I only have 8 days left of Radiation therapy and I have to say that what I am going through was NOT expected. This past week has really been hard..... a trial.....my trial......my test......in my testimony. Although I still have STRONG faith, I have lost something. I have lost my positive attitude.
Sunday in church I had a wonderful friend come back and pray with me (she is also our pastors wife). She knew I was hurting. Although I couldn't hear her words during that prayer with all going on in church, I felt the holy spirit in her. I poured my heart out to her telling her that I am just so tired of being positive all the time. I told her how everyone was watching me and watching to see how I react to this cancer. She assured me that they were watching, but they were watching to see my faithfullness, which I have never lost. She told me that it was ok to not be positive and it was ok to feel this way. Just because I was not positive, didn't mean that I lost my faith. She was (and is) so right! I do have faith, more than anyone could ever know! Honestly, at this point, my positive attitude has been trampled to death.
Before you read on, I want to apologize for the picture below. It is graphic. There is nothing wrong or sinful with showing this picture, I am covered. I want you to know that I am not posting this for any other reason than to tell my cancer story. So if you are offended, I do apologize.
So, I mentioned that I lost my positive attitude. This is why.
This is my 23'rd radiation treatment.
I cannot express the pain, soreness, itchiness and discomfort of wearing clothes at this point. The word 'sunburn' has a whole new meaning. But unlike a sunburn, which feels better each day, a radiation burn gets worse after each treatment. Not just because of the obvious - the getting burned over the current burn...... daily - but because of the powerful radiation rays that continue to burn you weeks after (so I'm told). So even though I have only 8 treatments to go, I am told I will continue to have these symptoms and burns for a few extra weeks. If it wasn't for my youngest son still living at home, I'd be topless all day in the house. A nudist colony never looked so good! Haha, only kidding! If I don't make jokes and laugh, I will burst into tears.
The good news is that I only have 3 more treatments to the area that is pealing and raw (under the arm) and around the nipple (not shown of course). The last 5 treatments will be to the scar area where the cancer was removed. Those last 5 treatments are more directed to that area so I will have some relief. I hope. The dark spots in the picture is where the skin is drying out and dying, and will peal. Underneath my breast (where the skin touches skin) is raw. I try to place the 100% cotton T-shirt in there so there is no skin on top of skin. That helps. All day I am constantly (every few hours) putting some kind of ointment, aloe gel or lotion on the entire area. This whole situation makes leaving the house just not worth it. Just in case some of you are wondering why I've been a hermit. ;)
For those just starting this radiation process, you MUST get the following things and have them.
You will need:
Eucerin lotion (moist)
Aloe vera 100% (NO other additives like alcohol, etc.)
Triple Anti-biotic cream with pain reliever
All of these can be found without a prescription at the local store or pharmacy.
Everyone reacts differently and not everyone may have the same amount of treatments. I had 31 treatments ordered due to my Oncotype score which was 22 and may have to do with the fact I declined chemo. Your Radiology Oncologist will discuss the number of treatments with you. You have every right to discuss this number (and ask why) with them. Please don't feel like you cannot ask questions. Even the WHY question. You have every right to know all you can about what kind of treatments and how many.
Yesterday I spoke with my Radiology Oncologist and told her what was going on with my skin. She told me that if I started experiencing any oozing, she would let me have a few days rest from the treatments. They do add these on at the end, so you don't get out of them, just postpone them. I only have one small / tiny blister forming so I am pressing on.
I am not looking for sympathy. Like I mentioned above, a testimony must have a test and boy, am I being tested! I could not have gone through all this without my prayer warriors! You know who they are. ;) I have some amazing family and friends who really pray for me daily. Thank you! I needed them and STILL need them!
I do still have my strong faith. My God has blessed me! I did not have to go through chemo. and this cancer was caught early. I am very blessed. I have almost beat this cancer! Next Friday (if all goes as planned) I will be ringing that bell and I will be that OVERCOMER that God claimed me to be!