Still wiped out, and radiation is imminent

I’m sitting here with tissue stuffed up my nose as I type.  Nosebleeds have been an effect of this last chemo, and the unseasonably-high pollen count isn’t helping me out any.  The weather guy just said that this very high tree pollen level is usually in April.  So add the extra allergy symptoms to the chemo ones, and you have a very tired, miserable Krista.  Even though I feel a bit better today, I still get tired just walking down the hall.  It was all I could do yesterday to walk from the parking lot into the waiting room for my radiation-marking session.  Luckily they weren’t ready for me right away so that I had a few minutes to sit and rest.  I measure everywhere I have to walk, considering whether I can walk that far and whether I have a place to sit down and rest.  It’s amazing how short a distance that is.  Going up or down my stairs warrants a rest right away, as does brushing my teeth and washing my face.  Taking a shower tires me out so much that I have to lie down.  I’ll be very, very glad when I get some energy again.

I felt pretty out of it yesterday, so the radiation fitting and measuring was kind of surreal.  I’m having to wear my glasses because I developed a sty last weekend when my white blood counts went so low.  The counts are back up now, way up (the Neulasta shot did much more than it needed to), but I still have the sty, and I don’t see nearly as well with my glasses as with my contact lens.  Add my supertiredness, and you had me walking around in a fog yesterday.  My doc wasn’t there, but they needed a doc to get me to sign a release form (yep, the attorneys’ influences are everywhere), and he talked about several side effects that my doc hadn’t mentioned.  That got me flustered, so when the nurse took me to a technician who was yet another stand-in for the one I’ll typically have, it was just about too much for me.  It felt as if I was getting second-hand treatment, and I indicated as much.  They were all very careful to explain everything and to try to assuage my concerns, but I did ask to meet with my doctor before I start the actual radiation next week.

The measuring and fitting were for a support that goes under my head and shoulders during the radiation.  Then I took a ride into the CT machine to make sure I was lined up properly.  They drew lines on me, actually crosses or plus marks, and I was so out of it that I can’t remember if they drew on me before, after, or both before and after the CT. Because I’m pretty claustrophobic, I went somewhere else in my mind while I was in the CT machine and had trouble coming back to pay attention to what they were doing.   Anyhow, it’s weird to look in the mirror and see what look like Sharpie marks on my skin of four “corners” surrounding my left breast.  I feel the need to try to wash them off, though of course the tech told me not to.  I won’t, but I can’t promise the marks won’t sweat off.  I also have hot flashes which have been exacerbated by chemo, and I get very sweaty – not a good environment for keeping the Sharpie marks.

Next week I’ll start the radiation itself.  That should be on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.  Because I’m not over the chemo yet, I’m not looking forward to it.  Well, I wouldn’t be looking forward to it even if I were, so I’m especially not looking forward to it because I’m feeling so weak.  I still have swelling, a seroma, where my nodes were removed, and that area falls within the radiation area.  How can that be a good situation?  I don’t understand the process of injuring already-injured areas, but that’s exactly what has happened.  I went straight into chemo nine days after surgery.  Now I go straight into radiation three weeks after chemo, while I’m still feeling the effects, and will have a non-healed site radiated.

Yes, I’m being whiny.  I am so tired of being tired.  I am tired of dragging myself around, of looking at little chores that I need to do and putting them off until tomorrow, because maybe I’ll have the energy to do it tomorrow – and then feeling just as tired when tomorrow comes.   I’m tired of trying to have a good attitude, to have a positive outlook.  I’m tired of being strong and being tough.  I’m just tired, really tired.  Physically and mentally and emotionally.  I think I must be sending out those weary vibes, because a few friends reached out and contacted me today – and that did help.  People tell me that I’m close to the end, that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But what I see is six and a half more weeks of being tortured.  That feels like forever.  So here’s hoping I can find a reserve of strength, of energy, of positive attitude.  Soon.

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22 thoughts on “Still wiped out, and radiation is imminent

  1. Oh, hon, it is perfectly understandable that you are tired and weary. I so wish I lived closer so I could at least bring you some food or do some chores for you! I certainly am praying!! And remember it is ok to have some down days!! Allow yourself to wallow, just be sure to get back up!!

  2. Dear Krista,
    How I feel for you. I cannot imagine how I would react in your situation. I daresay I wouldn’t be half as coherent, philosophical or strong. I really wish I could do more for you than just send positive thoughts and prayers. I am like Karla; I shine when I can do concrete things like try to find something that feels and tastes good on the tongue, keep your pillows fluffed, towels warm, house tidy…would that I could. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love,
    Lynn

  3. Whether you feel it or not, you are staying strong and keeping going. Being strong doesn’t mean the dishes won’t pile up in the sink (my answer is switch to paper plates). But I know what follows that is how do you get the energy to get to the Bi-lo to get the paper plates. I’ve had to succumb to the motorized cart at the grocery store and cried the whole time out of loss of pride. Then you have to laugh when you wreck a few times or the battery dies midway through the store and you wonder how you will walk the distance back to the front. Basically, I’m trying to say I’m with you, I feel your fatigue and how overwhelming it is. You will notice one day that you can walk further and further and feel more energy as time goes by. But for now, listen to your body and rest as much as you can. It’s your time to heal, take it to counteract all the abuse your body is getting to fight the cancer.

  4. Oh Krista, this all sucks so much. How can you write so well, so articulately, in misery? Must be the teacher in you! As I read, I remember the Presence Process and the suffering that comes through being present. Wow. I am holding you in the light down in Birmingham, and sending much love your way.

    • PS – I went to a cancer support group with a friend recently. One of the caregivers made a comment about a person with cancer who lashed out toward her caregiver and that it was hard. Another woman cancer survivor responded that when you have cancer, every cell hurts and lashing out is often the ONLY appropriate and unpreventable response a person has. I was so struck that we live in a culture that teaches us, encourages us, and models for us that the best response to everything is to accept with grace and pretend that everything is ok, even when it is not. Hooray for you for calling a spade a spade and sharing with all of us who love you, what this time is like for you. And it still sucks. And I love you.

  5. Krista,
    This sounds so hard and energy sapping. To think that you have so much ahead seems like a very long road to me. It sure is not up to me to give a name to your journey, so thank you for telling us the truth. Your words make each step that I make each day more precious knowing how hard it is for you. Rest, and more rest. Please let us know when your radiation starts. Always sending healing cyber love and care,
    Margaret

  6. I’m not really sure what I can say that someone else hasn’t already said. Just know you’re in my thoughts, and I’m sending good vibes. I hope that the effects of the chemo start getting less and less each day. I would be more than happy to come do some chores for you, or even just keep you company. Just give me a call. My number is 423 802 3487.

  7. You say you’re tired of being tired and of keeping up that infernal positive outlook–and who wouldn’t be?? Sometimes I feel it’s an unreasonable–and unhealthy–expectation we place on cancer patients. I feel so strongly about it that I wrote a piece on the importance of expressing your frustration, your anger, even your hostility (check out http://wp.me/p22afJ-Ch if you’ve a mind). It’s OKAY not be little Ms. Perfect. We forgive you–now forgive yourself. Candida

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