April 5, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Bad

...or, "Why Jenny's feeling particularly sorry for herself today". Today was my first radiation treatment, so it was the long one and it was a doozy. This is the one where they have to map you out in detail to make sure they are aiming in the same place every time. That involves multiple rounds of x-ray shots, then the MD verifying that it all looks good, then the actual treatment.

What this really means is that I had to hold still for about 45 min. No big deal, right? Well, not in theory. I had to hold still lying down with my arms over my head. Again, no big deal, right? Well, I'm hoping it's no big deal for most of the people who ever have to go through it. Maybe they haven't had as much remodeling in that area. For me, worst pain in my life. Yes, that includes child birth, where I could feel every minute of the hour it took to push Olive out--at least then I could move when I needed to. Any other procedure and pain I've had with this cancer, I've been pain-medicated and sedated, too.

You see, I can get by pretty well these days despite my weaker arms and diminished range of motion, esp on my R side. Once they stopped the weight restrictions for me, I was back to holding Olive quite often and doing other normal activities. But today I had to reach over my head and hold on to 2 pegs, let my elbows fall to the side, and turn my head to the left. Excruciating for my R arm--my shoulder was in a funny rotation, the whole thing was getting heavy and falling asleep, and the only thing I could move was my fingers a little on the peg. I tried deep breathing, visualization, guided imagery--none of it worked for more than a minute. I got to have one break after about 30 min of this. By then I was whimpering and crying. It was like being on "the rack". I recovered a little and could finish up the rest of the time, which was the treatment itself. That will only take about 10 min each time, so I won't be going through this again. Phew.

Yes, the staff warned me that it would be long and uncomfortable, told me to take ibuprofen before I came. I did. Knowing what I know now, I should have had the heavier-duty meds and had someone drive me. No, I don't blame them, even though I've had offers of people wanting to punch them for me! They were as nice as they could be, but holding still is holding still, and if I would have moved it would have all taken longer. But this is one of those days where if anyone said out loud near me that their cancer was "a gift", I would have slapped them hard.

Then, I was looking for someone's shoulder to cry on. But Ben & I had a miscommunication, so he tried to meet me at the hospital downtown, while I was on the East side and finishing up. Then I stopped by the pharmacy to see Julie on the way to work, but she was starting late and wouldn't be there for a little while. So I bawled in the car on my way over to work. I stopped to grab lunch and composed myself, then I headed into the office for a meeting. Thought I was okay until my teammates asked me how I was, then I bawled again. I ugly-cried a few times today. But I got through the rest of the day and will rest and recover tonight. And maybe pout some more. Not my finest moment.

Okay, I could go on, but that's long enough for tonight. Thanks for indulging me.


Kathy said...

Aw gee...of all the times someone should have been with you and I could have been there today--3 client cancellations and 1 student appt cancellation. Some of your tale reminds me of Bruce having to lay on his back after the cath lab--he was calling uncle a few times because it's hard for him to lay flat on his back in the first place, let alone not being able to move. With all you've said, I'm amazed that I had no idea of the limited range of motion and issues with your right arm. I am so very glad that you've started the OT and so hopeful that these things will have possibility of changing for the better down the road. I hear this is hard and I'm proud of your bravery. Hope is the thing with feathers--that perches in the soul--and sings the tune without the words--and never stops--at all-- (E. Dickinson) Hold tight to hope...the end is in sight. Just a little bit further. (H. Simpson) ;~) Love you!

Elevation said...

oh, jenny.. i was thinking about you yesterday.. again, had no idea what your appointment would really entail.. sorry it was such a drag.. it's okay to ugly cry, to get it out.. it may be ugly, but it feels really good..
joel and i both work this weekend, but would love to sign up for other shifts.. i'll run the dates by him..
btw.. thanks for having us over a couple of weeks ago.. we had a lot of fun.. holli xoxo

julie said...

So sorry sis, I had taken the morning off to go with you, and since Ben was going instead, I devoted my morning to being pissed at cancer in a more focused way than ever. Anytime you call, I will meet you, with sedatives or narcotics as needed, and take you where you need to be...