Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Preparations and Gratitude

Radiation Treatment Status: 17 done! 13 to go!

Thanks to Don who picked me up and dropped me off for my treatment and to Syvia who picked me up, brought me home and put lotion on my back. Kevin is away until Thursday and so I've had to call for lotioning assistance.

I can feel more burn on my back now and less so in front. Today the radiation therapists say they can see the radiation boundaries on my skin and everything is a light pink. I didn't see the Radiation Oncologist today but will next week for sure. The burning will be more evident then and it will be good to have him check it out. Right now there isn't anything to be changed, my skin is holding up nicely and unless I had any questions, seeing him would have been a waste of both of our time, really, though I understand that some people feel more comfortable about their treatment if they do see the Radiation Oncologist every week for reassurance.

The radiation therapist said that my skin is looking good but that I have the type of skin which, based on her experience, will probaby blister and break down just at the end of treatment. I was hoping to avoid the "breaking down" part and I still might, but it's unlikely. I'd rather know the odds and mentally prepare for it than have it happen and be especially disapppointed. Nora told me of an acquaintance of hers whose radiation treatment probably followed a similar pattern to mine. I was glad to have that bit of information to reflect back on. It softens the blow to have some previous understanding. The radiation therapist reminded me to continue my diligence about applying lotion both front and back. And I do, though my back gets a little less attention.

The old joints are, perhaps, not as bad as yesterday and maybe that's because I wasn't outside very much. Just guessing. The improvement is marginal at best. I phone my oncological nurse tomorrow and report in. I'm not sure she'll be able to say anything except, "sucks to be you". Well, of course, she wouldn't actually SAY that, but ... I'm not sure what else she might say unless she sets up an appointment for me to see an oncologist.

I put up a few Christmas decorations today and the above photo is of the wrapped bundles of chocolate truffle biscotti that I dropped off today, along with thank you cards, to all the departments at the Champion Centre that have helped me through this. There are a lot of them, including the ones who work more behind the scenes. It was important to me to express my appreciation for what almost all of the people I've encountered there have best excelled at, and that's at being cheerful, kind, gentle, compassionate, and very personable. They soon feel like long-time friends and that's because they open up to you in a way that makes this whole ugly business less frightening. They know we're scared and they know we're fighting the fight of our lives for our lives and yet the Champion Centre doesn't FEEL like a sad place when you go there. People are always smiling, including most of the patients. There's a lot of cheerful and encouraging humanity there. Thank God for that, since it's one of the last places you ever want to HAVE to visit. I don't think I've ever seen anyone crying there, though I have a few times myself, and when that's happened, people have been so kind and unflustered.

Today, though, I feel strong and grateful for the support I get from the people at the Champion Centre and from family and friends. And I'm preparing today for future skin problems, Christmas, and Luke. Thankfully, the happy stuff outweighs the yucky stuff.


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