Tomorrow morning I am going into the hospital overnight so that I can have the last three treatments of internal radiation, or brachytherapy. It will be a repeat of the stay that I had last week, with a few tweaks and changes to help improve my experience and pain levels. Dr. Bradford, oncologist extraordinaire, wants me to have an epidural this time, for better pain relief. I really struggled with pain last week, despite having access to powerful pain meds with a pump that I pushed every time the little green light gave me permission to.
The apparatus that was placed inside me, through my cervix and into my uterus as well as to either side of my cervix, is called a tandem and ovoids, and it was packed tightly in there with, well, some kind of packing material. Gauze maybe? I didn't get a look at it, although when I was brought to my room after the surgery to implant it, my nurse, a sweet, kind young man, offered to check it out for me and let me know what was going on down there. He had never had a patient who was undergoing brachytherapy and since we were both curious, I took him up on his offer. Because nothing cures any modesty issues one might have about one's lady bits like having some kind of lady bit cancer. Every body and their brother have been down there, and the focus is on what might be found in there, not so much on the fact that someone is actually down there in the first place.
Anyway, the tandem and ovoids and packing material caused a tremendous amount of pain. The catheter was a misery and having to lay flat on my back for two days (to avoid displacing the tandem and ovoids) caused constant painful muscle spasms in my lower back. Hence the epidural suggestion. I've been on powerful opioids since I came home, and am still struggling with pain and weakness. This procedure enables doctors to treat Mutant with high dose radiation, and to place the radiation in direct contact with the tumor. It's brilliant stuff, but it just requires time for recovery. I had hoped to feel better before I had to go in again, but I am also eager to finish Mutant off.
I have to say, with no exceptions, the people who took care of me were amazing, compassionate, nurturing, and attentive. From the young cutie nurse who described my nether regions to me and then made me a longed-for cup of tea, to the doctors who clothed their ninja cancer fighting skills with gentleness and humor. Kindness covers a multitude of miseries. Then there was Brian, my own personal Superman. I am deeply grateful for every blessing God has provided in these hard days, and especially so for Brian. I keep saying that because time isn't an issue for God, He is walking on my future path as surely as He is with me in the present. He knows and exists in my coming days, and has prepared the way. Brian and I are a huge part of God's graceful provision for these days, and I am so grateful.
So I'm going back in tomorrow. I'm not thrilled, but I am a little relieved that we've reached the end. I am looking forward to a cancer-free diagnosis. Which doesn't mean that I won't be seeing cancer in every ache and pain, every bump and bruise, every cramp and grumble. I may have to encourage my family doctor to load up on "it's not cancer" stickers for when I visit her with bursitis and hangnails. I've already got a few moles that I want her to check out. I don't think I'll ever be free from the possibility of cancer. After all, that's why I'll be going for check ups every three months for life. We'll always be looking for it. It may come back. My relative youth means it is probable that I'll have to deal with it again. But that's not today, is it? And today I'm not feeling great but I am content and happy. I am looking forward to feeling better, stronger. I have flowers, herbs to plant and a graduation party to help plan. A summer to enjoy. A gorgeous little pup to walk. A God to serve and a life to live.
Just a thought.
4 weeks ago