Radiation started on Monday of this week and as I write this I have had two doses. And as I write this, things are a little better. My life may not entirely revolve around pain today. Last night I went to bed feeling the same as usual, but I woke up this morning and didn’t receive my usual assault of stabs and yanks and squashes first thing upon standing up. I felt more rested, possibly because I slept better due to less pain. As soon as I started moving around I knew that it was all still there, and I’m less than 10% better. But it’s more than 0% and it’s only two doses down.
I’ve been wearing wireless headphones and listening to podcasts during my radiation treatments so far. Podcasts are one of the things I miss most in quarantine – I used to listen while I was driving, but now I never leave my house, so I have dozens of episodes piled up and waiting for me. So I have been wearing my headphones and laying there half-asleep letting the time float by. And that was helpful as nerves make the experience a little intense. But I am also finding that I walk out of treatment stressed out, wanting to find something to calm me down on the way home. So I think today I am going to try meditating through treatment and experiencing what is happening in the room. I am hoping that being present and processing in the moment will lessen the intensity. I have had so many traumatic medical appointments that I think I automatically tense up to protect myself, but nothing bad happens on that table and I think it will help to show myself that. And if it doesn’t, back to podcasts.
I briefly mentioned before that I got a referral for pelvic floor PT and was not looking forward to it, but in fact working with her has turned out to be one of my more transformative medical experiences. And part of why is that it turns out that she is also a sex therapist, so Mom and Dad and anyone else who isn’t down for a non-graphic paragraph about our work together, you can skip ahead to the next one. I don’t want to talk about the details of our work together, but I want to talk about what she has given me, which is pleasure. I had entirely written off the concept of pleasure for my body, feeling like it belongs to cancer and my doctors and is just too broken to enjoy touch anymore. I thought that this body was only for pain. And so hearing that I deserve pleasure and that there can be space for it in my life has been so affirming. And doing the work and finding that this body isn’t broken, it is changed, and still has opportunities for fulfillment is so emotional I don’t even have the words for what emotions I am hitting. My understanding is there are only a handful of professionals in the country with her combo of trainings but if there is one near you and you could use any sort of boost I cannot recommend this work highly enough.
My joy for this week is my cozy little working spot in the house. At the advice of the above PT I added a bolster to the cushions on my chair and it is infinitely more comfortable. Also, I recently added a wool pressing mat to the table right next to me, which means that my cats love to sleep there and I get to idly pet a soft, fluffy belly throughout the day. It’s so nice to continue to improve our quarantine household set up so everyone has a spot that works for them.