I had a blog post together about quilts that Ray recently finished but I’m moving that to next week as so many of you have asked how I am after my radiation treatment….Thanks for understanding Ray.
I thought I would take a little time and give you the whole write-up on my radiation treatment on Tuesday and how I’m doing now. Admittedly, I was pooped and didn’t feel the best on Tuesday night but I’m feeling better now….but wait, I should probably start the story or the day at the beginning.
I was up and went to work on Tuesday morning. We are short-handed at work and I didn’t want to sit at home contemplating the day. I would MUCH rather be at work, busy, and keeping my mind off things.
I left work at 12:30 pm…came home, changed, and then Kalissa and I headed out.
We were early so we did an errand.
Then we found our way to the waiting room…I passed the time stitching.
The nurse was great and let Kalissa come back with me. I was pleasantly surprised to find my favorite three-holed gowns again.
I explained in a previous blog post that these gowns are great as they completely cover your bum.
A bit after that, it was time to head to the radiation machine. This is the machine and I’m on the “bed”. They are prepping me.
Here’s a better picture of what I look like. I’ve tried to explain to people that I am in a saran wrap body bag and they suck all of the air out of it so it’s super tight. It really feels like a giant blood pressure cuff.
The whole machine rotated around me. I couldn’t feel anything except the hum of machines. They put music on for me to listen to.
I was told it would take about 30 minutes. It would be divided into two 15-minute sessions. One would be to treat L1 and one to treat L5. In my mind that translated to be about 5 songs worth of music…but that was wrong. It took longer.
After the first session, they let me move my arms. This position was killing my bad shoulder and I was happy for the quick break. Then back to work, they went. They were working the machines for three songs when the guy came back into the room and said things weren’t right and they needed to reposition me. I had to roll slightly to the right. He told me that was perfect and then started the machine back up again.
In that quick second of releasing the bag and twisting, the heel of my right foot ended up at an awkward angle and now suctioned down to the table my heel was jammed so tight to the table it was oddly hurting. They told me I could stop them at any time but by the time I felt like I should stop them I was four songs into the procedure. I could do this. Then I got a Charlie horse cramp in the arch of that same foot. AH!!!
By now I was five songs in. I couldn’t move or I would screw up the whole thing. A Charlie horse was not what I needed.
I made it through without having them stop the machine. I was so glad.
Then my doctor came in and talked to me. This is what I learned:
-I now have a 1 in 10 chance of breaking my back sometime in my lifetime
-the radiation should drop my tumor marker number and it will drop up to 6 months after the procedure
-common side effects…tired, nausea, sunburn, vomiting
-my sciatic nerve could become a problem that never goes away
-it is common once cancer has spread like this that it might again
-if I lose control of my bladder or bowels I was to go to an ER immediately
…and then I was sent on my merry way. The doctor jokingly but truthfully said, “I hope I never see you again because that means you didn’t have a return cancer”. He’s a great guy and highly recommend Doctor Lehre at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
I came out of treatment two hours after I went back. Kalissa was worried about me.
So home we went. We stopped at Chick-fil-A on the way home. Both of us were so hungry. (thanks for the gift certificate) and stopped for gas (again, that’s for the gift certificate) It really makes me feel loved and watched out for!!
I felt good. So good that I drove home.
Then once I got home I was not feeling as good. My back felt weird in a way I couldn’t explain and exhaustion hit me. It was now 8:30 pm.
I wrote that quick bleep of a blog post and went straight to bed or tried to. I ended up in the bathroom vomiting. Once it all settled down, I took some Ibuprofen and went to bed. I NEVER go to bed before 10 pm so I was nervous that I would be sick the next day but I wasn’t.
I ended up going to work the next day and for the most part, felt pretty good- a little slower than normal but good.
Now my only problem is the sunburn feeling. It feels like a bad sunburn but totally doable…and I feel itchy. (Kalissa and I are wondering if the itchiness is a nerve thing) The sunburn almost feels like is blossoming from the inside out. My lower back feels tight like the skin does after a sunburn.
My back itself feels better than it has in two months. You might remember that I said it has felt like I need to go to the chiropractor but can’t. I don’t feel that way anymore and that’s awesome!
I’m taking this all as good news. I see my doctor around Thanksgiving time or so. I don’t remember the actual appointment date. Fingers crossed that I continue feeling well and that the numbers of my tumor marker are way down again…
Many thanks to everyone who has helped me along this journey. Your thoughts, prayers, comments, cards, and gifts have all been so appreciated and needed. It’s made a world of difference for me. Thank you.