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What's up with radiation?

XLVI - I am a weapon of mass destruction...

I was scheduled for a short appointment to meet with the Radiation Oncologist so that I could learn more about radiation and what that would mean for my breast cancer. Like all new doctor's I was required to fill out massive paperwork and go over my medical history, as well as my entire family's medical history.

I carry a large paperwork binder that carries all of my records for my entire cancer treatment. It has all my many doctors and all of the copies of scans and paperwork organized by each one. It also carries a very important section of information I created, a written copy of my medical history and my family's history. It has all my surgery dates as well as my diagnosis & test dates. I have learned that I have had too much going on to remember it all in my head!

The Radiation Oncologist was very nice and informative. The process was pretty straightforward. I would return for a visit a few weeks after surgery. Based on the surgery's findings, I would definitely have my right breast (and a sliver of my right lung) radiated and possibly some of my lymph nodes (if found cancerous). I would then be scheduled for a detailed CT scan that would include marking the exact locations that I would be radiated. It would take up to two hours to complete the process and occur soon after the meeting appointment. At right around 3 to 4 weeks after surgery everything would be healed enough and radiation could begin.

Zap the boobie!

The actual radiation of the breast would be short, but I needed to schedule to be at the cancer center for around 1 hour every day, Monday-Friday for 7 weeks. Hope they do the zapping during school hours!!!

Of course, my breast would be manhandled by multiple people daily and I would be contorted and manipulated, but all for a good cause! The skin could and mostly likely would be affected. The first few weeks would probably cause nothing, but the last part of the treatment was often the worst. However, since it was being examined daily creams and lotions would be provided to help as much as possible. Of course, long term scarring of the tissue can occur. Which for those considering reconstruction, need to talk to the plastic surgeon about.

Fatigue often occurs, but it can be from radiation as well as all of the many things I have already done (chemo, surgery, etc) beforehand as well. And the long term side effects, like cancer, tends to be rare. Heck, chemo had the same side effect. Strange that the cures of cancer can also cause cancers?!?!

Find out more about radiation therapy here.

In my head...

No treatment seems like fun, but I hope and believe it will be easier that chemotherapy. Well, it will at least be different! I felt like I learned a lot about what I would be in for and found that the benefits of using radiation outweigh not using radiation, for me.

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