Midlife necessities

Midlife necessities
Midlife necessities

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hey I'm Still Here!

I'm still in treatment. I've been going through this breast cancer thing since August. I drive to radiation Monday through Friday, about a 40 mile round trip. I'm fortunate, there's only two Kaiser radiation centers - Ontario and LA, with a new one being built in Anaheim. I met a woman coming from Orange, she was always there early because you can't plan for traffic.

At first I felt pretty good. I was starting to recover from chemo and the radiation hadn't affected me yet. I had some energy, and was beginning to do some more projects around the house. The dogs and I resumed our regular dog walks, although I can't seem to do more than usual because I'm still quite winded from our moderate exercise. A few weeks later and I'm so tired I can barely move. Well, that's an exaggeration. But I'm really tired. I need a nap every day that I have radiation. I am having trouble sleeping through the night, possibly because of chemo-induced menopause. If I don't take Tylenol PM I'm doomed to be awake most of the night.

I had my last full site radiation yesterday and also saw the radiation oncologist again. The first time, after a few weeks of treatment, the doctor seemed surprised that my skin looked so good. As with chemo, I chalked it up to my good fortune and was very grateful. Yesterday the doctor said everything was normal, and I realized I sure don't like normal. Besides being exhausted I am now in pain, like I have a really bad sunburn under my arm. The spot is where they've been radiating the lymph area. I'm not wearing a bra (!) whenever possible because it's painful. I had been applying the Aloe Vera gel as instructed and was just told to apply Aquaphor ointment to the entire area. It feels so much better until it dries and I want to apply it again.

Today was the first of my last six boost treatments. It's one shot of radiation only to the area where the initial tumor was removed. So hopefully the area under my arm and near my clavicle (which is sore but not as sore as the lymph area) will start to heal. Both of those areas are a weird, dark reddish brown color, with spots like large freckles. 

I've also apparently had some radiation-induced motion sickness. And the damage to my fingernails from the chemo that caused a brown color now has my nails splitting. There are red spots on both of my cheeks. Looks like broken blood vessels. My hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are growing back, albeit slowly but surely. And I only have five more radiation treatments to go.

Why is that door so thick?

Thick door closed. Beam on!

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