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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Delayed Reaction...

One strange aspect of radiation is that the side affects do not show up until several days after radiation. It is kind of like eating an entire bag of cookies, but the pounds don't show up on the scale until a few days later.

When I had radiation, I had a bolus put on top of the radiated area. A bolus is a sheer, urethane-colored, rubbery material that is placed on the skin to "fool" the radiation so that it deposits the maximum does of radiation on the skin, instead of a just below the skin - which it would do without the bolus. The bolus used on me was about 12 inches square and about 1/4 inch thick. It is so pliable that it molds to your skin, but had to be taped to me so that it would not fall off during the radiating. (Who invents this stuff?!) I talked to three other women in the waiting room, and none of them used a bolus - lucky ducks. I think the bolus is why my skin became so red and irritated. I am guessing that Dr. Dad used a bolus because I had the tram flap reconstruction. I never asked him the reason for the bolus because I thought it was standard, but now I am curious. I am going to ask him on Wednesday what the benefit of the bolus was for my treatment.

Two weeks ago, the week before my last week, my radiation treatment was changed a bit. I had only one zap that didn't require me holding my breath. It was a 30 second does in a small area - the center of the reconstruction. They used a small bolus for this radiation treatment that didn't require tape. This was a nice break in my treatment because it gave relief to the armpit and other burnt skin, plus I was in and out of treatment in a flash. However, this weekend the burn just began to show in this center area - 7 days after the last treatment! Dr. Dad warned that the side affects had a delayed reaction and wouldn't show up until two weeks after radiation began, and last two weeks after it was over.

The fingers in my left hand are numb from the radiation affecting a nerve in my back. It will eventually go away. The burning in the usual places flared up again, but not as bad as when the skin was dying.

So, when I thought I was out of the woods with my last treatment, I was just seeing a little clearing in the near the edge of the tree line. It's kind of like hiking out from a backpack trip - you're hot, dirty and tired, and you think you made your last descent, just to realize you have one more crest to make before you descend to the car at the trail head.

Whacky thought for the day...
Wouldn't it be great if we could take off pounds as fast as we put them on?

Yesterday - November 7 - Happy Birthday Smurf! (my dad) 77 on the 7th! In Las Vegas, if you get three 7's on the slot machine, you are a big winner. And, if you get three 7's in blackjack, you win the hand. This should be a lucky year for Smurf!

November 5 - Happy Birthday Tammy!

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