When the big C-word came into my world last summer, my daughter made a “You’ve got this” sign. Jason taped it on our bathroom mirror and surrounded it with leftover heart stickers from Valentine’s Day. Every day I’ve looked at that sign for comfort and strength but it’s time to take it down because today was my last day of radiation!
<Insert exploding fireworks and cheering crowd sounds here>
Radiation was happily uneventful. My skin is sunburnt red and itchy but after lathering some pricey radiation lotion on it, I’m good. Some weeks the fatigue hit me but it wasn’t bad— the kids became used to me falling asleep on the couch at night.
The last 5 days of radiation I received what they call a “boost”. The boost focuses radiation on the scar tissue under my left breast to kill any lurking cancer cells. They made a custom metal plate in the shape of my scar for the Kitchen Aid-like radiation machine. The table is raised so my breast is inches from the machine and the therapists tape what looks like an icepack onto my chest to act as a second layer of skin. Here’s what the plate looks like and my view as I’m laying on the table:
Interestingly, the radiation continues to work a week or so after I’m done so my skin may get a little worse before it gets better. Dr. R’s super wonderful nurse told me to keep up the lotion lathering and avoid sun exposure on the radiated area. I guess I’ll have to wait on the topless beaches.
After this 33rd and final radiation treatment, I came home to a bouquet of flowers, balloons and big hugs from Jason and the kids. My littlest one thought that all the fuss was because it was my birthday. In a way, he’s not that far off. I crossed a big mental finish line today that marks the end of major cancer treatment and the beginning of a new, healthy me!
Now I can focus on recovery and prevention. Stay tuned...