I’m trying to remember who told me that radiation therapy was going to be cake walk in comparison to full-on chemo, or if it was something I told myself. I’m pretty sure it was something I just told myself, because the side effects of radiation SUCK!!!
Despite the odds, I didn’t get super nauseous or vomit even once during my three rounds of chemotherapy, when normally young women my age get very sick during on my kind of chemo medicine. The three rounds of chemo made the physical signs of my tumor virtually disappear, and I credited it to a good attitude, getting lots of rest and accepting love and support into my life. I was so proud of myself for conquering chemo, and even though I did not know what expect from radiation, I had this idea in my head that NOTHING could be worse than chemo.
Well, until I started radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is different for EVERYONE, and the symptoms range from very mild to severe. Because my radiation therapy is being applied to my lower and upper stomach, I am prone to severe nausea vomitting. My oncologist put a few chemotherapy treatments on my radiation calendar as well because it makes the radiation about 30% more effective – one at the beginning, one in the middle, and a one at the end. This chemo won’t be as intense as my last chemotherapy treatments (If my last treatments were a level 10, this is like a level 2 – and I won’t lose my hair!). However, my new chemo has one bad side effect: nausea and vomiting… GREAT!!!
My first radiation treatment was last Wednesday. The actual treatment is easy-peasy: I lay on a table for 15 minutes and I am done! I came home, and the nausea almost overtook me. It felt like a super bad stomach bug. My second treatment was Thursday, and I couldn’t handle the wave this time. My nurse always tells me, “Don’t eat your favorite foods during treatment! Because when you sick, they will not be your favorite anymore.” Well … she was right. Let’s just say I’ll be giving up chocolate for a while .
Friday was the WORST. Not only was I trying to recover from the night before, but I had to wake up at 7:00am in the morning to get ready for my first 4 hour chemotherapy treatment and a radiation treatment right after. Needless to say, I was tired and sick all day long. I was lucky to be around my family that day. I don’t think I could have survived it without my dad, my mom and my brothers.
This weekend I had a little break from radiation. I’ve had a little bit of nausea over the weekend, but nothing compared to the last few days. My energy literally comes in waves; I will feel ok for an hour, then crash for two hours. The most I did was go out to breakfast with my amazing husband, and that was the highlight of my weekend.
I start radiation again tomorrow. I also have to see my primary doctor tomorrow because I have a small skin infection on my neck. It just keeps getting better! My anti-nausea medicine that I received via IV on Friday during chemo will wear off tomorrow, which means the chemo sickness will “officially” set in. I have the ginger ale and saltines standing by. Not sure what else I can do.
A few weeks ago, I thought I was going to sore threw these cancer treatments like they were nothing to me. Now I have experienced just how powerful they are. I asked my doctor if I was going to have to do any more cancer treatments after radiation is over in a 6 weeks. He said, “It all depends how well you handle radiation. And we’ll do a scan.” Uhhh … no pressure!!
So now I am just focusing on every individual day and just on myself. To be honest, it’s nice change of pace from worrying about my future and what I am going to do with my life after my cancer treatments are over. I feel like in my generation of twenty-something-year-olds, there is a lot of pressure to start a career, start a family, and “to make of ourselves”. And even though I had a cancer diagnosis, I was still worrying about all that stuff! Stressing about a career should be the last thing on a cancer patient’s mind. Because I’ve been shaken by my radiation treatment, I’ve been forced to stop worrying about future and just focus on the now. I don’t even have the energy to think about work and school, even though that is something I am looking forward to some day.
So that’s it for my first update! Thanks to everyone, as always, for all your prayers and support. Lots of love to you all!