Radiation Therapy

I've made it through 5 days of weekday radiation treatments so far.  Only 4 of them have actually been radiation treatments; the first being additional x-rays and positioning efforts.  I am going to be doing this every weekday for a minimum of six weeks.  My daily appointment is at 8:00 a.m. 

I see some of the same people here each day. I am feeling pretty lucky. The two ladies I see look like they have it much worse than I. One is probably doing chemotherapy in conjunction with the radiation therapy as she has very little hair. The other must be suffering from lung cancer as she is on heavy oxygen. Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer for women. They are both quite a bit older than I. While this has been scary, seeing them has made me actually thankful for the situation I am in. It could have been so very much worse. But for the grace of God, go I.

The women's waiting room has lockers, three changing rooms and probably 3 dozen wall cubes for our gowns. I was assigned a cube and given a gown that will be mine for the next 6 weeks. Each day I come in and change into my gown and lock my belongings into a locker. The keys are on elasticized bracelets we wear around. I then wait until they call for me. There are magazines and a table with a puzzle. I suspect a new one will be there by Monday. There were only a few pieces remaining as of 8:00 a.m. Friday. Becuase I have the early morning appointment, I don't have a long enough wait to start working the puzzle. I would imagine that those who have late afternoon appointments get the accumulated schedule issues and have time to tinker with the puzzle.

Once I'm called into my radation room (there are several) they have me lay down and then position me on the table. Both arms go high above my head, where I grasp handles. They take 2 x-rays each day and then proceed with about 15 minutes of other positioning of the machine and actually zap me with the radiation. I swear I can feel it tingle and heat up a little. I don't know if that is just in my head or real. Hard to tell. I've already developed a pinched nerve in my left arm and it hurts like heck to put my arm up there for 20 minutes straight. It's a killer. Hopefully a chiropractic appointment or two can help set that straight.

The doctors and technicians have warned me about the burn my skin is likely to get, so I have armed myself with aloe vera and apply it regularly to help keep my skin intact as best I can. I've also been warned to expect fatigue within another week or two. They don't know what causes the fatigue, but nearly everyone who goes through radiation experiences it. That side affect does bother me. I am concerned about my job. How will I be able to keep working at the break neck speed my job requires? Thankfully my bosses are aware and say they will work with me, but it doesn't assuage my own expectations of myself. I'm prayerfully hoping I can give my own self a break. I need to just take each day at a time.

Each day I try to do something to stay active and not just sit on my butt. So far I've been walking the mall every week day. I manage about 2 miles or so each time. I'm hopeful I can keep that up forever. Once weather gets good again, I can go back to walking my neighborhood or trails here in Sumner. Doctors say that being active means I'll have a 60% better chance of NOT having a recurrance of cancer. That's better than any pill I could take. It makes it VERY worthwhile. I have to do this.

I need to be cancer free. I will survive.

1 comment:

Dori said...

I don't know much, but I suspect the radiation fatigue could be caused by heavy metal build-up in your organs. There is no time for your body to get rid of it. Radiation looks invisible but there is a very good reason why you are in a chamber. You might consider some sort of daily chelation. Talk to your naturopath.