Yesterday I had a bad day. Well, maybe it was more like a bad half day….
Nothing dramatic happened to set it off…. I just woke up feeling particularly sorry for myself…
Looking in the mirror after my shower didn’t help: I was able to see the radiation effects even without the help of Spec savers! The reddened skin – I’ve been told it will continue to darken but eventually tone down – but which will always be darker, the texture always different and the boob always “more solid” than the left. The mid-line tattoo that looks more like a smudge than a large freckle due to the ink seeping into surrounding tissue. The scars: the left healing well but the right not so much… the weight gain; the grey hair… the arm exercises which are becoming increasingly more painful…. you know – one of those days where you just can’t seem to be grateful for all the things you KNOW you should be grateful for.
The rest of the morning didn’t get much better. I arrived at the radiation bunker only to be told that the radiation-ray-gun machine wasn’t working – for the SECOND day in a row!
I felt particularly Eeyore like as I collected the letter for the Dent Doctor which would tell him my current radiation dose – well more accurately the dose I was on after my last treatment, two days ago! I mentally calculated that the additional 2 days would take me to almost another whole week of treatment 😦
I drove to the Cancer Centre, poured myself the traditional cup of hot chocolate (maybe another reason for the weight gain!) and sat down to wait.
Clearly I am not allowed to feel sorry for myself for very long. An elderly lady sitting in the chair next to me remarked on how much she admired the flower on my hat. I smiled politely and thanked her but as I wasn’t exactly in the mood for a chit chat, I went back to typing out a message on my phone (“…goodbye cruel world”…) 😉
However, her fierce need to share her story was always going to trump my desire to be left alone. She told me that she lives on the South Coast but that she was here supporting her daughter who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. Her eyes filled with tears as she kept on saying how she couldn’t believe this was happening to them, how she just knew something was wrong and how she rushed to PMB after hearing the diagnosis. How hard it was seeing someone she loved having to go through this and how helpless that made her feel…They would be traveling to Johannesburg this weekend to let her granddaughter know that her Mom was sick and how she worried how this news would be received as they were very close.
At the point where she was telling me that her daughter was single and how she was having to keep running her B &B business despite the fact that she was feeling so ill, Pete walked in. I was almost in tears with her – I really wasn’t expecting to see him there. Within a few minutes I notice Pete’s eyes looking distinctly wet especially after she told him that she could see he was a good man and wished her daughter had someone like him… (at that point I started to worry she was planning to knock me off!).
By the time I walked up the stairs to the Dent Doctor’s office clutching Pete’s hand rather tightly, my “I feel so sorry for myself” mood had totally dissolved in the light of that sad story and the reminder that I really DID need to be a little more grateful…..
It helped that the Dent Doc was happy with my progress. He was not worried about the reddened area under my arm or the fact that I had 2.5 boobs! He confirmed everything was looking good for this stage of treatment. We touched on some issues of life after radiation – (clearly I cannot just worry about one thing at a time) and he offered to send me some info to help me make some decisions.
It’s amazing how things start turning around when your attitude improves: I was called later in the afternoon to be told that the machine was up and running and could I pop by for my treatment – ummmm let me think about that..YES! ANYTHING to minus another day!
9 more to go……
“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us”. Earl Nightingale
“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” C. JoyBell C.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. If we’re supposed to ignore everything that’s wrong with our lives, then I can’t see how we’ll ever make things right.” A.S. King
“It’s about how you’re like a lighthouse, always searching far into the distance. But the thing you’re looking for is usually close to you and always has been. That’s why you have to look within yourself to find answers instead of searching beyond.” Susane Colasanti
“Seems like the light at the end of the tunnel may be you.” Steven Tyler