welcome to the danger zone

I Am the 80%. Burn, Baby, Burn!

Sunday Mornings. I don’t like them as much as Saturday mornings, because Sundays almost compel me to get out of bed before noon. This is especially hard right now, because of these annoying radiation burns on my bum. They itch and hurt and drive me batty. Plus they look ugly (although I doubt they will hamper my non-existent nude modeling career.) Cortizone 10 is helping – I slept pretty well last night, except for the recurrent trips to the bathroom because I foolishly drink water every time I wake up to go to the bathroom. The curse of staying hydrated.

But I digress my pets! I am 80% done radiation. External radiation that is. I have five more days of naked bum meeting fairly cold table at 7 am each morning. Five more days of watching the sunrise on my way to Hershey. Five more days of looking at my cell phone trying to find the flipping snooze button. Five more days of feeling like my bladder is going to burst if I don’t get off the damn table and get to the loo. Five more days of wearing a too small gown. Five more days of feeling vulnerable and exposed in the waiting room that has the TV that is locked on to the one those channels that is nothing but religious programming. Five more days of hanging with the morning radiation club. In a weird way, it’s become part of my life – I’m going to miss it a little, because it’s become familiar. That said, a week from Monday, when I am sleeping in until the delicious 7am, instead of the frightful 4:30am, I am going to be reveling in my rest. Five more days.

Of course, radiation treatment isn’t exactly over then…I have two sessions of brachytherapy, or internal radiation in which a radioactive cylinder goes inside (caution: graphic description coming – look away) the vagina (in this case, mine) and targets the cancerous cells that may or may not be there…better safe than sorry. It’s possible this treatment may have an effect on my sex life. I nearly hit the floor laughing hysterically when that was brought up. Sex life? Bah ha ha ha ha ha ha. Really? Surely you jest.

I am looking forward to the end of radiation though…I am looking forward to the end of all this treatment, and just going back to my plain ol’ sloth self. At least for a while. I was about to sign up for the gym, but the exhaustion that is part of the side effects package is kicking my bum this last week…I come home from work and hit the couch or bed and I’m snoring like a lumberjack in 10 minutes. I don’t even eat dinner until after I get a nap. I tried eating before I went to sleep. It resulted in me waking up with food stuck to my cheek…not a pretty site, but rather convenient when you wake up hungry – you just peel it off, and Voila!!! Snack. This exhaustion has also put quite the damper on my farming – I haven’t opened farmville in weeks, and forces me to limit my pinning on Pinterest. However, there are only really 5 more days, so after I finish my feeding frenzy on Saturday in which I will be devouring chocolate, Indian food, red beans and rice, and coffee from a large trough, I will hopefully be able to resume normal activity.

Side note: One thing that has been interesting, and illuminating, is conversation in the waiting pen. You would be amazed to hear the things I have heard (primarily because no one in the waiting corral really wants to watch that religious channel, so the tv is often unplugged) – drug deals, explicit descriptions of procedures I will spare your gentle eyes from reading, and other delightful tid-bits. The drug conversation was the most amusing. I understand the use of medical marijuana. Andy has suggested it many times, even though I have explained to him many times that medical marijuana is for the patient,  and it’s not a family plan. Which is what made this particular overheard conversation so amusing – it was the caregiver who was in need of the weed “to relax” and not the poor person they accompanied to treatment, who clearly needed a blunt more than their caregiver. It takes all kinds though, and cancer clearly has no prejudices in choosing who it will select. What I continue to find amazing is the fear of the words (caution – graphic word use) vagina, uterus, and cervix. I do try not to judge; it’s not so easy – but please, stop calling it “down there” or “my lady parts” unless you are using those terms to be comical. You have been invaded as have I and it’s okay to call your reproductive organs by their proper names. I agree, I would have named them differently, but since no one has asked me to rename them (yet) let’s go with what they are. A pet peeve. I am allowed to have them, even when I don’t have cancer. Another thing I find amusing – the raiders of the patient refreshment refrigerator – and again, not the patient, but the attendants/caregivers, who feel that their bags should be loaded with juices and waters for “later” because they really like that juice, and who probably also steal towels from hotels. Seriously? You’re friend/family member/patient seems a bit parched, and could probably also use a beverage to go with the doobie you are not going to share with them. Just sayin’

I know I am rambling…I haven’t written in so long, that I have so much in my head that the thoughts just are tumbling out through these fingers. And I am trying to get this done before I have to wake Andy to go fetch my car. It should be ready soon – I’ve been driving with a bad wheel bearing for a couple of weeks…and it never made it down to Kricks last week, and it had to this week. It is supposed to be done today, because I need it for tomorrow – and I can’t go to chemo in my brother Leo’s smokey truck. I could probably go to Hershey in it, but I am sure that I couldn’t make it home without hurling most of the way, because if there is one smell I cannot CANNOT cannot stomach after chemo it is cigarette smoke. It makes me sick beyond sick. Even two weeks after chemo, it can still make the tummy tumble. I was using my precious Dolce & Gabanna perfume as air freshner in my own car after Andy smoked a cigarette in it one night.  And not that I mind the lovely scent of D&G, but since I do try to use it sparingly, because it’s not likely I will have the cash flow to buy more for a few years. And, since I have so many memories attached to the fragrance of D&G, a whiff can send me down a bittersweet memory lane at times. But again, I have derailed my narrative.

