Today was my mom’s first day of radiation. Beyond the fact that we arrived 20 minutes early (they were worried about traffic) and they took her 20 minutes late, it went okay. She was nervous, which I knew, and which my father reiterated to me after they took her back. I spent the weekend before thinking about how I could help her. She had her “dry run” on Friday, and she told me on the way out that she was more distressed about the radiation than the chemo. She couldn’t verbalize why. At some point in speaking to my brother about it, I realized that she was going to be alone in the treatment room. When we went to her chemo appointments, not only did she have my father there, but me and also the nurses! And she was in a room full of people. Now granted, the appointments lasted 8 hours each, six times, and they stretched out over about six months. Her radiation appointments are about 20 minutes and should be over in five weeks. But they’re EVERY SINGLE DAY (sans weekends) and she’s in a room all alone.
So over the weekend I started thinking about what I could do to help her. I had shared with her (a couple of weeks ago) about the gratitude list that T suggested I do every morning. First thing, before getting out of bed, she suggested I come up with 3-5 things that I’m grateful for. It’s supposed to change your chemistry to start off your day. Mom said she was going to start doing it, and the last time we talked about it, she was doing it. So building on that, I came up with about 25 (or 26 or 27) things to be thankful for, and I typed them up. Then I put them on little strips of paper, folded the papers, and put them in a little bag. This morning, before she went in to change her clothes into a hospital gown (she had to wait for the changing room), I told her to pick from the bag. And I said it was a “prompt” on something she could think about and/or be thankful for in the treatment room. Afterward, I gave her the bag to keep with her because I won’t be with her every single day for treatments. I’ll go as often as I can (and as often as she’ll let me), and make sure my father gets a break from having to take her. But some days I won’t be able to go and/or won’t be going, so she’ll still have the bag and she’ll be able to take good thoughts in with her (and know I’m thinking of her!).
So it’s been six hours since we got home from the treatment. At the doctor’s recommendation, Mom took anti-nausea meds she had leftover from chemo treatment (she never took them, but they gave her anti-nausea meds in her IV) before her treatment. They said that nausea could occur every single day, 2-4 hours after treatment. I think she was really worried about that, hence her taking the medication. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to be getting nauseous…I’ve spoken to her several times and she ate lunch, did her exercises, and has been taking care of some other things. She even sounded chipper the last time I spoke to her. I hope it continues.
Look, I title this about my surgical consultation tomorrow and yet I’ve written more about her appointment than mine. Mostly because mine is the day before and I have nothing to report. I’m getting a bit nervous, but nothing overwhelming. I went to a website I knew about called HysterSisters to read a little information about what to ask. And to be informed on the different options available, and what the terminology means. I want to be knowledgeable but too much information for me causes me anxiety. It’s a difficult balance to maintain. I also did some research about whether the hospital I’m expecting to be in has any gluten-free food options. I found NO information and so I’m assuming that Hub will have to keep me fed. Or I’ll be eating a lot of yogurt and salad. I have no idea how long I’ll have to be in the hospital, but we’ll have to figure something out. I’m really hoping that my parents will be up to dog-sitting for us because I suspect Hub will be staying with me at the hospital while I’m there. That means my parents (and brother) will have our dogs days AND nights, which we’ve only done once before when Hub and I went out of town on vacation. And at that point my mother wasn’t dealing with fatigue from the radiation (which they say could be pretty bad…).
But there’s time to work that out. And we’ll do what we have to in order to work it out. The gluten-free issue as well. We’ll see how I feel about all of it tomorrow after the doctor’s appointment. My mother has her treatment, so she won’t be able to go with us to listen in on the appointment. I had considering asking my brother to go with us, but he’s going to be with Mom because Tuesdays are the days she meets with her doctor…and we have questions. And we have to have someone other than my father asking questions and listening to answers because he’s not reliable for either. So it’ll be Hub and me tomorrow. Fortunately, this is only a consult, and I know I’ll have more times to ask questions before any surgery happens. UNfortunately, this particular doctor is over an hour away. The hospital is 45 minutes away from our house. But I think the doctor is worth it (at least at the moment), and the hospital is the closer of the two he works with. And if Hub is staying with me, it won’t matter how far away it is from home. If this happens in the next six weeks, it won’t matter how far away it is from my parents because I won’t expect them to come visit in the hospital because I suspect Mom will be too tired. And that’s okay. She’ll be doing me more help by taking care of our dogs and relieving me of that concern than if she traipsed an hour there and back to the hospital to see me lying in bed doing nothing.