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!