Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have crocheted myself some dreadlocks and a rasta hat.


I am not doing very well, mentally. I guess it is from doing radiation every damn day which means that I feel all cancer-y every damn day. With chemo, I would not sleep well the night before the drip, then I would move on with my week. With radiation, I don't sleep well, I get my zap and for the next 23 hours, I feel I am just killing time until the next zap.

So I crochet like a maniac, I get very consumed in finding cheap yarns. I cut up plastic grocery bags to crochet.

I made a five foot afghan in 10 days, that is some heavy duty crocheting. Plus, I made a few other small things in that time frame.

Crocheting through Cancer.... if I learn something big, I should write it down.

So I have had 8 zaps so far, and the jury is still out on how many I will have. I have been told 25 and 33, I don't know how the decision is made. It kind of messes up my count down if I don't know what the final tally is.

The treatment itself is pretty scary. There is this machine that comes at you like the Alien from the Alien movie, but I am not Ripley. There are teeth in that thing, it comes very close to me and it growls and buzzes. The teeth slide open and shut to make the exact shape of my cancer-y area.

I try to relax and pretend this is a tanning bed treatment. But I have this fear that the techs aren't paying attention, the machine will zap for too long and I will combust right there on the table. I discussed this fear with the techs, one tech replied, "That very rarely happens", then he grinned. He also told me to stop counting the seconds of the buzzes or he would change it up just to screw with me. I guess that is good that he can joke about it, I will try to chill out.

Tanning bed and one armpit electrolysis, tanning bed and one armpit electrolysis...that is too hard to chant, I need a simpler mantra.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


First radiation treatment was this morning. Here is my recap:

They showed me to a dressing room, I put on the gown and there was a locker with a little key just like at the bowling alley. I kept my boob and my purse and my shirt in the little locker and there was a handy dandy wrist strap to keep the key on. This system impessed me...I should get out more.

They took me to the mad scientist lab looking room, put me on the table and situated me in my custom made pillow that is molded to my head and my arm as it lays over my head. This sounds more comfortable than it is, there was something that felt like gravel under my skull and you can't move, it got pretty irritating.

I joked about how small my tattoo were and I wanted a redo, they said there are no do-overs and then they examined me closely trying to find the damn tattoos that are so small, they couldn't find them either. There was about 20 minutes of X-rays, I stayed still and the two arms of this large machine moved around me. It felt like a scene from one of the Alien movies. At one point, the arm comes really close to my face and I can see inside it. At I am peering in, metal teeth slide apart to reveal this abyss inside.

Just when I thought I was done, they tell me the Xrays are finished and the zapping will start. This was similar to the Xrays, arms moving around me, pausing and buzzing, the buzz was just much longer with the actual treatment times.

The was also a period of sharpie markering on my chest, I have some strange looking map thing drawn on me. There is also a taped area that is where they line me up for next time, so little bulls eye is protected by tape.

I did remember to ask, I am scheduled for 25 zaps. This is fewer than I was originally told and the zapper said I am getting a stronger dose. So that is less zaps but a more concentrated variety.

We'll see how that plays out, my reality is that I am not going to feel bad, even with the concentrated doses.

The hardest part (in my mind) is going to be remembering to show up every day.

I need to put up some post-it notes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I had a very weird dream last night. It was a boob dream, I guess that is like the "drinking dreams" I had after I started living sober. In my dream there was a woman with the strangest boobs, weird robotic boobs composed of several areas in a pinwheel type shape. She could flex her muscles and make each area contract individually.

I woke up wondering what this could symbolize, then it dawned on me. I have been feverishly crocheting a afghan made up of 91 hexagons. I finished it yesterday. Dream boob lady had breast that were made up of granny square circles. So there is probably no deep philosophical meaning behind the dream, I just have crocheting on the brain.

There is the afghan before I put the edging on it, I am quite pleased with it. But I may see weird robot boob chick everytime I look at it now.

I get my first zap tomorrow. I have purchased a bottle of aloe vera goop and my crystal deodorant. You can't wear regular deodorant on the side you are having radiation. Luckily, I don't sweat on that side as much anymore. I do think I sweat more on the other side, I guess to compensate for whatever the surgeon snatched out on the cancer side.

My reality today is that radiation will be a pain in the ass, having to do it daily, but that will be my only complaint. The fatigue will be minimal, the skin damage will be a mere inconvenience and it will be a piece of cake. Anyone who says differently can kiss my ass. That is my reality for today, we will see how that holds up.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I am exhausted. I think I have been trying too hard to get "normal" now that chemo is done. I am barely a month after last chemo and I have been trying to work normal shifts at work, working out at the Y, doing my weight watchers thing, trying to get the house back in order after six months of neglect...I think I should have eased back into normal. The physical exhaustion plus the delayed mental reaction to the whole cancer thing as absolutely worn me out.

I don't really know what to do about it. I can't justify a nap in my mind, afterall, I am a month out of chemo, I shouldn't need naps anymore. It sucks being in my brain trying to talk myself into a nap when that other voice says, suck it up and go mow the yard.

I met my radiation oncologist, got my little dot tattoos, had another CT scan and will start the zapping next Wednesday. The nurse at the rads office wasn't quite buying my 'exercise made the PET scan show an area in my chest' theory, but that is going to continue to be my reality and in the back of my mind I will assume that the rads will fry anything bad going on in there.

The cancer shrink wants to talk about the cancer, imagine that! I need to cry, I am afraid I may explode if something to break soon. It is so hard to fit a mental breakdown into my schedule.

Friday, June 4, 2010


That last stubborn cancer-y lymph node is finally terminated. My scan showed that the lymph node is dead. It also showed a new weird area in my chest, but I am confident that is from me working out the day before the scan which I didn't realize you weren't supposed to do. They called me to confirm the appointment and told me to be a couch potato the rest of the day, but this was after I had worked out for an hour including pectoral exercises.

So I am sure that is what the scan picked up and I don't have new cancer, that is my story and I am sticking to it.

I feel like I have been given a "stay of execution", a cease fire has been called. I don't think I am out of the woods completely, but I have a chance to reload, regroup and replenish my stores for the next round. The next round may be this year, five years from now or when I am in my 70s, but at least I get a chance to catch my breath.

I meet the radiation oncologist next week. I will get a whole bunch of zaps to fry the battleground and hopefully destroy any rougue cells. Or maybe I will be zapping the battleground to make it inhospitable to future cell, I don't know, I will ask the zapper guy what the objective is.

One of my cancer peeps said something great last night. She was talking about the non-canerous people and said "They just don't get it and you don't want them to get it". That really touched me, you would never want someone you love to understand this situation. You can only understand it by living it, and you wouldn't wish that on anyone. I really like my new group of cancer peeps, it is fun to just hang with people that get it.

My headlight went out last night. Luckily, someone stopped and told me. If they hadn't, I would have thought I was losing half my vision due to a brain tumor. Kinda like when I spent 30 seconds convinced that I had a brain tumor since one of my hands was freezing...until I realized that the other hand was my coffee cup holding hand.

(Oh, and by headlight, I meant on my car, it was not a boob metaphor).

Stay of execution... that sounds great. I intend to enjoy it to the fullest.