Radiation Therapy – How it’s Going.
So far, I’ve had 12 radiation
treatments. It’s both easier and harder than I expected. The treatment itself
is easy. It’s the getting up early, getting ready, and going somewhere every
day that’s hard. Some days I have the energy to do it and some days I just don’t.
The radiation treatment itself is
quick. I change into a gown and wait until a technician calls me back. Once in
the room, we confirm my name, date of birth, and the area of my body that is
receiving treatment. Then, I lie down in the form that we made during the
Next, the machine moves over me and
is aligned using red lasers and the sticker that’s on my chest. The technicians
tug on the sheet that I’m lying on to make sure I’m exactly in position per the
mapping. Once that’s done, I lie very still, the technicians leave the room,
the machine lights up, starts whirring, and moves around me. My radiation
treatment and/or X-rays occur.
The entire process takes less than
15 minutes. I get dressed and catch the next bus home. It’s so easy and a little
like a human toaster oven now that I think about it.
Fatigue is a common side effect of
the treatment, but that’s usually later in the treatment time frame. I
noticed it in my first week of treatment, so it wasn’t because of the
radiation. Fatigue from treatment usually starts later, the second week.
my treatment started, I wasn’t used to going out every day, the pandemic and my
recovery from the surgery kept me from being active. I was out of shape.
out every day has been a stretch for me. Somedays, I get home from
therapy and plop on the sofa, depleted. On the days when I do have energy, I go
for a walk or get chores done around the house. It depends on the day.
side effect is skin changes. I use a prescribed steroid cream on the field of
treatment every day. Early on, around the third treatment, my skin became itchy
and sensitive. Now that I’m twelve treatments in, my skin is beginning to
change. I have a crusty patch, a flaky patch, a large area that’s red, and one
area that is becoming tan.
So far, my side effects have been
manageable. I feel lucky and grateful to be tolerating the treatment so well.
That said, I’ve been warned several times that the side effects continue to
progress a week after treatment ends.
it’s taking care of my skin, getting extra rest, or setting boundaries on my
time and energy; self-care has been the key to this entire cancer project. It’s
much more of a self-care project than a cancer project.
lesson this week is to be gentle with ourselves. Let’s meet ourselves where we
are. Let’s stop pressuring ourselves to be productive when what our bodies really
need is rest. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s the care we give ourselves so that
we can show up fully in our lives.
can restore us, our energy. Self-care means that we take our medicine and
follow medical advice. Self-care means we drag our asses out of bed to go to treatment,
even when we don’t want to.
This week I have a three month
follow up with my breast cancer surgeon and a check-in with my medical
oncologist. Most of all, I’m looking forward to being done with radiation. My
last treatment is this coming Friday! YAY!
I’m also supposed to have physical
therapy, but they have been busy so I’m on call for an appointment. Last week
we couldn’t make the timing work and I can tell that I’m not doing as well. I
am very much looking forward to physical therapy this week. Wish me
After I complete radiation therapy
on Friday, the next phase will begin. Hormone therapy.
each and every phase of this cancer journey, I have found so much to be
grateful for. I know that I have had an easy time and I know so many more
people have it so much harder than I do. I think about these breast cancer
warriors and send them love and healing energy.
you, dear reader, for your support. I am grateful that you are here with me. I
am grateful for your support.