When Brad and I got the news back before Christmas that my cancer had grown through six months of chemo, I figured my chances of getting to surgery were out the window, and getting to radiation was even less likely than that. The week leading up to my first day of radiation, I kept thinking that surely something was about to go wrong. Somehow, everything went smoothly - and, after a blink of an eye, I'm already two weeks in to the five-week-long radiation schedule!
Brad and I are traveling to Houston every Sunday night and traveling home to Dallas every Friday afternoon. We are staying in a place called the Hope House- a ministry of Houston First Baptist. We are staying there free of charge for the entire duration of my radiation treatment. The condo has been an enormous financial blessing not having double rent. It has also been ridiculously convenient, as it only takes three minutes (!) to get to MD Anderson.
In an effort to retain some sense of normalcy for Noah and David, our parents are caring for them in our house in Dallas. Being away from them each week as been tough. I've starting talking to random toddlers in the park and staring at babies (...wait, you are saying that isn't socially acceptable??). We are so thankful for my parents watching the kids, my in-laws relieving them this next week, and all the dozens of friends that have come and supported my mom in the evenings. Everyone has come together to make radiation for me in Houston a reality. (More to come on why we chose MDA for radiation...)
The purpose of radiation is to treat my remaining lower neck lymph nodes, mop up any remaining cancerous cells in my chest, and treat my skin (which also had cancer in it). Current medical knowledge uses photons and electrons to do this...aaaaand that’s about where my radiation knowledge ends. I’m spending next weekend with my radiation-oncologist friend in Florida so maybe I’ll be able to explain more after that!
My appointments are roughly 7am and 1pm each day (they have to be six hours apart) plus a handful of doctor appointments each week (radiation-oncologist, surgeon, physical therapy, integrative medicine, etc.). In between appointments, I've been focusing on resting, walking, yoga-ing, cooking, and just generally taking more care of myself than I normally would as resident mama. It has been fun reconnecting with Brad during the week- every night is date night!
I've experienced some (minor) side effects from radiation. My skin has started turning pink already - apparently it is pretty early in the treatment for that to be happening. I see it as a really expensive tanning bed! A more serious side effect is that my wound has opened up some and still has some unhealed parts. Radiation slows the healing process so my wound may get worse before it gets better. :-/ The last thing that's been slightly annoying is that radiation apparently irritates the chest wall muscles causing me extreme pain when I breath, laugh, sneeze, etc. If I take Ibuprofen that seems to help reduce some of the inflammation and pain.
Each day passes by so quickly while in Houston doing so many fun things and in Dallas reconnecting with the kids each weekend. I'll do my best to post a few more updates but if I don't, know that life is good and I'm savoring every moment of it. I hope you are doing the same! <3