Saturday, December 1, 2012

Visions of Radiation Machines Dance in My Head

This week I completed my 13th of 33 radiation treatments.  I began this most recent part of my journey on November 12th.  Compared to chemo, this is a walk in the park.  But do not be fooled, it isn't really a picnic either.  My skin is already having issues and my arm is showing signs of lymphedema.  Fortunately, we were able to find a physical therapist who specializes in lymphedema therapy and I will begin that treatment in a couple of weeks.  Lymphedema has been one of my bigger fears/concerns since having the surgery and now with radiation, so I am hoping that maybe it is just temporary.

Aside from that I am just T.I.R.E.D.  I wake up tired.  I go to bed tired.  And I'm tired every moment in between.  Radiation offers up more fatigue (in addition to the fatigue still haunting me from chemo) because the body is working hard to repair the damaged cells and using up so much energy to do so.  I reminded myself of how tired I was when I was pregnant with my triplets.  I remember thinking the first trimester should be easy. They are just little teeny tiny beans (or smaller).  How much energy does that require?  And then I realized that my body was busy making cells, organs, bones, etc.  Right now, I'm in a similar situation as my body is trying to generate new cells to replace the ones damaged beyond recognition (hopefully) as a result of the toxic sludge, AKA chemotherapy, and the radiation.

My daily trek to radiation takes about 7 minutes one way (assuming mostly green lights) as it is very close to our house.  The appointment itself generally lasts about 20 minutes, though only 3-5 minutes really involves me getting radiated.  The rest of the time is just the process of undressing, getting situated,  getting me "lined-up", doing a preliminary scan and also getting dressed again.  It is generally painless though I'm starting to feel really anxious trying to stay still for those 15 minutes.  It is hard to sit completely still knowing that you cannot scratch that itch and you need to keep your foot still though it feels like it is falling asleep.  And it begins to feel like your body aches just trying to keep still.  But it really is better than chemo.

I'm also happy to report that my hair is coming in rather quickly.  I discovered today that I will have to shave my legs more than once per week again.  Dern.  There were definitely some perks to chemo. **wink-wink**  My fuzzy head is almost completely covered with what I would call a "fluffy down" kind of hair.  It seems like it is darker than it was before, but it is hard to know at this point what color it really is.  There have been a few times when I have thrown caution to the wind and have taken my hat off in public because I'm just TOO hot to leave it on right then.   Lately we have had cold weather and the heat inside buildings is just awful when combined with the chemo-pause (AKA menopause) induced hot flashes.  Ugh!  I did some grocery shopping sans hat and was a little self-conscious at first but then just plain didn't care what anyone thought.  OK, I did care, but I tried to ignore those feelings and was just thankful that I could shed a layer to find some relief from the hot flashes.

I realized that I hadn't posted anything about radiation and thought an update was in order.  My body tells me it is time to shut it all down for the night.  I'll try to be back soon with more info.