From fatigue to a sore arm and chest wall, my first few weeks of radiation treatments were interesting and confusing. Read on to see how I coped.
Due to a diagnosis of Non-Aggressive Stage 2 Breast Cancer in November 2018, I went through a complete mastectomy on my left breast and recently, radiation treatments.
These treatments were Monday-Friday for 6 weeks straight, which made for a total of 30.
My first day of treatment wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I was in good spirits that day. I spent the morning in physical therapy for my arm and then met my husband for lunch afterwards. A few hours spent with my husband does wonders for my soul. When it was time for my radiation treatment, I was refreshed and ready.
It took the radiation techs a while to get things in order, however, once they did, it seemed like it ended before it even started. One minute I was on the bed/gurney ready to be zapped, the next minute, I was walking to my car in the parking lot.
This continued for the rest of the week. My husband ended up taking the afternoons off from work to pick up our children from school while I drove to the hospital for my treatments.
Even though I was grateful for his help, each treatment left me fatigued and tired. My body was not only getting used to the radiation, but also needed to adjust to the round trip hour long commute to the hospital and back home.
Still though, I survived the first week…..
The Second Week of Radiation Treatments
The second week was similar to the first.
My husband had to leave for a business trip to Denver so my dad flew in to help. I was so happy to see him! It’s always great to see family when you live so far away from them!
That week, I continued driving myself to my treatments while he left to pick up our children from school.
The fatigue, once again, hit me. We ate out for dinner a lot that week because I was to tired to cook for everyone.
Along with the tiredness came sore arm muscles from lifting my arm on the gurney and holding it for 20 minutes. The skin tissue in my chest wall also started becoming stiff due to the radiation zaps.
My lymphedema/physical therapist taught me arm and chest stretches to do twice a day to help ward off the stiffness. I started doing those and they helped A TON!
My skin also started to turn a light pink color but never became sore.
Despite all of this….I survived week 2!
The Third Week
Week three was a tough one!
My mother flew in to join my father in helping us, which was awesome! By the middle of my third week, I was so grateful for her help!
We worked out a schedule where she would drive me to my radiation treatments while my father continued to pick up the kids. She went through breast cancer twice and beat it so she knows a thing or two about radiation. I was happy to have her experience guiding me.
By the end of the week, I was an emotional wreck. My oncologist told me to stop taking my hormone blocking pills (Tamoxifen) so my hormones were acting up. I just remember crying and snapping at everyone before my treatments.
My skin started turning a darker shade of pink and I started resenting going in to get zapped.
The last day of week 3 was one to remember.
My husband drove me to treatment that day and we fought all the way to the hospital. I honestly can’t remember what it was about (it must not have been that important), however, I just remember crying every time I was being zapped on that table.
The radiation techs were so kind to me that day. They gave me a bottle of water, a warm blanket, and told me to stay in the room as long as I needed to relax before I headed home.
I took their advice and as I sat there in the empty radiation room with the warmth of that blanket engulfing me, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for what was to come in the next few weeks.
I had survived three straight weeks of machine filled radiation and I had planned to survive the last three!
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