As of today, I have had a total of 18 radiation treatments. I have 7 external treatments and 3 internal treatments left before I get a 3 week break. After that break chemo will start. I have mixed feelings about chemo. On one hand, I know that this journey is coming to an end. On the other, it's another unknown. No one can tell me exactly how my body will react to the chemo. It's such a unique experience for each person. I have talked to several women in my support group and each one's story of chemo was different. Some were actually too tired to eat and some had no problems at all and were actually able to keep working. The only thing that I have been told that I can expect with almost 100% certainty is that I will loose my hair. Okay, I am not too worried about that part. Hell I have already cut my hair very short in anticipation of that one. I am actually excited to see what I look like bald and I can't lie, the idea of not having to shave for several months is not unpleasant. Before I started radiation, I was given a 15 minute video that showed me what the process was. I saw the machine that administers the radiation and the table that I would be on. I saw a woman lie down on the table and the machine move around her. It took much of the anxiety away that I was feeling from an unknown procedure. What this video did not do was keep my mind from wandering during treatment.
I mentioned before one of my first thoughts was what if the beam, in my mind it's a laser, misfires, would it shoot me across the room and into the wall? More recently, my cerebral diarrhea has turned into a way to entertain the techs that set up my room. I asked Tim, the tech guy, if I fart while the beam is on, will it create some sort of explosion or fireball, like when you light a fart? Apparently, no one has had this thought before or has admitted to it. I was informed the next day that he giggled all day about that one. My next thought was about popcorn. Now it might be that I was thinking about popcorn because I am on a low fiber diet and have been instructed not to eat that tasty microwaveable treat. I should mention that for the 10 or 15 minutes that you have to be completely still during treatment, there isn't much else to do but let your mind wander. I tried to doze off, but since the beam sounds much like a dental drill, I had some very odd images of dental procedures and those are never pleasant so I have opted to just let my mind wander and see what comes of it. Anyway, I asked Tim if I placed a bag of popcorn on my butt right before treatment, would we all have a tasty snack at the end of my treatment that day. Again, he laughed at me and explained that they tried it before and the patient complained of oil burns on their ass and who would want to eat ass popcorn? I had to agree with him on that one. EWWW. I decided to move on to a money making enterprise. I thought, what if we would combine the radiation beam with a laser for tattoo removal? One position of the treatment beam is directed at my back so why not? I figure treat cancer and remove a tattoo all at once. I think Tim has now called in a referral for a psychological evaluation on me. I guess it's a good thing that I have not told him about my stand-up routine that I am working on while not thinking about exploding gas and popcorn.
Most days I don't feel too bad. Fatigue, however, is a constant friend of mine. I sleep about 9 to 10 hours a night and usually take a couple of two hour naps during the day. In all I sleep anywhere from 13 to 16 hours a day. I don't spend all day in bed though. Ok, I did spend all day in bed a few days ago. I just could not stay awake. I have had a few days where I had little or no appetite. On those days I mainly drink protein shakes and eat something like yogurt or pudding. I drink plenty of water because the last thing I need is to get dehydrated. I have discovered sugar free kool-aid in the single dose packets. I use those most of the time. I figure water with a little drink mix is still water, right? The other side effect that has been a fairly constant companion is the diarrhea. Thankfully I have an amazing radiology team. They have put me on a low fiber low fat diet and given me a prescription for something stronger than the OTC stuff I was taking. Until next time my friends.