So . . . good news! Radiation has a bunch fewer side effects than Chemo-Therapy. Okay, that’s a wrap, we’re done here . . . except we’re not. Oh (imagine head banging table here) we’re just not done.
I know . . . I KNOW . . . we’d all be so happy to be done now. Here is the reality. By-Gone Chemo is now pretty much exactly 4 weeks ago. With the exception that Chemo isn’t REALLY done yet. I suspect you readers are all waiting for the day when there are no more notifications of this post, at which time we’ll all rock on. Thank you. Me too. But WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
Let’s start with Chemo’s lingering stuff, shall we? Dang and tarnation. My finger nails (and toe nails) have a bone to pick with the not-so-honorable gentleman from Lab o’ Chemicals. And I’ll tell you what, if all my aforementioned nails (especially from the footed area) were in their previous Hobbit-weaponry-ready state, this would be a much more aggressive statement. As it is, all persons from the Lab o’ Chemo are snickering that “my puny Earth weapons are useless” against them. And they’re right.
I’m on the utter brink of loosing 6 nails as I type this. And I say, “YAY” it’s not 20,” Yet . . . as far as I know. In case you are wondering about my preparedness for this event, allow me to just say that this was NOT mentioned in my extensive and annoying Chemo Class. So, no, I did not see this coming. WTF The nails situation is worsening a month later, and the “numbness-tingling” sensation is doubling down too. The bottoms of my feet are peeling like snakes shed skin. Neuropathy is a too clingy acquaintance.
“So other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” Uh . . . too long? In short, I guess I’m not really done with Chemo. But that’s okay, because there’s so much fun to poke at RADIATION! If not quite welcome, it is still a solid distraction.
The efficient staff in the radiology department are way too used to lining up patients for their equipment, and a little too unused to thinking about them after they leave. Well, it really IS much harder to connect when your actual contact is only for 5 minutes, and the relationship ends in a month or so. I mean, my chemo nurse was my chemo nurse for 4 months, and even though I only saw her every two weeks, she was in and out of my space for 3 to 5 hours at a time. There’s a commitment in that to an unavoidable degree.
I miss her.
But let’s get to the part where we poke fun at Radiation. Seriously. I have a good place to start. I was told by a previous patient (Roberta, I hope you don’t mind my mentioning you), that I’d be getting a couple of tiny little tattoos to mark where they needed to aim the Radiator (honestly, what is that equipment really called?). AND I thought, “TATTOOS?!” Nobody, but NOBODY mentioned permanent TATTOOING as part of this process!” I was in a total rant in my head. This is Bull-S–t I huffed repeatedly to the audience of my single brain.
Today, I find that childish huffing quite amusing. IF ONLY they limited the marking up of my chest cavity to a couple of tiny tattoos, I would currently find this charming. Roberta, if you’re still reading, please feel free to quantify the extent to which they used to mark us up with additional pen art, and whether that may have been in addition to the tattoo marks. But for NOW . . .
On this day, and note please that I am on my 3rd day of radiation, and note further that for almost two weeks now, I am cris-crossed with lines and diagrams and giant X’s (one of which actually looks like a swastika) to the point that I could be a poster-board for the Cleveland Police Academy’s target training practice. Meaning, they recommend you shoot anywhere. Here . . . There . . . Here, or Here, or oh, wherever.
To begin with, two weeks ago, they used a green felt-tip marker which they covered over with clear stickers that stay attached through showers. I asked on that first day if I were going to have these marks for the full duration of the 6 weeks of treatment, and they said, “Oh you don’t need to worry about that. We’ll see you everyday so if the marks fade, we’ll be able to draw them back in.” To which I said, “Well THAT’S a RELIEF!” I mean, thank G-d. Then 5 days ago, they alarmingly completed the diagram with a brilliant magenta marker.
My abdomen, and, shall we call it my “Upper” abdomen look a lot like a toddler was given a couple of pens and asked to produce a family portrait–with their house in the background. Please remember that toddler’s favorite artistic styling is stick figures. Now you can picture it. From shoulder to navel to hips to clavicle.
Nice. And I’m still bald, so it’s all working. Except I was still hoping my husband would be interested in intimacy occasionally. Lucky me! . . . he’s a really good sport. 🙂