So our short break from treatments ended. It was a truly short break of three weeks, one week of those we spent in Florida recuperating and resting a bit. Yes, we deserved to just lie down on sun and not to do anything too crazy. I guess we fulfilled that by our daily routine pool-beach-pool. Man, what fun that was, for six days.
Right after we came from Florida the delightful times of treatment came back. My first date with radiation. The first time my husband and I met with my radiation doctor, nurses, the new building, new waiting rooms, new toilets and the new robe. Everything fresh and new. Oh, what a joy to be there. Oy vey, I almost forgot to mention the new robe, I am rapidly becoming a connoisseur of the different kinds, colors and types of the robes I have encountered so far it’s been slight pink stripes, slight blue stripes, light blue, and what next?
New waiting room, filling out yet another form. “Excuse me, you have finished your chemotherapy, right?” asks a nice lady with a big smile and dark hair. I guess being in a radiation oncology department with a kind of shaved head says it all and people don’t mistake me for a skinhead.
“I just wanted to know how long it took for your hair to grow like this. I am still completely bald under this wig,” continues the nice lady with a big smile. “And what kind of cancer do you have? Breast cancer? Me too!” She smiles and laughs a happy laugh. “I guess it’s not funny at all. It’s just nice to meet somebody else with the same diagnosis. And what kind of tumor?” For a second I feel pretty surreal but hey I guess that’s what this club is about. And she is just so nice, cheery and happy.
New robe, this one looks like straight from kung fu and I am trying the famous jump. I almost break my husband’s nose and his camera. I guess I will have to join the Shaolin to improve my style.
New nurses are so nice and cheery. Everybody is so cheery at the radiation department. “Don’t worry, the only side effect might be fatigue and some sunburn and irritated skin. Everybody says that compared to the chemo it is nothing,” explains one of the nurses. I feel slightly relieved, especially because of the horrendous pictures of skin burn down to flesh I saw of some people after radiation. “Next time, when you go for the simulation, they will take picture of you so that they will put you in their database and system and give you some tattoos” the nurse continues with the explanation.
” A picture of my breast? Is that’s how they will recognize me?” I ask seriously. It makes sense, right? Both of the nurses start to laugh, one of them has tears in her eyes and looks like she might pee herself. I guess my idea was wrong. “Well their database would look pretty interesting and imagine the prostate one,” I am developing my great idea, laughing too.
The new doctor, man, how he got me. I know he has to go through all this spiel explaining what will happen, the possibilities of a secondary cancer, 1:2000, 20 years later.The chances of my cancer returning without the treatment, 40% higher, and how it hopefully won’t return. “OK, let’s cut out that word hopefully,” I jump into his speech. But he continues, talking about how it likely “will not return to your breast.” It just got under my skin, a new round of treatment yet again. I am still recovering from the last one and now this.
By the end of the appointment I was not my chirpy myself, not that I would ever describe myself as chirpy, but this appointment really got me. I cry and it helps a bit. My husband is there with me leading a cheerleading team.
On the drive home, we have a small argument as I am not helping with the navigation and on top making an idiot out of my husband. Suddenly the radio music is interrupted by a commercial. “If you love the women in your life, make sure they take their prevention and mammogram screening seriously. Early detection in breast cancer can save lives.” We look at each other and smile the knowing smile of people who where there and back and there and back. I guess the navigation is not that important in the end.