Radiation Burns & Bad Days

So, on Wednesday I met with my radiation oncologist. She told me that this coming Wednesday, they will be reducing the radiation field so that it is focused just on the cavity where the lesion was removed. I asked, “So my armpit will get a break and begin to have a chance to heal?” She told me yes, and I nearly jumped up and did a dance. You see, this is what my armpit looks like.

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The very red area in the middle right is where my lymphadenectomy scar is. In the previous photo I posted, it was quite red. After that, it began to blister, and eventually opened. The dark skin all around is dead skin that has been fried by radiation. You can see where it, too, is beginning to peel. The skin underneath is new skin and very raw. Discontinuing radiation in this area was extremely important to me as the area hurts 24 hours a day, makes it very difficult to do normal, everyday tasks, and is also interfering with my sleep. More radiation there means frying that new skin, developing more blisters, and having the possibly of moist desquamation – that is, a blister that opens and instead of revealing dry new skin underneath, reveals moist, undeveloped skin, which can be a gateway for bacteria and infection.

So on Wednesday, when I got the news that I only had three more radiations to that area, I came home on a cloud. Sadly, yesterday the techs did the X-rays to determine what area the last seven treatments would cover, and the open, painful area falls just inside the border. So instead of only two more weeks of pain and skin deterioration in that area, I am facing another month of it.

As a result, I cried. I cried on the table and then I cried again in the changing room. I cried last night and then I cried again today. I think I am done crying now and can just face this and soldier on, but boy am I tired of pain and sleepless nights. Essentially the area hurts so much that when I roll over in my sleep, the pain wakes me. So I will talk to my doctor about that when I see her next week.

I really try to stay positive and upbeat and not let the little things get the best of me, but this has been the longest eight months of my life. Later I will post a photo of my naked chest so that the difference between the radiated side and the non-radiated side is visible, because it’s actually both interesting and shocking. Frankly if someone goes through all this and then the cancer comes back, that is just the ultimate insult. That should be against the laws of nature. Me getting cancer, eh, you could say it’s not fair, but I’d say that’s debatable. Someone doing all this and then having the cancer come back? THAT’S unfair.

Anyhow, in conclusion, to quote Bart Simpson, I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.

2 thoughts on “Radiation Burns & Bad Days

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