This is what I refer to as my "radiation corner." It is literally in the corner of my bedroom next to my full length mirror where I keep all my lotions, old t-shirts (thanks Andy) and radiation related products. It is also where I check on my skin in the mirror and apply the myriad of lotions everyday. Before I started radiation, I reached out to my online support groups regarding what to expect, potential side effects, and what I should do to prepare myself for this next step in active treatment. I can always count on the ladies who have gone before me to provide insight and relevant advice. Luckily they told me the most important thing to do during radiation treatments is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. So, I scrounged up what I had in my ever evolving medicine/linen closet and added a couple of newly recommended products to my arsenal. Another recommendation was to find some old t-shirts to wear over the greasy Aquaphor to bed. I was wondering how that was going to work, since I had to use that on my feet to help with foot problems related to my last chemo. No matter how hot my feet got, I had to wear socks to bed with that stuff because it is like vaseline only thicker and greasier! But, it is magic, so it is worth the greasiness and inevitable stains on clothes. So, Andy donated some of his old t-shirts he has been meaning to get rid of and I can now get them as greasy as I want.
I am glad I reached out to my breast cancer peeps, because my radiation oncologist didn't really push moisturizing during our first meeting. But, when I met with her the following week, she was sure to ask me which lotion(s) I was using, how often, and she pointed out the areas on my body most important to be targeting with moisturizers. I was glad I was already one step ahead and slathering on lotion several times during the day and sleeping in grease stained shirts at night. The radiation techs, who I already have a good rapport with, said my skin is looking pretty good so far and that moisturizing will help immensely in the end. So, for now, I am looking only a little pink, and I am hoping to keep any burning/peeling/pain to a minimum with good moisturizing prevention.
12 out of 33 radiation treatments completed as of today! So far, so good.
Let's see. I finished the final draft of my master's thesis. Just waiting for the final approval from my committee. Will be scheduling my presentation as soon as I can find a time that works for 2 college professors, 1 doctor, 1 busy public health manager, and a full-time cancer patient. Shouldn't be too difficult 😅
My cap and gown was delivered for graduation in May! Crazy to believe I was planning to be done last May, then had everything turned upside down, only to finish exactly one year later! Weirdly, my hood and tassel are a pinkish/salmon color. So, I will be finishing radiation on May 17th, which is the last step in active breast cancer treatment and I will be walking across the stage receiving my diploma in a pink hood and tassel on May 20th, which is the last step in my master's journey. Funny how things work out.
Just heard back from the NIH today. They are working to get me scheduled for a 6 month follow up endoscopy the beginning of June. I guess we will be taking another trip to Bethesda, MD before we know it! Hopefully it will be scheduled soon, because Andy and I have been wanting to travel to New York city, and we were thinking this could be good timing to take the train to the big city for a night or two. I bet I can cross off another stomach bucket list item while we're at it!
Speaking of my stomach bucket list, I feel so free now that chemo is done and I can actually enjoy a glass of wine or beer when I feel like it! No need to constantly worry about my liver functions anymore!! P.S. thank you liver for helping me process all that poison over the past year and for not throwing your hands up in the air in disgust!
Peace and love,