Monday, June 8, 2009

Bad, Bad Patient.

I thought for a moment that they were going to refuse to radiate me. I thought I was going to have to add one more day at the end (July 13th hung in the balance!). See, once I was in my blue hospital gown, or, more to the point, once I was on the radiation table with the gown off and my top half exposed, it became very obvious that I had screwed up. I'd violated one of the "must not" rules. The one were I must not be in direct sunlight. Yeah, ouch. Sunburn. And it was such an amateur mistake--of course I can get sunburned on an overcast day. Of course I can. I know this. I just was way too relaxed enjoying the nice day in Michelle's beautiful backyard garden on Sunday wearing a t-shirt that was more scoop necked than it should have been and not at all thinking about being radiation girl.

The radiation therapists were not amused with me. They pointed out that I had gotten a little sunburn in the treated area. And just to make their point, once I was lined up in the green laser lines, they then drew on me again. Not-so-little dashes so I could see how big the radiated area is. Suffice it to say v-neck, scoop neck, tank and of course strapless tops are completely out for the next couple months. I learned the hard way. But they did proceed with the treatment. I have a feeling though that if it had been later in the treatments where my skin was damaged more, they may have made me wait. I have the damnedest time remembering I'm a patient.

Before I left for radiation this morning I did catch a bit of the Today show (big Matt Lauer fan, I must admit). They had a segment on, basically, what to say to a friend or family member who's just been diagnosed with cancer. Turns out I'm not very original. The cancer patients they interviewed all said pretty much what I'd said in an earlier post. So much for my brilliant insights. But here's a link to the segment (or just to Matt Lauer, if that works for you). Today show: Reaching Out to Someone with Cancer. They are doing a series on cancer topics this week. Tuesday morning will be a look at the financial cost of being diagnosed with the disease. Oh yeah, that'll be a good one. I'm just stacking up all the insurance notices at this point because I somehow think someday I'm going to add up the cost of treatment, both what insurance covered and what I covered. I'm well past my deductible and co-pay maximum. I'm sort of "lucky" that my diagnosis came when it did--all of my treatment will be in the same year, which means only one deductible and one co-pay maximum. Phew.

Anyway, now we are at 9 radiations down, 24 to go. Tomorrow I hit double digits!


  1. Thelma-
    Couldn't help but notice the similar hairline (and color) between you and Matt in the earlier post. How chic....Much better than looking like Katie Couric. Here's to alot more days of forgetting about that c.p. job-

  2. When Erin was turning 10 (years old!) she was so excited she couldn't sleep the night before. Her comment was,"Oh, mom, I"m going to be 2 numbers tomorrow! I'm so excited, I can't sleep." It was so cute to hear you say the same thing about radiation treatments. And I know you aren't sleeping so good, and I got to thinking, maybe raditation and chemo are actually the syrup/laser beam of youth! (I think of Chemo like a syrup going into your veins. I think of radiation as a laser beam. Don't wake me up, I'm in my own little world.) Maybe you're are actually aging backward like Benjamin Button or Merlin. Your head looks like a new born. Think about it--by July 13, you could be 13 years old. This is really a blessing in disguise! (Okay, so I'm still in my own little world. I'm happy here.)

  3. L--I noticed the similarity with Matt as well. Although in his case, that's an old photo and he has less hair now. In my case, I will have more hair in the future--we're just crossing paths at this particular moment!

    Holly- it must be human nature. Today the sweet old woman who is always the appointment ahead of me at radiation came out and said "That's 10 down! Double digits!" And we discussed the fact that she only has 15 more to go. Alas, I have 23.

  4. Thank you for the Lauer piece. It was as I were living it.It tunneled into my thought processes and I relived for awhile with you. You do learn who is there for the long haul and the saying "people are there for you for a reason, a season or a lifetime" is totally appropriate. Amazing amout of reason people out there.Many,many people made no effort to even fake concern or caring.Even now, 2 years later, I have told some people that I felt abandoned and they say "I didn't know what to say to you". So, in your deepest unlovable need, do you abandon people like lepers?Maybe people think we are tough and don't need any hand holding or support but when you are sick with something--we act our way through the rough spots. 'nuff said--I am wandering--stay out of the sun and jacuzzi and even the pool-it will pass.

  5. Ok I have skin cancer experience and you should not be in the sun whether you are getting radiated or not (I would say "stupid" at the end of that but you have cancer :) ). Glad you are moving along in treatment, stay OUT of the sun!
    Kathy G


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