Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Arizona Update:Pain

I got to experience a different kind of pain today. It's not the kind of pain you get when you stub your toe or prick your finger. It's the kind of pain you get when you have to decide whom to comfort--the crying baby that's so loud you're worried you're going to get kicked out, or the crying husband that is going through something so traumatic that makes a man cry that doesn't usually cry. Then there's the pain of having to watch and allow strangers, essentially, burn the insides of a most beloved one to kill everything in site and then pump poison in on top of that...EVERYDAY!

If you haven't guessed, Ben started his radiation and chemotherapy today. The actual radiation itself isn't so bad, Ben said, but it is humiliating. He has to lie there completely naked in front of about five women while they pin point exactly where they need to aim the radiation. So, they're all staring down through cameras that zoom in on "that" area. It's very embarrassing and anyone who doesn't think so needs to think hard about that and truly imagine themselves in Ben's shoes, or at least not make fun of Ben for being embarrassed/humiliated.

The chemo stuff is probably the most scary for me. With the radiation they tell you they will be a burning sensation and some fatigue, but with chemo they give you this big booklet of all the things that could and probably will happen. Anywhere from extreme fatigue to excessive vomiting to bleeding uncontrollably to the inability to do just about anything. The people here try to comfort saying that a lot of this might not happen because of the kind of chemo Ben's having, but it's still an option. The other thing real scary about the chemo is, unlike the radiation where they zap you and you move on with the rest of your day, Ben has a constant reminder, 24/7, that he has to carry around with him. And that's not all! If he breaks the pump or it starts leaking, there's a whole procedure with a packet to handle just that situation. If it leaks, the baby and I have to get far away because again this stuff being pumped into Ben is poison, and he has to treat it like a chemical spill. Think Chernobyl on a very small, but still scary, scale!

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