Is radiation painful?

It’s late on Halloween night.   My kids had a good time, but I didn’t get to go out and trick or treat with them….my radiation area is uncomfortable with any walking that is much more than a leisurely stroll.  What a disappointment. 

I’ve had a few friends ask me if radiation is painful.  Well, I meditate during treatment, so no pain at all then.  When the technicians help me sit up, that is fairly UNcomfortable now.  It’s like realizing you have been out in the sun WAAAYYY TOO LONG.  My skin just feels super tight against my body, so all movement makes me so aware of the square-foot-plus-some radiation field, which by the way, feels like elephant skin.  Just even walking with any kind of force in my step creates an instant awareness of how each drop of my foot jars the skin on chest.  Reaching for anything on a high shelf, turning my head to check traffic behind me, carrying the laundry downstairs…..all things that move the skin on my chest, and creates discomfort.  And the worst part is the radiation field in my armpit.  That really is annoying physically and mentally, too, because it is a 24/7 discomfort.  When I wake up in the middle of the night from hot flashes, now I have to find a position that doesn’t hurt to get back to sleep….radiation field on the left side, stupid expander implant on the right…..my chest feels like an alien entity.  (I did briefly think of just going topless for a Halloween costume….that would be scary enough……alas, too cold in NW Ohio even if half of my chest has no operating nerve endings….)  I’m walking around with “the incredible hulk” posture….you know, arms slightly bowed out from my body, due to the burn in the armpit and the underarm area.  I am so tired of this. 

And I’m tired of being tired.  The fatigue is really wearing thin now.  When I began this radiation part of the cancer trip, I heard stories of people who work full-time through their entire radiation time.  I thought, “Great!  That will be me!  I can do this, because I believe I can, I have the will to do it, and I want to go back to work!”    So, it is very very difficult for me to admit that I am not strong enough to do this.  I have never said that before about anything, and it makes me scared and upset and disappointed.  I think I will only work part-time next week, my last week of radiation.  :^(

 

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2 Responses to “Is radiation painful?”

  1. Heather D. Says:

    You know, though, I think it takes an even stronger person to figure out when you *can’t* do something anymore.

    Thanks for the info on the radiation. It sounds really awful, and I wish you didn’t have to go through it.

  2. Cheryl Deutsch Says:

    Though I don’t know your friend Heather, she used the very phrase
    I thought, “I wish you didn’t have to go through it.” Please don’t apologize for your fatigue. It’s your will that’s inspiring.

    To put the burn into perspective; think of what happens when we scrape and burn our fingers on a hot oven door. That hurts ’til it heals. But, you’re not only getting burned; you’re getting REburned . . . again and again.

    And, we must figure it’s a bigger area than a finger! You’d think by now they could topically suspend pain’s transmitters. I hope somehow you have time to rest this week.

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