Friday, May 20, 2011

Buzzing through Radiation | Halifax, NS

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando.

I lay still, not moving a muscle.  Abba quietly played in the background; I instinctively wanted to dance... There was something in the air that night; the stars were bright, Fernando... but I couldn't.  Besides Fernando, I could also hear the whirring of the radiation machine running, then the buzzing as I received treatment.  I could only lay and listen while I stared at the ceiling, waiting for it to be over.

The treatment doesn't last long, just the length of a few songs.  Luckily, there was only one that made me want to get up and dance.  There's no pain during treatment - the radiation machine never touches me, the only physical contact is that of the technicians setting me up properly on the table.  Once I lay down, they go about checking measurements and lining up my tattoos.  In order to do this, with the lights down low, they gently move me from side to side on the table, placing my arm out of the way, pulling me this way and that way.

Once everything's in place, the technicians leave the room, the lights come up and I await the whirring and the buzzing.  And a little Fernando.

email:  karenk{at}

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Radiation Treatments | Halifax, NS

It's that time... back to treatments.  Radiation starts tomorrow.  I've been anxious to get going with this next step.  I had my markings/tattoos done a few weeks ago.  That appointment consisted of a meeting with one of the technicians who gave me the lowdown on the markings and how my actual radiation treatments would go.

The markings are pretty painless.  The technicians get you situated on the radiation bed and then line you up properly.  I felt a little silly, laid out on the table, my breast exposed, and three women leaning over me deep in thought.  I couldn't move so I couldn't tell what it was they were looking at.  I'd glance down occasionally and one of the technicians would gently move my chin back, out of the way.  A light overhead had a little strip of metal that provided a glimpse but the angle wasn't quite correct and I still couldn't see.  So instead I continued to feel silly, wondering what the heck they were doing!

Once I was all lined up, it was time for the tattoos.  I've always wanted a tattoo, I just never imagined having to go through all of this to get one!  While I was all lined up on the table, four tattoos were placed on my chest - two in between my breasts and two along my side.  They were mostly painless, each consisting of a single prick of a needle.  But I'm now over the need to have a tattoo.

One of the kids in my life asked if I minded having the tattoos - nope, I know having them will help make me better so it's okay with me.  The youngest asked if I had used soap on them to make them go away. :-)

So here I am, all ready to go.  I've been given a list of possible side effects along with a list of creams, gels, and soaps to use to combat any skin irritation.  Here's hoping it goes smoothly.

email:  karenk{at}

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two Good Men | Halifax, NS

We sat and talked while the baby slept nearby.  She had just given birth six days earlier and was still feeling the effects.  Until she's feeling 100%, her husband picks up the slack.  He brought snacks to us, carried my gear, and ran for wipes.  She and I talked about how lucky we were, two girls with good guys to take care of us.   Hers with her new baby, mine with my cancer struggle.  We feel the love.  And know how incredibly lucky we are.  Good men are hard to find; I know, it took me a long time to find mine and I'm not letting him go.

email:  karenk{at}