There was a lot of good intentions on my part to write a post sooner than this evening, but my new routine has taken more of my day then I thought it would. It’s look like: going first thing to radiation, working more hours during the day since the first few radiations we’re longer than I expect and adding a walk into the evenings to help fight the fatigue that will probably come with getting radiated everyday. Im preventing any side effects of this treatment as much as I can.

Quickly getting into routine when it comes to radiation. After checking in, I wait for my pager to go off to take the elevator to the bottom floor. I walk down the hall and get myself a dressing room, undressed and sit and waited for a therapist to come get me. Thats what they call the nice gals downstairs on the radiation floor, therapist. I guess it makes sense since its radiation therapy after all. They always grab me a warm blanket to put over my legs and feet as I lay on the table. As if having the bottom half of me extra warm is going to make up for the top of me being exposed. I counted that there are 8 different angles that I get radiated from. The machine (if you watched the video in the last post, the large circle part of it is what does the radiation) starts on my left side of my body, so much so that I cant see it when it starts. As it finishes, its on my right side, but above me. Only during the last two angles am I really aware Im completely exposed from the waist up because I can see my reflection in the machine. I watch, what I called metal teeth, until I asked one of the therapist about them. They are called MLC (standing for multi lead collimator) and they shape how the rays of radiation come down (without them it could only be square or rectangle shaped radiation beams)

It moves just like this video shows, expect the MLCs in my machine are skinnier and brown. Its fun to watch them move during my last two angles of radiation. Ive been asked a lot two things: what are the side effects of radiation and what radiation does. I’ll answer them to the best that I know (and Im sure I’ll learn more as radiation goes on, just like I did with chemo)

Side effects: biggest one is that skin will more than likely look like it is sun-burnt. However, I have read online from other ladies who were diligent with their aloe and creams that they didnt have skin change at all. I know everyone is different, but Im certainly going to try. Ive already begun to put the gel they gave me even though they said it would be about two weeks before I see any effects to my skin. Need to get myself an aloe vera plant as well to help my skin out. I also was given instructions that I now have to use special deodorant they gave me, this one having no chemicals in it. I have the option of getting Tom’s Natural as well, but I dont mind the smell of this one, has a nice eucalyptus scent to it. Im also not allowed to shave my left arm pit anymore. Its because if I cut my arm pit while shaving, that will not be fun to get radiated so they just want me to avoid that. Basically, Im get to be a hippie during radiation. Not really my idea of a good time, but Im super thankful for the seasons my cancer treatment as been in. Bald during hot summer months, no shaving during cooler fall months.
Other big side effect is fatigue. My radiation oncologist made the joke that I would get fatigue from just having to come to the cancer center everyday. Four days into this, I can see what she meant. They told me that studies have shown that if you simply walk 20-30 minutes a day (get your heart rate up), it should counter act the fatigue. So I have made sure I take a short walk around the neighborhood in the evenings, get myself in the habit before fatigue has the chance to settle in. Yesterday I had to walk in the middle of the day because Wednesday evenings I have youth group, but it was too hot. So I got the church early and walked inside in the AC. Few of my coworkers asked me what I was up to, as I made laps around their parts of the building. It was quite nice, may turn into my Wednesday plan until cooler weather comes.

Lastly, as Ive said before, I get to listen to music while getting radiation and this week, I heard the song ‘As Long as You Love Me’. I had to ask Jason who actually sang that song, because I knew it was popular, but only knew it because of the cover I recently downloaded and love. Apparently Justin Bieber sang it first, but this little cover is so much better now that I have heard the original. You can download the great cover version of it by The Likes Of Us right here for free if you would like. Another music story, One Direction’s ‘You Dont Know Your Beautiful’ came on (for the record I have not yet been asked what station I would like, so Ive been getting the top hits apparently) and Im not gonna lie, I love that song. Hard not to move in your seat when its on, just so bouncy. Expect, I can not move when Im getting radiated, so to ‘dance’ along to the music I moved my eyes back and forth. I wonder what the therapist thought when they saw my through the cameras they have to monitor me while they are out of the room.

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