Thursday, 7 February 2008

Dr. Frank En Stein I Presume

No one ever told me that radiation therapy was chemotherapy's other ugly stepsister.  Maybe this is what made my experience worse for me.  I was unprepared.  I thought that it was going to be a walk in the park followed by a long afternoon nap.  

Flashback September, 2006

Am being sent to Radiation Oncologist as chemo is not working on my breast, arm, or the skin metastasis on my arm.  This means a break from chemo because you can't have both at the same time.  YAHOO.  Meet with doctor, he is great (the fact that he is very attractive doesn't hurt either).  

I am sent to get a cast made of my upper body.  The man doing it is probably my age, he wraps my upper body in saran wrap and then prepares his plaster of paris and slops it on me from my neck to my lower abdomen.  He tells me not to move or it will crack and then leaves the room for about 10 minutes.  Just about forgot to say, he also had to cover my face with saran wrap except my mouth so that plaster of paris does not go in my eyes, etc.  So far so good.  My arm of course is killing me, but I am well practiced in the art of the Stiff Upper Lip.  

He comes back in and as he is removing this huge apparatus off of me he proceeds to ask me how long I have been retired.  Retired, I am probably younger than you buddy.  Can you believe that after all I have been going through my feelings are hurt.

Come back another day to get a simulation done on how the radiation will be going on me.  I lie on the table and they do all their calculations, the doctor comes down and they agree that everything looks fine.  By the way I am wearing the cast and they have screwed me down to the table.  I have to keep my right arm up and hold onto a pole.  My arm is killing me and I start feeling sorry for myself.  

Come back again and this time I am going to start the first of twenty radiation treatments which last about 20 minutes.  Every day for 20 days I will go to Cancer Care, take an elevator downstairs, report to a desk, grab a gown, sit and wait, go into the room, drop off my gown, lie on a table, I will reach for the pole (my arm will be screaming), I will be screwed down from my neck and shoulders to my lower waist, the table will raise the technicians will do all kind of measurements, they will leave, I will be left alone and the door will seal shut (when it closes it sounds like a vacumn suction).  I will get radiated, the door will open, they will adjust and rotate me again, the door will seal shut, I will get more radiation and then they will come in and unscrew me and help me off the table and say I am free to leave.  

When I received my first treatment I should have been in there
for no longer than 1/2 hour.  I was there for almost 1 1/2 hours.  They couldn't get me screwed in properly and they had to send me back to the simulation room and they were able to get me in right away, then I get sent back to the radiation room and they are still having trouble.  I guess they are streseed because they can't get it right and one of them says to me in a very irriated voice "You have to lie still it is not going on right."  I shoot daggers out of my eyes and tell Dr. Frank En Stein's assistant Igor that I have been lying very still and that my arm is killing me.  The other room had no problem getting it on, so maybe the problem was with him, because I know that it certainly wasn't with me.  Now 'Fuck off".  

Guess what, Igor gets it on and away we go.  I lie there with my head turned again to the wall and tears just drip down.  I have never ever in my whole life felt like such a slab of meat.  I felt like I wasn't even a person.  I am glad to say that treatments after that went off without a hitch.

Thank you Dr. Frank En Stein and all the Igors that work with you.

Whatever the worse kind of burns are, I got them.  I still have one scar around my neck area.  The skin burnt off of me, and left a few gapping holes.  I bought a salve for it and boy did that help.  I had to sit around the house though with no top on.  

I mentioned to someone that I had to have no top on and they mentioned to someone that I had to have no top on and that someone said "Well, I don't want to see that."  NICE.  My stiff upper lip didn't feel quite so stiff, it even seemed
to crumble a bit.

I really love words and these below by John Dryden make me feel better when I remember
this time and remind myself that I am not just a piece of meat:

"I'm a little wounded, but I am not slain;
I will lay me down to bleed a while.  
Then I'll rise and fight again."
(John Dryden -- 1631-1700)

p.s. Jacquie thank you for all the rides and the waiting around.  You truly are an angel.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Renee, I'd sit around with you with no top on...not in a Broke Back Mountain kind of way...just in awe of how amazing and beautiful you are.