Friday, August 24, 2012


The people at 21st Century Oncology are so good to me!   The techs really go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience, which they know in my heart is not.  They are well aware of my resistance to the procedure, show genuine concern for me and always try to make me feel welcome and comfortable.  I endure the next 5 days of treatment, my first full week.  The doses increase daily but I'm still not sure I notice anything but the diarrhea.  That was the first indication and it came almost immediately after the first doses.  Thought it was just the change going from a raw diet to a meat based one again.  When I check in with my body, it tells me my back is out, it feels like my right hip joint feels off in the crotch area.  I tell one of the techs that if I was a Barbie doll, maybe we should take that leg off and put it back on again.  Maybe it will reset itself and I'll feel better again.  I feel this burning sensation when I pee.  It's not like a bladder infection.  It's more like if you got a very bad sunburn and your skin is on fire and you need to smother yourself in aloe vera - that kind of burn.  My butt burns too and I am very thankful I bought and installed a portable bidet and got lots of chemical safe wet wipes for my skin.  They can't seem to make soft, fluffy toilet paper to my liking.  Cotton balls would probably work better if they were larger and more absorbent.  Once I have my treatment and I head back to work, the first thing I notice is my hip aches.  Nothing much, but that maybe I need to see my chiropractor.  I make an appointment to see him.  It does make a difference. I have dull headaches and never had them much before.  I don't sleep that well anymore, sometimes I can't fall asleep, other times I fall right out only to wake a short time later and can't fall back to sleep.  I get that new zzzquil and it helps.

To add to the excitement of the weekend, it's also my birthday.  I'm having one of those years that I don't feel like celebrating.  I just want it low key, get me the gift I asked for and move on.  It's just another day.  I know I should be thankful I've lived another productive year, but seems that the cancer makes everything fun take a back seat.  My husband is not deterred.  He tells me to go to my appointment and come right back.  He worked the night before and came in late so he still needs to sleep.  I had the day planned to go get my hair done and get a pedicure.  Not sure of what he needed, I came right back.  He told me to change into something comfortable and we took off for the Mob Museum.  (I have only been asking for months for him to take me.)  We have to wait in line to get our tickets and it's so freaking hot outside - the hottest day of the summer so far - and it drags the energy out of me and there's a moment I'm not sure I can stand long enough to get the tickets.  The line moves quickly, we get them then have to wait while the guide puts our wristbands on and talks to us.  Little things like this take up energy I just don't have any more.  Don't want to be rude, just please point us to the elevator and move to the next group.  But I'm not like that, I suck it up and let him chat. You start at the top floor and move your way down.  As we enter and get our first photo op at the line up, I notice this smell.  My husband mentioned it too so I'm not completely crazy.  Don't know what it is but it's not Fabreeze.  My nose is in a hyper-sensitive state and I can smell everything like a super human. They could probably use me like a hound in a missing person's case.  Not sure if all this stuff is so old it carries that kind of smell, if someone around us didn't wash, or if the place is so new that you can still smell some kind of construction scent.  I can bear it the first hour but after that we start rushing through the exhibits.  I miss the Kennedy assassination video and a lot of the Hollywood and the mob connection.  It's definitely some kind of chemical smell and we leave quickly before I get nauseous.  We can always come back.

We leave and go to the Mirage to get tickets to the Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil.  I still don't feel like I am going to have the energy to enjoy it so I arrange to have someone who would like to go come pick them up from us.  We go back home so I can nap.  There is still time before we head to the movies to see Bourne Legacy opening today.   After that we were supposed to head back downtown to the Wynn's La Cave.  I'm really not feeling like heading back down to the Strip, my energy is really draining fast.  I am still hungry so we settle on sushi and head over to a restaurant nearby with teppan cooking and tatami rooms called Osaka.  A wonderful dinner, beautiful surroundings, a piano bar and delicious food.  I come back home and open all my presents.  It's a wonderful night and just how I wanted to spend it, doing just as much as my body would allow.

The next day I am worse.  My husband leaves for work and I become a total couch potato, TV is on and I doze all day.  No energy to clean or get ready for another work week.  The pain I was feeling in my bladder and colon are worse, the burning is really bad.  I take the next two days off from work but continue to go to my radiation appointments.   On Tuesday, it's my doctor check-in day.  I tell the techs how I am feeling this day.  They tell me to go right to my appointment and let the doctor know.  I'm sure he could see the look on my face as I explain to him the pain is too much.  I am about to burst into tears and tell him I am going to bolt.  I've had enough.  Every time I sit down I can feel this huge mass, like a ball the size of my fist and it really hurts worst when I stand up again.  I can't take it anymore.  I tell him it feels like my bladder will fall right out of me.  He says he would like to examine me. 

He and the nurse come back in.  He puts on the mining hat that has the light in the center and takes a look.  I hear the surprise in his voice, "The smaller one is gone and the original tumor has shrunk by half!"  This is very good news.  He asks me to get dressed and he'll come back in.  He tells me that he is going to give me the next 3 days off and with the weekend that will be 5 days without radiation.  A sense of relief comes over me.  He says by next Monday I will be feeling like a million bucks.  Try a half dollar but okay, I'll take the reprieve from radiation.  He says that we can't lose what we've done thus far and he can't give me any longer than that.  Like a bad loan, I know he may have to tack the days I lost on the end but I don't ask.  I just want to leave and start my radiation vacation.

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