Wednesday, March 23, 2011

your body has a memory...

"Your body has a memory"
In the last year I have filled my body's memory with some bad shit--surgery, chemo, pain, trauma, depletion, anxiety, depression, name it.  And now that it is trying to get itself back to balance, I am going to slap it in the face with some radiation--what a horrible 'get well soon' present.

Radiation won't mess with my brain (at least in the same way) as chemo.  This is both terrifying and magnificent at the same time.  Chemo was unbelievably trying for everyone involved--particularly my body, but despite the pure devastation it caused, my brain was able to escape into a fog--leaving my family unsettled, but me in a safe-haven of sorts, not having to deal 100% with what was happening.  I think if I did, I would have been scared to death.....

Radiation will be different. My boobs that I have grown very attached to are being attacked--again.  My right breast is once again the problem child--this time the consequences are yet to be determined.  But I am determined to take the fucking high road here---I have 33 days of radiation.  Though we don't know what it will do physically, I know what I will be doing mentally.  I have a great care team for radiation (naturopath, lymphedema physical therapist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, all my support people and my radiation oncologist) but the one major difference between chemo and radiation is going to be that I will be able to care for myself mentally.  That was a battle I lost during chemo--I wasn't there mentally, I couldn't even read a book, let alone do visualizations and focus........hell I couldn't even have a coherent conversation and remember it a few days later.

Radiation will be different.  I am going to meditate each day of treatment--that is, at a minimum, 5 days a week for at least 45 minutes.  That is a pledge to my body that I will foster the mind/body connection for at least 45 minutes a day, devote that time to my own freedom and strength.   After all, my life was getting back on track prior to this radiation hiccup.  So to increase my chances of healing internally, while fighting with a sun-burnt boob in April (crossing fingers that this will be my worst side-effect), I plan to:

-meditate for at least 45 minutes, 5 times a week
-read 1 hour each day
-continue all supplements (antioxidant or not) and anything else that my naturopath and I decide on
-continue Tamoxifen
-keep my heart open to love (translation=doing my best to not shut people out and feel like it makes it easier on them...)
-do a minimum of 2.5 miles, 5 times a week on the treadmill
-wear my 'sleeve' as directed (which now is everyday)
-be in bed by 10:30pm: reading is okay, but I need to be in 'relax' mode......unless there is sister-dancing to do, which then it can be extended
-blog on bad days, when it is fresh. SURPRISE I usually try to calm down before I blog...though I do occasionally blog while seated on the floor in the bathroom with the door locked

Despite this plan I have created to help deal with my anxiety and stress about radiation--I am still having panic attack symptoms, especially late last week and into the weekend.  I sometimes feel fragile and it comes out of no where--it shuts me down. My body feels like it is being weighted down and I can't breathe, I start to cry uncontrollably and usually end up under the covers or in the bathroom sitting on the floor--chosen for the closeness of the kleenex and garbage can, and the toilet doesn't hurt either.....usually vomiting/diarrhea is in the horizon.
I wasn't feeling 'right' when I was waking up, some of it because of my nasty cold, the rest probably because of stress.  I had a great 'energy' meditation session and some stuff moved around, haven't been the same since (except I am feeling better today, after some more work).  But the stuff that came up was messy, I haven't dealt with it, I am still working on it, but it is walking through mud, you lose a shoe...and you want to get the hell out of there.

I had a panic attack in a dream and woke up having a panic attack, grabbing Scott's arm and gasping for air--tears already streaming down my face, before I could even think of crying--all of this is why I am going to make radiation different--tragedy is everywhere--me labeling and feeling like radiation is one, is such a ridiculous I am mentally putting a stop to it--or at least giving it one hell of a try!


  1. Sometimes you just need a hug, Dori, even if you're Superwoman. We're here for you! *hug*

  2. Dori! You have an great plan in place to care for yourself during this next chapter of medical madness. Panic attacks are so powerful, I get them too sometimes. If you ever want to talk about it, let me know! For now, I'm sending you love and space to root down and feel grounded through all of this.
    with love,

  3. Girl, you have been through the ringer, and I sympathize. With every bit of it, especially the panic and anger. This is heavy stuff and you're doing a great job of keeping it all together. You are smart to plan ahead and set these goals, and I know you can do it.

  4. Oh man... radiation. A whole other thing altogether, isn't it? I keep thinking after going through chemo, radiation has got to be a piece of cake in comparison, but there is no such thing as a piece of cake when it comes to cancer treatments.

    Will you start on Tamoxifen soon, or have you already started? And, the sleeve thing, do you have lymphedema? I often wonder if I'll get that too...

    You're almost done girlie, hang in there!