Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still Waiting to Start Radiation

Hi, everyone! I had thought my next update would be to let you know how my radiation is going, but it is taking a while to get it going. I'm very frustrated that it is taking so long, but I've been on the phone complaining to anyone who will listen and I guess there is just no way to speed things up.

I went last Monday for what they call my planning/mapping session. Dr. Kuske (one of the radiologists that works with Dr. Tannehill) drew all over my chest with black magic marker. Then, the technician taped down thin wires over the markings. Next, they did a CAT scan. I guess the wires will show up on the surface of my skin and they will use those in relation to my internal organs to make an individualized radiation plan for me. The goal is to avoid radiating your heart, lung, and esophagus as much as possible. Dr. Tannehill explained to me that one of the long-term side effects was possible heart problems ten to fifteen years down the road. I told him if they could keep me around that long, I'd deal with those problems if and when they occurred. Still, it's a weird feeling, taking what has always been a perfectly healthy body and doing all these things to make it unhealthy in order to get at the cancer cells. :>(

Next, came waiting. And waiting. And phone calls. "You do know I had six out of six lymph nodes positive, right?" "You do know my cancer is triple negative, right? That it likes to spread?" "You do know I haven't had any chemo since May 18th, right?" This isn't my normal personality at all! But I can't help worrying that any rogue cancer cells are having a free for all in my body right now. More waiting. I finally found out yesterday that I will go for a trial run on Thursday and begin actual radiation treatments on Monday. The technician explained to me that I was number seven of nine new patients she'd just gotten and that was the soonest appointment available. Grrrrr! :>(

However, except for the anxiety related to all the waiting and worrying, life has been wonderful! Last week I went to happy hour with friends and got to meet a woman named Susie that I've gotten to know through her blog. Her husband is from Saudi Arabia and her family moved there a couple of years ago. She has kept a blog to document her experiences. Susie originally grew up in Douglas, Arizona with my principal, Sheila. That is how I came to know of her. It was so fun getting to meet her in person!

The next night, Sheila had a party at her house for Susie and I went to that, too. I got to see a lot of people from school that I hadn't seen in quite a while and that felt good. I also sang karaoke for the first time!

Joe and I went to California for the 4th of July weekend and had a great time. It did feel weird not having any of the kids with us, but they were all working. The weather was gorgeous! We spent all day Friday bicycling around Coronado Island. The houses were so pretty to look at. We went back the next day for the parade. It felt like we were in small town America. The only thing missing was marching bands. There was very little music. I remember marching in parades all through high school in the marching band and there's nothing I like better in a parade. Sunday morning we thought we'd just head home, but then decided to spend the day and drive home in the evening. I'm so glad we did. We went to Old Town for breakfast and then walked through the shops and historical buildings. Then in the late morning drove to La Jolla. Neither of us had ever been there and it was beautiful. We spent a couple of hours walking along the beach and then had lunch on a patio of a restuarant along the main street. Chili dog and tator tots! YUMMM! I said to heck with my healthy diet for one meal! It was really a great time.

This morning, I went to yoga class. My first since my surgery. I could do all the movements, but kept getting dizzy from all the position changes. I spent about half the class in child's pose, but figure it will get better from here. It was also the first time I got up my nerve to just go bald in class. I wore one of my caps and then just took it off once the lights were turned down. No one really seems to care or notice.

My hair is coming in. Not very quickly, but my head is covered with peach fuzz. I love to rub it and actually feel hair instead of bald skin. Have I said how much I am hating that it will all fall out again? And, I have almost a full set of eyelashes. They are short still; too short to wear mascara - I know I tried - but they're there. I keep hoping maybe they won't fall out again with the new chemo. It really makes a difference in how healthy a person looks. Janaya took me to the cosmetics counter at Dillards and we learned how to put on false eyelashes. I've only worn them a few times, but they really make a difference. They are horrendous to try and get on right, though! I will have to keep practicing so I can wear them when I return to school in August.

Today, I went for a massage and it was heavenly! Nikki is the wife of a friend that Joe used to work with. She has special training to work with cancer patients. Today's massage was a gift from them to me. Words can't even describe! The only bad part was having to get up off the table afterwards. I could have just rolled onto my side and gone to sleep. And, afterwards, Nikki complimented me on how toned my body is! Sorry to brag here, but it sure was nice to get a compliment that had nothing to do with how well my incisions are healing! :>)

Only four weeks until school starts and I'm starting to get in that mode. Reading and working on my beginning of the year lesson plans. I can't wait!

Well, that's it for now. I'll let you all know how radiation is going once it actually starts.

Love you all tons!

Bike riding on Coronado Island

Enjoying the cool weather at the beach

Breakfast in Old Town

Enjoying the beautiful scenery of La Jolla


velvet brick said...

Yeah for the new post! But I'm sorry about the frustration with getting the radiation started. Thursday is just hours away, so hang on, girl! It was great to see you at the party and thank you for belting out a few with me at kareoke! You were great! I'm so glad that you and Joe got to whisk away to San Diego...it brought back great memories of when we use to go there and visit all those places...it's such a nice, relaxing place to spend time at. You look fantastic and are so strong - yoga, massages, lesson plans... you go, girl!! We'll have to squeeze in another happy hour before the beginning of school gets here! Love you, sweet pea! : ))

N-Search of Peace! said...

Continue to do all the things that bring your body, mind, and spirit, joy and PEACE.

And that includes Karaoke!

I love you sweetie and The Margarita Express is comin 'round soon!


Cheela said...

Loved seeing and hearing you sing karaoke, Martha!!! Hope your pictures came out good. I can't imagine how frustrating it is to have to wait for doctors to schedule appointments! The air is out at school and will be until at least July 24 so don't go into school!! I tried to send an everyone email, but I can't get on our new email server!
Take care and hope to see you soon for some of the nectar!

elizabeth Brabec said...

Hello Harry!! (Just thinking of that cute song that Peggy's and Jan's class sing)
Feel your frustrations and Grrrr from the delay, but now you're back on track with continued strength. I'll be thinkin of you today and especially Mon when treatments begin. My daughter, Corrie, has a friend who always ate a salad before radiation and had popsicles afterwards. Sounds like a possibility.
God Bless!!
See you soon,