Monday, August 20, 2012

Pokey was excavating this morning, which got me wondering if we should be getting ready for another 'blessed event'.  But upon later inspection it seems as if she was merely burrowing down for some cooler dirt to rest in.  We shall see...

Radiation only took 6 minutes today.  
However, I inferred (correctly, as it turns out) that we still aren't done with taking pictures.  While the techs were positioning me on the table I asked if we were taking pix, and one of them responded, "No pictures today."  Further questioning confirmed that not only may there be pictures tomorrow, but <sigh> that they will be an ongoing part of the treatment until the end.... as in constant tweaking.  I see the radiation oncologist every Tuesday, so maybe tomorrow I can get some answers.  (Further questioning of the techs did not satisfactorily answer my questions about what exactly is not lining up and needs to be adjusted, although I really tried to be very specific about my confusion.) 

From Hollye Jacobs' blog: The freight train of fatigue has taken up residence in my body.  Whoaaaaa, Nelly.  Why do x-rays to a small area of my body cause so much exhaustion, you ask?  While radiation is intended to destroy any “stray” cancer cells that weren’t removed surgically or by chemo, it also bombards healthy cells on a daily basis.  Therefore, the body requires A LOT of energy for those healthy cells to heal from the damaging effects of radiation.
The best analogy that I can give is it is like spending a day at the beach.  Literally.  But without the fun.  I remember spending endless days at the local pool (growing up in the middle of Indiana, we didn’t have beaches…unless they were manufactured).  I came home at the end of the day fried to a crisp.  With my Irish skin, I tended to burn and then peel and then tan.  So gross to think about now.  But it’s how I rolled.  At the end of those long crispy days, I was sooooo tired as a result of overexposure to the sun’s rays. The radiation from a sunburn damages the DNA of the skin’s cells, triggering these cells to die. The dead cells then trigger the release of inflammatory signals called cytokines that lead to redness, swelling, pain and exhaustion. The same thing happens with direct radiation (without the sunscreen, I might add!).
Exhaustion is exacerbated by the fact that my body is expending overtime energy to repair the damaged cells. Combine this with the fact that after surgery and chemo, I’m already wiped out.  Beyond words.
Everything worth doing is exhausting. 
- John Polanvi

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