Radical Radiation Treatment

radical-radiation-treatmentThis treatment is so rad!

I can’t help but think of that silly pun whenever I go in for my radiation treatments. Honestly, though, it is true in both the sense of “awesome” as well as “extensive.” Medical advances in the treatment of inflammatory breast cancer have benefited many of us, giving us more hope of a life.

My current regimen will take place over 5 weeks, with treatments 5 days a week. As this is technically a re-treatment to the same area of my chest, the dosage each time will be lower, adding on an extra 3 days at the end. This will make a total of 28 treatments.

Each of the daily treatments are short, generally only 15 minutes or so. I lie on the table as the machine rotates around me, pausing at set intervals to provide a dose of radiation to a certain area of my body. I hear the machine make a noise, and then it moves on to the next spot.

Certainly less time consuming than chemotherapy, which is wonderful. And while the effects of radiation treatment are cumulative–as with some chemotherapy drugs–the side effects of the radiation treatment are generally less.

Scary? In so many ways, with the potential long-term effects on my body. It is sort of the next-to-last ditch effort to kill this cancer, though, with hysterectomy and anti-estrogen therapy being the final stages of treatment. Cancer often forces us to make difficult choices in the short term, all with the desire to live just a bit longer.

Feeling ok about the treatments and trying to maintain hope that this will be a cure for me and get rid of this current cancer for good.

Still, having been a long-time science fiction fan, my mind often wanders to the many terrifying medical scenes in so many TV shows, movies, and books. Perhaps my favorite is the “New You” scene in Logan’s Run. I imagine the radiation machine going “rogue,” turning madly like a demented carnival ride and releasing deadly amounts of radiation.

Maybe that’s just me, though. Possibly one of the down sides of being a science fiction fan who must be treated with high tech medical know-how. Or simply someone with an overactive imagination.

As Julie Manning describes her own medical journey in her upcoming book, My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered to Our Unchanging God,

“Some would say this journey was courageous; however, I did not feel the least bit brave.”

Do I feel courageous? No, I sure don’t. Often I just feel tired.

Some days are better than others. I hurt every day now, and sometimes it’s just difficult to take this journey even one day at a time. But I know I am in good hands, and there is still hope for a positive outcome of all of this mess.

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