Following surgery to remove the cancerous tumor, my doctor recommended four rounds of chemotherapy. That was a treatment I had every third Friday for four months. As soon as my chemo was finished, I began 33 days of radiation. The idea is, if a cancer is going to return, it most likely would return at the original site. So if you blast the area with radiation, you'll kill any lingering cancer cells and reduce the chance of coming back.
The hardest part of radiation is the fact that you have to go in every day for treatment. Monday through Friday I would finish work and head to the hospital. I'd go to the radiation department where you wait. Most days it wasn't that long, but some days if they were behind, it might be awhile. I'd go in and sit. As I looked around, there would be other patients waiting as well. Some of these people were using radiation as a way to reduce the size of their tumors. For me, it was all about preventing the cancer from returning.
Radiation treatment has several side effects. For me, I felt very fortunate because it didn't cause me too much pain. Over time, I did become tired but I also wake up at 2:30 a.m. for the morning shift so I never was sure how much was the treatment and how much was the schedule. Some patients also experience skin sensitivity, especially for fair-skinned people. But I sailed right through. What a blessing!
I've shared my story about my treatment options and why I decided to do what I did. I'd love to hear from you. Starting next month, we'll feature your stories. If you or someone you know has had breast cancer, we'd love for you to write a brief synopsis of what you went through and what helped you survive!
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.‘Til next time...