It is more important to know where you are going, than how long it takes to get there.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Walk In The Park...

Many people told me that radiation was going to be easier than chemotherapy. Several doctors, who clearly have not personally experienced radiation or chemotherapy, said that radiation was the "easy part." The only people who did not say that radiation was going to be easy were my radiation oncologist, Dr. Dad, and people who actually walked down the chemotherapy and radiation paths.

I just completed my fourth week of radiation, and it has been no walk in the park. I am battling exhaustion daily. My radiated skin feels tight, and being stretched out on the table/couch reinforces the tight feelings. The techs call the table "couch" when they are adjusting and spinning it to a specific angle to the machine. Believe me, I have napped on several couches, and this table is no couch. I have a rash that looks like an terrible heat rash on the left side of my chest, and behind my left shoulder. The reason I have a rash behind my left shoulder is that even though I am laying on my back, the radiation goes all the way through my body from front to back, affecting the skin on my back. Dr. Dad told me this might happen. The rash itches and I try to regularly put radiation cream on it to sooth the itching and burning. Where there is no rash, the skin if sunburned pink. I look like that person who feel asleep at the beach their side, getting sunburned on one side, and still white on the other. I have three more weeks of radiation fun.

Today I counted the duration of each radiation zap. The first zap lasts 16 seconds, requiring me to inhale and hold my breath for about 18 seconds. I think this long zap targets the chest area where my skin is red and bumpy. The next longest zap was 6 seconds. The rest of the zaps only last 1-3 seconds. I get zapped 10 times each visit.

I actually prefer chemotherapy over radiation. I know this sounds strange. At least with chemotherapy I could take a pill and get over whatever was ailing me. Plus, I was fortunate to have only four cycles of chemo that only took a few hours each treatment. Recently, a breast cancer survivor told me about her neighbor that is going through 17 hours of chemotherapy each cycle for a different kind of cancer. This makes my chemotherapy look like an easy stroll through the park.

Last week Molly went with me to radiation again because she was having asthma issues, and Chubba was on the road. This time she was allowed to stay in the control room and watch everything. She told the techs that I said that part of the machine looks like "noodles." I had to clarify that I said dried spaghetti pasta. They showed her all the parts of the machine, and she saw the spaghetti pasta-like teeth open and close to form different shapes. She said that this was a fun field trip.

Whacky thought for the day...
Hair is more than a head accessory, it provides warmth.
I didn't realize how cold I would feel being bald.

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