Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cancer Treatment is Mostly Driving, The Squeakquel

Having radiation treatments is taking up the time I would normally use for blogging. Also my levels of vim, vigor, and overall awesomeness are somewhat reduced. You deserve better, Reader, I know you do.

I am tired. My first treatment was last Wednesday, so today was treatment 7 of 28. Oh dude, is that one-fourth of the way there? Sweet. At first I thought I was tired from the mental stress associated from the idea of being, you know, irradiated (I found it unsettling) and the whole commuting/logistical enterprise. As of today though, I am pretty sure that the actual radiation itself has a fatiguing effect. I think my body, in some way, is going, "OMG stop that right now quit it WTF???" Like I'm going into powersave mode. I feel fine all day and then by early evening, it's a bad case of the can't-help-its.

Tonight my sister called me and said, "Hey, I sent you a text and you didn't respond, just wanted to check on you." And I protested that I had texted back, yes I had, but then I remembered that I'd gotten almost finished composing the message and then had decided to take a rest before hitting send. Because my thumbs and my eyeballs were tired from all that exertion.

Or, another example: I am watching "House Hunters," but I am not feeling up to shouting at the house hunters the way I usually do--the way they deserve. People, please do not tell us that you are looking for a beach house, then buy the place the farthest from the beach. It kills me. And also, the way you're always saying, "This will be great for entertaining!" with that aspirational-yet-smug emphasis on the word. Like you'll be hosting a chamber music recital in that breakfast nook. Please stop.

So energy levels are down but whining and bitchiness levels are spiking.

The deal is, my radiation appointment is every weekday at 11:30. I drop Hank off at school at 9:30, and once I'm down by the school it doesn't make good sense to go home before making the forty minute drive down to the hospital. But I can't go straight on down there because I would arrive way, way early. So there's some time-killing required, then the drive down there, the treatment, which lasts thirty seconds, and the drive back up.

Then it's the same timing situation in reverse: I arrive back up in my neck of the woods a full hour before it's time to get Hank. No sense in spending 25 minutes of that driving on to my house and back to the school, so more time-killing is in order. Then Hank, then home, where all the stuff I would normally do in the morning (emailing, blogging, coffee-drinking, straightening, whatnot) is undone, only I don't want to do another thing.

I went by myself for the first two days, which was a bummer. Then Matt went with me, then my parents came to town, and now Betty is on the scene to keep me company. So it's pleasantly social.

Really it's my attitude that needs an adjustment. It's totally going fine--the effects of the radiation, like sunburn or arm stiffness, are cumulative and I haven't seen any yet. So it's all good so far.

In a perfect blogworld, the whole scene at the radiation oncologist deserves a couple of posts where I tell a whole story about the experience and all the characters there, and I try to get all edumacational about what it's like and give you something useful. But boy that just sounds like a lot. The edutainment angle on my radiation treatments is made more difficult by the fact that I barely have a grasp of what is going on. It is like actual rocket science.

I will say that the technician who helps me onto the table is named Omega. I found that ominous.

I have missed you guys this week and I thought of you every day. What are y'all doing? I know preschools have started up. Kids are settling into big school. The acorns are falling. I hope you are feeling fine. That is all I have; my thumbs are really SUPER tired. xoxo-B


Cassie said...

Omega. The end of the cancer journey. Last stop on the treatment train if you will. So... maybe not so ominous?

Thinking of you, girl. Sending life force units. xo

Beth said...

Steve did a whole stand-up routine about his radiation treatments. What do you do during your time-killing time? I hope you are going to the mall and getting one of those 15 minutes chair or foot massages at a place with a name like "Healing Hands" or "Happy Feet" or "So Relax." I am positively addicted to those places for killing a half an hour.

Beth said...

I'm trying out a new browser, so I have to leave another comment. Sorry it's meaningless.

Star said...

Thank you for sharing this intense and intensely personal experience, and in such a delightful and fresh way (it must have been exhausting!). Since I'm a (fairly) new reader, I didn't know. I'll be sending you positive thoughts.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, hang in there. Omega means the end, and that, to me, means that you're near the end of your treatment, the end of your cancer. And then you're back to Alpha again.

My other thought is that you should get yourself an Ipad. I don't have one but you barely use your thumbs, evidently. You certainly deserve it.

Elizabeth said...

And my last comment sounded so flippant. I also wish you quick healing, rest and peace.

Megan said...

Elizabeth's comment about the meaning of Omega is perfect. I'll buy into that if it means you're near the end of this part of your journey (and on to better things!).

