I lied on the hard table this morning, looked up at my reflection in the radiation delivery device (not the technical name), and thought, “I can’t believe I come here willingly.”
My daily appointments are at 8:20am Monday through Friday. After not working for over a year, it’s a little odd to go somewhere on a set, daily schedule.
On the positive side, it’s nice to have a little extra time in the morning with Seth. I suppose that’s one measure of how much you adore someone. You can view driving to and from radiation treatment as ‘quality time’!
Another positive thing? The treatment is quick. Four days out of the week, treatment takes only ten minutes. The other day there is a nurse and doctor visit afterwards.
And that’s where the pros end. I take a steroid and Zofran prior to treatment each day to help prevent nausea and vomiting. And while my body has threatened a few times, I’ve avoided losing any lunch over the first three days.
The place where I receive treatment is a mere 15 minute drive from my house. So if everyone is on schedule, we’re home by 9am. At that point, I’m emotionally spent and tired from barely (or not) sleeping the night before.
Seth goes to work, and I take a stab at my first nap of the day. In total, I’ll probably end up taking two 2-hour naps.
As the morning wears on, I sidestep some small bouts of nausea and hide my eyes in bed to combat short stints of photosensitivity. (I haven’t found that listed anywhere as a side effect. Who knows…)
The afternoon moves along with nap #2 and a small snack of fruit if I’m in the mood. It’s around this time that I really start feeling the effects of the day’s treatment.
By the time Seth gets home, I feel like a mess. I’m exhausted and emotionally spent. The correct word is “fatigued,” but it barely seems to cover the feeling. I know it’s only moderate right now. The worst is yet to come, according to the literature and experiences of my cancer pals. But who knows – maybe I’ll be the exception.
As usual, I expend the energy I have while Seth is home. And so far I’ve been able to eat dinner, albeit with some reservations. These first three days I’ve been out of bed for part of the evening, which I consider a real success and a marker between “moderate” and “severe” fatigue.
Eventually Seth says ‘goodnight,’ and the long night begins. It often feels like a countdown until the next treatment. I try to sleep but end up tossing and turning for hours. That makes me feel crappier; I look at the clock and try to find a way to get comfortable once again. The countdown continues and silently, I cry.
Tonight I (dumbly) did the math. 3 treatments down, 12 to go. I’m only 20% complete. It’s going to be a long August.