Sunday, January 8, 2012

Radiation planning....again.

Its been a month since I have had my surgery and I am feeling pretty good. I do have times where I get really tired and I still feel a bit dizzy when I get up too quickly, bend over or look up. I am not starting my radiation treatment for another few weeks, so am going to go back to work for a few hours a day. I know at this time of year, most people are not looking forward to their holidays ending and starting a new work year - however, I am itching to go back to work!

In other news, I had my two year breast check which involved a mammogram and ultrasound. Usually I would feel a bit anxious about this coming up, which coincided on the second anniversary of my chemo starting. However, the good thing about having a brain tumour is that it puts things in perspective - so I wasn't worried about the results at all. I was not looking forward to the mammogram at all. The pain of having your boob squished between two cold machine plates until it is almost flat is not a pleasant experience. I kept looking at the screen to see if I could see anymore of those sinister looking black blobs - which I couldn't. I wasn't worried about the results as I have been poked, prodded and scanned so much in the past few weeks, I figure if there was anything scary hiding in my boobs someone would have noticed. It was the next day that I received a phone call from my surgeon to say that the scans were all clear and things were looking good on the boob front. Normally I would be overjoyed at this news, but with the impending radiation treatment, I am feeling a bit blah.

I went to the hospital the other day for my radiation planning, which I wasn't too concerned about. After my last planning experience, which was horrific, I thought things would be much better. Before I went into the room for my scans and planning, the radiation oncologist came and spoke with me about the possible side effects. She did talk a lot, but I didn't really take in much of what she said after she told me that I could expect my hair to grow back 'patchy at best'. It took all my strength not to burst out crying right there and then. I know it seems quite superficial, but the thought of losing my hair again is just painful - especially for only three weeks worth of treatment. Not that I would ever wish to experience the awfulness of chemo again - but I can understand why my hair evacuated my scalp for the six months worth of treatment. However, I am hoping that my strong, afro-like hair will be tough and stick through the tough times and stay with me for the next three weeks.

As soon as my name was called and I was taken to the scanning room with a radiation therapist, who remembered me from my last radiation. While she was making small talk, I just kept thinking that I can't believe that this is my life once again. As soon as she closed the door on the scanning room, I burst out crying - I just couldn't hold it in anymore. The therapist was very kind and tried to make me feel better by saying that this planning won't be as traumatic as the last one, but that many other women have benefitted from the trial and error of my breast radiation. I was relieved to know that I wouldn't be spending 2 hours lying in a room full of strangers, half-naked being pushed, prodded and moved around on a cold table. What I didn't realise is that the planning involved a warm mask being put on my face and clipped to a table until it hardens. I was told that it was like having a facial, except a facial doesn't feel like your face is being wrapped in glad-wrap until it hardens. It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but I am thinking that what I am going to go through in the next few weeks is going to be much worse.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen, I'm Mary's sister Vicki. We met for a few hours in Vancouver. I just wanted to tell you that your journey is very important to me and to, I'm sure, thousands of people who are following you and sending love and prayers/good vibes for your health and strength. This may or may not be your primary intention, but sharing it is such an incredible gift that most people wouldn't have the energy or, perhaps, the desire to contribute under the circumstances. A thousand thanks for your guts, your grit, and your honesty. You are a treasure. From someone you have touched in Canada (and Mexico), VH.