It’s been two weeks and two days since my last radiation. In other words, I’m DONE with treatment!!
It’s taken me until now to get really excited about it. I spent the last two weeks of it in incredibly intense pain and am just now starting to come out on the other side. Radiation (or so I thought) is the easy breezy part of cancer treatment. Or it is for some people. For me, not so much. But it’s assumed to be. So my skin’s reaction shocked a couple of people, including my radiation technician. At one of my last sessions, he audibly gasped when I got up on the table and pulled my hospital gown down. That’s always reassuring.
I guess describing it as a bad sunburn is a slight underestimate. Tim monitored my every move after catching a glimpse of it and when my boss saw some of my remaining burn peeking out my shirt after finally returning to the office this past Monday, she was like OH MY GOD. I was like, are you kidding? This looks goooooooooood compared to last week.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, we took a quick family trip to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. The first night I had to call in for emergency meds when I realized I had only one pain pill left and that facing a weekend without anything would probably not turn out to be my greatest idea. But after about four hours of waiting at the local Walmart pharmacy, I got ahold of some Vicodin and the trip greatly improved. To the point that we even went out on the river, although I was not much of a contributor in the way of paddling. I ate s ’mores like I had though (sitting in a boat doing nothing totally burns calories, yes?), which greatly added to my pleasure of the trip.
As always, my boss was super understanding and let me work from home my second to last week out. The last week was too painful to even sit up properly, so I took some vacation time and had my amazing caretaker Sally distract me with lots of girlie television shows.
The procedure itself is painless, or it was before the last few weeks. After that, just putting my arm over my head became the equivalent of Chinese torture methods. I felt bad for the nurses; they kept apologizing over and over as they lined me up. I got a few Starbucks gifts cards out of the deal though. It was almost comical; with every cringe, they would hand me another card since there was nothing else they could do to ease the pain. So they caffeinated me. 😉 They were really fabulous, despite it all. I have had the best experience with Virginia Hospital Center. You get the feeling everyone truly cares about you as a person. It’s a nice feeling.
Fast forward two weeks and my chest has healed up nicely. I’ve been shedding skin like a snake and just started wearing a bra two days ago but the bad part is in the past. It’s so nice to be done. DONE. DONE. DONE. I never, ever, ever want to do this again.
My hair has already started to grow back in—I’m at the balding Sinead O’Connor stage—and while I was super excited to shave for the first time, I’ve quickly gotten over it. I have my second mastectomy scheduled for September 23, leaving me with a gorgeous 68 day break. It’s awesome. I went for an elderly person jog yesterday and although I only made it about a mile and was pacing a good 18 minute miles at my fastest, it’s a step in the right direction. Then another 3 month break and reconstruction. By late spring, the only remnant of this past year will be some scars and a perky chest.
Hal. Lei. Lu. YAH!!!