Gotta keep on keepin' on.......

Cancer again...that's 3 times in 2 years. This time it’s not breast cancer, but a new one called squamous cell carcinoma. New cancer, same old fighting spirit! My blog is still named for one of many songs that kept me going the first time around. Driving home from an upsetting appointment, I turned on the radio just as this line from Steve Miller Band's Jet Airliner was playing: "I've got to keep on keepin' on"....so I did just that. And I'll do it again.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

No delay in treatment, so far

Back to treatment today, after a lovely day off. It turns out the machine really was down yesterday. One of the motors was broken, the one that turns the big round thing where the radiation beams out. (That's as technical as I can get, sorry).

So it was not a setup by some jealous patient coveting my timeslot. 9:20am really is a great time for treatment. I miss the morning traffic on the drive over, and afterwards it is still early enough that I can go out for breakfast (which I do at least 2 mornings a week. My favorite coffee shop, which went out of business in December, is now my favorite cafe and ice cream shop. They serve breakfast all day.)

Anyway, I walked in to the treatment room this morning and told the technicians about my suspicions (about someone wanting my timeslot). They laughed. Hopefully they understood that I was kidding.

I asked them about making up the missed day. No biggie, they said. "You'll just finish up on the next day. If your last treatment is a Tuesday, you'll finish on Wednesday instead."

"Well," I said, "what if my last treatment is a Friday?"

"Oh...." (said like it's not a good thing) "Well......you'd end on that following Monday."

And here I was looking forward to ending my treatment on Friday the 13th. I thought it was so fitting. One of my chemo sessions was on a Friday the 13th, and it was great. ("Great" meaning that I didn't pass out.)

Finishing up on Monday the 16th would have been fine, though. I wasn't going to make a big stink about it.

After my treatment, I stayed later to see the radiation oncologist. Every Thursday I see him so he can check my skin and answer my questions. But first I see his nurse, Melinda, a very sweet nurse who has forgiven me for being such a fusspot at our first meeting following my first treatment. (Well, I wasn't so much a fusspot as a sourpuss. I was so shaken up by that first treatment, I just wanted to go home and cry. Instead, they made me wait so I could meet with Melinda and go over instructions for my skin.....using the gel, no more hot showers, blah blah blah.... The first thing she said was, "So, I heard you had a rough time." She was so nice about it, really concerned about me, but I just wanted out of there, so I ignored her prompt to get me to open up and said, "Look, I'm really sore and really tired. I would like to go home. Can you please just tell me what you need to tell me so I can leave?" And she did just that. Very business like, very pleasant, no sarcasm, no lecturing. A week or so later, I apologized to her and told her about Get Over It Day. She didn't need an apology, she said, but she loved the Get Over It Day idea and was glad I was doing so well.)

Now, back to today's meeting. Before I met with the doctor, Melinda met me by the scale (I dropped 2 pounds, but I think it's the shoes. I wore flip-flops today, not my clunky winter shoes) and then sent me to the exam room. She checked my skin and was concerned that it was so red. Usually she raves about how great it looks and how I'm really taking good care of it. But today, she wrinkled up her nose and came in for a closer look at the long strip of beet red skin running straight down my sternum. She apologized for getting so close, but said she wanted to make sure it wasn't infected. (It wasn't.) She decided I'm fine, since she knows I bathe and keep it clean, so she said infection is not a concern for me.

I asked Melinda about making up the missed appointment, and she told me the same thing the technician did. Then she checked the calendar and realized I'd be ending on a Monday instead of Friday. She said that sometimes the technicians will double up treatment and that she'd look into it. "It's OK," I said, "I don't mind."

But Melinda was determined. "Aren't you going on vacation on the 16th?" she asked me.

We ARE going on vacation, but not until the 21st. I hardly opened my mouth to tell her when she continued, "Yes, you have to be somewhere on the 16th, that's what I thought. I'll make sure they know you can't be here on the 16th. I'll take care of it!" And with a wink, she was gone.

My doctor came in a few minutes later, talking about doubling up treatment one day next week so that I could be done by the 13th as planned.

Good for Melinda! She really has forgiven me for being so rude that first week (or two). So for now, I'm still finishing up my treatments as planned, on lucky Friday the 13th. Yay!

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