This morning I was reading a great blog called Letter to the Newly Diagnosed, by Dan. It is really well written and I would recommend to people who have been touched by cancer.
Like most men, I was pretty modest when it came to discussing my private parts and bodily functions. That changed on the day that I thought I was going to get a quick blood test form, but ended up with the finger.
Since then I’ve been pushed and prodded by a variety of people including doctors, nurses, radiologists, oncologists and urologists. I’m adjusting to the fact that when I get to the radiation centre and I’m asked about how I am, they actually want details if there is anything out of the ordinary. They need to know for my sake and it gets a little easier each day.
It’s interesting the questions I get from friends and family, which range from are you feeling the effects yet? Does it burn when you pee? Has the fatigue set in yet? The answers if you were wondering, are not yet. So far its more emotional, coming to grips with the reality of my situation and the impact it is having on my work and home life, because it’s not just about me. Everyone is feeling this, especially my family.
Once I get there its on with my lava lava.Yep, I’m allowed to keep my socks and shirt on.
I’m learning new skills, like how to do number two without doing number one, because one needs to be empty and the other needs to be reasonably full.
Your full bladder helps push your other organs out of the way so you aren’t getting radiation in the wrong places. If you have gas or worse in your back passage, that can push your bowel such that it gets more radiation than the little bit it will already get. I got shown some very cool MRI and CT images of what it all looks like. No I’m not taking a selfie stick in there.
So if you get up on the table and the CT scanner finds that you haven’t had enough to drink or you’re not ready, you will lose your place while you deal with it as appropriate. These are discussions I have regularly and I have been warned it happens to most people around 6 times during their treatment phase. They say don’t worry, but I do. I dread being told that I have to get up off the table and have an enema or something. That would be another first that I don’t need. I’m not beyond being a little embarrassed yet.
I’m happy sitting in the lounge with my fellow travelers on this journey as we wait our turn in one of the rooms, but I don’t want to be going back for a second go.
I mentioned in a previous blog about How to Talk to Someone Who Has Cancer, I’m getting pretty comfortable talking to friends and family and even colleagues (don’t ask questions if you don’t want to hear the answer:) ), but it still feels strained talking to other cancer patients in the lounge while we wait for our turn on the table.
You don’t know how they are feeling, what’s running through their minds. So despite having unwanted intruders in common, its sometimes difficult to even get a good morning from people and you don’t want to push them. But then I’ve only had 6 days of treatment so far and I’m sure as our faces and costumes become familiar, conversations will happen, even if its just a bit of cancer humor.
Anyway, the sun’s shining and tomorrow I’ll be up bright and early at 05:30 ready to drink (water) and drive with the rush hour traffic for Day 7 and one more tick and smiley face stamp on my star chart.
Thanks so much for all of your support, it is wonderful how many friends and associates have come out of the woodwork, even people I don’t know personally who have reached out to me, who have been through the same process. It is very much appreciated.