Radiation Update

Dear Diary,

Today I had my first radiation treatment.

I actually wasn’t anxious at all going into it. I think that my family and friends were more nervous about it than I was. Again I am quite astounded at how much I have changed since finding that lump back in September. I am slightly hardened, in a way. Acclimated to all of these treatments, and to the hospital walls. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, because I never want to get used to this as my life. But it does help me face each new challenge. Mentally, I do feel a lot stronger than I did before any of this started. Braver, I guess. None of it by choice, but nonetheless, a new me has certainly emerged out of all this mess.

As I waited for my treatment to begin, I chatted with an elderly man who has a tumor somewhere near his rib. He had had radiation previously, so he shared his experience with me. His doctors are considering chemotherapy as part of his treatment, so he asked how I fared with that. And there we sat, swapping war stories. Me and this 80-something year old man. Another cancer friend.ย You should know you’re still a very pretty girl, he said. I liked him. I hope he doesn’t have to do chemo.

I had two very nice radiation therapists bring me into my treatment room and set me up, making sure I was nicely lined up with the machine, thanks to my four little chest tattoos. Then they inserted my breathing tube. It was a bit more difficult than the simulation, due to the congestion I still have from my cold. But prior to beginning, one of the therapists remarked that it was quite impressive how long I had held my breath in the sim, so I knew I had to live up to my reputation and not screw it up. And I didn’t. I sailed right through it, and then it was over.

My new best friends for the next couple months. Cream, lotion, ointment, and aloe. Radiation 101.

Honestly, I was smiling through most of my treatment. I don’t even know why. There are lots of bad and scary things that can happen from radiation. Not usually immediate, but further down the line. But I guess I just felt happy to not be in chemo. To not be in pain. And to be kicking the shit out of my cancer, which has clearly become one of my favourite pastimes.

I met up with my sister after. Since she’s a medical student, she is often near the hospitals, which is convenient for me. I got some lunch, then we walked to the health food store, where I got a few items I needed, and some I definitely didn’t but couldn’t resist (chocolate quinoa crunchies, my new fave). And then I went home.

Radiation day complete. One down. Twenty-four more to go.

The main side effect from radiation is supposed to be fatigue. I can see how it would get quite tiring, even without the effects of the actual treatment. Just going to the hospital every day, back and forth, takes a lot out of you. I already don’t really feel like going tomorrow, and I’m just beginning. But I will push through it, and hope it doesn’t get too rough. I don’t want to anticipate anything bad happening. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

For now, I am smiling.

Post-radiation. Feeling my new hair that's slowly growing in. So soft, like a newborn baby. A newborn me.
Post-radiation. Feeling my new hair that’s slowly growing in. So soft, like a newborn baby. A newborn me.
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14 thoughts on “Radiation Update

  1. Stop having cancer and come back to work. I’m pretty sure nothing has been cleared for months and months and months. Plus, there are all new restaurants and the staff has turned over 50 percent. Get in here.

  2. I saw you in PMH today.* You have no idea who I am. You’re officially a celebrity.

    Yes, I’m an avid follower of your blog. I love your writing. And I think your expressing the qualms and tribulations of your own treatment helped me get through mine.

    Also, I thought you looked really pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’re going to rock the radiation treatments!!!!!

    Sending you happy vibes!

    *Technically yesterday, but if I’m still up past midnight it’s part of the same day for me.

  3. Such a beautiful photo of yourself! Glad that you are so strong to tackle all that you are; you go girl!!

  4. Your smile is always nice to see!
    I finished 33 rad treatments to my chest last week and, other than intermittent fatigue, so far so good…guess the scan in a few months will tell the ‘truth’…
    May I suggest you add alovera gel (the kind you can drink); inner fillet to your arsenal. I took a shot glass full just before I left for my session each day as it is supposed to lessen the chance of any potential esophagitis.

    Wishing you the best Steph,
    ~Pat

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