Soul Shot

I was really hopeful that I would be able to start radiation this past week, but it turns out to be more complicated than I thought--which I'm pretty sure I've now said about every aspect of this cancer thing.

Last Monday, I went for the intake appointment where they scanned me in a CT scanner to ascertain exactly where the breast clip (the marker left behind by the surgeon so the radiation oncologist can find the spot now that the cancer is gone) is so they can formulate a plan for irradiating it. They tattooed the coordinates—who would have thought I would ever have a tattoo? 

(Also, all props to those of you who have real tattoos because those tiny dots hurt!) 

Anyway, they told me it would take a week to ten days before they would have the plan for my radiation because it had to go back and forth between the radiation oncologist and the technicians. Once we get started, though, it's six weeks of daily treatments.

So I looked at the calendar and it was clear that I wouldn't be done in time to be able to go to California to help my older child Ramona move back into her dorm in August so I booked a ticket and left before dawn on Tuesday for a really quick trip to see her.

It was like a Vitamin B-12 shot for the soul. She's doing so wonderfully and seems to just be exuding happiness.  On the first day that I was there, she got the call that she got the part time job she wanted, plus she got a high A in the class she was taking! She's subletting a tiny apartment (which I scrubbed within an inch of being able to perform surgery on any given surface because: Gross.) and getting to play house in the sweetest way. She's learning to cook and finding out she's good at it!
Don't we both look so happy?

It was just the loveliest three days. I flew back on Thursday in the wee hours (my flight was delayed and I can't tell you how happy I was about that!) and will live on that visit for a long time.

I got home in time for my younger daughter Jane to start work as a lifeguard. Gosh, there are a lot of hoops to jump through if you want to work for the City of Austin. But she did it and is now gainfully employed and liking it, I think. She's had such a tough year --this really seems like the start of something better. As always, I am so impressed by her tenacity.
Also looking pretty dang happy.

I'm still gutting it out in school this semester, thanks to the willingness of my professors to work with me on deadlines. I'm not entirely caught up, but enough so that I am not stressed about it. I am learning that perfectionism is still an issue with me, and it's the enemy of getting my work done and submitted.

Yesterday, I went back to the radiation oncologist's office so that more people could draw with sharpie on my breast. (Seriously, the number of people who have felt me up since this whole journey began is legion.) And today I start the six weeks of radiation treatment that will hopefully stop the cancer from recurring.


Shaatzie said…
I admire your courage, the simple act of living as a Mom, scrubbing up a space for your daughter to be well, and keeping going. Just to keep going seems like it should be a high A achievement. And to keep on with your academics.
You astound me with your tenacity, and ability to make the best of a difficult time. God bless.
Becca said…
Tell them they have to buy you dinner before they can feel you up! But seriously, how wonderful that you have two beautiful daughters that have managed to not only persevere, but thrive in spite of recent difficulties. What a wonderful Mom they have.
tanita✿davis said…
Your gorgeous girls look so much like you! And Ramona is so stylish with her Lennon glasses! It's nice to have seen them grow in this space. And we're watching you grow, too, in a way - braver and more able to see this thing through. Go, you. Go, you! We're all cheering.
Dawn Ehler said…
I'm so glad it's a 'mum' thing and not a 'me' thing....the need to get into my daughter's uni flat and disinfect everything :)) You all radiate a happiness in each of your individual lives together. Go the girls!! xx
Unknown said…
Oh Barb. This radiates hope and joy and brought tears to my eyes. Your process is amazing. Keep writing. You inspire me! Hang in!!! Be well. And be kind to yourself. Love you and sending healing thoughts and prayers. Daily. Xxx