The mixed feelings of adrenaline and exhaustion are, well, exhausting. I woke up this morning knowing that in a couple of hours I will have gotten through radiation, but then starting my next steps.
Once it was all done, I got my certificate and rang that bell (or tried to), and I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that it was over, but then also knowing that I was heading into the area that led me into the deepest depression eight years ago. The waiting. I always say that the waiting is worst than finding out you have cancer.
So I rang it and left and walked across the street to my oncologist’s office. After I once again got my temperature checked, for the second time, I chatted with the nursing staff (handed out donated masks from my army of friends), and was then led to get my vitals – blood pressure, pulse ox, temperature (#3), and weight – this happens each and every time I go to my oncologist.
I was led to the ever fearful infusion suite. Except I wasn’t getting chemo, I was getting my Lupron injection, along with Anastrozole, will be my hormone therapy for possibly life. I got comfortable and waited for my Dr. Oncologist. It was good to see her, the first time since my initial meeting in early March that started all of this.
She asked about my pain from radiation, which I admitted to her. She then called me out. “Did Graham tell you to call me?” (hang head in shame) “Yes.” She then said matter-of-factly with her staff present, “Next time, you need to listen to him, because we could have given you a simple steroid injection that would have relieved it all.” Ok, lesson learned.
She gave me the instructions for my targeted therapy to start on Monday, and once again mentioned that the moment I suffer any side effects that I must call her. Apparently, I have a habit of dealing with crap on my own.
She then said that now that since we have the mid to lower torso taken care of, she’d like to do a scan of my upper torso and chest, and possibly a bone density test. She was concerned about how I felt coming to the hospital. I said as long as it was a sunny day I had no problem biking in!
She traveled to her next patient as a nurse came to once again check my temp, and draw my blood – 4 vials. After another 5 minutes, another nurse came to give me my injection, right in my bottom.
The issues at hand are waiting for the insurance company to approve things – a monthly injection (same time as my Lupron) to build up my bones, the chest scan and then the bone density. As of catching any cancer early is more costly than when it becomes deadly.
So that’s where we are. More waiting. But spring is here, and I’ve got plants to put in the ground. I’ve got planning to do for work for the multiple scenarios we have to plan for given the pandemic, and so much more. So I’ll keep myself busy and out of my head. And work on my podcast….that’s right.
So while I wait, for two months, I have a test for you. Thanks to the incredible staff at Mount Sinai West, I got approved to record my last radiation treatment, the fastest one to date. Find a spot and get comfortable, before you press play. For almost 8 minutes, you can’t move, whatsoever. Just sit there, listen to the drones of the machine, the zap of the radiation. All the while the little box on the ceiling above you, a few feet away from your face reads: CAUTION – AVOID EXPOSURE. LASER RADIATION IS EMITTED FROM THIS APERTURE. How comforting, right?