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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Freedom Bell bc I'm Done Radiation Hell.

FInally Treatments are over. Now granted... this is just because the scheduled treatments are over. I'm not getting excited until I hear a doctor say
"Hey Courtney- good news. Your cancer is gone and you can strictly focus on recovering to get back to your life because there will be no more radiation rays or chemo to hinder that process"
BOOM! Until then, I have one week to begin recovering, until I see that doc.

People have been worried because I have not been posting but quite honestly there has not been much to post about. The horrible process that is High dose radiation is too difficult for me to talk about. Its too painful. It ruins me. A good friend told me on Sunday that I have managed to create a bubble for my health, and I am on the outside of that bubble. All because I told him
"If the biggest problem in my life right now, is whether a man will be able to love me because I can't have children, and that its something I should discuss early on in the relationship, i.e. is adoption ok? Then I am really quite blessed."
My guy friend K looked at me, stunned and said,
"Courtney, that shouldn't be the least of your worries, shouldn't you be worrying about your health? I mean you have a considerable amount to worry about"
To which I replied
"No, because I know I have a battle, I know I'm fighting, I know it sucks and its hard and difficult and it is taking its toll on me, but I know I'm going to beat it, so the future is where I'm focusing my efforts."

This all in the same day that I managed to puke my brains out non stop. I'm the only girl I know who can puke non stop, barely eat and not lose a pound. DAMN YOU body defense mechanisms.

SO today was my last treatment. My favorite nurse wasn't even there to say good bye which was heart wrenching. She's pregnant and had a fever and I hope she's ok. (She called the next day to apologize for missing me and I'll stop by to visit her next week!) I have a bunch of other good ones there though, so I had nothing to worry about.

This morning, my mom was out of town for work, so the task fell upon my sister to take me. She not only stepped up, but was super sister! I medicated hard core for the procedure. I'm already sore from the last few and it hurts regardless so I knew today was going to be the most painful. It was. I got very excited in the car though upon the realization that Valium has what appears to be heart in the pill. (I know its the letter V) But I was excited because
"OMG Valium LOVES me! It has a heart to tell me SO!"
In the car I was feeling wonderful. My cocktail of Valium, Ativan, Percocet, Codeine and Dilaudid was mixing quite nicely and I was right out of her. We walked into the hospital, I deactivated our parking chip and showed my sister how to use my Ipad. We were then sent into the exam room and it was as if I had all of the narcotics sucked directly out of my veins. I took another percocet and Valium but I knew they wouldn't have enough time to kick in. The pain was going to be unbearable today.

Dr. D began to insert all the wonderful god knows what of tools and I winced and teared and cried. Today was the first time, that I full blown cried. It was awful. The pressure, the pain (when I say pressure, thats what it feels like, an intense pressure causing the pain). I couldn't stretch any wider, I couldn't fit anymore in there. The radiation makes the skin feel like the worst sunburn and he was stuffing me like a turkey on thanksgiving day, putting intense pressure on the tender flesh. It made me never want to ever stick anything in there again, yet I still managed a
"So how long until I can have sex again?"
The doctor and intern laughing because of course that is what I would be thinking. The answer by the way- not for a long while. There is a lot of healing that needs to be done. Not that I have anyone I would be sleeping with anyway. Some serious trust has to be built up in that department. SERIOUS.

I couldn't move once the apparatus was inside me. Normally I could at least scooch and the pain would subside slightly but no way in hell. I was moved on to the stretcher by the doc and nurse and lay there in more pain than I thought possible. The extra perc and valium had clearly not kicked in yet. D, one of the nurses tried talking to me while I waited to be transported to the CT scanner, trying to keep my mind off the pain. It helped but the tears did not stop flowing. I was so proud of my sister who stayed strong the whole time beside me.

Once in the CT scanner, the tears continued to flow. I even tried pinching myself to see if I felt pain elsewhere maybe it would lessen the pain below (pain displacement I think its called). Not the case. The nurse stopped the CT to see if I was ok, because I normally stay so still. But with the pinching and trying to wipe away the tears that wouldn't stop, I apologized and tried as hard as I could to grin and bare it and stay still.

After Ct we were moved to the mountain room where we waited for the radiation oncologist and the physicist, to come up with their plan of action. My sister fed me Gingerale and a dilaudid. The pain was not subsiding. My tolerance has clearly reached epic proportions for the medications. We watched an episode of Modern Family on my ipad and then it was time to go. MY sister back to the waiting room and me into the little dungeon of radioactive mountains as I call it. They played Rod Stewart for me, (He's kind of like Michael Buble and I'm not totally mad about that.) because I didn't like Elton John last time. (I know I know... but I can't help who I like.) I closed my eyes and tried to imagine I was in Paris. Walking on cobblestone streets wearing my Christian Louboutin black pumps. I was still in excruciating pain but the images of the Eiffel Tower and red soled dreams kept me in check. I breathed and clutched the collar of my sweater. I whispered to my self, this is almost over. You are almost done.
The doors opened and the doctor came in to take out the radiation apparatus. It's just as painful to take it out, but its a much quicker process and as soon as the pieces come out, there is an instant flush of release... a pleasant sigh of relief. The nurse and my sister helped me redress and step down off the stretcher.
I am done.

After I was dressed we went to the waiting room to wait for some prescriptions to be refilled. Its tradition that when one is done their radiation, they get to ring a bell in the waiting room. On my first day I asked,
"What the hell is the liberty bell doing in the waiting room"
but now I understand. The real one signifies Freedom for Philadelphia and this one signifies freedom from radiation for me. Nervous and emotional, from the medications, I said
"Hell yes I'm ringing this and sorry guys its going to be loud."
All the nurses and doctors gathered around and the waiting room clapped. It was very cliche but I'm glad I did it. I wanted so badly to ring it on the first day and was finally getting my chance.

I'm not going to get excited about being done treatment or being "Cancer free"... not yet. Although my doctor can no longer see any cancer, tests must still confirm it. I need a little time to heal and then in a week and a half I get to go and see my gynecologist oncologist who will set up the tests to confirm. Until then I rest and heal.

On the way home, I finally had an appetite. We got five guys burgers and fries, and I brought peanuts for the road. I ate every last bit. So far they have not come back up, but I'm not holding my breath.

This blog for me thus far has been my outlet and a place for me to talk about treatment. Now, once I do get the desired results, it will be about reintegrating back into normalcy. I'm sure it will be just as interesting if not more so because it will be about dating, Love, Sex, Health, Work, Coming off my pain meds and if my sister has it her way rehab lol. This war is far from over, but this battle may have been won.


  1. It's great to hear that your done your treatments - Congratulations! I was a little worried when I hadn't seen you here for a while. Rest up and heal. I'm looking forward to good news in a couple of weeks!

    John in Peterborough

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