Friday, August 26, 2011

Officially done radiation - plus pics

Alright peeps - I'm back and I'm done with radiation!

Can you believe it?

All D.O.N.E. with radiation!

I am burnt, but not too bad, not itchy or uncomfortable yet so I guess I did okay. It will remain in my body for the next 2 weeks though, so I expect it to continue to get redder. And sorer.

I even have pictures for you!

Awww... they are getting the machine ready for me. I get my own mold to lay in. (As you can see there are plenty of molds hanging - our name is on each one)

As I lay there I mostly have my eyes closed. But if I didn't, I could look up and see their version of a palm tree decorated on a fake skylight in the room.

I know you've wanted to see the inside of the radiation room, while I'm lying in the machine. I have my arms above my head (and my ipod in my hands so I can listen to my favorite music instead of their yucky elevator music).

The nurses are pushing buttons and from this angle I look pretty comfortable, but in fact my arms have the 'pins and needles' felling fairly quickly. I lay like that with my arms above my head for 12 minutes every day.

I've got two nurses fussing over me but it's not all luxury. They are also making sure they are lining me up right (by drawing on me with black felt pens!!) so that the laser beams go in the right spots.

Talk about being monitored.

When they're confident that I'm all lined up, they leave the room and start watching me through their TV. They also press a bunch of buttons on the computer to make sure the machine buzzes and spins around me. You can't see them in the photos but there are green lasers pointed at me from different angles, suggesting I better lay still or else...

It's far too small to see from here, but on the second computer, in the top left corner, you can see my body and my organs inside... cool eh? They need to make sure they avoid the other organs as much as they can when they do the radiation.

And this is what my chest looks like now - red, bumpy and scarred.

My hair is also starting to grow, it started a couple of weeks ago and I feel a little like a chia pet. It sticks straight up and is soo soft, I love it. I am constantly rubbing it. My eyebrows are also growing in, and I even had them threaded the other day (well, the 9 of them that are there)

In September I move on to Tamoxifen (oral chemo) and my injections of choice, Lupron and Zometa... (trying to stop my ovaries from producing estrogen) I have decided to go this route for now instead of the hysterectomy.

We'll see if I change my mind...


VV said...

In spite of the redness, your chest looks much better than it did in earlier blog posts. Yeah for making it past radiation. You're a trooper. Keep going.

Sayre said...

I second VV - your chest doesn't look too bad. I've had sunburns worse than that. I've never seen inside a radiation room - thanks for the peek. Interesting about how they monitor where the radiation goes and avoid the other organs! It sounds like you were in good, caring and concientious hands. Still, it's OVER!!!!

I hope the oral chemo isn't so bad (again, I don't know much about that).

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

VV - thanks for the encouragement. I guess it does look better than before, the scars are healing nicely.

Sayre - I am lucky to have olive skin I think. The nurses and doctors told me over and over that I should be blistered, skin peeling, itchy and very red and sore. I am none of those luckily. Let's hope it stays that way :)

Anonymous said...

Hooray for being done with radiation and for hair that's growing back! I hope that you don't get uncomfortable in the next two weeks.

Eileen said...

I'm glad you posted and showed pictures. I love how strong you are!!

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Embracing - Thanks, I hope so too. I know lots of other people got way more red than me so I am cautiously optimistic.

I will be posting pictures of my hair soon!

Eileen - again, very nice of you to say that. I feel I'm more 'informative' than 'strong' but thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yea for you! So glad you're done with radiation. Tamoxifen isn't bad at all, you just have to remember to take it every day. Lupron put me in menopause pretty fast, but you're a rock star and will handle the new drugs just like you've handled everything else--by kicking ass!

Conquering Cancer By Living Well said...

I agree with Eileen - you ARE strong! Don't sell yourself short! I'm so glad that the radiation is finished - you have come so very far! And thank you for posting some photos - I've never seen the inside of a radiation room either, so it was interesting to see what goes on. You were mentioning a video clip - are you going to post it? Hope you do! Talk soon!

Mandi - said...

Woohoo! Another milestone behind you! I am jealous of your fancy ceiling though, wow, I just get to look at tiles. :)

Nicole said...

great peek inside RT Michelle! :)

yay for hair growing back and needing to get the eyebrows threaded!! and soooo happy radiation is done :)

Kathy said...

Congrats on being done with radiation! I am sorry that I haven't been around lately. This summer with our move has been crazy busy and I have been very inconsistent with reading and commenting on blogs.

As usual, after reading one of your posts I feel a stunned. I can't even imagine what you are going through. I know from the challenges I have survived in my own life, that at times like these you do what you gotta do. So please know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers and that I am proud of you!

I need to read back through some of your other posts and see what I have been missing. I didn't realize you were having to choose whether or not to have a hysterectomy. Wow. I did Lupron shots (self injected) when we were doing IVF in 2007. I had to do them for 4 cycles and they weren't pleasant, but they weren't that bad either. Certainly a lot better than the progesterone in oil (PIO) shots that my husband gave me in my rear end!

Hang in there! I am always impressed with you how you are able to see the silver lining in all that you are experiencing this year. That's great that your hair is growing back and that you love how it feels! xoxo