Saturday, January 23, 2016

Struggling with my attitude

I'm struggling a bit with my attitude about radiation. I'm feeling pissy about having to go, and I'm tired...and it's just getting started. Driving downtown and dealing with traffic and parking, especially in the rain, is stressful. It's been a long and emotional rollercoaster of a road, and I want to be at the end. My joints ache, especially my hips/lower back, and I feel like an 80-year-old woman whenever I stand up, sit down, or go up/down stairs. Both days after treatment I got pretty tired, so I don't think this is going to be the breeze I hoped it would.

With the stress and emotional crap, I'm having a hard time managing my temper. I don't know how people manage it when they have longer treatment protocols than I did. Or whose cancer keeps coming back, or who have chronic illnesses. For those of you who manage to keep up a positive attitude through it all, you're amazing.

In reading my support group forums, I found out that both of the above issues are pretty common. As for the attitude, by this time the number of appointments and decisions and things have slowed down, giving the patient a chance to process what has happened. Suddenly we're not so focused on fighting and survival, so anger at the injustice, realization of the fear, etc., have had a chance to seep in. I hear stories of the cancer coming back and I can't help wondering if that will happen to me. As for the joints, the other women who are experiencing this also had Taxol. So I suspect that's the cause. I hope it gets better with time. Exercise does seem to loosen me up a little. Oh, and my vision got worse, for which I can probably thank chemo.

The second day of treatment was shorter than the first, since they didn't have to do xrays. Part of my treatment regimen is to have a "bolus," which is a heavy sheet of fabric with little metal discs all over it, placed over the affected area during part of the treatment. I'll get this every other day, and the purpose is to bring the radiation closer to the surface.

No real sunburn yet, since it's early. I do seem to have some freckling already, though. I'm happy to have started in the middle of the week so I'll have two weeks (beginning and end) where I don't have to go five days a week.

I didn't exercise the last two days because I didn't feel up to it, although I did go grocery shopping so I was at least on my feet and moving around. I need to figure out how to get up and out earlier in the day so I can get some exercise before treatment, because afterwards I think I'll just be too tired. I don't know how much I'll be able to do during the next few weeks, but I'll do what I can.

That's it for today. Hug your loved ones, especially if they've been through something like this. We could use it.


  1. Maybe you can leave earlier for your treatment, have lunch, maybe a new magazine - or I love cross word puzzles - treatment then home. Plenty of exercise - mind and body for the day! Judy K.

    1. I have a few lunch dates set up for while I'm down there. :)

  2. Make sure your eyes are protected. I know they are doing targeted areas- but I would still ask.

  3. I am sending hugs your way, Jennifer, and know that I completely understand. Here's the scoop. I felt the same way about radiation (and my biggest issue was that it was the first time I was 'alone' during treatments - with no one allowed in the room with me - and psychologically that freaked me out a bit. It's crazy what pushes our buttons now, no?

    That being said, I think you hit it right on the button re: having a chance to process what's happened at this point in the journey and that allows your brain to focus on things other than the fight to survive. I felt that throughout radiation - and honestly, am still feeling it now as I continue the 'every three weeks' regimen of herceptin. You are not alone in that.

    But good news -- the exhaustion and the achy joints should start fading as you move through radiation - it's as though your body starts figuring out what the new regimen is and it gets a little less stressed.

    And more good news - my vision has started evening out - that was definitely from the chemo, and once I got off the Big Four drugs, it took a few months, but it started coming back. So, definitely something to look forward to!

    Hang in there. I know that's easier said than done, but I (and all your friends out here!) are rooting for you. You. Can. Do. This. xo

  4. ...And I'm gonna blame chemo for my bad grammar in that last post! ;-) It should have said "...but I (and all your friends out here!) am rooting for you!

  5. Hi Jen,

    This is my first time reading your blog and hearing how you are feeling.
    First thank you, for your strength and sharing of what you are going through. You have been such an example of how to get through this thing called Cancer.
    Every day I see your posts on FB it motivates me to be grateful and in the moment.
    My prayers are out to you, that you find the knowing in your heart that you will feel your strength soon. That all of the love your friends and family are passing on to you have validity and is working. Use it like a well.
    Big hugs and blessings to you.

  6. I'm sorry. I hate that it has affected your vision and joints. You are doing an amazing job through all of this though.

  7. I got an adjustable weighted vest. I can't do much while I'm healing but I am allowed to walk, and the weighted vest is good for menopausal bone density.