Have you tried voice recognition technology? If speaking isn't as tiring as thumbing keys... it could at least be good for a laugh. I always get a good giggle out of how it interprets what I'm saying.

Megan said...

Elizabeth's comment about the meaning of Omega is perfect. I'll buy into that if it means you're near the end of this part of your journey (and on to better things!).

Have you tried voice recognition technology? If speaking isn't as tiring as thumbing keys... it could at least be good for a laugh. I always get a good giggle out of how it interprets what I'm saying.

Megan said...

Oh, poop. I duplicate commented. Bad form.

Amy said...

Wow, you know it's bad when you can't be appropriately snarky about House Hunters. Is that listed as an official side effect in the literature they gave you? Cause I think you should've been warned.

Hang in there, Beck. You have been SUCH a trooper in all this. Hopefully soon it will become a routine and not feel so laborious. Beth has a point...what if you came up with something sorta fun or treatish to do during those interim times? Then maybe you'd sorta look forward to it? A bad novel maybe?

Keely said...

Who names their kid Omega?

I missed you, too. I was hoping maybe you'd flown off to California because they forgot to give you ANOTHER degree, but I suspected it was probably the radiation thing. Hang in there.

Camp Papa said...

You're almost done, and your hair is growing back! I wish I could beat up somebody for you.

AM said...

Hang in. Your posts are worth waiting for, and you have a right to be tired. Radiation does that to a person.

Hootie said...

Too bad I'm in Gainesville or I'd let your dad beat me up. Oh well, raincheck.

Jenni said...

OMEGA? Who names there kid Omega? You better check the back of his nec for a bar code or a plug or something. It kind of reminds me of this conversation I had on the phone with the satellite TV tech while I was 8 months pregnant with Oscar. Whatever was wrong with my satellite was complicated and required a lot of waiting, so I told her I was pregnant, having a boy, naming him Oscar. She exclaimed over the name (of course) told me she also had a boy, 3 years old, and that his name was Taurus. TAURUS. I was so shocked and wondering if it was after the car or the astrological sign so there was this pause and she says, "Isn't that a dumb name? It's awful; I hate it. His father insisted. I can't believe I named my son Taurus. I'm naming the next one." And then we sort of laughed uncomfortably, but can you imagine thinking that your child's name is dumb?

So the reason for this mini blog post here is, do you think Omega's parents realized how terrible his name was maybe after the fact and started to hate it? Maybe he had a bonehead dad that insisted?

And, also, don't you love it when you have pseudo personal conversations with complete strangers and the conversations end up going somewhere you never expected?

Clearly I miss you because I've felt the need to junk up your comments section with my own business. We need to chat.

Michele R said...

I've watched House Hunters so many times and get so verbal too. Like when they see wall color they hate, I'm yelling, "So what, ya never heard of repainting?"
Yeah for being 25% done!

kathy said...

We're pulling for you! By wedding time you'll be halfway there. You'll be able to see the END! (OMEGA) I agree with little treats for yourself during your time killing. We will continue to pray for you daily.

EdgyJuneCleaver said...

Becky, I'm a new reader but I've got to say you are the one who deserves better. Can you find someone to help you with the Hank driving so you can rest and yell at House Hunters.

You should yell things like: "Screw you and your bonus room! I have cancer! I'll trade ya'!"

I'll yell at the house hunters for you too. When I'm not screaming at people "It's just paint!" I'm screaming at them about their granite countertop fetishes and their ire and angst over a dishwasher less existance at their vacation home in Costa Rica.

Jane said...

I'm so sorry you're having a rough time. Glad there are so many people around to take care of you.

Maggie said...

It is really cool to read all the commenst on your blogs. One can see how people love and respect you. I do too. You have been so strong and I know you are tired of all of the cancer crap but you really are at the end and God has blessed you and taken such good care of you. This radiation field trip will soon end. I love you and your sweet family and am thinking of you. PS. Your blogs ars always so funny, smart, and cool. Can I be you when I grow up?????

Becky said...

Thank you folks, I am feeling good today. Friday was a better day than Thursday, I think because I was more active. And now a weekend radiation break!

I hope y'all are easing into the weekend. I'm sitting on the couch drinking coffee from the free Sprout mug I got at BlogHer.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Nah. It's not ominous. You're the Alpha and she's the Omega. See? All better.

And your post was great. Stay in bitchy mode. She said, selfishly.


P.S. Can you get an ipad for the time-kill time?

gretchen said...

Oh honey, I'm sorry this is such a big drag. If you get bored in the car, feel free to call me. I'm probably doing nothing. I mean that seriously. Hey, did you get your vacuum? If not, did you email Wendi Aarons and gripe?