Accept yourself; love yourself; and keep moving forward. ~ Roy T. Bennett
"You sound better," Jason said to me the other day when he called.
"You haven't written on the cancer blog for six days," Mike said to me this morning. "You must be dealing better."
The truth is that I am feeling and dealing better; it's amazing how much easier it is to deal with all of this crap when I feel better. I can get out of bed in the morning without struggling. I can eat without getting sick. I go to bed and wake up without thinking I have cancer or I feel like (insert expletive here) or Will I ever feel normal again? I enjoy being awake. I'm looking forward to moving to Florida. (Well, in a way.... It's a lot easier to move when someone else does the packing for you. I should have learned that lesson 11 years ago.)
If I am to be honest, I can tell you that knowing that we are moving to St. Pete at the end of the month has helped my state of mind more than anything. One of the reasons I wanted to move closer to Jason and Sandra was in case one of us got ill. (Little did I know it would be moi.) Having to go through all of this so far away from them has been hard, so being closer to them will ease the stress so much.
Dealing with the lingering side effects from the chemo has been easier knowing that the move is finally on the horizon. I'm looking more on the bright side these days, so for every not-so-good thing, I try to find the positive.
CON: The chemo affected my eyesight, especially in my right eye. I will need cataract surgery when I have recovered from the treatment and my immune system is back to normal. PRO: The chemo did not damage my retina. CON: I still have neuropathy in my toes. PRO: The neuropathy in my fingers is almost gone. CON: Tomato sauce (and anything made with canned tomatoes) tastes awful. PRO: Fresh tomatoes are okay. CON: I'm still bald. PRO: My head is itching, so I think the hair is going to start growing back. CON: I'm still pretty fatigued and weak. PRO: This, too, shall pass. CON: I still have radiation to finish. PRO: I have only 12 more treatments.
So far, radiation has been relatively easy. Except for the first day when they had to re-map Ethel so the rays would hit the right spot, I've arrived, changed, had the treatment, changed back, and left within 20 minutes at most. The worst part of the treatment is trying not to stress too much over it. Seeing the honking big machine every morning, though (left), makes my heart race.
If you look at the screen on the upper right, you can see where the techs pull up the parameters they need to meet for each patient's treatment. The blue block is reserved for the patient's photo because they want to make sure right person is being zapped (Either that or they're afraid someone will sneak in and subject himself/herself to radiation for no reason at all.). Once the patient is set, the techs leave the room, and the fun begins.
"Breathe normally," they tell me as they depart. You know how it is when someone tells you not to do something or to do something: Your body wants to do the opposite. I'm fine until I hear the machine's whine. "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee." I start to count and pray that I don't hyperventilate or sneeze or cough or have muscle spasms in my right arm. The whining stops, and I relax a bit.
Suddenly, I hear a whirring sound. The machine's head begins to circle around me. "Eeeeeeeeeeeeee," it whines anew, and I tense up and start to count. When I reach somewhere between 18 and 20, the whining stops. A few seconds later, the machine whines its encore, and I count again to keep my mind off of the fact that my insides are getting zapped from a third angle.
I really like the techs who work with me. I figure they zap between four and six people per hour, yet they never rush. They are always cheerful and take time to ask me how I'm feeling and how the packing is going. I have offered to do some of their work if they would do some of my packing, but not one has taken me up on the offer.
We also talk about my hair and when it grow back. As I mentioned, the itching tells me that it probably has started. I told them that I'm thinking of starting a pool.... Which week will my hair finally be one-inch long? Will it be curly? What color will it be?
I'm still hoping for strawberry blonde or pink, but I'm not too optimistic.