Wednesday, February 2, 2011

At the Starting Gate

I feel pretty good tonight, because something is finally happening to move my recovery forward.  Day 1 of treatment is complete!  My first radiation treatment was, as I expected, quick and painless; a breeze (though I do still need to get over feeling a little self-conscious about lying there with all kinds of people staring at my rear end - I suppose my sympathy should be for their feelings, not mine - I don't have to put up with their view).

Next trick was the removal of the dressings around my new port and the first chemo hookup. I'll admit to feeling pretty apprehensive about that...the idea of someone stabbing at the spot with this still-healing incision wasn't appealing. I decided to take a very deep breath and trust the nurse.  Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and comfortable it was.  Removing the surgical dressing hurt a whole lot more than the needle insertion.   Now I have to get used to lugging around a portable pump, which makes a little whirring noise every minute or so.  It took a couple of hours to get past the fear that I was going to get the tubing caught on something and disconnect the whole mess; next hurdle is figuring out how to lie in bed with this thing attached.  And then how to take a shower without dropping it, and then how to make sure the dogs don't jump on me, and then...I figure I'll have mastered living with the thing just before it's time to get rid of it.  :)

But I have no real complaints about it.  My 6 year old is not happy about the carrying bag (the pump itself is purple, so that works for her, but the bag apparently falls short in the style department).  I, however, love everything about the pump, because it's saving my life.  Every time I hear it whirr, I think, "HA!  Zapped!" and picture scared little cancer cells melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.

My overwhelming emotion today was gratitude. We are in the middle of a truly disgusting winter weather season here in Boston, and yesterday brought another huge pile of snow followed by sleet and rain this morning, creating a messy, dangerous commute today. And yet the people at the hospital who are helping me get better came to work and didn't complain about it. I tried to make a point of thanking them for it, and to tell them not to worry about delays and interrupted schedules on a day like this. It's no small thing for hospital workers, police, firefighters, road crews, and other heroes to brave the elements to help the rest of us.

OK.  One day finished, 27 more to go.  I have a lot more to say about some of the emotional challenges of this situation, but there's plenty of time for that.

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