Cancer treatment: A cake walk

Two surgeries later, I began my education on the treatment I’d require to keep this cancer beast at bay. It sounded relatively simple: 10 days from start to finish. But first, it would take a few months to get my daily thyroid meds regulated. Then, I’d have to stop taking them cold turkey in order to start this 10-day regimen. And, yes, this all started as we were writing the book.

Surgery No. 2? Done!

Here again, I am a procrastinator, so by the time I actually got around to making the appointment with my doctor, I had been off my daily thyroid pill for a month. I do NOT recommend this! I felt sluggish — physically and mentally. My body wouldn’t work right and my brain wasn’t telling it what to do fast enough. I was very slow at work and at home Vicki and Alina were picking up my slack. I felt like I was slurring my words and getting them mixed up and backwards.

I pushed for the soonest possible appointment to start the radioactive iodine treatment. That is what they normally prescribe for the kind of cancer I have. I timed it so I would start treatment after both Laura’s wedding and our book tour. I realize I am one of the fortunate ones, to be able to have the option of picking the timing.

Meanwhile, I started the required low-iodine diet. After about 10 days, I went, with Joe beside me, to a “consulation” appointment to be re-educated on the whole radioactive dosing procedure, which was very helpful. I was sent directly to the hospital for the first “uptake” dose, a relatively inconsequential amount used to create a baseline body measurement. Afterward, I was told to come back the next day to take “the pill,” which would require me to be sequestered for five days with no human contact! Maybe that’s a tiny exaggeration.

So after doubly and triply hugging and kissing the kids that night and spending as much time as close to Joe as I could, I dutifully went back the next morning and waited to be given the “pill” that, once swallowed, would make me radioactive. ME! I would be dangerous to anyone and everyone around me, and I couldn’t help wondering if there was the slightest chance it might give me super powers. How handy would that be with our busy lives!

It took the technicians 45 minutes to retrieve the pill from wherever such things are stored.Once the “pill” arrived I was ushered into a room, door closed behind me, and it was just Levi (the lab technician who would administer the “pill”) and me. As he put on gloves, Levi told me that once I swallowed the “pill” he would usher me out as quickly as possible because he didn’t want to be exposed to me any longer than necessary.

I’m telling you, I had to resist the urge to say, “Wait a minute, Levi! This is my last human contact for five whole days. Can I ask you for a hug?” But I thought Levi might think I was completely crazy, so I just nodded my head and said, “Ready!”

Sure enough, as soon as I swallowed it, Levi ushered me out. I walked out the hospital doors and to my car, keeping as much distance from EVERYONE as possible. As I drove home, I made a quick call to Vicki to ensure the coast was clear to make it to my bedroom. I ran inside, shut the door, and here I’ve been for four days, at the time of this writing.

Here's where I'll be for five days with my TV, my laptop and a stack of books!

It’s been hard not having some time with Joe, though he was out of town during part of my period of isolation (which actually made it seem easier). When he came home he knocked on my bedroom window and we had some silent communication for a few minutes. It was just like in the movies. He put his hand up to the glass on his side so I matched up mine with his. He leaned his head in so I got up close to him but inside I’m thinking, “I don’t even know if this is allowed. Glass is no match for radiation.” So I kept it short and sweet.

I happen to know some people who are going through much more invasive, aggressive treatment for cancer right now. This is a cake walk in comparison. I don’t like being away from my family, especially the little ones, for too long but I cannot complain. Joe and my sister wives, along with the older children, have been taking over my responsibilities both within and outside of the home. I have friends and family that have reached out to check up on me and make sure I have something good to read, good movies to watch, the right food to eat and ideas to make the whole experience better for me. So sweet! (Thanks again for all your support! You know who you are!) The little ones are well cared for and I have everything I could possibly need. See, a cake walk.

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7 Responses to Cancer treatment: A cake walk

  1. Hello Valerie
    That is a little sad but comforting story. I can only offer my heartfelt hope and sympathy. Be positive. The power of positive thoughts are tremendous. Have faith, for faith can move mountains. Pray often and God will hear you.
    Cancer took our dad from us at a young 52 years of age, so I understand the gravity of it and I hope it all ends well with you. May God bless.

  2. kay guzman says:

    Hi Val just wanting to wish you well. Hope you have a speedy recovery. I will be praying for you. Kay

  3. Tiffany Marvin says:

    My thoughts and prayers are wish you and the family as you conquer this obstacle!

  4. Stephania says:

    Hope you are holding up ok during your period of quarantine and treatment. Thinking of you (and yours) and sending you all strength and wishing for you the least possible discomfort. Not to trivialize the bigger picture of all this, but sometimes trivial distractions can be a welcome escape, however small or brief.

    OK so here is said promised trivial distraction: Your room looks like a bed and breakfast place! The muted mauve colors, the fancy canopy thing, all the pillows, wow. I was going to suggest just staying in bed and keeping up with the newspapers with a mocha, but then remembered the coffee thing but maybe you could have decaf? It doesn’t do much to me but then, I was raised on it. My own tastes run more to the open beam, rustic cabin-type but I know in your way of life you don’t take something like that personally that someone has a different style than you(plus from your posts you just don’t at least seem like an easily offended fainting lilly, even with all this going on- the fact you have the courage to post about it rather than retreat) , just as one cannot assume that you, Vicki and Alina all have the same tastes in decor, clothing, food, etc. (with the exception of Joe of course and I can’t blame you for that, he is cute but more importantly, at least from the pictures, he has a kind smile and eyes- he doesn’t look mean- and kind in an intelligent, mature way, not in a ‘that’s a great fun puppy ya got there’ way ). Gee, my compliments must sound really dorky and awful. Hey I know how valuable even a laugh over something awkward and lame is when you are scared.

    It’s funny how some people thing ‘fair’ = ‘same’ and that everyone in these type of relationships are all sort of interchangeable like playing with dolls, when that no doubt couldn’t be further from the truth- not meaning this to sound insulting, but just think it is one of the nuances that mono-world people many times don’t get- and therein lies the irony: some think they are that more ‘special’ because they are the ‘only, or at least the official only,(when maybe they are not only or special!) but that pretty much all monos like and want the same things and perhaps are treated even less like individuals on many levels than are people in your culture/marital arrangements where people are forced by the configuration itself to constantly evaluate and work on things- whereas in mono, many of these things don’t come up or aren’t dealt with simply because maybe people are less aware of how the relationship is going and one can simply soldier on, whatever happens (and worse, maybe no one outside of it knows about the bad stuff which breeds yet more secrecy and shame), whereas I think this would be a lot more difficult in polygamy, though I am sure even that is not immune to what I describe either.
    I used the word culture as I see it not only as a religion but cultural as well, as it is kind of (in the US anyway) localized to but a few areas and is tied to the general Mormon faith/original settlers and sometimes people’s ideas about marriage are also tied to culture/religion and they can be all very different, despite the usual uniform of how people define ‘mono’ and think of some kind of 1950′s retro fantasy that comes along with that, when often that is not the case.

  5. Carlene says:

    Val,
    Just thinking of you and hoping you are doing ok. I had no idea and I feel bad for not reaching out sooner. I love you guys. Thanks for sharing this emotional time in your life.

    Carlene

  6. Marie Nadine says:

    One Love Val,

    My love and prayers are with you and yours as you go through this horrible illness. I know that you will overcome it with the love and care from your family and health care givers. You’re very strong and you’ll fight this cancer and win .
    Blessings.

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