My cancer saga started when I was diagnosed at 38 with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have a twisted sense of humor and have tried to continue with laughter and optimism on my journey...

Radiation Week 1

Episode LVIII: [Fire] is a mystery...


What a week... my first week of radiation treatment was done! I went every morning after taking the kids to school and got my zap on. Each day was something new this week... yet the radiation process had a similar routine:

1. Use awesome radiation card to register myself into the office. The card was credit card size, but had a bar code that was programmed to contain all my radiation information. It essentially told the machine, hey she's here and this is her zap plan... like I said cool.

2. Change into hospital gowns. I would take off my clothes and put them into my Rad Bag and change into two gowns.

3. Use awesome radiation card again before entering treatment room. That card is really cool. I guess they want to make sure it was me before it zaps me!

4. Hop onto the zapping table. I would remove my gowns and place my head and upper body into my body mold. While laying down on the slab my knees were supported and my feet were looped together so that I would not move.

5. Boob in a box. The techs would move me around and adjust my body until I was in the perfect position. A bunch of numbers and grid will be lit on my body, including lasers that match up to my marks/tattoos. The techs will often call out numbers and move the table until I was just right and my boob is in the radiation zapping box.

6. ZAP. ZAP. ZAP. Everyone leaves the room and the radiation begins. The radiation machine emits radiation in different ways, as the box changes shape throughout the treatment. Then it rotates and goes from a different angle.

7. Run away! I wait until the lower the table (cause I am high up) before I flee. I also put lotion on my breast and change back into my clothes before I actually leave. I am naked enough and in front of enough people right now.


Essentially, I am in the office for 20-30 minutes, except for doctor day. That day I have to hang around and get my skin examined, so it takes longer. Overall, the actual radiation time takes only minutes and only required me to stay completely still... a difficult task for me...


Radiation, Heart Monitors, & Tattoos... oh my!


On my second day of radiation, I had to continue to stay still after treatment so they could put the tattoos on my body. They were put on the second day so that they could make sure the marks were in the correct space. I opted for the tattoos because that way I would not have to wear tape and deal with multiple manipulating of my breasts because the markings may have moved. I was more sure of my decision because my first tape markings moved from showering and daily wear and tear, so why not get 3 tiny tattoos.


My first tattoo ever! A tiny dot . 


Obviously, I wanted some punishment, so after getting radiation, films, & tattooed I headed to the heart center for a 24 hour heart monitor. So, here I go again... time for some heart monitors too...


I am all hooked up and marked up... a hot mess!

Keeping tabs on me...


After 24 hours, I returned the heart monitors and continued on with my week. The monitors were going to keep track of my heart and my heart rate. Fortunately I was not going to need medicine to help with my high pulse rate. The doctor let me know that I had enough time during my sleep where my heart was able to rest. While the numbers were higher than they would like, I escaped the need for more regular doctors and medicine. If my heart rate did not go down a year after chemotherapy then I would have to go back in to get checked and possibly take heart medicine. However, for now I can leave it alone!


Last treatment this week!


With the first week over, I completed 5 individual treatments. Each day of treatment I drew a radiation symbol on my clothing bag, my Rad Bag, as a fun way to keep a countdown.


1 Week & 5 Zaps Down...


Even though I was defying the odds and burned slightly on the first day, I continued to keep getting red throughout the week. I was definitely using the Udderly Smooth, aka Moo cream, and Aloe Vera. Hopefully, I will maintain only this level of red and irritation, as it is manageable.


Looking pretty red after only a week!!!


In my head...


I was glad to have a week down. I was even more glad to get a few days off from radiation. Those weekend days were really needed. I was surprised at how red I had gotten (since I was told that it would be weeks before I would notice) and at how tired I was from treatment.


I was fatigued... really fatigued...


With so many more weeks (6) to go, I was using my sense of humor to get through the discomfort. And to be honest it was really like a bad sunburn. Unfortunately, it is on my boob... and seat belts, clothing, and anything touching it was sensitive.


“Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past.” 
- Jack London


Episode Reference:   “What is it about fire that's so lovely? 
No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?...
The thing man wanted to invent, but never did...
If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out. 
What is fire? It is a mystery. 
Scientists give us gobbledygook about friction and molecules. 
But they don't really know. 
Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences.”
- from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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About Amy Brock

Amy Brock is a cancer fighter and survivor. Diagnosed with Infiltrating Breast Cancer at 38 she has gone through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and other procedures since 2013. Post treatment she has been diagnosed with lymphedema, chemo-induced neuropathy and bone degeneration in her back, as well as other issues including dysphagia, bilateral hearing loss, and arthritis. From being completely healthy, to having a variety of issues, Amy began blogging about her experiences as a way to help others. Read more about finding humor in the craziness of cancer at her blog www.tatawarrior.com Amy is the mother of two children and has worked for various non-profit agencies. In addition, she is a fine artist creating works in multiple mediums which can be seen at www.amybrock.com

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