Tuesday, February 26, 2008

rads, day 16: one hour at a time

here's the thing about radiation.

it might seem like i am nearly half way through, with 16 done and 17 to go. yet it's really impossible for me to see more than one day, often one hour at a time right now. that's all i can handle. time is surely flying by for you all out there, but it's stuck on slow-mo over here in my life.

the primary reason for this is that the side effects get worse everyday. while the fatigue is no joke, the other effects are even harder to handle. each day closer to being done, while reason to celebrate, is also another day of accepting the burning of my skin. imagine getting a sunburn on your softest, palest skin, then going out into the elements the next day and the next - each day the burn increasing. there is no relief reaching the half-way point and no sense of sliding down hill to the finish. it's uphill everyday till the end, the climb steeper each day. right now, i cannot see the top of the hill, only the step right in front of me.

i feel so very exposed, so deeply vulnerable.

it's gotten painfully difficult, both emotionally and physically, to choose the treatment every day. i think this is where the depression comes in. i may have to ask to go down to four days a week, which while it would extend my finish date, will give the skin more recovery time.

as it stands now, i am scheduled to be done on march 20. i know it will eventually end, that in time i will recover. but this middle part right here? it just sucks. simple as that, my friends. it sucks.

thank-you for all your encouraging comments. you have no idea how much i need them now.


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Tay, I am so sorry it is so sucky. I so dislike the thought of you in physical discomfort. I am sure that if there was anything you could be doing or taking to counter the burning, you would be doing/taking it. Only you can know what is right for you but given your sensitive skin, maybe you are right on the 4 day option - giving you just a bit more resilience. What do the doctors say about this?

Tay said...

thanks, dear Maryam. Yes, i am doing everything possible to support my skin's recovery. It's a time-consuming daily routine that has me spending quite a bit of time topless, with the shades drawn in my apartment. Waiting for the soothing balms to soak in before I dress, you know.

I believe my doctor will let me change to a 4 day a week schedule, I will ask her this Thursday at my appointment.

Thanks for your sweet support.

Sharon R. Cole said...

Hi Tay,
Thank you for leaving a post on generationacd. I was just checking out your blog and wanted to send well wishes your way. Writing and documenting about your experience is thoughtful and informative, I'll be checking in.

I also read that you set up a tent at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival--it's one of my goals to get there this year.

Here's to wishing you strength and good health.

Thanks again,

beadbabe49 said...

I was very fortunate that during my 6 weeks of radiation, I wasn't in much discomfort (burning-wise) until the last couple of weeks and then I was given a cream that kept me pretty comfortable....has your radiation clinic provided you with anything or are you using something you provide?
(I do remember very well the fatigue...and our nearest radiation clinic was 60 miles away, but I also had the help of my husband who did the driving when I was too tired...)

salmonpoetry said...

oh Tay, so sorry to hear that it's getting worse. burns are SO painful, hard to imagine having to go back for more each day. maybe that extra day off would be worth it to allow a little more recovery time in between. best wishes that your doctor might have a helpful strategy to get you through this time and provide a little relief.
i am starting to recover so let me know if you need anything, and i will check in with you next week when i am fully better.

Anonymous said...

Tay I think it is great that you are staying in the moment and feeling all the feelings now....I hear you that it is painful and difficult and that you are drained as a result. But your end date will really be your end date because you are brave enough to not only go through with all the treatments now but be present for them and feel your emotions. I am really inspired by reading your blog and hearing about your courage. The real revolution is to love ourselves. I am proud of you. You are a hell of a strong woman.
Amber JO

AM The Obscure said...

Hi Tay,

I came across you jewelry blog a few weeks ago, not sure how, but after loving your jewelry and taste and reading the archives, I came across your very personal experience here. I spent hours the other night going all the way to the beginning and felt myself crying and smiling and sinking into....something.

I read a lot of blogs, I rarely comment. I don't know why...

But I just wanted you to know that I include you in my daily prayers, I think you have awesome taste in art and jewelry and you word things brilliantly.

I'm pulling for you and if I weren't so far away from you I would help you with those small tasks around the house you mentioned the other day.

Ann Marie

Anonymous said...

Encouragement is hard to give when you know someone in pain. Take it easy. This is your job now. No-one likes to take the time off, least of all you.

As an outsider looking into this experience, all I can add is that I know it will be over fairly soon. It is just tough work to have to keep going through the slog.

I am reminded of the print in your studio. Something about being stalwart. Not an emotion that we are particularly good at these days.

Know that we are thinking and caring and wishing you the best.