So I suppose you noticed that I slipped in the fact that Monday is Chemo Day. Oh how I fear the yellow bag! I saw one being used while watching House the other night, and my body immediately curled into a fetal position and I hid my head under a pillow, sobbing “it’s not real, it’s not real, it can’t hurt me”. I am much more reluctant about heading to chemo tomorrow than I was the first time. After the brutal response I had to it last time, I am skeered to face it again. I will be stocking up on yogurt, pineapple juice, english muffins and oatmeal to survive the horror afterwards. I also have a prescription this time for nausea meds, which are supposed to be pretty effective. I am expecting to start losing my hair this go ’round too. I pulled out a handful after the last time, so it’s likely to that I will lose more this time.

Side note: I really dislike Senator Lindsey Graham. And most of the Repulican Congressional Leaders – I am sure there are good and likable Republican politicians…why do they always pick the most obnoxious to be their spokespeople? (can you tell I am watching the Sunday morning political talking heads, although it is technically afternoon)

Anyway, that was a diversionary tactic to avoid further contemplation of poison day. I can still see the loathsome yellow of the toxic bag…they should cloak it in pictures of cake and chocolate because then the association of those foods with the vile liquor in that iv would deter you from eating them ever. In fact, I am still very nauseated by the very thought of cheesy spinach dip since the last infusion of poison, that I was actually planning to gulp down foods I love in order to erase them forever from foods I can eat, and thus support my future weight loss efforts. Gone forever would be the temptation of pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cake, chips, cookies, and cheese. However, I am actually going to eat lightly today, with hopes that I will be less tortured afterwards. Although I am going to make rice-a-roni for dinner tonight so I hope that I don’t ruin that San Francisco treat forever by eating it the night before the repulsive cocktail.

I am getting tired of typing, and since my car is not going to ready for a few hours, I thought I’d catch a nap before I go to pick it up. I am also planning to go to work for a couple three hours later this evening to make up some time that I missed this week due to the petulance of  my machine and its imaging system. It decided to stop taking pictures, and then when the tech came to fix it, it said, fine, I’ll take the images, but not without making ridiculously loud clicking sounds that will make the poor soul strapped to the table believe that the machine has gone all automaton and about to shoot lasers in all directions. It is supposed to be fixed by Wednesday. You would think that a very expensive machine like that would have a better service contract…I can just hear the call “oh,  so your linear accelerator is having operational difficulties, and since it emits radiation, should be fixed promptly? sure, I’ll be out Wednesday next week between 12 and 5, make sure someone is home” Poor machine, it probably just needs a vacation. I told the therapists to perhaps offer it gifts, and stroke it occasionally saying “good machine, nice machine”. It works with the laptop, so why not?

Before I dart off, I just want to say that the therapists and my doctors and nurses are phenomenal at the ol’ Cancer Institue…and Dr. Juliano actually has a little posse the other day during my visit, so I felt even more special. They are funny and comforting all at once, and I am even gonna miss them when these treatments are over. And my coworkers gave me an amazingly generous gift this week that included gas cards which I was so touched by…it really meant a lot to me, both emotionally and financially. It means a lot when people at work ask me how I am, and I know they sincerely mean it. My friends are fabulous too…I can’t even begin to thank everyone individually.  It really is all the little things that matter most…trust me. Now, who wants to come clean my house? (this would also involve an agreement to not speak of the tragic mess that it has become to anyone, ha ha) I hope once radiation is over, I’ll find the energy to at least do some cleaning in between being tortured in chemo.

Well, now the news is making me depressed…especially about gas prices…and thankful for my car, because of its good gas mileage. And I am just gonna pop this in hear, because the more I hear about it, the more it is pissing me off. If you watched the news, you know that two military personnel were killed in Afghanistan in retaliation for the American Military inadvertently burning the Koran when destroying a detainee library. I am saddened by these deaths, but I cannot believe we are using the premise that we “inadvertently” burned the Koran because we didn’t realize it was in the library…seriously? do you really think that Afghanis are that stupid? ( I know that there are some Americans who are, namely people like Rick Santorum) It was a library for detainees who may have been terrorists…of course it included that Koran. Is it wrong to kill people because we burned the Koran? Yes, absolutely, but lets stop pretending that we didn’t know what we were doing. This ends my political ranting.

So buenos dias mi amigos and amigas. via con perro!

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