Monday, August 27, 2007

Day One

Day One

Nervous day, the unknown. i read a quote on the writers almanac the other
day that said something along the lines of....Fear is the strongest human
emotion and fear of the unknown is the strongest cause.....i believe it!
So, I put my newly purchased sling bag on with supplies packed away, such as
aloe gel to apply after my treatment, sunscreen, water bottle, and of course
my knitting, not that i was able to knit at all today, but you never know
when the opportunity arises to knit.
I was off walking around 8am. My first appointment was at 8:45. I made
it there in about 35 minutes. I was told not to wear deodorant or any kind
of lotions before treatment. I arrived perspiring quite a bit, I walk fast. So, i
thought to myself, "i hope they arent too offended with my non-deodorant
armpit up in the air." My radiologist wanted me to walk to treatments, so i am.
it's her fault if i'm smelly.
I knew how i was going to be positioned in the torture table due to the two
appointments i had previously at another hospital when i got my tattoo dots.
They called the appointments "mapping", and "dry run".
The technicians working on me, getting me in line with the radiation machine,
put marker dots on me as well, i get to smell a sharpie every morning along
with the machine smells.
The two techs that are working with me are nice, R and S. They made
sure i was as comfortable as you can be in this situation, a pillow case under
my left arm, a pillow case cushioning part of my right arm in the cups holding
up my arm. I'm laying on a hard table, my head resting on a hockey puck-like
surface. My feet are together with a rubber band so they dont twitch.
I was impressed with the artwork on the ceiling.
A metal works display of vines and insects cover most of the ceiling above the
machine. Quite elaborate for sure. I want to ask who the artist is. There
are butterflies, a dragonfly, ladybug, and a caterpillar, all made out of different
types of metal. I told the techs I was nervous. R explained what was going to happen, trying
to calm me down, reassure me.
I had gone to a cancer support chat room the night before for some support. I
had mentioned to the people there that I was nervous. Instead of support i got
horror stories about bad experiences they had with radiation.....yeah, that
helps...thanks guys! So, I wondered about lymphedema and infections.
Rand S tried to reassure me that most people who are going to get lymphedema
already get it by the time they see them, but thats not what i heard can happen.
i dont say that to them of course, I just nod and act reassured.

I was told that the incredibly loud and annoying buzzing sound will be
longer than the dry run was, thats when the radiation is actually being
administered. The whirring noises are only for the adjustment of the
patterns mapped out for each treatment area. Its controlled electronically.
I was told not to tense up when the buzzing happens, to just breathe normally....
sure, no problem!
I decided to go to a happy, calm place when the buzzing is going on.
I pictured myself sitting on a picnic table at a park i love, next to the ocean.
I am sitting there in a cross legged position, finger on thumbs in meditation mode,
eyes closed, and when the buzzing starts i imagine myself saying
"OoooooohhhhhhhMmmmmmmmm", and picture a blue healing light
cooling my body off along with the radiation beams.
Helped some.

After i got finished i found my mom waiting for me. The techs brought her
into the room to show her the machine and what happens when i get the
treatments etc...

They monitor me from t.v. monitors in another room, they told me they
can see and hear me if i needed them, so they could shut down the machine if
need be.

my mom brought me home and I got some lunch. I then decided to walk
back into town, i needed to go to the library, got some movies and a new
book to read. I decided to take a bus home. I was pretty beat.
when i got back, i crashed out on the couch pretty much. I was definitely feeling
like i had a bit of a sunburn feeling, feverish and hot.
I will see the nurse tomorrow after treatment, shes supposed to go over
things with me.
i really hope that this isnt a bad sign, that the burning i felt today doesnt get
worse. I also have an open wound, semi open, from a mole being romoved, on
my breast, i hope that doesnt get infected too. Well, i'm off to bed now, 2nd
treatment tomorrow, only 32 more to go!
Yikes! i was walking to the hospital, i noticed all the people
who were going to work, so many people with a cup of coffee in one hand,
usually balancing a briefcase or paperwork in the other, maybe a jacket thrown
over one arm, ....the looks on peoples' faces were not happy, not eager
to go to work. I held my head up high, i wanted to show them all that i was
strong and i was ok. They could see my scarf, my lack of eyebrows. I got looks
of all kinds. Most were taken aback a bit by me it seemed. Almost like their
reaction is "people with cancer are out and about in the world?" Like we
should all be quarantined in some hospital or bubble.....stay at home till we
are presentable to the world. We wouldnt want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

I stood at the intersection, waiting for the light to change. I saw about a dozen
Japanese students across the street, also waiting for the light. Their expressions
were mostly frowns and scowls. I took it as they were sleepy. It was early
in the morning and i remember being a teenager, not wanting to get up early.
As they crossed the street their expressions changed. They were doing something, they
were moving, so its like their bodies restarted, booted up again, smiles and
lots of chatter, all of a sudden got loud. Quiet to loud, frowns to smiles, in a matter
of a couple of minutes.
I thought to myself, "what do they have to frown about?"
Then i remembered my teenage years. They have lots to frown
about, it was a hard time for me. Being young is not easy, so much
pressure from everyone, especially your peers.
I wondered what their stories were, why were they in Maine?
Visiting the art school?
The woman leading the students didnt look at the students, she walked
in front of them, leading the way with determination. She strode almost
military like. It seemed like she wasnt part of the group, considering how far
away she was from them.

Then the light changed and I was on my way to my first radiation appointment.

No comments: