Today was the beginning of my 3rd week of chemo and radiation. If anyone hasn’t heard, I am lucky enough to take the pill version of chemotherapy. Every night before bed I take 2 “chemo pills”. Last week, I actually was at Nate’s basketball game later in the evening and because of the time I needed to take my chemo pills, all I had to do was reach in my purse and take a sip of water and poof! done! no hospitals! no needles! It is amazing what changes have been made in medicine.
Unfortunately, I do have to still go to the hospital for radiation. Every morning at 10:15, Monday through Friday, I toss my Center Cancer parking pass on my dashboard and walk through the sliding doors. I have my own card, similar to a debit card, that I scan when I come in and that is the technicians way of knowing I am here. Usually someone calls me back within 2 or 3 minutes of being here. I stop at all of the monitors to give them my name and date of birth and then walk down a short hallway. In the actual radiation room, I lie on a table with my head in a customized form, they prop my legs up so I feel comfortable, give me a little ring, almost made out of a pool noodle, to hold onto and sometimes I ask for a warm sheet. The technician takes out my personal mask, it is hard and formed to the shape of my face with only the eyes cut out, puts it over my face and snaps it down tightly and leaves the room. The lights are dimmed and for what seems like barely 5 minutes, I close my eyes, say a prayer and visualize the cancer leaving my body and being killed, never to come back. The 2 technicians open the door and turn on the lights, unclip my mask and say “See you tomorrow!”. As my radiation oncologist usually says, “Go home. Get rest.” and that is what I do! Most days I am so exhausted and physically tired that I sleep for hours. I know my body needs the rest, but if I don’t set my cell phone alarm I could sleep until Nate gets home from work! He is amazing though, if I do sleep all day, he doesn’t bat an eye, no questions asked. The only task he asks of me during the day is to water the plants outside, and I think I can manage that.
During my 2nd week of chemo and radiation, I noticed more side effects. Nausea from the chemo pill and mouth sores, fatigue, constipation and loss of appetite from the radiation. Every Monday after radiation I have a short appointment with my radiation oncologist and every Tuesday after radiation I have a quick batch of blood work. Today I was happy to tell my doctor that my nausea has seemed to lessen, I haven’t noticed any new mouth sores, I seemed to have more energy this weekend, my constipation is getting better and my loss of appetite is the same, not worse. I have a new symptom! Hair loss. I knew from the beginning that there was a high chance of having hair loss from the radiation. There are 3 beams then cover my head during treatment and because of the location on my head, they assumed I would have some hair loss. I never really cared about that. There are hats, wigs and scarves to cover any hair loss. I already have a noticeable patch from my hair being shaved before surgery and the ugly scar that probably will never grow hair there. But that’s okay. I would give up hair any single minute of my life to have cancer be gone! Yesterday I told Nate I felt pretty nervous and upset. I took a shower and brushed my hair and found several long strands of hair on my palm. That never happened before and I assumed it was from the radiation. I know I still have a whole head of hair and I know I will lose more than those few strands. This same thing happened this morning when I got out of the shower, and now all day I keep touching my hair to find strands of hair in my palm, in between my fingers or laying on my shirt. I told my doctor and he is certain it is from the radiation, and he wasn’t concerned about any of my other symptoms. I am so amazingly lucky that I could hear him opening and closed doors to the other patients rooms and could tell he had been in there for quite a time. He popped into my room, heard of my hair loss and the slight changes from last weeks symptoms, said that last weeks blood count was perfect and asked if I was going home to rest and then said “Go home. Have a good day.”. I left feeling confident and positive that he didn’t have any concerns on his end. Whew! Another week and I think I’m going to be just fine!
I left radiation and stopped at a possible wedding venue. How exciting! It’s the first place I actually physically looked at and it is so crazy that I’m planning my wedding! I am so so happy.
On to another girl of killing cancer and planning weddings!