Day 3 down (which my father says that means I am 10% done, he is a CFO/accountant type, numbers do tend to be his way of life). Monday I had the first appointment at 9:30 AM, it was the only time they could squeeze me in that day. Tuesday started the 4:15 PM appointment, which is mine until I am done with treatment – which I guess they tack on a few extra days in the schedule just in case my doctor feels like tacking on an extra few treatments near the end (kind of sounds like “you are done! Just kidding!!!!”). It is more likely in case I miss a day or two. My radiation oncologist is off on vacation at the moment, all I can say is that I may be a teensy bit jealous.
It doesn’t hurt during treatment and treatment takes 10-15 minutes. They line you up, the machine makes buzzing noises, they line you up again, more buzzing noises and before you know it you are done.
Driving to Huntsman everyday sort of brings back that “oh yeah… cancer…” thing. After surgery getting healed up and being super busy at work I sort of had a few moments where I forgot about it. I don’t feel like I can say I had cancer, I don’t feel like I can say I have cancer, I am in what I will call “cancer limbo.” It happened, it doesn’t feel gone, I still don’t feel like I am a survivor – so right now I am just “Mandi with a fuzzy head and some drawings on her booby.”
Radiation treatment is a bit different from chemo. The Huntsman Cancer Institute seems to separate the metastatic patients from everyone else in chemo treatment (I can imagine it is for good reasons, I can’t imagine if I had stage 4 and sat next to someone complaining about stage 1 chemo I would like it. I am also not sure that I could look at someone in the eyes with stage 4, when I started chemo, without having a panic attack). Although they never said that is how they do it, when they tell you your chemo day can be Tuesday or Friday and you know they do infusions 6 days a week… I was hanging out somewhere in the middle stages anyway, so I am not sure what reality I live in other than my own (which is a place full of sunshine, rainbows and REALLY cute puppies).
Anyway, a lot of people in the radiation treatment waiting room aren’t early stage (yeah… booo…). I still can’t shut up when I am waiting for treatment, so I like to hang around in my hospital gown and talk shop. They do separate the girls from the boys (kind of like kindergarten?). Typically I am surrounded by the family members of someone getting radiation for metastatic cancer. If no one is yappy I play the “what cancer do they have” game based on if they are wearing a gown or not. So far I still feel like the youngest person around (although I know there are younger patients).
My suspicions about my radiation zone were true. They are zapping me up the shoulder and hitting my lower neck (and trying not to give me a sore throat, as they say when they make me push my head over more). I took a picture of the marks that they made at the top today (the radiation therapist told me today’s lucky color was green, which I told her I was a bit disappointed about, due to my favorite color being purple). They use this line to line up the radiation to make sure they are hitting below and ABOVE the line. They also circle all of my tattoos.
I am back to exercising every morning again. Exercise is supposed to battle fatigue for chemo and radiation, now that I am healed I am back on my elliptical every morning. I probably should go to work earlier, but I like getting my sleep and working out in the morning. A couple of hours of quiet time working from home in the evening is working out so far.
My hair keeps getting longer, and it is still a lovely shade of “bottle blonde to be.” I haven’t given up on going back to blonde when the time comes. I have eyelashes, eyebrows and wrinkles that I should have Photoshopped out of the photo (I need to work on doctoring my photos, I know how, I guess I just prefer to be honest, lame). Just two months ago I took my bald photos, now I am a fuzz machine (which also earns me the opportunity to have friends and family rub my head, it does look and feel really soft though). Personally I prefer how I look with eyelashes..