Posted by: healingseeker | September 26, 2010

Eight Radiation treatments successfully completed – 27 to go

26 September 2010

I have now completed eight of my 35 radiation treatments so far. The first official day of radiation, they removed the adhesive tape covering the magic marker pointers they had made on my chest area. That was the worst part of all. You probably recall how it feels to remove a band-aid. Multiply that times ten and you will get an idea of the pain factor. This tape was extra adhesive as they didn’t want me to shower those marks away. After that, they made six permanent tattoos on my body. They are the size of a pin head and look almost like I have blackheads or small black freckles on my upper body. These tattoos are the bull eye points where they will aim the radiation. The tattooing was not that bad. As for the radiation itself, I cannot even feel it going into my body. I have to lie on my back with my arms raised above my head in this pillow form that has been contoured with the exact placement of my head and arms. It is a little painful to have my left arm raised due to the lymph node situation. Other than that, I mostly nap my way through the ten to twenty-minute sessions feeling at ease, relaxed, and pain-free. Woo-hoo!

The doctor, nurses, and technicians are so very kind. They have a small refrigerator set up full of soft drinks, juices, and small water bottles that are free for patient use. They also have a basket of snacks. They generally get us in and out on our appointment time. They supply all the Aquaphor I need for free. I go into the bathroom and apply it after my treatment is over for the day. It is kind of thick and goopy; however, it appears to really help alleviate any burn or redness factor.

I have a correction to make on my last letter. It turns out that the five-year low-dosage chemo tablet that I am taking is actually the tiniest of the pills I am taking. The horse pill that was really hard to swallow until I got used to it was the Vitamin C tablet that I am taking.

So far, it does not appear that I will be getting any more physical therapy. That is okay since I joined the YMCA the very day I started radiation. I felt led to do that as I was leaving the radiation center. After meeting this one woman who showed me around, she and I both felt like I was meant to join on that very day. She had just discovered a lump in her breast and does not have health insurance. I was able to give her a lot of really helpful tips that I think brought her some heart’s ease. I recommended she go to the health department as they have a sliding pay scale based on your income. I have not seen her since as I think she works different hours than when I typically go. I am praying that she is okay.

I got a tour and then went through an orientation of what I call the Exercise toys. They have an inside pool that I may make use of at some point. I love that the room filled with exercise equipment is called the Wellness Center. I love that focus as that is my true purpose of being there. I wish to regain full mobility of my left arm. I wish to be fit, healthy, and whole. I also would like to lose sixty pounds slowly, safely, and permanently prior to my reconstruction surgery in November of 2011. After all, I don’t want fake boobs being attached to fat. I want them to be attached to the shape and size that my body will permanently be, if that makes sense.

My mindset is to love my body’s Rubenesque shape as it currently is. I am also loving my vision of how I feel it would be healthier to look and maintain. I am being easy about the work-out effort and having fun with it. I will be using this blog to document my work-out effort from now on as it is all part of being healthy, happy, and whole.

When I first was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was twenty pounds heavier than I am now. I have been really grateful that I was one of the patients that lost weight rather than gained weight due to chemo. Woo-hoo! So, now I would like to comfortably, safely, and permanently lose sixty more pounds. So far, my typical work-out includes 20 minutes miles on this exercise bike where you can set it to be like you are riding a bike up and down hills. That translates to 1.4 miles and generally 95 to 100 calories lost.  Then I get on the treadmill and walk for about 13 minutes to round out that 1.4 miles to 2 miles total. Afterward, I use 5-pound dumbbells to help stretch out the lymph node area and build arm and shoulder strength. Then I at least use all the toys that help work that same area. As time and mood allows, I also “play” on the toys that work thighs, hips, and abdomen.

I really believe the work-outs are helping me to not have any radiation side effects. It has also helped reduce the swelling of my upper left arm. Additionally, it is helping with my increased mobility.

On the negative side, I had to stop going for a few days as I came down with a viral infection. At first, I thought I might have come down with allergies for the first time ever as many people are suffering from that. The doctor I visited two days ago did not feel I have allergies. He decided it was a viral infection. He gave me a Z Pac and a pill for coughing. I hope to resume YMCA workouts in the next day or two. I am improving in many ways.

While I was there, I also got a flu shot as I have been immune compromised due to chemo, etc. That is the first time in years I have gotten that shot.

My mental framework is still really good with the exception of the couple of days that I had trouble breathing due to all the congestion. In some ways, that feels like, when it is currently happening, that it is worse than cancer. I always feel so much better when I can breathe easily.

Oh, yeah! On Saturday, Sept. 18th, I got out my hair color bottles and colored what hair I have back to blond. I was tired of sporting the salt and pepper aka gray look. Besides, when I put on my blond wig to do a storytelling performance on Sept. 16th, you could clearly see the gray sideburns which made the wig look so much more like a wig rather than real hair. The performance went great. I was self-conscious about the hair situation. So I didn’t want to have that problem when I perform at my various October gigs. Thus, I once again have blond hair. My husband thinks that due to my bone structure, that I could leave off the scarf altogether as I still look very feminine. I am still using it for now as I go back and forth between hot flashes when I take it off to a cold scalp where I put it back on. I’d like it to get a bit longer before I leave the scarf and wig behind for good. Maybe in another month or two.

By the way, focusing on my writing and storytelling really keeps my focus on life-enhancing activities rather than cancer. I am finding so many ways to enjoy and be grateful for my life.

All in all, I am happy and doing really, really well. I am so grateful that I am, as far as I know, cancer free. It feels so good that the treatments I am going through now are merely preventative. I lead such a blessed life. I am so grateful to God, for everybody’s prayers, to my wonderful support system of my husband, my family, my friends, and to so many people I have never even met who are pulling for me. Go d is so good!

Much love to you all,
Healing Seeker aka Debbie


  1. […] Cancer Treatment | HEALTH MEDLung Cancer Culprit Could Offer Target For Therapy Lung Cancer GuideEight Radiation treatments successfully completed 27 to go …New Cancer Treatment From IAEA (Cancer Radiotherapy) | USA Live …An overview of treatment options […]

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