Just returned from a two week trip to England and I can easily say it was one of the best trips of my whole life. We spent much needed quality time with Tom’s family and Granddad, walking around the country side, eating and drinking in old English pubs, and attended an epic wedding in Bath on New Years Eve – it was magical. I’d been waiting for this trip since August, not only because I am utterly in love with England and Tom’s family, but because I would finally be getting a break from all this hospital business – I was in the hospital literally up until the day we left!
But here I am, back in good old SF, just having returned home from my 4th radiation treatment. I started on Tuesday (the day after we returned from the UK), and will have it every day, Monday through Friday for 5 weeks, finishing on the 9th of February. It’s a fairly quick procedure: I SPRINT in (so far, I’ve been late every time- sorry!), scan an ID card to let the nurses know I’m there, change into my very own robe (given to me by Radiant Wraps and UCSF) and before I know it I’m lying on a table under this crazy space-aged machine that has a million bells and whistles and I think to myself how smart these nurses must be to operate this spaceship that helps cure cancer. After a little bit of adjusting and pushing and pulling, I’m finally in the right position and its radiation time. The actual radiation therapy only lasts about 2 minutes or so, and it’s painless and not too uncomfortable.
*What is Radiation Therapy?
It is an effective means of treating cancer, and in some cases, non-cancerous conditions. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells.
*Why Radiation Therapy?
The use of radiation for cancer treatment began at the turn of the 20th century, shortly after Marie Curie purified radium from pitchblende (one of the main mineral ores of uranium) in 1898.
Radiation kills cancer cells by causing the production of “free radicals”. This process changes the DNA of the cancer cells and prevents them from reproducing. The cancer cells die when they can no longer multiply and the body naturally eliminates them. Healthy tissues are spared the effects of radiation because they can repair the DNA changes unlike the cancer cell. In addition, normal tissues are shielded as much as possible while targeting the radiation to the cancer site.
I was told that over time, the skin hit by the radiation becomes very red and feels like a sun burn, but after going through what I faced in chemo, I’ll welcome a little sunburn. And after all the years of using baby oil while sun tanning, I’m pretty much a pro at dealing with sunburns. (Don’t tell my doctor about the baby oil thing)….
But JUST in case, I've been lathering up with an extra thick treatment cream after every appointment to make sure the really ugly side effects won't happen,