This morning I had my follow-up appointment with my second doctor, Dr. Mastroianni. Radiation Oncology at Moll Pavilion is where I went every day for 5 weeks, so despite the fact that what I went through as a result of those visits was tantamount to torture... it was really nice to see some of the techs and nurses who made that whole process a lot easier on me. (More on that in a minute...)
Basically, this appointment went well. Most of the noticeable negative side effects have gone on their way - my skin is looking and feeling almost normal (but smoother and softer - hidden plus), my miserable bowels seem to be getting back to normal, etc. etc. The go-ahead to go back to work tomorrow was given, with the reminder that I will likely not be able to do as much as I was used to doing right away - and with the advice that that is OK! Awesome nurse Jen said, "If you can only work 4 hours, then only work 4 hours." One thing I have learned through all of this is that there is no other way to live then one moment at a time. So I definitely get it. Things can change SO FAST... and that does not have to be bad.
The majority of the time we spent talking to the doctor was centered around the sex thing. He essentially said that a vaginal dilator was pretty much a dildo (he actually used that world... DILDO. I tried to be a grown up and not giggle) and that if we weren't having sex at least three times a week, well, as long as I was "doing something" that often, I'd heal alright. Teehee. It was interesting, though. He explained that if you cut your arm, the scarring will happen pretty much immediately. But the scarring that the radiation therapy causes happens over 6+ months and that if I'm not using those muscles during the healing process, the pliability of my lady parts can basically decrease to nothing, which would no only make sex impossible, but also future exams! So, once again, gotta keep gettin' busy, I guess (and now with no risk of getting pregnant!). Whenever any of the medical team has said this with Ryan around, he always sarcastically responds, "Oh, crap." I take this to mean he doesn't mind...
Oh, wait. I actually lied above. The majority of the time we spent talking to the doctor was NOT about sex. It was more about he and Ryan geeking out for like half an hour talking about cars. Seriously! My dear husband will get going on the car ting with anybody. Not that Dr. Mastroianni seemed to mind. In fact, I think he started it... Audi this and diesel that and torque and gas mileage and blah blah blah. It was cute, actually.
Now, getting back to what I said above about seeing some of the radiation oncology staff who all helped so much to make this experience as tolerable as possible...
I really GOT something today. Being positive brings so much more good back into your own life. I could definitely tell that the reason the wonderful people at Moll are so kind and caring toward me (aside from the fact that that is their job) is because my good attitude, my smiles, my warmth and my own kindness and caring are truly infectious. It is so easy to get caught up in one's own negativity, fears, angers, troubles... and to forget that every single other person you come in contact with has their own set of fears and troubles that they are dealing with. But I have definitely learned that it is almost EASIER to be positive. To smile. To open the door for the technician pushing the old man in the wheelchair by herself. To be open and share with people what is going on with you and to not just ask, but to genuinely CARE, what is going on with them. It really is easy. And it's so much more rewarding and awesome.
My mum told me today that one of her friends who follows this blog told her that it has become "her new church" - because she finds it that inspiring! She is literally religiously following my blog! Wow. That means SO MUCH to me. To be able to bring inspiration, positivity, love, smiles, anything good into the lives of others - that is an empowering feeling. It is part of what is helping me heal. And I could not do it without you. All of you.