I started my Radiation treatment today. I went in for "staging" last week and earlier this week, so today they were ready to add the beam. Once the machine started, I became a bit anxious laying on the flat table, my legs securely held in their form-fit foam mold, my hands above my head holding onto two pegs. The head of the machine rotates around your body, giving off what sounds like a horn noise when the beam is shot. You think about lying perfectly still, breathing evenly so the beam is "shooting" only it's intended target and nothing else. I realized after awhile that their is someone in control back there, like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, who could stop the beam if I freaked out and moved. To take away the anxiety and keep myself calm I sang hymns in my head as I stared at the cross on the ceiling. Seems they had to cut a cross out of the ceiling tile directly above to let these two red beams shine through. I think they're for lining-up purposes. But it's a perfect cross, and a symbol to me that I should pray. So I sang hymns, prayed and chanted "kill cancer" for the however many minutes the machine moved around my perfectly still body. You can't feel anything, but I imagine the cancer cells inside of me are getting whacked off, dissolved by the fog-horn zap of the beam. Let's hope so.
The Atlanta Athletic Club borders my neighborhood on our "Nature Trail" path and is ~ 1.8 miles away by car. We had our choice of days to go, but we were very lucky to get corporate tickets to go to the tournament on Thursday. We had "Presidents Club" passes that got us free parking across the street, entrance into the Clubhouse to mingle among the players, and admittance to the Pro Shop for free buffet lunch and open bar. Not to mention the best perks of all Air Conditioning and the Clubhouse rest rooms!
We got there ~ 8:15 am and walked the course a bit, and then settled in for awhile on the Par 3 4th hole where there were grandstands in the shade. It was actually nice in the shade with a welcome breeze, despite the 90 degree temps. After a few threesomes played through, Keegan Bradley hit his drive only to land in the sand bunker next to the green. It was what you call a "fried egg" and a tough lie. I was a bit surprised though when he choose to hit the ball out backwards toward the fairway and away from the green. The lie and the water on the other side must have been quite intimidating! Who knew on that first day of play that he would end up to be the tournament Champion!
We headed out to the Lakehouse later that afternoon and watched the rest of the 3 days of coverage on television. We had an enjoyable weekend with Alex and her pup Greyson, eating, boating, swimming and watching golf.
Watching the golf tournament renewed my desire to play! I am 8 weeks post surgery today and starting radiation on Wednesday. I signed up to play GalPal golf this Wednesday morning and Friday too! I haven't played since June 4th. My plan is to try the driving range tomorrow morning to see how I feel swinging a club. I figured if I could walk 5 miles at the tournament I was ready to give it a try! Gotta get as much in before any possible symptoms from the radiation kick in.
Oh... and here are the new shoes I bought back in the Spring that I haven't worn yet.
I didn't think of myself as a "patient" until recently. I thought I was a survivor, hoping I was done with the worst of it. But then in June, the recurrence came and took me by surprise. I really have to say, I never once thought "cancer" when I went to the Emergency Room with symptoms. Naive maybe? So, I had my second abdominal cancer surgery. This one was tougher to heal from, probably because of the vertical incision and also because they took out 8" of my colon. I'm 7 weeks post-op today and still feel the tenderness of the incision, and the effects on my bladder and bowel. For the most part I feel good, but I haven't really done anything too physical yet. It's been a hot, hot, hot summer and not conducive to getting outside and exercising. The most I've done is walked. This time has been tougher emotionally too. My cancer is back, at the primary site, which means they didn't get it all. My doctors have told me that fighting this cancer will be a chronic problem. Sarcoma is a %#*! awful disease. Invasive and fast growing. I've done my research. I get all my reports and CT scans and pathology reports to keep, and I've read all of it. It's difficult to read that the pathologist has written "this patient has a poor prognosis" or the surgeon writing " This patient is at a high risk for a recurrence". So when the doctors started talking radiation, I knew I didn't have a choice but to do it. I admitted that I haven't been afraid of any of my surgeries, I've gone into them with confidence, but this is different. I'm scared. I went for my treatment staging today. The nurse was going over a few things and wanted me to sign some paperwork. She read it over with me... the possible short term and long term side effects... I couldn't sign it. I lost it and started tearing up... she said she'd have the Doctor come in and go over things again with me. I admit, I was a bit embarrassed, but my Radiation Oncologist has such a good "bedside manner" that he explained it all and calmed me down, and I signed the paperwork. After that I met with the CT Tech who set me up on the table and built a hard foam cushion for my legs so that I would be in the same exact position every time. He tattooed my hips and abdomen with 3 small dots so they could align the beam to be the same every time also. (It didn't really hurt, the tattoo needle, if I weren't already so marked with scars, I may think about getting one. Not really!) Next week, we'll have a run through before they hit me with the actual beam. There's a lot of calculations and measuring that will go on between now and then. I'll go every weekday for the next 6 weeks, the same time each day, for a 7-12 minute blast. I'll take an anti-nausea med before each treatment, since that's a common side effect. The hope is to rid my pelvis of any remaining cancer cells, and never have to have another surgery down there. Hoping and praying this works.