Monday, February 22, 2016

Up, down, up, down

Have I mentioned this disease is a roller coaster? A couple weeks ago, I realized I only had 30 treatments scheduled, rather than the 33 I had pessimistically assumed. I was so happy. Then this last Friday, I happened to look at the patient website and saw I had a bunch of appointments added...the RO apparently decided to give me the 28 whole breast and 5 treatments after all, for a total of 33. Argh! For some reason, this just hit me really hard. It's only three more, but it was enough to bump me into the next week. I just so, so, want this to be done. And I'm already so burned.

My burn after 23 treatments. Under my arm is even redder.
Friday night I started feeling nauseous again. This time, I managed to not throw up. The Zofran helped, and then I remembered I had the Relief Band from chemo (duh) so I put that on and that helped as well. I didn't sleep well that night and felt pretty worn out and delicate all weekend. Happily, I'm feeling better now.

By Saturday, my skin was starting to break down under my arm and it was getting pretty painful--there would be a burning sensation when I put my arm down. Applying lotion helped for a short time. I did find some undershirts that help keep skin from touching skin. We also took a soft t-shirt and cut off the bottom, then cut a hole in it to put my arm through. This is soft, yet provides that barrier. It helped.

Last night we tried something that also gave me some relief: I took a bath (not toooo hot but hot enough to be comfortable), and Michael made some oatmeal water by just soaking quick-cook oats for about 15 minutes, then using a spoon to squish all the good stuff out of the oats and grind up the flakes a bit. Then we soaked a cloth (the rest of the t-shirt we cut up, actually) and laid it over my whole burn area and under my arm. The water was cool and it was very soothing. I re-soaked the cloth every 5 or 10 minutes and reapplied. It was quite soothing while I was in there, so we will probably do that every night until the burns subside after treatment.

The nurse looked at my skin today and gave me some Mepilex, which is made for this sort of thing. It's kind of like a bandage that you stick on the affected area. It has a mildly adhesive back, and she stuck it on under my arm to keep skin from rubbing skin. Instant relief from the burning sensation there.

So, 10 more treatments. Five whole breast, then five boosts to the tumor bed, which should actually be easier and the rest of me can start healing. I'm already making all kinds of plans, so let's get this done so I can get on with them!


  1. I have a big problem with skin breakdown from graft vs host. It does hurt/burn when anything touches it- especially my skin like if it is on the bottom of my belly or breast. I will sometimes stick a pantyliner on the skin beneath it so it doesn't touch and that helps. Bandages don't like to stay on in those areas.