Got ink? I do.

Just a little update of sorts. Nothing too new to report, just enjoying my time before starting radiation. I had an appointment with my Radiology Oncologist on Tuesday July 26th, and they started getting me "prepped" for radiation. My Doctor will decide on the amount of radiation I will receive after she gets my PET scan results, but has decided that I will start radiation on August 8th. My PET scan is on August 6th, so she will have my results by the 8th and decide on my specific radiation plan. During my appointment on Tuesday, I was told that I would get little permanent tattoos of dots on my chest so that they know the area they will be radiating each time. I was so nervous about this since I have no tattoos and was worried it would hurt...such a baby. But it was actually not that bad. They tattooed three very small dots, one right in the middle of my chest (this one hurt the worst), and then one on each side of me (right below my armpits). From what I understand, the tattooed dots just map out the area that they will be radiating. I will keep everybody posted about my PET scan results, and will be sure to write about my experience with radiation. The nurse told me that with radiation to expect major fatigue (already feeling that), a possible sore throat, esophagus pain, trouble swallowing, and a sort of sun burn on the chest and back. Not to mention the possibility of other long term effects that I had to carefully read over and sign a consent for. Usually during radiation they fit a mask to people's faces that basically keeps them in place while receiving the radiation so that they are in the exact same spot every time during treatment, but the nurse said that I will not be needing one...I am a little confused/worried about that since this mask is what keeps people from moving, and helps ensure accuracy. I plan on checking with my Doctor about's not really something that I want them to make a mistake on. I say just give me the mask if it's going to help me from moving while receiving radiation. Above is a picture of what that mask looks like so that you have an idea of what I'm talking about. 

Since chemo has ended, I have physically just felt really exhausted. It seems like I am more fatigued and tired now than I was during chemo. I have also just felt really sore and achy...which I am sure is just from the after effects of the chemo. I'm probably just being overly sensitive, but I feel the expectation that now that I am done with chemo that I should feel back to myself right away, and just jump back into normal life. But I don't feel back to myself or "normal," I expect this to take some time. Unless you or somebody close to you has or had cancer, you probably will not understand that it is quite a process that requires a lot of patience. "After treatment" healing is just as important as during....I feel that I have so much healing to do physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is a long transition to getting back to "normal" life. For many years to come, I will constantly be going to Doctor's appointments and cancer will always be on my mind. I know that once I am "clear," I cannot let this take over my life, and I don't plan on it...but it's not something I can just forget and not worry about either. It has changed my life forever. I have noticed that the emotions of all that I have been through have started to catch up with me a lot. During chemo treatment, I was too sick and "drugged" to really think about what I was going through. Now that chemo has stopped and I can think more clearly, all that I have endured in the last 6 months just seems unreal.

I came across this book and ordered it, I only found it available in the UK, but think that it is one of the best books written for people who have had cancer. I wish that everybody who has been through any type of cancer would read this, it helps so much. It was not that badly priced either, I ordered it off of Amazon...I highly recommend it.

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