Apr 28 2011
In week 3 of radiation, and am now done with radiating one of the sites (the t12 vertebra received 10 treatments, the hip is receiving 14). It is easier to get through the laying down on the table part but still far more painful than I would like at this stage, given all the other scans and treatments still to come after radiation. However, one reassuring bit of information is that the effects of the radiation treatment can continue for up to 6 weeks after the treatments stop, so I could continue to see improvements in mobility and less pain and more comfort after this week is done. I certainly hope this is the case with me.
Though there has been some marginal improvement in physical pain, psychologically the radiation treatments get no easier. I still want to cry after getting up off the table even if I’m not crying from the pain. It’s still upsetting to think and talk about, and I can’t quite say why. It’s presumably doing good things for me, the radiation itself doesn’t hurt, I’m having only mild symptoms from it, and none of that makes a difference on feeling upset about it. Odd.
Speaking of symptoms (possible TMI for some), there are normally some loose stool problems with this treatment but those seem to be mostly counterbalanced by the narcotics’ tendency to cause constipation, so I’m staying mostly regular there. I’ve had some skin dryness and flakiness on the chest where they radiated the spine tumor in front, and my back feels dry and agitated so I’ve been putting coconut oil on both places. Also on the hip/right butt area, front and back. And internally I feel like the vaginal and anal areas are a bit…abraded feeling from the radiation; not excruciatingly so, but noticeable.
Fatigue has definitely been elevated (hard to tell the difference at times since I was fatigued from massive pain and birth and c-section and everything else, but it’s a different timbre of fatigue, really). The last week has seen an upswing in the number of times I’ll lay down to nap (still getting actual bits of sleep during those times, so that’s good), such that if you add all the sleep chunks together I might actually be getting close to a full night’s equivalent. The baby continues to be perfect about adapting to my sleep schedule (or me to hers, or whatever) so feedings and changings tend to come when I’m about to be waking up anyway due to pain or need to shift positions or to use the bathroom.
My hips are still prone to giving out, especially the cancer-ridden right one, and that’s seen an increase in the last 1.5 days from where I’d had a bit of respite from that symptom for a bit. Always discouraging and frustrating to have that sort of thing come (back) up. I’ve had massive pain in my LEFT hip throughout the last week, which I checked on due to paranoia. It feels similar but not identical to the right hip pain, so my guess is that it’s compensatory tension and stiffness causing the pain and mobility lack. I had them check and they say that while it could be caused by cancer too small to see, there isn’t currently a mass on the left that could be causing that sensation, so that’s another vote for compensatory issues rather than more cancer. However painful it is, I’ll gladly take compensatory whatever over more cancer, bleh.
Related to this is that I can currently break myself, and therefore can’t stretch properly or do yoga or anything to ease the tension and stress accumulating elsewhere in my body from all the cancer and other health stuff going on. Given the speed of shrinkage of tumors from radiation (potentially), the bone doesn’t grow fast enough back to prevent points of weakness at first, so over-exerting those areas could cause damage up to and including self-fractures. Ewww. I’d say a broken spine or pelvis would be one of the worst ways to exacerbate this already crappy situation, so I’m stuck with micro-movements and slow isolations and pillows propping me in aligned positions for sleep. Another recent good piece of information, is that this isn’t likely to be a forever situation. After several weeks of healing post-radiation I’ll be able to start PT again for rebuilding strength in those areas safely.
And now it’s more naptime.
Don’t forget to leave comments if you want to keep hearing about this journey! Knowing you’re out there reading is encouraging, and I think writing about it can benefit more than just me.
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