70692-129061Greetings, People!  I haven’t updated for a while and hoping I can do a good job of it now.  I’ve got to warn you that I might get into the realm of TMI and I won’t curtail that because the side effects are all a part of this journey and if I’m going to report this, as it happens, those side effects and the severity (or not) needs to be acknowledged and honest.   So the machine you see above is very similar to the one I get my radiation treatments on.  I am going to ask questions as I go along to find out exactly how this works because, well, I need to know those types of things.

So, after only three chemo treatments, and I say “only” because the standard treatment is around six – eight, I was directed by my Medical Oncologist to get re-evaluated for surgery and after that, found out the tumors either did not shrink or did not shrink enough.  I was then directed to have radiation.  I was told that the side effects of radiation are less severe than what happens with chemo.  Radiation started the week before the Labor Day weekend and will last until Oct. 11th, or there abouts because if I miss a day or miss for any holidays, it gets made up at the end of the treatment.  Chemo was done every 21 days, for 5-6 hours in that day.  Radiation is done 5 days a week for a total of about 1/2 an hour… so pros and cons.  Once a week, there is a doctor visit to discuss how it’s going and questions.  Thank the Lord that my body has been tolerating treatment very well.  No skin discolorations, minor or dramatic, or dryness.  While it’s a pain to have to go every single day, I go right after I leave my son at his school in the morning and I get home early enough to relax and not feel the pressure of time for the 3pm pick up.

So, side effects.  As of today, I’ve had ten treatments and yesterday I believe I’ve started with some of the side effects even though I was told that I would start experiencing them about halfway through the treatments.  I believe I’m supposed to get THIRTY treatments but I’m horrible at math even before the brain cells started to get killed off.  I feel a little tired but I don’t believe that’s from the radiation because it’s the diarrhea that has come on and severe to the point of it being unexpected and uncontrollable…. I’ve had accidents, people!  Oh man, this brings back memories of my grandmother who lived with us and one time she did not make the bathroom.  She cried like a baby.  Even then (I was a teenager) I felt her emotional pain.  Today, for myself, I get angry.  Not really at myself but at this situation that is taking away the power I’m supposed to have over my own body.   At these times, I get really tired and need to lay down.  I notice that I really don’t want to eat because of it and have to fight to drink fluids to stay hydrated, though, I’m doing pretty good with that.  I caved and had some white rice last night and so far so good, though don’t expect that to last and wait for the proverbial next shoe to drop.  I’m not supposed to be eating rice because of the high carb content, but I have to make compromises with my diabetes and I WILL do that.  I am using Imodium but the day before yesterday I took four of them and I still was going.  Other food just seems to go right through me.  Three people, one 12 yr old boy, and one bathroom.   Ok that wasn’t “too” much TMI.

Another side effect I think I’m going to get is nausea.  Sometimes I feel like it may be coming on, but no,  It’s just a sort of behind-the-scenes feeling.  I’m not really obsessed  with thinking about it but I realize at some point it might happen in earnest.  Another side effect I’ve been experiencing even from chemo is the memory loss and not being able to remember things from one minute to the other, in conversations and the  remembering why I walk into a room kind of thing.  Very frustrating.

bigstock-gratitude-37954498I am so grateful for my family and friends.  So much love and support coming still from them.  Thank you so much!  

Oh, see that pic?  I’d really like to paint some rocks.

So much, though, going on… and nothing.  I really just don’t feel like doing anything.  Not knitting, not crochet, not my artwork… sometimes maybe reading.  Feeling “blah” and unmotivated.  Last weekend was good, though.  I had energy and my sis and I went to a huge flea market and some yard sales in the area.  I didn’t see anything interesting but was so glad to get out and the weather was great.  I went to mass after months of staying away and that was really nice.  I might not be able to keep it up, but will go as I can.  I also reconnected with a friend after most of the summer and that was REALLY nice.

OH… one very important difference between chemo and radiation is that radiation doesn’t affect the immune system like chemo does and as long as I feel good, I don’t have to be so afraid to be around people, and though I probably will, it won’t keep me from leaving the house like it did.  I might need chemo again later on, but for now, I’m good.

So I guess I’ll leave this here.  I really want to get it out there before I want to get up and give my ass a break.

Hair coming back on my head… eyelashes and brows, too!  Unfortunately, the hair on my face and neck is growing twice as fast!