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 6

Episode LXIII: I'm radioactive, radioactive...




Another week of radiation was over. Unfortunately and fortunately we had a "snow day" which caused the office to close. Unfortunately - because I only got 4 treatments and will have to carry my final treatment to a Monday. Fortunately - because my skin was soooo bad that I really needed time off.


6 weeks... 29 zaps down!



The weather was crazy during the first part of the week. I went to treatment on a day when the ground was covered in snow. Then the next day treatment was cancelled and no snow was on the ground. Really!?!?! I did not want to miss any days as I am ready to be finished. I tried to view the day off as a blessing in disguise. However, I still got out and pulled a sled despite my very, very radiated discomfort.


Hard to say no to that sweet face!


Celebration time! I was now into the booster treatments. Each day at treatment was slightly longer than before. Instead of getting in & out in under 30 minutes, it was more like under 1 hour. I was laying flat instead of at an angle. I was no longer in my self-molded cocoon. I was generally having to hold myself still longer and in a more uncomfortable position.

Because I was scanned each day prior to radiation multiple pieces of equipment were pulled out from the wall. They looked like The War of the Worlds and Doctor Octopus had a love child...


My zapping table's parents.


Each day the technicians would line up my new markings and take a CT scan. I, of course, did nothing but lay there. Then they would line up my images (the ones that showed where to zap & the ones that showed where I was currently laying). Then the table would adjust to make sure that I was completely lined up. Usually it was a small adjustment. Then I would get zapped!

However, it was in new locations primarily from the right, left, & then top of my chest. Each one had different zapping points and they seemed to be longer than the previous radiations. I just stared at the ceiling and laser lines listening to some music. I think I heard mostly Riverdance style music which made me want to jig right of the table... no hold still, don't move!


Oh yeah! Almost there... except my skin was HURTING...


After a very long week, I was feeling the burn, blister, and tearing of skin. I was given Repara, a medicated gauze square, that I could place over my skin. Sweet relief, if it was relief. It gave me temporary relief. It also helped my skin peel off faster. I wish I had used these a week sooner!!!

I wore the gauze instead of the rolled shirt under my chest when possible. It really cause the skin to come off faster, which in turn allows me to heal sooner. The entire week I hurt. There's no nice way to say it. It sucked!


My many shades of pain!


My entire chest was varying colors: white, pink, red, purple, brown, etc. The worst pain was the time before it actually peels and the first few days of peeling, when it was raw. The discomfort really made clothes and general tasks undo-able... so I didn't do much!


Ouch! I really didn't do much! Ouch!

In my head...


I am so close. I have 6 treatments left. I will say that right now was definitely the most pain I have had during radiation. I have the very noticeable burns, but I also have nerve pain and arm weakening too. I went to get some groceries of the counter and instead they slid down the side of the counter. I thought I had it. In my mind I had it. My arm just did not have it!

I know I don't have the worst case of radiation burns & others have it worse, but it hurts. My doctor was surprised at how good I have looked throughout treatment. He expected me to look like I do now sooner. I have really kept up with keeping my skin from drying out, not wearing a bra, and avoided irritating clothing. Plus, I do not put any lotion on before treatment and I always shower before. I really think it helped.

I am near the end... and I cannot wait for it to get here!


“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching,
 and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. 
I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.” 
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


Episode Reference: Radioactive, Imagine Dragons song

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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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