Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Radiation Residue

Where am I now 4 1/2 months after surgery and nearly 7 weeks after radiation?  I am still in recovery and even though I am doing really well, I have been striving hard to do what I did before radiation. It is my personality to be determined, so I was frustrated with what I saw as lack of progress.

I knew I had done well with the surgery......no issues there, so I decided to do a google search and ended up at breastcancer.org when I typed in "still tired 6 weeks after radiation".  It was an eye opener and I decided to share it here since some of you might wonder about the recovery process.  I learned that quite a few women are still dealing with tiredness 6-8 months after radiation.  All the cells in the breast were destroyed and the body is trying hard to heal and make new cells.  That takes energy.  That makes one tired.  There are even a few women who feel abnormally tired for up to a year.  If chemo is involved it is sometimes longer. ( I did not have chemo.)

So, the pushing I have been doing has not helped.  After talking with God and Joel, I am resting twice a day for 20 minutes, getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night, and in-between I am doing what I can at home while saving energy to walk a mile a day most days.  I am not comparing myself to others and I am not beating myself up for not being where I "should be" on this recovery journey.  Yeah....I was......but no more.  I am eating healthy, taking vitamins, using essential oils.  Emotionally I still feel a bit vulnerable, so along with the above I am staying close to Jesus and Joel.  :)

My skin looks great.  I am still losing some dead skin, but it is all healed underneath and 95% of the area is looking healthy.  I have some tenderness, but so very little it is not worth mentioning. I also spend time stretching that right arm since there is a tightness there that I want to have released. I'm still dealing with a bit of inflammation, but I am going to use essential oils for that now.  I am just plain tired too much of the time in my way of thinking, but today was helpful for that.  This is radiation residue.

I now understand why I need to go back to see the radiology oncologist in May and then the following May.  Radiation is not as easy as we think.  The body has been zapped and zapped again.  What was unhealthy has died AND what was healthy also died.  It takes time for that to heal.  I am doing well.  I am not where I want to be, but I am seeing more and more progress and giving thanks!

Hope this is helpful for you.  It is a good reminder for me, as I continue to move forward one day at a time having the wisdom to accept what I cannot change and change what I can.


Patricia Stotler said...

following your story has been very helpful...it has helped me feel my opinion that I could never endure these treatments is a reasonable choice for me....should I be diagnosed with any type of cancer. It took away the mystery of what is involved....it is very difficult even for a otherwise healthy person. I know God is in control and that is my security and it certainly was yours too, Renee. It is so good you are going to give yourself the rest you need for full recovery.

Renee said...

It is different for everyone, but it is harder on those with immune issues. Resting is harder for me since my health improved, but I'm working on it!