Tuesday, November 12, 2013

when it burns...

Its Monday and while the kids sleep in, I am rushing.  I race out the door and notice the iced over windshield of the van.  I grab the keys and start it, hoping to defrost and warm it quickly.  I need to leave for radiation now.  

But Superman is still getting ready.  And when he hollers up the stairs "I just need a few minutes."  I know I could be in trouble.  A few more minutes to him means he will do at least 6 more things before he is ready.  Like shaving, finding his wallet and grabbing hockey skates to sharpen- although he is our Superman, I marvel he thinks all that can happen in 3 minutes.  

So 13 minutes later, as I sit tapping my foot in the car waiting, he rushes out the door- past me in the car and out to the truck where he finally finds his wallet.  He gets into the van muttering about if he had only known where his wallet was he would have been on time.

But then his cell phone rings and he is cheerfully telling his client "Of course I can fit you in. I'm shooting photos late that night anyway, so what's a few more?"  

I can only snicker.  I won't change him, ever.  

It's that very "can-do" attitude that gets it done- that and a whole lot more.  Its just too bad the clock can't keep pace with his time.  

As it turns out, I arrive at Roger Maris precisely at 9, my appointment time.  As soon as I round the corner the techs come and tell me they are ready.  I scramble out of my clothes into a gown and rush into the treatment room.

"We're doing some things different today. You're getting a booster dose.  Its a booster shot to a smaller area of your lungs."

Not only are there numerous images taken, I see new parts of the machine come down and around me.  Its taking longer this time.

When the radiation is finally emitted from the machine into my chest I can totally feel it this time.  Its tight and I feel pressure and its heavy in my chest and it keeps going, and going, till I visually think I could explode.

"Well, take that cancer!" 

Finally they come in and swing my table around to begin the treatment to my node under my arm. This dance I know well.  I'm back in rhythm, knowing just when the table will shake, where the beams will go and when I am done.

I get dressed and am taken to an exam room to wait for Dr. Foster.

I'm coughing and coughing.  My lungs aching with an odd sensation in them.

The nurse asks if my skin has started to burn.  She asks to look, and I am shocked as I gaze down, suddenly seeing brightly sun-burned skin down the front of my chest.  She then asks to see my back and I am thinking, my back?  But then I go to the mirror, and oh, yep, I see.  My back- more pinkish red- but turning color also.  I am officially starting to burn.

I'm given a list of instructions and things to watch for.  The next two weeks after this one, the burns could worsen.  I need to call if it blisters or peels, otherwise I have my creams and lotions to use.

I also have my bmx- a solution I drink of mylanta, diphenhydramine, and lidocaine.  It numbs my lips, my tongue, my mouth, my esophagus, making food easier to swallow.  Its nasty and divine all at once. 

It seems counter-intuitive that I will be going back in the morning for my next dose of "burning."  The kind you normally try to prevent.  The kind you'd wear sunscreen for in the hopes of not getting.

The kind that will hopefully penetrate down below the skin, burning, scorching and torching, cancer cells- disintegrating them into charred remnants of only a skeleton of their former tumors.

And I hope, and I pray, that not too much collateral damage has occurred.  

Like breathing.  Breathing would be good.

This morning we leave on time.  Superman tells me he'll drop me off and then go and run an errand and be back to pick me up.

I'm a tiny bit terrified.  I haven't felt so exposed and vulnerable in a long time, like I did yesterday.

"Will you stay?"  I ask.  "With me, in the room. Just stand there in case I need you?"

He nods his head solemnly, up and down.  

"I will.  I would.  Anything.  I would do."

And its enough.  Just knowing he would, makes me feel not so alone, so exposed, so vulnerable.

He drops me off, offering to stay if I really need him too.  But I don't.  

I leave the treatment room today, feeling nothing but the remnants of broken and scorched tumors clunking around in my chest, surrounded by layers of love.  

12 down, 3 to go.  

Treatment, labs, a haircut, then Dr. Panwalkar tomorrow.

Joining Heather today at the EO, for Just Write. 


  1. You are way over the hump, Vicky. So close now! I'm so proud of you. You've endured so much...XXOO

  2. Ouch, ouch, ouch! When I first saw booster shot, I was thinking a booster for you, for the burns, to boost you, etc. I guess a booster to get rid of cancer is even better. Three more to go! Hang in there!

