So this coming week will see my last 3 days of whole brain radiation (M-W). It has been the “easiest” of my treatments so far in the sense that it requires no pokes, injections or really any bodily pain at all, other than one first God-awful day of horrible migraine and vomiting. Apparently, that’s a reaction “some” people get, but no one bothered to tell me that might be the case, or that there were medications that could help if it did happen. Sometimes my never-forget-the-side-effects oncologist can get me down with always reminding me of what could happen, but then having a doc not warn me about a relatively common thing makes me grateful for him telling me about even the rare complications. Anyway, they gave me some steroids to help with the swelling of the tumors from the radiation and I haven’t had any issues since.
The radiation itself takes so little time the valet has learned not to park our car, but just to leave it with the flashers on. They lay me down on the super flat board with a few little cushions to make it more comfortable under my butt and knees, put the form-fitting hard mesh mask thing over my head (the face part is open, so it’s not claustrophobic at all), and then screw it down to the board so I can’t move my head at all (important when you only want to zap very specific parts of your head). The worst part is the quick smell of ozone when the beam first turns on, but it’s over very quickly. I don’t know why I hate the smell, but I do. Then an arm thingy swivels around my head a couple times and I’m done. I close my eyes for all of it, but just because I always do for those kinds of procedures (MRI, CT, PET).
So anyway, other than the driving taking more than 4x as long as the treatment, radiation hasn’t been terrible itself. The crappier parts will come in the next couple weeks, as I lose my hair. I was incredibly lucky to have my wonderful friend Arwen set up this super fun fancy photo shoot for us before I lose my hair, complete with all kinds of styling. She had her fun, fancy friends donate all kinds of things, from flower arrangements to delicious cookies and designer s’mores to custom-picked clothes to hand-crafted signs with meaningful quotes. It was just insane! Plus she was able to get an incredible photographer to donate her time and talent to shoot it all, AND my amazing hair stylist extraordinaire, Eileen Kantor, did my hair and makeup BEAUTIFULLY and it was all just so lovely. It was really nice to have something to be really excited about.
I’ve been in such a weird place emotionally. I mean, yes, it makes sense given that we are going through some serious shit, but it;s also been weird. I’m usually a very joyous person and I can feel happy about things, even when stuff sucks, or at least see some silver linings, but lately I’ve just felt kind of dead inside, and I’ve often been really grumpy and bitter, which is unusual for me. It very well could be related to the medications I’m taking, or to the fact that I don’t really know how to process the whole “almost died” thing, or not feeling productive because I’m not working right now, or just general shitty-ness of life.
I went to the free wig boutique the cancer care center has here to check out the options and they just totally sucked. Very old lady and cheap looking, so I was not excited. I think I want some fun wigs, like pink or purple, or red at the very least because I think it will be pretty clear it’s a WIG and I might as well have some fun, right? Some wonderful friends have been raising money for a decent wig for me too, which is incredible and I feel so lucky. I am going to chop my hair next week and hang onto the ponytails. Some places apparently can make a wig for you out of your own hair, but it is more expensive. I wasn’t convinced at first, but after seeing how awful the crappy nylon wigs looked, I felt more strongly about a “real hair” wig. ALSO! The free wigs were made by MONSANTO!!! Can you even believe it??? As Peter said, “That’s ironic.” Heaven only knows what kinds of cancer-causing things Monsanto makes, but they’ll give you a free wig if you do come down with The Cancer! (Are they made of corn? I just don’t understand. Makes me think of 30 Rock’s Sheinhardt Wig Company owning NBC).
The steroids they are giving me for the inflammation are giving me amazing energy (usually), a wicked appetite (good… for now) and some serious insomnia. I’m often tired during the day, but then I get a strong second wind at 10ish and then don’t feel tired at all. Some nights I’ve only sort of slept for 3 hours and I still wake up early and fairly refreshed (until later in the day). Of course, I haven’t been doing anything really productive with all that awake time, usually, not even blogging (except for tonight!), Bu