From getting marked and tattooed to figuring out the treatment schedule, preparing for radiation was a stressful and chaotic time.
In November 2018, I was diagnosed with Non-Aggressive Stage Two Breast Cancer.
I was not happy about this news, however, my doctor explained that the chances of the cancer coming back would drop to the single digits if I were to go through with it. As soon as he said this, I jumped aboard.
In mid-February, my preparation for radiation began.
For the most part, it was a piece of cake. I laid down on a bed/table while the radiation technicians marked or tattooed the areas along my chest wall, my armpit, and my surgery area.
The marks were to act as a guide for them to use during my treatments and basically “told” them where to deliver the radiation zaps.
Preparing for radiation wasn’t just about what they did to me in the examine room. It was also about figuring out the logistics of everything.
They scheduled my treatments between 1:45 and 2:15 Monday through Friday. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, however, I am usually in the car waiting line at my children’s school during this time. All of our friends have full time jobs and having our children ride the bus is out of the question. Not only that, my husband was due to leave on a week long business trip during the second week of treatment and would not be able to help me out.
I remember asking the hospital staff if they could switch my treatments to the mornings, explaining my situation to them.
They were sympathetic, however, they weren’t as flexible as I would have hoped. They made it clear they couldn’t reschedule my treatments due to previous patients who had my preferred time slots.
Cancer brings out the worst in you at times and I remember walking to the parking lot with my husband in tears.
I felt defeated. I felt frustrated. I felt alone. I felt like no one heard me.
My husband was a little irritated with the treatment times as well, however, his mind focused on how we could work around it all.
I refused to listen to anything he had to say. My voice and temper rose in that parking lot as I said, “I DON’T CARE RIGHT NOW! GO BACK TO WORK AND LEAVE ME ALONE!”
I know I hurt his feelings that day, but I couldn’t help it. My life was already turning upside down due this illness. To make it worse, I had to figure out how I was going to be able to get the treatment I needed and at the same time, make sure my children were being taken care of.
I made the 40 minute drive back to our house in tears, sobbing at every lane change and wishing I were somewhere else. I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t feel like dealing with all of this.
It was to much.
During my appointment that morning, my mother texted me twice, wanting an update on things.
When I arrived home, I called her. I tried not to let on that I was crying, however, my parents know me to well for that.
This is how the conversation went between my mom and I…and no, I am not embellishing it:
Mom: Are you crying??
Me: No. Why?
Mom: You ARE crying! Why are you crying?? What happened?? What’s the matter??
Me: They scheduled my treatments around the time I have to pick the kids up from school. I asked them twice to see if they can reschedule and they said no. I don’t know what to do.
Mom: Your dad and I are coming. We’ll be there to help. We’re on our way!
I am 42 years old and NEVER thought in a million years that I would need my parents help for an easy task like picking up my kids. They booked their flights and planned to join me during my second week of treatment, with my husband taking leave to help me out during that first week.
I was able to breathe again knowing that my children were going to be taken care of.
Armed with plenty of prayers, my parents, my husband, and my children, I proceeded to prepare myself for the next six weeks of radiation.
I learned a valuable lesson preparing for radiation. I can’t do everything on my own. It is humanly impossible and sometimes, you just have to ask for help!
To read past cancer entries, click here.