Friday, February 27, 2009

My First Radiation and Hyperthermia Treatments

I'm on the last leg of this long journey, and I'll be so glad when it's over. I'm NOT looking forward to these 6 weeks, believe me!

Thursday, I started with my first radiation treatment. A whole lot of time getting showered, dressed, and driving all the way there, then being "prepped" like a Thanksgiving Turkey, all for two 12-second shots of radiation!!!!! Now I have more X's on my chest! I'm beginning to look like a bull's eye for target practice. After the 12 seconds of lying in my personal mold, it was over and back home again.

Today, I went in early in order to get the Hyperthermia treatment. Chatty Cathy never stopped talking the whole hour and a half I was in there. From the beginning, she explained the treatment, asked me some questions, then got me up on the table -- again --- naked from the waist up. A box that measures about 9 x 9 inches is up above me, and this has a plastic bottom to it that is filled with water. She adjusts this to come down on my chest. First, she had me feel it with my hand and asks if I think it's too hot for me to stand or if it's ok. I thought it felt fine. So she puts it down where the stitch line is on my chest, and there I am for a whole hour heating up like a pot roast in a crock pot. Chatty Cathy is still talking. I heard all the gossip about everyone in the Cancer center, who left, who is going with who, etc., etc. She worships my oncologist, told me all the wonderful things about him, told me all about her marriage, kids, etc., etc., etc. One thing informative she did talk about, though, was when I asked her about my mastectomy. The radiologist had used the term "Toilet Mastectomy" when referring to my surgery. I couldn't find any information about that. She tried looking it up, but finally called someone and asked. Come to find out, it is when the total breast is removed, and they completely scrape away all the bad, dead tissue (necrotic tissue) off the chest wall. As the surgeon had said, "I scraped you clean."

When I told her I had this awful fear of radiation because of an uncle many years ago who was burned so badly, she said, "Oh, you won't have burns! Maybe a few layers of skin will come off -- kind of like a rug burn or something!" Well. . . . I'm thinking to myself, NOT looking forward to THAT under my arm!!!!

OK! Finally the hour is up, and the box is lifted off my chest. My trusty sister jumps up and takes a look and says, "Yep!!! VERY red!" I'm put into one of those little gowns and rushed across the hall to get my radiation treatment. Into the mold I go again. This time, the gal puts what feels like a sandbag over my HOT chest. She says, "This will help bring the radiation up to the skin!" Boy! They are just out to destroy my skin, it seems! So, I count to 12 and it's done. Nope! She takes the sandbag off, and and I get ANOTHER 12 seconds. TWO today.

And that's done. Oh, this gal took a look and said, Red already!!!!! I'm going to give you a bunch of tubes of cream and be sure to use it constantly. So I went out with a handful of greasy stuff to use. I felt like I was melting the butter to baste the chicken!!!!

So. . . . two down and 28 to go. It will be every day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks. Two days a week, I get the heat treatment. They say that the radiation is 30% more effective with this. Bring it on!!!!!!


Wendy said...

Cora it was so good to see you visit my friend!! I pray you are feeling well and you don't burn to bad!! I am so glad to hear you are on the downhill side of this journey!! God is so GOOD!!! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us, you are such a wonderful inspiration!!:0) Have a very blessed weekend!~hugs~WEndy

LisaShaw said...

Cora, dearest soul. I continue to believe God for and with you during this time of your life. You are dearly loved by the LORD and I'm sure you can feel His arms around you all the way.

Blessings and peace to you!

Rose Haven said...

Cora, we'll just be praying you through all of this, too!


Dani said...

Hi, Cora....I am so glad this will soon be over...hope you won't be too burned ..think you've been through is interesting reading how the procedure happens and your journey.....God bless you and I am praying as sent your way...

Cora said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Lainie said...

Oh Cora, what a wonderful soul you are. Here you are telling us all about this miserable treatment but I keep wanting to chuckle at your Turkey and Chicken references.

Now I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

I will be praying for you, that this time will pass quickly. But more importantly, that you would be aware of the Lord and His faithful love every step of the way.

Jennifer said...

God love you, sweetie! You are in my thoughts and prayers. God is in control and He will never let you go.


ByLightOfMoon said...

Cora sister, I am so thankful for you that this wil be the end, 6 weeks to go and I know it will seem like forever, BUT! Hang in there and this too will be in your past.
I appreciate your explanation of how is happens and I will be thinking o fyou and saying a prayer that this will be not so bad for you. I thank you so much for the details you share and love that you can infuse the funny parts Dear Sister, You have a gift to write and I linger on ever word!

I wonder about radiation and I have never heard the other term, maybe this is something they have learned along the way about the heat.
Be sure and keep that buttery cream close at hand. I hope it makes it feel better.
Huggies and smiles, cyndi

Scottie and Patty said...


