Sunday, December 26, 2010

Glow Girl 19 Down, 9 or 14 To Go

I've been radiated nineteen times now, four weeks in.

I don't know if I was running on a Christmas high, or if the effects of radiation are finally exacting their toll, but either way, I am really pooping out folks.

I have noticed a dramatic change in my energy and stamina.  There are some great spurts of energy during the early part of the day, and I'm able to get some things done.

Then I plummet and crash, it happens like hitting a wall.  There is nothing gradual about it.  It's as if a voice and a presence enters my body and says

SIT DOWN.  LAY DOWN.  NOW.  I SAID NOW.

There is nothing else to do but comply.  I lay down.  Sometimes I am so sleepy I'm out right away; one day I napped like a rock for two hours.  Other times when I lay down, I'm not sleepy, it's just that my body needs to lay down, my head on a pillow, my feet up.

Dr. Lotus originally ordered twenty eight radiation treatments for me, but because of the close margin in the outer area of my left breast, she decided she may do 5 additional "boosts" if my skin holds out.

So far my skin is doing great.  There is some browning on part of my breast, and on the inside left of my neck.  I have not peeled and only occasionally there's a slight burning to an area just above my nipple, but it goes away after I gently rub the Miaderm cream in.

So far I have to say, I think the combination of Miaderm cream, which is only available for purchase online, and the Aquaphor, which you can get at any grocery or drug store, is really keeping my skin in good shape.  As I was taught, I gently massage the cream all over Flopsy, and underneath too, under my arm pit and up my collar bone and into the side of my neck. 

As suggested, I also have Husband rub some Miaderm onto my left shoulder blade, as one of the radiation beams actually travels through me and comes out that side.

Tomorrow right after my 10:15 a.m. radiation appointment, I have an appointment at the hospital for an ultrasound of my right arm.  You may remember I was having some trouble with my right arm swelling and aching, and in the last weeks of chemo, The Good Witch ordered an ultrasound of that arm.  The results were I had some "debris" in my veins, most likely from the trauma of port surgery and my ports, and later my PICC, which failed right at the end.  The debris could affect the flow of things and could cause some blockage, resulting in swelling. 

My left arm, which is my affected side, has been progressing along very nicely, and I'm still able to wear my wedding ring and thumb ring.  My right arm has continued to bother me and on that side, I'm not able to wear my regular jewelry.  Go figure?  I mentioned this to Dr. Lotus and she decided it was a good idea to have it checked out again.  I'm not really back under The Good Witch's care until after radiation is over.

The ultrasound is an easy procedure, I just lay there and it's just like when they did an ultrasound of my belly when I was pregnant.  The tech puts the special goop on, and then rubs a wand over the area, in this case my upper right arm into my neck, and the sound waves produce pictures of what's happening.

I don't think there is any relation between what's happening with my neuropathy, which is predominantly in my right foot and leg, and this problem with my right arm.  I don't know, maybe it's not a coincidence.  I hope they can figure it out.  It makes no sense that my right arm is problematic; the physical therapist said it was odd that my right arm was reacting this way when if anything, it should be my left that's acting up.  Looking at my hands and wrists side by side, I can clearly see that my right is swollen compared to the left.

Other than the fatigue, which can happen throughout, skin problems usually happen right about this point in radiation treatment.  I'm keeping a close eye on it, and so is the radiation staff.  I know it helps my skin when I get the weekend off; last week and this week I will receive only four treatments each week because they were closed on Christmas Eve, and will be closed New Year's Eve.  It extends my treatment a little further out, but probably will help in these last weeks giving my skin a three day weekend, instead of two.

Sure was nice not to have to go for three whole days in a row.

Sure will be nice when I don't have to go at all.

I can't wait.









 

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