    And enjoy the haircut - it's almost always the favorite part of my week when haircuts roll around.

  3. You had me at "Well, take that cancer!"

  4. My dear,
    I admire your strength!!! You are absolutely wonderful!
    I´ll pray for you again and again....and have you in my mind!
    Send you 1000 kisses and a big hug,

  5. you are so brave! I love the way you write, how you express your feelings.

    blessings and prayers!

  6. Three to go, yay! Take that cancer!

  7. You rock. You have little choice but to do this but you do it with an attitude that I find amazing. Plus your husband rocks. Hope tomorrow is better in that it zaps even more cancer and you can handle it. hugs

  8. Three more - you got this, Vicky! Go drown your skin in the creams. I live in Superman's time warp - just one more thing before I can get out the door to whatever. Enjoy the haircut and Dr. P tomorrow. I can't wait to need a haircut. And die, cancer, die. Live, lungs, live.

  9. you are so incredibly brave and strong and i admire you and superman so very much !!!
    prayers as always vicky....lots of prayers.

  10. You are one strong, brave woman, Vicky! And, as long as you keep that mindset of "Take that cancer", you will be fine. You are over the hill now and heading towards the finish line. You can do it!!! Prayers are surrounding you as always! Sending love and hugs.

  11. Wow! What a full day!!
    Oh and soak them burns in what? Not oils? I would not know. Usually aloe vera?

    3 to go. That sounds soooo good!

  12. My mom suffered the burn too with her radiation 27 years ago....I remember it well. Thinking about you Vicky. Only three to go my friend. Sending you love all the way.

  13. You are a warrior and we your supporters are cheering you on! Sorry for the burns :-/

    I agree with those above; "take that cancer" had me cheering. Yes!

    Love and prayers to you

  14. HUGS!!! :) and praying you get through these next and FINAL three safe and quick...

  15. Oh my little burned friend. I'm so sorry and yet thrilled that they are burning the tumors but want desperately, like you, to leave everything else unscathed. Your courage and determination are unscathed - they might be limping but they are victorious. I agree about aloe. It won't hurt and could be healing and soothing. I have a friend who got burns from her radiation and she experienced pain but she is also cancer free, times seven years. Praying for endurance and healing, Honey. The finish line is so close. Only three to go. We, your adoring fans/friends are on the sidelines praying and cheering as you take each painful step and close the gap Looking forward to Dr. P's visit today and an update on it, Vicky. Let us know how it went when you're able.

  16. It's all about dancing and finding the rhythm of endurance and perseverance.
    Your grace is amazing. All is grace and layered with love. Praying you will feel the layers of love more and the burn less sweet friend and sister.

  17. Came back to give you a hug....
    Feel it.

  18. Dearest Vicky,
    We are sending you loves and gentle hugs as you hang in there to obliterate those tumors.
    I Loved, LOVED, LOVED your statement "Take That Cancer!" You are in a battle and you are armed with God's love, great doctors, a loving family, oodles of friends, and some mighty prayer warriors. Look how far you have come...only three left! Can you hear my cheer? "You've got this!!!!"

    Know that you are in my prayers daily that you may have a deep sense of knowing how much you are loved. Even in the midst of a burn, ALL IS WELL. ALL IS WELL!

    I see you on the other side of all of this stronger and well... knowing that every treatment was worth it as you gain two more weeks and two more weeks and two more weeks.....

    Love you my dear friend!
    Love Linda

  19. Vicky, we continue to stand alongside you in prayer. Loving you from so many miles away and praying that God will gently encompass you with His peace and fill you with His hope.

    You are such a gifted writer. I am so moved every time I read your words and continue to glean so much wisdom from your every post.

    We all shake our hands and holler "Take That Cancer!" alongside you.

    Lay the boots.

    LOVE! Much love to YOU!

  20. You are almost there, sista! I'm praying that the burning, scorching and torching is obliterating those nasty cancer cells, and I hope the burns don't get too painful. My prayers will continue for endurance and healing. Much love to you!

  21. I can't tell you the Hope that explodes all over your writing. I'm hugging you from here, praising Him for how He's alive and living in you. I'm sending your blog to a friend...

    I LOVE your present tense style. So captivating.

    All my love.


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