it can only make me well

Damn well better at this rate.

I finally caught up with the lymphedema clinic today, and I’ll be going in tomorrow at noon to see what they have to say. I advise you not to look at any of the information or photos readily available on the web; it’s all far too depressing and scary and worse case scenario reality for words.

Unlike the scary photos, my symptoms are barely noticeable from the outside – just the  slightest swelling along my left arm and flank. Unfortunately, it is fairly consistently uncomfortable, verging into painful, and I can expect  it to get worse as radiation progresses. How perfectly goddamned delightful, to be sure… and I’ll readily admit to feeling particularly bitter about this aspect of the whole thing.

Now that I’ve had symptoms – and early, too! ’cause I’m special! – I’ll most likely need to get a compression sleeve for exercise and air travel, since lymphedema is an additive thing (the more it happens, the more it’s likely to happen). It can’t be cured; the goal here is to manage the condition and prevent further occurrences and worsening.

Lymphedivas, here I come!

The lymphedema also may be aggravating the radiation treatment symptoms, which is what Sandra, the radiation oncology nurse, suggested today. The A-line tshirts or camisole tops which are my normal base layer are no longer an option; the skin is simply too sensitive.

The skin itself is very slightly pinked – as Sandra said, they see much worse (and I do expect it to get much worse); nothing major by any means –  but, then again, I still have 32 treatments to go through. The irradiated area feels hot, as a minor sunburn would, only more so somehow – a deeper heat, burning from the inside out.

Two weeks to “side effects”, my sweet white Irish ass. Lies! Lies! Lies!

And damned statistics! A pox on their houses!

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3 Responses to it can only make me well

  1. Ugh. Radiation is a weird thing. You DO feel like you’ve been “cooked on the inside” (because…you are) …Thinking of you sweet friend. Keep wriitng. The honesty that you give, coupled with your own sense of humor and intelligence, is truly amazing. You are a beautiful soul, dear Meg. This writing will touch others going through the same circumstances in profound ways.

  2. Hi there. I finished radiation last Tuesday (I wrote about it for a local paper http://tinyurl.com/breastcancer-me ). I felt like I could set off geiger counter by the last day. My ass is still dragging, as the waves of tired continue (and I was told they will fo a while). My skin was really raw and nasty red and came away in places (you have always been straight with me, so I hope I am not grossing you out), but a week later is honestly healing nicely. It is like being in a microwave every day. Please hang in – I know you have been through a lot…sleep when you feel you need to and use the radiation creams – aloe will dry you out. If the creams get too expensive Sween Cream and Aquaphor in between helped me keep the cost down – only one of my creams was covered – the cream byFougera – Betamethasone Diropionate cream was covered, the Biafine by Ortho-Janssen-McNeil was not covered (that one was ungodly expensive)

    Sending you a hug

    • dropjohn says:

      Ah, my oncologist is pretty specific about wanting her patients to only use the ‘Natural Care’ gel – until the advent of weeping or wet sores, I presume. Her patients apparently do pretty well, so I’m willing to go with the thrice daily basting for now.

      What’s surprised me is how soon I had a skin reaction – everything I’d heard was two to three weeks after the start, mine has been pretty much from Day 1. Like everything else in this process, your mileage may vary… I know enough people who breezed through the process as well.

      The best bit is that your report that only a week after end, you’re healing up nicely! Huzzah!

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