And the 3rd event of the triathlon? The Marathon!

If chemo was the Boxing Match in this triathlon from hell, then I think Radiation is the marathon.

It feels non stop (even though it is for such a short session) because it is daily.  I have to keep ploughing on even though I am exhausted, and my legs are totally uncooperative!  Each session is like a mile marker, though there are 25 markers for me rather than 26.  However, if I include the long planning and simulation session at the start, we are indeed at a nice 26 sessions!

I realise that I approached this Radiation Marathon with the attitude that it would be a walk in the park after chemo.  In many ways it is, but because the chemo is so tough then it did give me a false sense that all other treatments would be “easy” in comparison.  I think the fact that I started radiation very quickly after chemo has also been a factor.  It is indeed great that I will be finished with the heavy duty treatments sooner (all being well, crossing numb fingers, peeling toes and even Twang Arm with non Twang Arm if that will help).  However, it has meant that I was a bit frail at the start of the Radiation.   In Yangon the Doctor I saw just before I came to Bangkok did tell me that Radiation is not easy, has its side effects and also often brings some depression.  Now when you hear “a leetle depression” with a lovely French accent it doesn’t sound so bad at all, in fact it almost sounds quite cute.  It doesn’t feel at all like the weepiness and grey feeling which descends most days.

Don’t get me wrong, the treatment is not painful, it does not involve needles (well not as part of the treatment though they still need to monitor blood levels – yuck!), and the side effects are not nearly acute or debilitating as they are with chemo.  But it is uncomfortable, lying totally still in an awkward position while the machine goes through its daily workout.  It is also quite boring, even with the music so I have started counting the beeps.  This also helps me keep on track and know how far I am through the session.  I seem to get 75 beeps every session, each lasts about 3 seconds.  Except for the 9th and 14th beep and one much later on – for some reason these ones last much longer!  I say that I seem to get 75 beeps because I usually lose count in the 30s!  Apparently everyone gets a different number of beeps or zaps, depending on their diagnosis, treatment required and calculated by the specialists and the computer.  I am also finding that Twang and other arm are already feeling stiff and sore.  I feel nauseous (but I hope this will pass) and still very weak and tired.  I also have some skin irritation from tape which covers the marks.  One part reacted and has blistered – chemo skin is still very sensitive and probably over-reacted!

I think the main reason it feels like a marathon though is that the whole day, if not life at the moment, revolves around the daily treatment.

On the positive side, I am passing those daily milestones fairly quickly  – 6 passed and 19 to go, so I have already completed nearly a quarter of the course.  I just have to keep ploughing onwards………

6 thoughts on “And the 3rd event of the triathlon? The Marathon!

    • hey there M, lovely to hear from you and thanks for your encouragement. Seems crazy to be flagging at this stage, but it just feels as if it is all lasting for ever. It is lovely to have your wishes and support. Maybe see you next month……………?

  1. Hi P – starting my rads on Wed – 20 sessions which will take place just over four weeks. I am sorry to hear of your tiredness – a friend of mine has just finished hers and she has been fine. Having said that she completed chemo back in Dec and didn’t have “Killer chemo” like us.

    I am starting work on Tuesday – just part-time – and am hoping that this will take my mind off the daily grind of rads. My husband and I have agreed that if it wipes me out then I will just come home and go straight to bed.

    Hang on in there … the end is in sight!

    P x

    • Hi P – thanks so much for your message and wishing you well for Wednesday. Sorry I am being so negative – I think I have a bad attitude 😉 !! And you are right, I think killer chemo brings you down so much that I am feeling the effects more.

      Great about getting back to work, it makes a real difference and widens our world – I know I have been focused on treatments, blood counts and all the other things which take over life when you are in the thick of it! I am working remotely (at a nice gentle pace) and it is lovely to be connected and think about life other than all the breast cancer stuff. I do find that my pace is slow though and I keep overcommitting and being unrealistic about what I can achieve! But it really makes such a difference – enjoy the return! And such a good arrangement with your husband!
      Take care and I’ll be watching to see how you are doing

  2. I counted the beeps too! Rather disconcertingly it cut out mid flow one day and after about 30 seconds it restarted.

    Thinking of you,
    E xx

    • That happened to me too the other day! It stopped around half way for much longer than usual. It also made that funny “click” noise at the end of the session! It was quite freaky, and I could feel a slight panic coming from nowhere! I started imagining all sorts of nonsense – I was very glad when it started again! It’s so good to hear other experiences.
      Thanks so much – take care

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