Cancer log 142: Every…

Cancer log 142: Every week of radiation, I meet with the radiation oncologist. First I meet with his P.A., actually. They're both great, though it does feel a little funny how the exam goes -- they ask if they can look at my breasts, and then I flash them. No, really. They don't fuss around with all the robe, etc. stuff that other doctors do -- they just want a quick check to compare how the irradiated breast compares to the normal one, so if I can pull up my shirt, please? It startled me the first time, but now I am completely blas about flashing my doctors. (Sometimes there's a medical resident in attendance too.) It's easier if I don't bother to wear a bra.

So for the first three weeks, I had literally nothing to report at these weekly meetings. They asked if I was in pain, how did I feel, examined the breast, etc. No pain, no irritation, the skin of the irradiated breast still looks exactly like the other one. But this week, for the first time, I did have something to report -- fatigue.

I said I was feeling unusually tired, and also, that for the past few weeks I'd been having trouble sleeping. I have, in fact, resorted to taking NyQuil to knock me out for several nights. When I don't take it, I fall asleep normally (I have been, for the most part, a really good sleeper all my life, falling asleep easily and sleeping eight solid hours, except when the children wouldn't let me). But I wake up -- usually around 2 or 3, I start waking up, and I can fall back asleep, but I wake up every hour or so thereafter. It's horrible.

So obviously, that might be contributing to the fatigue. They asked if I wanted a prescription for Ambien or something like it, and I said not yet -- the semester ends in a week, so some stress will go away then, and I'll have more time, and I can rest more. So maybe that will fix it. Then the P.A. asked if I'd been feeling unusually weepy, and I had to admit that yes, for the last three days I've been pretty much on the verge of tears most of the time.

She asked if I wanted to talk to a counsellor -- they have them on staff. And I might, if this continues, but honestly, I think talking to you guys does a pretty good job of being my therapy about cancer. There's some other matters that are stressful (which I can't talk about right now, as they're mostly other people's concerns, though they impinge on me), and I think the international news is hitting me harder than usual too -- the refugees and the gun violence and the elections and all. If I don't start feeling more stable soon, I think I may try to take a media fast for a bit -- just read and cook and rest and try to re-center myself. Play board games with the children, and deal with nothing more fraught than convincing Anand to wait for his turn.

It's funny -- I haven't actually been to any cancer support groups, and now my main course of treatment is almost done. I didn't feel like I needed them, and I was so short on time, I hated to give up hours more. But maybe I will try to stop into one sometime. It feels a little weird starting now, when I'm, in theory, cured. But I think I should probably just get over that. It would be interesting, to see what they're like. And while it feels strange to go to a support group now, when the worst of the treatment is almost done, I think that's how I deal with difficult things generally -- I hold it together and cope for the duration of the crisis....and then I sometimes fall apart a bit afterwards.

Anyway, no real conclusions here. I need more sleep. The news is distressing. I might need a break from people for a bit, to hole up in my cave with blankets over my head. So consider this fair warning.

2 thoughts on “Cancer log 142: Every…”

Leave a Reply to Andrea Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.