I can’t believe I only have two more days of radiation left. I go in Monday and Tuesday mornings and that is the last of my daily visits to Dana-Farber! It’s become such a way of life, it will be strange not to be there every day. Of course I won’t be able to miss it really, as I will be there for physical therapy in a couple of weeks, and then for the re-expanding soon after that. And then it will really be the lymphedema that dictates how much I am there until the implant surgery this summer.
On the lymphedema front, so far, so good. The overall volume in my arm hasn’t changed, it’s just that it is pooling around my wrist, so I need to give that area a bit more attention when doing the daily lymphatic massage. But overall it’s not getting worse, and I am allowed to stop wearing it (except for when running and doing other exercise, including major housework – ha!) beginning next week. I just need to keep track of how it is feeling and looking so we can see if there’s a pattern to any changes. And, of course, go back for the check-up in a couple of weeks and if it gets worse. A good friend of mine who has been cancer-free for five years is now experiencing much worse lymphedema, and that does worry me, but all I can do is take it one day at a time and try to manage it the best I can.
For now, I think I’m doing pretty darn well. The radiation has gone as well as can be expected. When Dr. W looked at my breast the other day (she checks it once a week), and saw how red, raw and peeling it was, she said that it is normal to even a bit better than normal for this point in the treatment. And I thank God every day (multiple times a day) when I put ointment on it and under my arm and my chest (the radiation is done in a pretty big square, just with more concentration on my breast and lymph nodes area) that I can’t feel anything in that area. It’s one highlight of no longer having any sensation in my chest. It looks really, really painful, though – like your worst raw, peeling sunburn. I do have some discomfort, a bit under my arm and chest, but nothing like it would be if I had all the feeling, thank goodness. Interestingly, it’s as if the scar has kind of peeled away with it, too. Not that it matters, though, since I’ll be sliced open in the same places for the implant surgery. Oh well.
And yes, I am feeling the other major side effect, which is extreme exhaustion. Here it is noon on Saturday and where am I? Still in bed, with my lap top, writing this. I am going to drag myself up and out for a run (how can I pass up running outside in this relative warmth???), but am not pushing myself this weekend. Almost every night after work I’ve wanted to simply go home and crawl into bed, and that is just not me. But it should get better after next week. After all, I can do anything just two more times, right?