"These are the things that wear me down. They get inside my psyche."

Cult of Cancer

Today was a rough one. I wish I was stronger. Emotionally and physically I feel weak. I feel like one false move and that house of cards will come falling down. Like I am just seconds away from crying my eyes out. I have no stamina right now. I am just tired and sore. I wish that I could just “get over this”. But ever since the operation I feel like I have grown more and more upset by medical procedures. The smell of alcohol turns my stomach. I just have no tolerance to be poked and prodded anymore.

I had a 2pm appointment for radiation. After changing into the gown a woman named Mimi took me into the room.There were 2 male technicians in there and when I realized they were planning on staying I was overcome with grief. They can’t stay I told Mimi. I will not take off my clothes in front of them. They are not doctors or nurses..they are technicians. They never took any classes on ethics. I looked at those 20- something guys and said, “No way”. My own husband hasn’t seen my scar. They were shocked. Mimi stammered through an explanation. I didn’t care that half the staff was male. I will wait here all day for 2 women . They sent in another woman minutes later. Then the supervisor came in and launched into a litany about why I had to allow men in the room. I told her I would try. Try to what ? Get over the sick feeling I have when I am naked? Get over my tendency toward being modest/shy? I was crying before I got on the table.

And again I had to keep my arms up over my head for 2 hours while they drew all over with me with sharpie markers. It is painful to keep up my arms like that. And my neck had to be kept a certain way.Before I knew it tears were streaming down my face and running into my ears. I was desperate to put them down but was not allowed. All I could think was, “God please get me out of here”. My entire upper torso is marked up and tattooed( 13 more dots today). And then they took a picture of my chest looking like a college football play book. I was mortified. These are the things that wear me down. They get inside my psyche.The culture of sickness. Indoctrination into the cult of cancer. They want you to accept your treatment like a good girl. Don’t rock the boat. I just can’t always play along. Some of this really sucks.

These minute details about what these procedures are like may be boring for you. But as always I really talk about it to work through it myself..but also so that someone with a loved one with cancer might really understand what they experience. Although everyone is unique, some of this universal.

In the end I demanded a meeting with my radiation oncologist. They would only let me see the resident. I pressed him to discuss the possibility of throat burns. He felt that the way they were intending to radiate that area would spare it from pain. So there seems to be a good chance that radiation will not be so bad. I am scheduled to go every day at noon starting on Wednesday. I am not scared anymore. I am just tired. Tired of medical procedures and medicine and sharpie markers.