Radiation, Recall, and Lymphedema
Today I start radiation treatment. It is a 15-session spread over 4 weeks. The first two sessions are this week, then for the next week and the week after, I go for 5 days. For this week, they are putting us up in a hotel that is a short walking distance to the treatment center. They also said they would pay for a taxi to bring me if I wasn’t up for walking. It really isn’t that far.
Food is going to be a challenge – but this trip it is really only dinner and breakfast. My appointments will be done before lunch. We will likely want to eat before we leave town.
I’m also hoping to get a couple of short cross country skis in. The recent snow means there are a bunch of places with a couple/few km of trails nearby. We will be closer to them in Halifax than we are in Bridgewater. We may detour through the valley on our way home as there are many more places to cross country ski there.
I am experiencing some random chemo recall side effects. I think it is because my cells are all regenerating at the same time which means they are also dying at the same time. This is definitely clear with my eyebrows. They grow back and then they all fall out again. It takes a year or two before the growth gets staggered so they aren’t all falling out at the same time. Fortunately, I seem to have kept my eyelashes. I had mouth sores over the last few days – and I wonder if this is just another chemo recall side effect. Hopefully they won’t keep coming back every three to four weeks – that would be annoying.
A couple of days ago my left hand began to swell. Fortunately it appears to be just in my hand on the left side. I’m completely swelled on the right side. With the start of radiation I can no longer do lymphatic drainage massage. That will wait until after radiation. I’m not sure how long after radiation I’ll have to wait before I can go back. So far I haven’t had a lot of success with compression therapy, but I’m hoping to find a compression solution that works. I have also been swimming, however, I’m not allowed to swim during radiation so that is now on hold as well. Hopefully my arm doesn’t swell too much while I go through treatment. I’m still looking for someone who can actually treat lymphedema as I feel like I’m largely left to manage it on my own – using trial and error rather than know what might actually work. I’m glad that this isn’t my first experience with it; otherwise, I’d be a lot more stressed about it.