Hang in there and keep up the "God" attitude. Only God could give the strength and outlook that you have. You are such an encouragement. God bless you and have a blessed day!

papel1 said...

Thanks for keeping us posted. Hang in there and thanks for the recipes that came by email.

Janet, said...

My thoughts are with you. I pray that everything goes well with your treatment.

Kay @ The Rustic Cottage said...

I'll be praying for you through this time too. It's good that you know it's almost over. You've been so brave and come such a long way!!

Joyfulsister said...

HI Sis,
I have to admit you sure do have a way of writing that I just simply love, with so much heart and soul, courage, honesty, openness , and even serious concrns, but you still have a sense of humor that makes me know you can do this, you really can. God's strength shines through you out to us all. Continued prayers my sistah, and just know even when the days of seasons of difficulty and even feeling realy down and out comes along, just know we are all here lifting you up to the throne room.

Luv ya Lorie

Oma aka Meme said...

oh my- I do not know what to say but I am praying for you and holding you in my heart- softest of hugs- Meme

Penny @ Miss Pootsie's Primitives said...

Cora baby!!! I'm so proud of you. You're just so brave!
I do however have one question...

When you got home that night... and the lights were out..

Sorry, just had to do that. Yep, I'm a goober!

Debra said...

Cora, You had me laughing and crying while I read your post. It's amazing how God is so close when it's so hard to go on...I pray this road will come out onto a beautiful meadow, where you can sing and dance! You'll be done with this stuff! Praise God!
Love, Debra

*Linda Pinda* said...

Oh, Sweet Cora...
You are in my constant prayers. I got a licking from the kids for not checking in on you over the weekend!!!

Sorry these treatments are not very pleasant to say the least, but I am glad that you are continuing to progress towards recovery.

Lots Of Love & Prayers... *Linda*
PS... I placed a widget on my blog where all the baby's "Aunties" can follow along on weekly updates, if you want to peek in. :)

LindaSueBuhl said...

Wonderful to hear your story - you realize of course the Chatty Cathy technicians are doing that to distract you - if patients are left in a treatment with complete quiet - they often start to "freak" over things. I didn't realize this fact until my family member went through lots of treatments - we learned more about people we'd never met and didn't even want to meet! LOL - keep on keeping on - we're all praying for you,

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Dear Cora,
I am so glad that treatments have begun. I think of you daily. I never imagined that radiation was actually like how you're describing. Only 12 seconds?? I thought it would be an hour maybe two. Amazing. Just hearing about this and your daily trek sounds like marathon.

Take good care of yourself. I'll be praying for you. Colton picked out a little something for you but I am terribly late in getting it into the mail. I'm trying to catch up and seems like it is taking me forever.

Love ya,

Toby Parsons said...

Praying Cora. I'm glad you can write all this with humor. God is with you and that is the biggest blessing of all. A friend of ours just finished with radiation and came through it well. A touch red, but okay. She ended up loving those creams. :) Anyway, you are almost done with all of this. Praise God! :)

Nicole said...

Just checking in to see how you are doing. How are you? How are things going?

Farm Chick Paula said...

Bless your heart, sweetie...
I think I would have knocked Chatty Cathy's teeth out! *sigh*... But then, that wouldn't be very Christian-like, would it? LOL
Hang in there- we're all praying for you!

Jill said...

Cora, your blog is an absolute joy to read. This morning I laughed so hard. I sure wish I had the guts to describe it the way you have. So do you have chatty Cathy for the whole 6 weeks:)You count the seconds as well...we sure do funny things to amuse ourselves.
Sending big but gentle hugs your way..

Daria said...

Hi Cora,

I came across your blog via Deena ... Can You Be Pretty In Pink.

I like to connect with other cancer survivors.


Claudia said...

I am praying for you all through this. I felt the prayers of everyone I know (and many I don't know) all through my radiation days and I know it helps, even when you think your skin will never come back again. But it does. When it's over and done with and you can see your skin again, you will smile, I promise. *hugs*

QuiltedSimple said...

I'll be thinking of you and praying for you! Good luck!

Michelle Goforth said...

You are battling something I can't even imagine with a great attitude. Jesus shines through. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for looking at my blog. I hope to inspire people as well.
May God bless you and completely heal you.

Oma aka Meme said...

praying for you - soft hugs- waiting for your wave-
soft hugs from Meme

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Hi Cora, you're tucked into prayer, from a sister you, probably, won't meet this side of the veil.
God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Renna said...

Cora, I know there's nothing funny at all in what you're having to go through, but you do have a comical way of relaying the experience!

cindy said...

I've been following your blog for sometime but never commented.
You are an inspiration to us all.

Beemoosie said...

I, too, am believing for your strenth & healing!!
Love you,

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Thinking of you, Cora!

Love, Lea

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Cora you are AMAZING!



Oma aka Meme said...

praying for you - sister friend
hugs from Meme

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