I walked into the office alone. I felt well enough to drive myself and I was proud of that. It was my last scheduled radiation therapy for the ever shrinking tumor in my brain, thanks to Dr Flores' expertise. After today the plan is just to get an MRI in 3 months.
I am in the waiting room for what feels like 2 minutes before they call me into the radiation room with the Novalis machine in it. I had met with Dr Flores the day before, so I didn't need to see him today.
Just my final radiation treatment.
|Dr Nick Flores (far right) and the Novalis radiation machine|
I knew the routine well. I have come out to Scottsdale everyday for the last few weeks. After a friendly greeting from the tech I remove my earrings and lay on the hard, narrow table. Making sure my head is cradled just right in the plastic head-shaped holder. She gets my "mask" and pins my head down to the table to ensure the correct position.
"Is that okay?" She asks.
"Uh-huh" I answer...trying to sound like I'm content. The sooner we start, the sooner it's over.
|Me in my mask while lining up the laser|
I now cannot move my mouth or jaw, only make throat sounds. Even though I say that I'm ok, putting that mask on my face seems to take my breath away for a split second every time. It is just so tight and fits my face exactly. I would think that having your face trapped and your head pinned down to a table would never become a comfortable experience. No matter how "used to it" you get.
She lines up the laser lights on my head and says, "okay, here we go." Then she leaves the room.
Laying completely still the room is quiet for a few seconds, then the machine turns on. A series of buzzing and beeping sounds start up. There is a part of the machine that actually moves around my head, buzzing and I can see a flashing a light.
This lasts about 6 minutes.
Finally the tech comes back in and starts to undo the latches that are holding the mask down.
I grab my purse off of the table and give the girl a hug. She is sweet and we've developed a nice relationship.
"Alright, you're all done! You can take this home if you want." She hands me the mask.
I grin and say "why not" and take the weird contraption. Unsure if I really do want it.
Wow. I'm not just done for the day...I'm done, done.
While walking out of the office, I felt happy and proud of myself for completing this huge task. But I really had no one to share it with...because I drove myself.
To remedy this I was sure to talk to some unsuspecting people in the waiting room and proudly tell them it was my last day. They eagerly congratulated me and wished me well.
I stepped outside, into the parking lot and immediately stopped in my tracks. I had a thought that made me want to run back inside and ask if I have to be done. If they are sure radiation is over. Maybe I needed a few more just to be sure.
I started to tear up.
What in the world would make me want my radiation treatments to last longer?
My oncologist was waiting for radiation to be over so we could start chemo. All of a sudden I was scared...and still alone. This part ending meant the next part had to begin. The worst part.
I guess I hadn't really dealt with my fear...despite the strong faith of my last post.
I slowly walked to my car and sat down. I cried as I texted my husband, Jess. The surprising feelings that seemed to dump onto me came out in my message. He promptly texted me back that he would call me as soon as he could get away from his work.
He is my rock and my strength. We we are not only still in love, but are the best of friends.
I wiped my soggy eyes and got on the road. I had to move forward. It was the only way to reach my goals. I do feel like the finish line keeps being moved farther away, but I will never stop moving forward to get across it.
I got home fine. I got a chance to talk to my Jess. I cried more, but I was okay. I wasn't alone anymore. I was safely tucked into his arms and I never wanted to leave.
He said he was proud of me. I knew we had to move on to the next step...scary as it may be. But we will do it together. We are a team.
|Isn't he so cute? ;)|
|Jess and Val forever|