Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer of the Gamma Rays is Officially Done, Finito, Complete!

This morning I took my last daily 9 mile ride up State Street to the IMC Cancer Center for my last radiation treatment. For 6 weeks I made the trip, enjoying our beautiful, sometimes rainy finally hot, Utah Summer mornings. The usual soundtrack accompanying this roadtrip was some fine KRCL tunes or the companionship of Kerry, Bill and Gina.
In the mornings I felt energetic, glad to be up and busy at 8:00 a.m. Then as the day progressed, like a wind-up monkey beating his drum ever slower, I'd tire and slow down. That is, until the last 2 weeks. By then I wasn't quite as chipper in the morning and by the afternoon, I was in a tired fog. The skin under my breast and my armpit were burnt, purple, crack-y, yeah, it hurt. My wardrobe was adjusted to allow for maximum comfort and on the occasions when I felt like I had to wear a good bra to be presentable, I'm sure the people around me were wondering what I was doing fidgeting so much with my armpit. I didn't care.
My usual Radiology team: Carolann, Kimberley and Mark (here's where the tears start) were so sweet to me, so kind, friendly and professional. When you see people every day for 6 weeks, topless, a bond grows. I know they must see over 30 patients a day, but they still made me feel like I was important, not just another broken boob on a table. I know that, having rang the "finished bell", I will soon be replaced with another unfortunate soul with cancer. Odds are, from studying the demographics of my waiting roommates; a middle aged woman  much like me, or a 65+ man, will take my seat awaiting their turn to be cured by otherwise deadly radiation.

What can I take from this experience?

It is always best to put your happy face forward and act better than you feel, until a true friend comes along and knowingly let's you cry on their shoulder.
Everyone is fighting a hard battle, so be nice.
I really do eat when I'm tired and should be resting. Rest instead and don't let yourself feel useless.
and finally...
When you are traveling along life's highway, even to an unpleasant destination, enjoy the beauty along the way. Utah mornings are mighty pretty!


7 comments:

Shan @ Design Gal said...

This made me cry- I'm glad you're done but I know the journey's not quite over! You're such a strong woman and a fine example to me. :)
Love you momma lu

Cathy Lloyd said...

Cathy, you are an amazing woman! Thanks for letting me read your post. I'll have to spend more time on your blog when I'm not working. I'm so sorry you've had to go through this experience. You were already amazing, now more so! {{{hugs}}}

cathycan said...

Breezy said...

I am so happy that it is over!! Maybe you can close the book on this chapter ..:)

August 9, 2011 3:20 PM

cathycan said...

just call me jo said...

Have you ever read that play, "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds"? It's not terribly happy, though it is a comedy, I believe. Any way, just thought of it when you mentioned the G rays. Yahoo!! You go girl!

August 9, 2011 3:23 PM

cathycan said...

Sorry Just Call Me Jo and Breezy!!
I tried to add a link to past posts and it put this one up twice, so I copied and reentered your comments on the correct blog. Geez, didn't know it would be so hard! well...for me at least : ) computer genius that I ain't!

lifeinredshoes said...

You are something else my friend. A true lemons to lemonade, make the best of it, put on your big girl panties and deal with it kind of woman!
There is far more to surviving cancer than curing it. You faced it head on, we could all learn a lesson here :)

dnA said...

Cathy, I feel enriched having just stood on the outside of your cancer experience. You are inspiring! The G-rays may be over, but summer is not! Enjoy the rest of the beautiful Utah summer mornings.