Catch Up

I know I didn’t update last week, and I had a lot going on.

I went back to work on the 5th and it really took quite a bit out of me.  I didn’t realize how exhausted I was going to be.  And it was hard.  And I realize that working full time while still going through treatments might not have been the best thing for me.  Because I was draaaaaging.

I also began radiation last Tuesday.  That was an adventure in and of itself.  I went in for my 12noon appointment, fully aware that the appointment was not only going to include my first radiation treatment, but also my dry run, so they would know exactly where and how to radiate.  I got to the appointment on time, and by 12:20 they hadn’t called me back.  Turns out they mixed up my appointment and didn’t have me in the system until 12:45.  Then, when I finally get called back, and I’m on the table, about 20 minutes in, the fire alarm goes off.

Seriously?  There’s a fire drill.  And we have to go to the “safe corridor.”  And I’m dressed in nothing but my socks and a hospital gown.

WELL, hello everyone.

You know, so many people now have seen my “intimate parts” they might as well post them on a bill board on interstate 95.

So, half an hour later, they finally get my radiation started.  I finally get back to work at 3:30. My day didn’t start so great that day either – first day back on the train, only the train was cancelled.  I had my husband pick me up and give me the car so I could drive to the bus, and the bus was late.  I ended up having to drive in that day.

So, now I have five (counting today) radiation appointments under my belt.  So far, I’m just really really really tired.  Radiation takes at least 45 minutes each time I go.  It takes them at least 20 minutes to line me up right, and then the rest of the time to nuke me.  They have two separate areas to radiate – a lower and an upper.  At least I can take a nap while they are doing it.

After last Friday’s appointment, I met with the radiation oncologist, Dr. Sharma.  He asked if I had any side effects yet, and I told him I was mostly just tired.  He told me that would only get worse, and the fatigue I was feeling had more to do with the fact that I was only two weeks out from Chemo and I had gone back to work full time.  He said the fatigue from the radiation will hit later in my treatments.  I can also look forward to burning (they will give me silver nitrate for that).  The diarrhea started over the weekend, but hasn’t been too horrible.  I’ve spent the past two months constipated from the chemo, so honestly, it wasn’t bad at all.

The worst part has honestly been what the treatment has done to my arthritis.  This is actually a long term side-effect of the chemo.  I had a de novo graft implementation in my right knee last year – human cartiledge that was grown from stem-cells.  It was supposed to hold off a knee replacement for me for 15 years.  Problem is, those cells take 18 months to fill in, and are “rapidly reproducing cells.”  Well, chemo kills rapidly reproducing cells.  And they have torched my knee.  Swollen, very sore, and very painful.  And the rest of my joints are so sore and by the end of the day I seriously just want to cry.

But as of today, I’m 20% through my external radiation.  20% of my way to “ringing the bell.”  I’ll post a picture of that when it happens – it does have meaning.

I can’t wait to be done with this whole mess.

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2 thoughts on “Catch Up

  1. A fire alarm! Never heard of that happening. Thanks for the laugh.

    I’ve had two experiences with radiation treatments. The first one was actually pretty benign, the second one, not so much. Afterwards I found out that depression is a common side effect and that the full effects of radiation can take six months or more to “resolve” – well, resolve as much as they are going to. First time through for the depression wasn’t bad, second time the depression was absolutely overwhelming. If you start feeling really down in a couple weeks, you may want to consider seeing a psychiatrist for anti-depresants to help. Just a thought, hope you have no issues other than fatigue.

    • The fire alarm was quite a surprise. I initially thought it was the tech’s cell phone. I told her, “That’s an interesting ring tone.” She laughed and said, “Nope, that’s a fire drill.” Sigh. Nothing like standing mostly nekkid in a corridor of about 100 close strangers.

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