I have not written much during radiation as it has been a hard struggle.
I guess with chemo you feel awful for 4-5 days, better for a week and then pretty normal for the last week. With radiation it just seems to get worse all the time.
So I have been quite down and not really feeling much like writing.
I was in luck yesterday and got invited out hiking with a group of fine women, down by Port Orford, and got even luckier, by finding a new edible mushroom. (to add to my repertoire of mushrooms that I know how to recognize)
AGARICUS AUGUSTUS. (the Prince) With my rather feeble gastrointestinal situation, I did not eat it, but I checked it out with all my books and it is the real thing. When you rub the stalk it smells just like almond. So clearly something else to look forward to eating once this is all over.
Radiation is given as a dosage, a total dosage, and then divided (or fractionated) into separate treatments. I guess at one time they treated people with just the one dose, and as expected lost a lot of patitents.
Now they "fractionate" the treatments, I believe as well as people tolerate. So healthier people get less treatments with the same dose, while someone older might get more treatments with each one being lower in dosage, but the same final dose. I should say that this is my understanding of it anyways.
So as you get closer to the end of treatments you get closer to the full dose, as each dose is cumulative. The real difference in stretching it out is that you give the normal tissues a chance to recover. Apparently cancer cells do not recover as quickly as normal cells.
I am getting towards the end of my treatments and though I really have not had much diarrhea, my rectal area has opened up and is bleeding, and now the vaginal area is also inflammed and swollen.
They encourage women to either remain/become sexually active, or to use a dilator to keep the vagina open. The scarring from the inflammation tends to cause the vagina to "close in". For women who intend to be sexually active, it is very important at this stage to attempt to keep the vagina open.They give you a dilator, that they suggest you insert for about 10 minutes 3/a week.
It is also important for women who do not intend to be sexually active, as vaginal exams are crucial to the follow up of endometrial cancer and if the vagina is not "kept open" at this stage these exams will be extremely painful to impossible in the future.
For me at this stage it is a bit like trying to open up a closing wound, it is quite painful, but extremely important.
I believe that the rectal area now has radiation burns, the clinic said this might happen from the diarrhea, but I have not had much of that, and this area is being radiated. Today I am going to ask if they can shield this area for the remainder of treatments.
I guess I am so afraid of the long term effects of radiation, apparently some do not show up for months or even years.
Men who are radiated for prostate cancer are radiated in a similar area, however they are given a higher dose, so tend to be more prone to the chronic side effects.
My expectations are to come out of this, cancer free, I wonder perhaps if it is too much to ask to also make it through unscathed in any way.
So treatment 19 today and 20 tomorrow and then only 5 to go.
Has everyone heard about the incredible low tides that there will be next week
Apparently lowest in hundreds of years.
Early AM June 23 (my last day of radiation) and June 24th....(we will be home and ON THE BEACH>>>>
So on June 24th at 0811 am we will be on the beach.....they say we can walk all the way to Hawaii.....just kidding
It will be a minus 2.5 foot tide.
Love and peace
jankenb @ gmail.com