The only time I have ever cried during treatment was in the seconds before my mastectomies. As they wheeled me into the operating room I shed a few last minute tears in fear and anticipation.
Today was the second time.
I arrived at my radiation appointment at 2 pm today. They had shown me where I needed to go and change and the waiting room where I wait. When they showed me before, the room was empty. This time it was full of women. As I walked in you could hear the conversation pause. All eyes were on the newbie. And I was getting those sad looks as if to say….she is way to young for this.
Because I was the youthful one in the bunch and there were limited chairs I decided to sit on the floor. One of the ladies was called in and came back quickly. She was extremely happy because she only has three more treatments….which is great. As the ladies peppered her with questions about her treatment she proceeded to show us the siren red rectangles on her chest from radiation.
I was horrified. The newbie almost got up and walked out. I had a few moments of “how can I sneak out of this room without detection” thoughts racing through my head. Not only that but I would have two of those siren red rectangles on my chest. I love to know what is ahead of me on this journey….but I don’t know why, but I wanted to cry right there on the spot.
When I got into the radiation room I had to lay on a hard board with my hands above my head for what seemed like forever while they took pictures to know exactly where they beams would hit. Th painful problem was that I had my mastectomies only a month ago and my muscles do not stretch over my head that well. Within minutes I had no blood circulation to my arms. When I asked if I could take a break they told me they would have to start all over again. After a while they did give me a break but as I started the next time it felt worse. This time I could tell these extremely nice ladies were getting very frustrated with me. They wanted to get this process over. The computers had crashed in the cancer center earlier in the day and they were running behind.
When they told me I had to hold that position and not move the flood burst. I laid there with tears streaming down my face. I could sense them hurrying around me but it still took forever. AND they didn’t even finish. I still have to go in tomorrow and finish the picture on the other side.
As I drove home in tears I realized that the marks on my chest they drew on me come to the middle of my upper chest. Which means the final shred of dignity is lost. I was just warming up to my new figure and feeling OK with my new look and now I realize that any remotely v neck shirts will show my siren red sunburn. Great.
So as I near my house this song comes on the radio.
http://su2c.standup2cancer.org/sutv/lift.php (click on the picture of Ingred Michaelson)
And I am reminded that I made it through chemo. I made it through the removal of both breast. I made it through a cancer diagnosis. I will always be broken. But I am never alone. I have a wonderful community of people around me.
Then I got home and I came in the door and three little munchkins yelled “mommy’s home” and raced to the door to greet me.
I just might go back to radiation tomorrow.