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The boost September 10, 2014

Posted by Judy in Musings.
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Today, I completed the 28th radiation treatment, which means I’m done with the x-ray portion of the radiation therapy. I don’t think words can express how utterly gleeful I am to be done with that portion. It was tortuous. It was only 20 minutes, but still tortuous. I’ve learned that having to lie perfectly still is not really my forte. In the past 6-8 treatments, it’s been especially difficult and it was all I could do to not just leap off of the table. It became a game of squeezing different muscles in my body to distract myself from the overwhelming urge to move. Tortuous!

Tomorrow, I begin the final five treatments which are different in two ways: 1) the treatment is short, as in, I’m in and out in just a few minutes. (Huzzah!) 2) I’ll be getting zapped with electrons rather than x-rays. So the x-rays penetrate all the way through from front to back, which is why I now have radiation marks on my neck and my back.

Electrons, on the other hand, are very short and don’t go very far as they stay mostly superficial to the skin. As such, I won’t be needing to get daily x-rays to make sure everything is perfectly lined up. (They will be lining up the laser beams with the tattoo landmarks, so no worries that they’ll just be shooting radiation willy nilly!) Because electrons are so short, they have to bring the machine SUPER close to my chest, almost touching it. In order to keep the electrons from scattering all over the place, they’ve created a mold in the shape of the treatment field to guide the electron rays to the correct place. I have yet to actually experience this, but I’m counting on the veracity of the tech’s statements that the treatment is quick and much easier than the x-ray treatment.

Aside from the fact that I won’t have to lay stock still for 20 minutes, I’m also really pleased that my axillary area (AKA – armpit) won’t be receiving any more radiation. That’s the part that has taken the biggest beating in terms of my skin. For the first month, my skin showed zero signs of change. The radiation oncologist kept joking that they must not be turning the machine on! But, on day 20, things suddenly started looking darker, and you could pretty clearly see the area of skin receiving radiation. They gave me a special bandage called Mepilex to put on my armpit to help reduce the friction, which would in turn protect the skin from further breaking down. Because it was in my armpit, it didn’t stick particularly well, so they crafted a really attractive, skin-tight shirt out of this fishnet-looking material for me to wear. It was so attractive, in fact, that upon returning home, I set to crafting my own version of a “keep the bandage in the pit” shirt.

By day 26, some of the skin was SUPER dark and looking quite wrinkly. Today, that skin seems to have peeled off a bit. The armpit skin is stingy and feels better with the bandage on. I also get these sharp shooting pains in the area. Clearly, something isn’t happy in there! Having only had two very minor sunburns in my life, I’m not really sure if what I’m experiencing here is at all similar to a conventional sunburn. Anyway, for those who are curious, here is a pic. If you don’t want to see it, you can just declare yourself done with this post and we’ll catch you at the next post in a few days. 😉

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keep scrolling …

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almost there

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And, here we are. Ladies and gentlemen, my charred armpit!

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Comments»

1. Mary - September 10, 2014

Honey, I’m so glad you are about done with this cursed stuff! I’ve got your days marked on my calendar so I knew you were coming up on about 5 more. I’m rejoicing that it’s getting to the end of the whole miserable thing. God bless you, dear young lady. Love,

2. rlape85 - September 10, 2014

Sweetie, I am glad you are almost done with your treatments. Wow your auxiliary area has gotten darker, since last time I was there. Hope is not to sensitive for you . Are u still using the patch? God be. With you. Love you .

3. rlape85 - September 10, 2014

Oops Axillary.

4. Marian - September 10, 2014

I love your posts. I look forward to when you publish this blog in book form. It will be informational and inspirational to everyone who reads it. As for the picture, it looked better than I thought it would. Keep up the positive attitude! Love you!

5. Heather - September 10, 2014

I’m Thankful for your courage in sharing. Thankful that God’s brought you this far. Thankful that you’re moving to a less stressful treatment regimen. Praying for complete healing. HUGS!!

6. Jen - September 10, 2014

I am soooo sorry the x-ray radiation treatments were awful, and I am so glad they are done with!!! I hope the tech was right and these next treatments will be a whole lot easier. Thanks for sharing the pictures. They really enhance your descriptions and make such an impact. Poor little charred armpit! I will be praying it’s all downhill from here, my friend. By the way, you are amazing!!’

7. Sharon - September 11, 2014

Thank God that you are on this side of the 28th treatment! I’m so proud of you and keep hanging in there, friend!!


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