Saturday, August 3, 2013

RADIOACTIVE

Summer 2010 - Jasper, Alberta
Just when I thought I was getting close to the end, something else always seemed to come up.  I knew that there was a strong possibility that radiation would happen but of course I kind of hoped that it would not be necessary.  However, another part of me wanted to have the radiation to be sure that everything possible was being done to ensure the cancer was completely eradicated.  The first week of April in 2007, I went to see the oncologist and I received confirmation that I would be going ahead with the radiation.  I remember talking to my friend Jenn (who had already been through it) and she said that after the chemo the radiation was like a walk in the park.  A walk in the park sounded good to me!

I had no idea really what radiation was all about.  So, I did that thing that I was getting good at.  I took a few deep breaths, swallowed back the lump in my throat, and made some decisions.  I was going to have to learn about radiation and I was going to have to figure out a plan to get through those 25 sessions.  The word “radiation” is kind of scary.  My only reference point was from being at the dentist when they x-ray your mouth and cover you with that incredibly heavy shield and then the technician leaves the room.  All of that to avoid radiation for a matter of seconds while they snap the x-ray.  Now I was going to be having radiation done on purpose, on bare skin.  25 times.  5 days a week for 5 weeks.  Yikes! 

Prior to the radiation commencing I had to go to the cancer centre to be “marked”.  I was put into the CT scanner machine and then marked on my body with tiny dot tattoos to indicate where the radiation would be directed.  The tattoos look like little blue freckles.  These marks were also to be sure that the radiation would go where it was supposed to go and would avoid some key areas like my heart and lungs.  Those things are kind of important.  The radiation treatments themselves would only be about 15 minutes or so.  Much shorter than the chemo treatments and the major side effects for radiation were fatigue and probably some badly burned skin.  I figured I could handle that.

Summer 2011 - Vancouver, British Columbia
The treatments were going to start at the end of May and finish by the end of June.  I was so looking forward to the summer with no treatments or surgeries.  Just time to heal and get stronger again.  I would need to build up some strength because there was another big hurdle coming up.  I had been informed that the cancer I had was hormone receptor positive.  That means that the cancer I had was driven by hormones (estrogen).  In order to be sure the cancer didn’t make a home anywhere else in my body we were going to have to get rid of the hormones. 

Therefore, a hysterectomy was going to have to be done as soon as my body could handle another surgery.  In order to avoid having to take any medications during the summer, I was going to have to be put into menopause.   This could be done by an abdominal injection that would last for three months and then the surgery could be done in the fall.

I was not done yet.

Radioactive - Imagine Dragons


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