time they finished.

Afterwards, I went out to my car and let all the tears I had been trying to hold back go and then I felt much better. I feel completely ready for Monday. I just so want to get all of this behind me and be healthy again!

I tried hard to picture being on the beach in California today, but it just wouldn't happen. Then, I pictured sitting at my desk, with all the things people have given me to encourage me and to let me know how much they care about me. It didn't stop the tears, but I think at that point they turned into happier tears because I just get overwhelmed by all the love and support I have. I felt like you were all there with me.

Here are some photos of all the things I pictured in my mind.

A flower my friend, Meagan, gave to me, back in the fall before I knew what was actually wrong with me.

The Believe plaque is from my neighbors, Mary and Archie and their family. Hanging on the B is a Saints bracelet Mary brought over to me the day before my surgery. Hanging from the I are meditation beads that my friend, Carol made for me. Each individual bead or group of beads stands for something important in my life.

A stuffed tiger my school sent me right after I was diagnosed and had to leave for the school year. Our mascot is the tiger.

Pam found this the last time she was at the airport waiting for her plane. She thought it would be a good thing for me to visualize during radiation. I want to be as happy and carefree as this girl!

This breast cancer bear is from one of my students, Samantha. Pam got me the plaque.

Lots of things in this picture. The teacup is from my friend, Norma. Norma treasures her grandmother's teacup collection and she gave me this one before my surgery. The lifesavers are from my niece, Mary. The pot of gold and horseshoe are from my nephew, Brian. The Obama pin and car were mine already. Now that I think of it, picturing Carl Edwards during radiation might not be a bad idea!

Joe hung the chain of cranes above my desk for me.

So, you see, I don't have to imagine some far away, exotic place as my happy place. There is no place I'm happier than right here at home, surrounded by my wonderful family and friends.

Love you all tons!


N-Search of Peace! said...

"That's right Dorothy, you always had the power to go home."

Home is in our own back yards sweetie!....where comfort and peace pulsates through the walls and paint.

I absolutely love your "Martha's" corner! All these amazing treasures are skewed around your area of breathing and of healing! We really and truly are with you always!

Happy tears for you dear one!

With love and peace for you and all..

velvet brick said...

Martha, this is such a wonderful post... first, I am so sorry that it was such a tough day. From what I've heard from my friends, does go faster and better after that first 'set-up' visit,so the worst is over. The tears that came were your body's way of ridding itself of stress, anxiety and toxins... so let them flow! It is a healthy thing to do!

I adore your corner. There is power there. Power from love. Power for healing. Power for strength. I am a firm believer in the energy that 'things' have around us. And I strongly believe that being surrounded by things that we love, that carry a special meaning, that hold an emotion, transfer that energy to us each and every time we look at them, touch them, hold them. The love and energy that is in 'your space' in that corner is true. I'm so glad that you soak it up!

Brighter days are ahead, sweet friend. Hey...wait a got a tattoo? So are you now an official 'biker chick'? : ))

Martha said...

Hey, girls! I love reading your voices on my blog! You have no idea how important they are to me and how much they help me make it through my down days.

Sorry, Carol, I don't think the tattoos which are nothing more than little freckle marks would qualify me as a biker chic. The girl just dripped some ink on me and then stuck me with a needle three times. It hurt! Like a bee sting. I don't think I have the pain threshold for a real tattoo!

Though, now that I'm thinking of it. The skin on my reconstructed breasts will be numb - yes, they will be all looks and no function - maybe I could get a tattoo there!

Love you guys!

velvet brick said...

Let me know when you go get your tattoo...I've been wanting to get one for years.... : )

Jane said...

I just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you. I hope that all goes well tomorrow.
I agree with Carol that it is ok to let those tears out.

Love and Hugs!

Dottie said...

Dear Martha,
I'm so sorry about all that brought them on but I'm actually kind of glad you had those tears. I think it does a soul good to cleanse itself of LOTS of stuff. Let's just imagine that those tears were carrying the cancer right out of your body!!! I could SO feel your emotion as you described laying on the table. You don't HAVE to be brave all the of the time, Little Missy!!!!!

I think we just need to keep remembering that all of these bizarre things you are having to endure are just the means to the end, Girlfriend! We're going to get you back healthier, happier, and ready to show this world a thing or two!!! (By the way, I am SO impressed . . . I NEVER thought you would be the tattoo type, Martha!!! I think I choked swallowing my tea when I read that one!!! LOL The next thing you know, she's going to be buying biking leathers and a bulldog choke collar!!!)

Hang in there, Girlfriend!!! I'll be thinking of you and saying my prayers for you all day long!!!
You're AWESOME AND INCREDIBLE, Martha!!! FAR more brave than I could ever be!!! We all love you and are with you every step of the way, dear friend!!!!

Lots of love,

Mary Monica said...

Dear Martha,
I'm thinking that you're now a pro at the daily radiation treatment. Friends have told me that that getting undressed and dressed again took more time than the treatment. I have also heard that you will be tired toward the end and will need to allow yourself time to rest. I am so glad you have surrounded yourself with loving family and friends and things that are important to you. I am honored that the cranes are above your desk...watching over you. During the toughest moments of my surgical recovery and chemotherapy 4 years ago, my "happy" place was on the beach on the north shore of Kauai at Hanalei Bay...where Puff the Magic Dragon lives. I would picture myself there and it helped. It is still my place to go in my mind when things get difficult. "Some Beach, Somewhere!" Love and hugs from Napa wine country. The grapes are happy and growing in our warm California summer; the beginning of harvest is about a month away.
Mary Monica