Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I'm pleased to report that I'm on the home stretch! Yesterday was my last "big" radiation treatment and I had my "field check" to mark the area that would be involved in these last eight treatments. These "boost treatments" are more narrowly focused than the previous treatments and focus more on the actual surgical site instead of on the entire breast. The good news (aside from the fact that this means the end is in sight - YAY!!) is that I'll no longer be getting radiation on the area that has been most affected by the radiation. While my side effects haven't been that bad, there has been some burning and irritation, as well as noticeable fatigue. Not exhaustion, mind you - it's not that I can't get out of bed, but it takes a bit longer to do things, running is a pale memory right now, and I conk out by the time television considers "prime." This too shall pass, although it may take the better part of a month post-treatment for me to really feel like myself again.

Of course, the end of radiation treatments is not the end of this whole thing. I'll still have check-ups and there's a medical regime I'll be on for five years. FIVE YEARS. Then again, post-surgical radiation statistically cuts my chances of recurrence in half and following this regime cuts that number in half again, and even I can do that math.

Another one of the common side effects of even a brush with cancer is increased anxiety and boy, did I get that one in spades. Stupid ol' brain just wouldn't settle down and look at reality. Oh, no, it had to spinandspinandspin. Lack of sleep led to more fretfulness over a wide variety of things - my Calvinist work ethic makes me think fatigue is laziness and I should just "buck up." Also, like many academics, I suffer from "impostor syndrome" from time to time, feeling that my writing, ideas, and observations aren't really original and that people are just being kind - ideas like that went into overdrive.

After a few weeks of trying to think my way out of it, I used the common sense God gave geese and made an appointment with my doctor, who patiently informed me that, at this juncture, not feeling normal was - well, normal. So we came up with a plan to work on that issue. Seriously, people - check your headspace. You don't have to feel rainbows & roses constantly (in fact, that's pretty off-the-normal-scale), but you wouldn't "tough it out" with a compound fracture, would you? Same idea. You're worth taking care of, but you have to be willing to do it.

Let me repeat that - you're worth taking care of.

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