Sunday, February 22, 2009

On the Journey XII

I am DONE with chemotherapy!

My last treatment was Wednesday morning February 18th! It went well--no problems with access or reactions or anything like that. The oncology nurse, Betty, apologised that they were out of their "last treatment goody bags," and told me to be sure and get mine when I come back for my port care appointment next month. Apparently there's bubbles to blow and nice scents to put on (since you're asked to refrain from perfum during treatments). Goody bag? Heck, I'm just glad it's over!

The next step is radiation treatments. These are external beams of xrays used to kill any other cancer cells. Some of the treatments will be spread, to get the lymph nodes under my arm. Others will be more tightly focused, on the area where the tumour was.

I'll get a dose every day, five days a week for seven weeks, so 35 doses total. The last five will be "boosts," or more intense doses.

Side effects are skin irritations (redness, swelling, itching, burning, maybe even blisters or skin breakdown, although that's unusual) and tiredness (because the ribs, which are getting some radiation, produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen. The production of red cells may be down, so the blood can't carry enough oxygen and you feel tired). Also, according to my sister who went through radiation, the boredom of going to the clinic every. single. day. for. seven. weeks. But after chemo, I'll take it!

Good news--my hair is beginning to grow back already! About an 8th of an inch, but it's hair! And I'm seeing little black dots on my eyelids and in my eyelashes, which tells me they are growing back as well. Yay!

This weekend I spent at my mother's--she's spoiled me and taken care of me, which has been great. I've had fewer issues with the mouth sores this time around, which I attribute to the nasty medicinal mouthwash...hate it but it works.

I'm heading into a busy week--usual work, Ash Wednesday (and I am offering the reflection at a joint worship service), then a wedding Saturday and possibly a dear friend's birthday party on Saturday eveing, preaching on all-day seminar nex week...Yes, I'd best rest up the rest of today and when I can the rest of the week!

I'll keep you posted!

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