Fatigue, minor burns, and the peeling of my skin made up my last 3 weeks of radiation treatments, but I came out winning in the end!
Due to a diagnosis of non-aggressive Stage 2 breast cancer in November 2018, I ended up having a complete mastectomy on my left breast.
It was also highly recommended that I complete 30 rounds of radiation treatments, beginning in March of this year. I wrote about my first 3 weeks of treatments in this post.
My last few weeks were a bit different then the first few, but not by much.
The Fourth Week of Radiation
In my fourth week, my skin turned from light pink to red as the radiation set in mid-week. Even though I followed my doctor’s medication instructions, my left under arm became flaming red and irritated. It started hurting a little, however, I kept having to remind myself that it was only a temporary thing.
My chest looked like a huge sun burnt square, as you can see in the picture above. The radiation techs also ended up adding a few more marks to it.
I carried on with my life, however, and even started to exercise again. I ended up completing 8 miles of walking that week. Despite how I felt physically, I shocked myself with my strength.
Reminding myself that things were only temporary really helped get me through that week.
The Fifth Week
The fifth week wasn’t as bad as the fourth. Due to the flaming redness under my arm and my chest, my skin started to peel. It wasn’t painful, however, it did feel like a really bad sun burn.
Along with the peeling, my skin started itching and burning. When I told the techs and the doctor, they said the itching and burning are normal. It meant that my skin was starting to heal.
Even though I felt capable of exercising that week, I held off due to the peeling and burning. I felt like completing my normal work out routine would worsen my skin so I decided to give myself an exercise break.
This was also the week I found out that I was…..cancer free!!
Both my oncologist and radiologist explained that I am officially cancer free and that I am, in fact, in remission.
Despite how my skin felt, it was a joyous week for my family and I.
It was uphill from there and all I had to do was get through my last week of radiation!
The Last Week (Sixth week)
My last week of radiation was a joyous one! My skin was still peeling and itching, however, I was determined to stay the course and finish things.
The treatments that week were super short due to the techs giving me what they called a ‘boost.’ which basically meant that my surgery scar was the only area to get zapped. It was wonderful to not have to lay down for 20 minutes underneath those machines.
My last day was a memorable one!
I started out on the wrong foot with the radiation staff before this journey. However, by the end of my treatments, they became like family to me.
They were so much like family that my mom and I decided to purchase a HUGE cookie tray from Costco to give to them after my last treatment. I also attached a heartfelt, handwritten card to the tray.
It is a hospital tradition that once a patient finished their treatments, they can go back and ring a victory bell.
We decided to keep the kids home from school that day and my husband took the day off of work. With happy thoughts, my entire family drove to the hospital to watch me ring the bell.
It was a small bell but it signified so much!
Watch the video of me ringing the bell!!
***Note: If you are reading this on your phone, click “Watch This Video on YouTube” to watch the video.***
Finally, after 6 LONG weeks, my ordeal was over. I was proclaimed cancer-free AND my radiation was finished! My family and I have so much to be thankful for!!! After that day, it was time for me to heal, both mentally and physically.
As my father explained, I gained a second birthday the day of my last treatment 🙂 And I wouldn’t change it for the world!
To catch up on all of my Cancer-Kicking Diary Posts, click here!