I have completed three cycles of chemo in the last two and a half months, which has left me feeling exhausted, burnt, feeble, brain addled, unsteady on my feet, decaying teeth too, lips so burning I can only taste burn, tongue and glottis swollen, face red and swollen and itchy, skin in patches is swollen red and itchy, stomach aching badly, serious lack of digestive function, feet tingling with neuropathy, knees and wrists painful all the time, and more. Oddly the only sensation I don't recall is a headache this time. I should also mention that my body is so seriously compromised that I am open to infection from any source. Even the mold in my refrigerator could be dangerous (I know, it is to anyone!) Just kidding. But going out in public is not a great idea at this point.
So my next step will be radiation which I admit is frightening me even more, although I think chemotherapy is more invasive and overall affecting of the body. Radiation is confined to the area where the cancer was found -- at least in my case -- because of the way it is administered. I promise not to go into any details because they are not good enough for polite company. I have ovarian and endometrial cancer, so perhaps you can guess.
I am going to share my friend Scott Folsom's account of the radiation department at Kaiser Sunset which is also where I will go for treatment. His words are so much more eloquent and expressive than mine ever could be:
Varian TrueBeam Radiotherapy System
Sometimes I think reading all of this information is not the best way to keep calm. I know I can't be brave and positive. But I do think arming myself with information is a good idea. Another friend who has been in remission for 15 years after he was told he should be dead told me to do as much research as I can -- do an International Google feed. That seems a great idea!!
But will I have the ability to read it all? Right now my eyes are suffering. I'm surprised I can keep reading my email. But I feel compelled to tell this story. To share the ordeal so others won't feel alone. WE DID NOT CAUSE OUR CANCER. WE ARE NOT AT FAULT. WE ARE NOT BAD PEOPLE. Yes, we can try to be positive, but we also need to feel those deep, down, dark feelings of forboding, that this may be the last spring that I can see the goslings at the lake, or the flowers in bloom, the narcissus, the wisteria, the roses, the cherry blossoms, the imported iris, etc. etc. I hope it won't be but I really don't know.
A guide to radiation therapy from the American Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/radiation/understandingradiationtherapyaguideforpatientsandfamilies/understanding-radiation-therapy-toc
Scott Folsom's Blog -- really great to read this! http://4lakidsnews.blogspot.com/2016/04/hollywood-high-school-teaching-career.html
Radiation Therapy from the Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/radiation-therapy/basics/definition/prc-20014327
Varian TrueBeam Radiotherapy System described -- https://www.varian.com/oncology/products/treatment-delivery/truebeam-radiotherapy-system
If you really want to know how endometrial cancer is treated by radiation - http://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrialcancer/detailedguide/endometrial-uterine-cancer-treating-radiation