#8 Getting To Yes

The radiation technician directed me to lie face down, arms above my head, on a almost-hard, molded body holder that positioned me from my head to my upper thighs on the platform of the CT Scanning machine. She then covered me with a warm, blanket-like sheet.

I was here for the set up and staging for my radiation treatments. I felt like I was awkwardly positioned to look like I was about to dive into the circular portal of the CT machine.

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After a few minutes of moving me around and adjusting the mold on the platform, she and her colleague called out some numbers to each other. She then moved up my left side, put her head close to my left ear and let me know that "25" was my position number and that I would likely hear that number a lot.

As she moved away, she informed me she was about to lower the sheet covering me and touch my back. While her touch on my bare skin was expected, I still flinched as her finger landed just above my exposed tailbone. She commented that I must be ticklish. I wanted to explain that I wasn't and why I had the reaction I did, but it seemed pointless. She was already on to something else.

Here's the thing. As she lowered the sheet, I was expecting a needle.

And I absolutely HATE needles.

Even with all the ones I've endured in the last month, I'm still not used to them. When I know they are coming, something inside me revolts. I tense up. I can't look when they draw blood or add an IV tube to my arm.

But I knew what was coming today in this situation.

A tattoo.

A tattoo was NOT on my to do list. Not today. Not ever. I had no plans to ink myself.

My resistance to a tattoo is not so much the unique marking itself, but due to the fact that it requires a needle as the delivery mechanism for the ink.

Thankfully, at this point in the procedure, she explained that she was only marking me with a pen to get the positioning right. I relaxed a little.

She pulled the sheet back up covering me up and informed me they needed to do a number of scans. After confirming I was still doing okay, she asked me to lay very still for the next few minutes as the scans took place.

As she left the room, the machine roared to life. The platform began to move and I pulled my arms in tight above my head knowing how small the opening was in the machine. I noticed the extreme tension I was holding in my stomach, shoulders and legs.

The body mold seemed to harden around me, especially at my forehead and cheeks. I wondered if I was lined up correctly. I desperately wanted to move and adjust, but I couldn't. I had to lie still. So I brought my attention back to my breathing and quieted myself.

And in those moments, as I was shuttled in and out of the CT machine, a realization occurred to me. Maybe I need to come at this whole experience in a different way.

Instead of saying "no" to the needles, the tattoos and the treatment in front of me, it might make a lot more sense to take a different approach. My "no's" caused me to tense up, fight what was happening. I was internally resisting the very treatment I was agreeing to. And, that likely wasn't going to work very well.

I decided that instead of "no" as my default response, I would start to say "Yes" instead.

"Yes" to the needles and IV's that were to come. "Yes" to the tattoo. "Yes" to the chemotherapy and the radiation. "Yes" to the blood tests, the scans, the rigid molds and the occasional wait times. "Yes" to this treatment path in front of me and all that I might encounter along the way.

And, in that CT Machine, another more powerful thought emerged. It was time to say "Yes" to this Stage 3 cancer diagnosis. "Yes" to this tumor in my rectum. "Yes" to what was happening to me and in me.

I decided to accept what is. Not because I love it or want it in my life. But because it is my reality.

As the scans completed, the radiation technician once again joined me. This time to give me the official permanent markings that will be used to line me up and position me on the radiation machine for my ongoing treatment.

As she described what she would be doing, in my head and in my body I silently affirmed my new "yes" to what was about to happen. And despite her warnings to the contrary, I barely felt a thing as she tattooed me.

Moments later, I got off the machine with not one, but four new tattoo's. Four, really cool small dots on my body. One on each side of my hips and two additional dots a few inches apart on my lower back.

They are my "yes" dots.

Wednesday, November 2nd at 11am Pacific time is my first radiation treatment.

After breakfast that morning and after dinner that evening I will swallow the first sets of my chemotherapy treatment.

Yes! I am ready.

Thanks for your continued care and support.

11 Comments

  1. Bud Jillett on October 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    If you write a book about this you could call it “My Yes Dots.”

    Wow. Very inspiring.

    Thank you, Tom. You’re in my thoughts daily and I’m sending a constant stream of positive universe thoughts (little yes dots?) your way.

    Peace, brother,
    Bud



    • Tom Adams on November 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

      Thanks Bud. I appreciate the book title suggestion and your daily thoughts dots on my behalf.



  2. Shelley Adams on November 1, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Wow Tom….I am so impressed by your courage and understanding of yourself. To be able to share your experience the way you are.



    • Tom Adams on November 1, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Thanks Shelley. I really appreciate it.



  3. Don Gerard on November 1, 2016 at 6:51 am

    I never saw you as a body art kind ‘a guy, but good for you!

    I like your story about ‘Yes’. I am a big believer that your attitude re. your health (or illness) is at least 50% of the battle against illness and achieving the best possible health. Good attitude can lead to miracles. Nothing good comes from a bad attitude. I know of what I speak.

    Thinking good thoughts for you always. Hang tough my friend!

    My best regards,
    Don Gerard, Jr., CPA, CSDS – “Head Shredder Dude”



    • Tom Adams on November 1, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Much appreciated Don. You certainly are an example of a great attitude in response to your health. Thanks for leading the way.



  4. Susan Kruger on November 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    So inspirational! It really is amazing the power we have over own experiences. (I recall you pointing that out to me a couple of years ago, when I was really struggling with… everything!) We will be cheering for you tomorrow, Tom!



    • Tom Adams on November 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks for cheering! We do have a lot of power of what we experience and more importantly, how we experience it.



  5. Ray Denny on November 3, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Tom,

    A recent article stated or certainly implied that the finest medical care is lacking without one’s finest emotional/psychological commitment. You have both!



    • Tom Adams on November 3, 2016 at 6:49 am

      Thanks Ray! I appreciate it.



  6. Jeff on November 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    An interesting thought came to me while reading this…….life is about connecting the “dots”. Staying strong with you, my friend.