Radiation: Rounding the final turn

Yesterday was the last of my “regular” radiation treatments. A landmark of sorts. And it was followed immediately by the “blocking” or positioning for my eight boosts, which started this morning. It’s difficult to describe what the boost set-up entails, other than to say some metal framework is clipped onto the front of the multileaf collimater that delivers the radiation. The framework comes down to within an inch or two of my chest and, I assume, helps to precisely focus the radiation beam on the tumor bed and internal nodes beneath it.

One of the techs drew a rough circle on my chest so they and I can see the area that will be getting radiated. I got a good look at it when I got home and was relieved to see that although it’s bigger than I expected, none of the currently irritated areas are included. Big relief, since they’re now looking and feeling pretty “sunburned.”

It did finally dawn on me last night that it’s the Aquaphor that’s removing the ink markings and loosening the stickers that cover the x marks. That goopy stuff is mostly Vaseline, which is often employed to help remove stubborn adhesives from skin. I’ve not really liked using it because it’s such a greasy mess, but it does provide relief sometimes when nothing else seems to be working. I’ll try to rely on the Eucerin and Miaderm from now on, but no promises to the techs. I told them I’d come in slathered in Crisco if necessary.

I’ll have a total of eight boost treatments, the last on Friday the 13th (I’m not superstitious, but can’t help noticing …), and don’t really know what to expect as to how toasted the area might get. Hopefully no worse than what I’ve experienced so far, but since the boosts are in addition to the previous radiation … hard to say. Probably better not to think too much about it.

The boosts are even shorter than the regular treatments. Just a minute or two. It takes longer to get into position than to be treated. And most of my time is spent changing into and out of those stylish hospital gowns. I was away from home for all of two hours this morning. Makes the round trip even more annoying. So much driving for such a brief treatment.

As for the cough … it’s still there. I think it’s better, but it’s very hard to assess objectively. I am doing better with the spirometer, however. Deeper inhalations more consistently, and far fewer of them interrupted by coughing.

And it’s been a while since I mentioned my weight. When I was diagnosed back in April, I was 205 pounds give or take. I have very gradually slipped down to 184 as of two days ago. (Fear not; I’m well hydrated and all lab work has been normal.) I’ve gone from my baggy summer pants into my previously uncomfortable Lane Bryant jeans and on down into the Old Navy jeans that I hadn’t worn for maybe four or five years. And even they seem a tad loose. Good thing I have a belt with holes all the way around because I think it’s too soon to start investing in this size. Besides, shopping and trying on clothes is exhausting, frustrating work. I hate it. That said, if I never put those pounds back on, I’ll be quite pleased. It’s just not a diet I’d recommend to others.

 

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9 thoughts on “Radiation: Rounding the final turn

  1. disperser Wednesday, November 04, 2015 / 4:21 pm MDT

    Yeah, not the best of diets.

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge Wednesday, November 04, 2015 / 5:53 pm MDT

    I was always annoyed when drive time to a meeting took 2-3 times longer than the sit down itself. This is even worse.
    (and I can’t even stand greasy sunblock much less ointment on purpose. Double UGH)
    Online shopping is so much easier when you’ve stabilized a bit. Did you see a story recently where parents of a young adult cancer patient (Florida?) are following her wishes of a clothing source for cancer patients? As the girl was going through treatment, she noticed the problems of weight loss and realized everyone around her was safety pinning clothes, too – and no one felt like going to a store even if they had money. So they started a “closet” where with a note from a doc got them in to choose free outfits. What an emotional lift on the faces. Others joined in with makeup, manicures, and hats/wigs. Certainly fills a need and makes sense.
    My sister in law never regained weight after treatment – 5-6 years out, so hey, it may be the new you!
    (I need to get motivated to do something more productive,…as you say, blogging just goes so far, but it is better than staring at the wall with the cat. Brain fog comes with age, too. Are you gaming any?)

    • PiedType Wednesday, November 04, 2015 / 6:15 pm MDT

      Oh, that “closet” is a wonderful idea. It’s only in the last few weeks I’ve really noticed the problem (cooler weather forced me to dig for something warmer than my summer pants). Baggy sweats will work around the house, where I spend most of my time, but I really hate to go schlepping down to the cancer center in stuff that makes me look even frumpier than I feel. I’ve felt a little better and walked a little taller when wearing the jeans, but they’re bigger on me than I like. So too the shirts I’ve worn for several years. Maybe if I dig a little deeper in my closet, I can find the next smaller size.

      I would love to keep this weight off. It would be a nice reward for getting through all the treatment (not to mention the new wardrobe). But I guess only time will tell.

      Yes, still gaming. Off and on. It requires mental focus that I’m often too lazy to summon. But I’m getting geared up for the release of Fallout 4 next week. Meantime, still playing Destiny.

      • philosophermouseofthehedge Thursday, November 05, 2015 / 7:51 am MDT

        I need to find out more info on that closet idea. Might be something worth getting involved in – certainly noticed the need, too.

        • PiedType Thursday, November 05, 2015 / 10:46 am MDT

          What a beautiful young woman and a beautiful legacy. There are a lot of sources here for hats and wigs, manicures, fitness classes, support groups, etc. But as far as I know no one has addressed the weight loss thing with clothes. I hope the idea spreads.

        • philosophermouseofthehedge Thursday, November 05, 2015 / 12:30 pm MDT

          I’m trying to decide how much energy I have. This would be a big commitment.
          It’s such a logical concept, why don’t these exist? Clothes are a big issue.
          Glad the link worked….potentially better use of Fed and state grants and taxpayer money than many thing they hand money out for…

  3. PiedType Thursday, November 05, 2015 / 10:58 am MDT

    A note this morning: I paid closer attention today and I think the boost treatment lasted all of 30 seconds. For that I drove about 45 minutes to get there, and the same to get home.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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