Taking a break

More radiation nitty gritty talk today, folks!

Showering in the morning is rough. I have to remove the leftover lotion from my skin but everything is incredibly tender. Not to mention it itches like crazy. Like, the worst mosquito bite of your life, crazy. And yet if you itch, you are instantly in pain because everything hurts. So no itching despite how bad it itches. Ouch.

Imagine the worst sunburn that you have ever had. Now imagine that you have road rash on top of that sunburn. You know everything is red, peeling, open, trying to heal, etc. It dries out quickly so you try to keep it lotioned up as much as possible. You have to be careful moving and remember that it hurts to move a certain way because of the burned area. That’s about what this radiation feels like. I’m getting a larger dose than normal and I’m on Xeloda, which magnifies radiation too. So it’s likely worse for me now than most. It’s definitely stronger and harder than my first round, and I did that for 6 weeks.

It takes me at least twice as long as a normal shower just to wash my radiated areas. I typically don’t take pain medicine until after because I want to get close to the timing for radiation. The radiation itself doesn’t hurt, but my skin is dry and lifting my right arm up is quite painful. So needless to say, showering hurts. Toweling off is just as fun because everything is sore and I have to pat dry but be super slow and careful in the meantime. It’s a long yet necessary process.

I had the weekend off from radiation and I know the side effects lag behind a bit so though I expect things to get worse, I was super exciting that nothing bled in the shower this morning. Silly, I know, but this was a big deal for me and I was excited to tell the technicians at radiation that things are healing despite continued treatment. As I changed into the gown at the center, one of my wounds opened and immediately started to bleed. Dang it, there goes my excitement! When the technician came in to get me, I joked with her about how excited I was to tell her that I wasn’t bleeding and that it had just started. Well, let’s remember that everything happens for a reason, Meg.

The technician didn’t like the bleeding and called in the doctor to take a look. Of course, it’s to be expected and my skin looks rough but like it should considering all that it’s been through. After checking me out, the doctor asked if I wanted a break from treatment. My eyes lit up. Um…yes?!

We talked at length about my upcoming travel, the 3 remaining days plus boost and my great response to treatment so far. She shared that sometimes when people react positively at this point, she stops treatment entirely and other times she finishes it out if the patient is up for it. I, of course, shared that I am up for whatever she recommends but the break is certainly welcomed.

So, we decided to take a few days off. Though my skin will look a little worse in the meantime, it’ll give me a break from the effects of treatment and a few extra days of rest. In the meantime, I’ll have a CT of my neck and chest to see how things are progressing with treatment (particularly my lymph nodes) and I’ll see her again on Thursday morning (post-CT) to discuss what the treatment path will be.

Although part of me wants to push through this and get the last 3 done, I am glad for the break. It is certainly welcomed! I am anxious for the CT scan too, as I anticipate it to be good news all around…though time will tell!

That being said, I am going to lotion up, apply my super cool netting and nap, nap, nap. It’s a good day, friends. And your prayers for this week are being answered already!

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