So that looks like fun doesn't it? That's not me (I don't have that much hair, remember) and that's not the breast being radiated (you do remember your biology don't you?) but the picture does sort of launch us into the mood for part IV of my cancer odyssey wherein I become Radiation Girl. If you're wondering why I say part IV, I break it down like this: diagnosis, surgery, chemo and then radiation. Believe me, getting to the diagnosis is it's own stage--do I need to remind you of the nightmare of trying to get a doctor's appointment, the ultrasound, the mammogram, the biopsy, the MRI? Yeah, it's its own stage.
Tomorrow I have my first appointment with the radiation oncologist. They told me it would take an hour to an hour and a half. Yeah, expect a long post to read on Thursday. I feel ready for the appointment, but in my mind (and I hope I'm not delusional) I'm not starting the actual radiation until after my weekend of debauchery (aka Memorial weekend).
As I head into phase IV, it occurs to me just how long this has all been going on. Almost 5 months now, from my very first doctor's appointment. I haven't really had time to stop and think about that. There's a way in which the time had gone quickly and there's a way in which it feels like a very long time that my life has been consumed by this battle. Today I went back to the very beginning of this blog, when I was first getting diagnosed and letting folks know, and I read for a little bit. Wow. What a long, long "journey" this has been. Reading it now, I can "hear" more fear than I thought I had originally. It's interesting to see how overwhelming the diagnosis (heck the very idea of cancer!) was then-- and now I feel like an expert on breast cancer. Not the medical part of it so much, but the practical aspects of dealing with all the diagnosis entails and all that goes on after. And I was also reminded how many of you have been reading this and commenting this whole time. Thank you all for that. It means a lot. And hang in there with me-- radiation is going to be a long haul too (6 or 7 more weeks).
I'm feeling pretty good by the way. I had a hideous hive breakout on my face last night, but I took two Benadryl, had a great night's sleep and it was almost all cleared up by the morning (but uh, yeah, I'm thankful for foundation and powder). Tomorrow is the end of my "danger zone" time. In my usual fashion I'm sure I will be expecting to instantly feel better and have more energy first thing Thursday morning. A girl can hope. We leave for La Jolla and a fabulous weekend Friday afternoon, so I'd like to feel good. Is that really so much to ask?
Oh, and it seems many of you found the photo of Chris and me (and my bald head) to be quite touching. I do too but I worried about posting it (and the other bald one). I decided though that really, it's cancer we're fighting...it can't really be a cancer blog or any kind of cancer narrative without showing the most obvious effect of the chemo. So, given where we are (Chris, me and all of you reading this) in this cancer odyssey, that's now the photo over to the right in the "information/ about me" section. Until we move on to the next stage---which I like to think of as the return to normal.