When I think of a rocket about to launch the first thing that comes to mind is countdown. When the countdown is finished the rocket takes off and leaves the ground with the help of boosters. I am nearing the end of my radiation countdown but my “boost” comes before the countdown is finished. I’d like to think of my boost as help to the finish line of this phase of my treatment. So you ask what is my boost?
The first five weeks (26 treatments) of radiation were directed to my entire breast given in the form of photon beams. “A photon is the basic unit of light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It can be thought of as a bundle of energy.” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/radiation “The boost” for me is an additional 7 treatments just to the area where the lumpectomy was performed. This is given with electron beams that cannot travel very far through tissue. At first I thought by a boost there would be an even stronger dosage of radiation delivered (like those on the rocket) but it is just radiation targeted to the surgery site alone. For these boosts I now lie on my back on the table exposed to the room! I had a new pattern drawn with those infamous sharpie markers again, this time on the front of me to make a cut out mold on a plate that goes on the machine when I get treated. A light shines down through the mold and I am positioned until the light shines directly on my breast where they have drawn with the markers. This makes sure only the lumpectomy site is getting radiated for these last seven treatments.
I am thankful the end is in sight as this has been a daily, Monday to Friday, part of my day but it has been nice meeting and talking with the other women in the waiting area on a regular basis. I have to admit that I will miss my radiation techs as well. They have always put a smile on my face and we enjoy teasing each other. I am thankful that I have had only minimal skin irritation or burning and discoloration and did not have to take a break from my treatments to heal. My burning was stage 1 and hydrocortisone cream has helped with the itching. “Crisco” lotion applied daily did its job for the most part protecting the skin. I still can’t imagine why anyone would buy that lotion from the store and use it unless they had to. Looks like I will have some leftover after all to fry some chicken in.
I did not experience any fatigue until the latter part of radiation treatment which is normal. However, I was thinking that the fatigue will end when my treatments end but now I am reading and hearing otherwise. Apparently it will gradually subside over a period of weeks afterward. The most effective way to manage it is to incorporate some form of exercise as simple as walking. I have not been doing well with my exercise plan once I went back to work so this will push me to do something about it.
I’m still not sure why they call it a “boost” since it is not an increase in radiation but I will take a boost of any kind at this point! Isaiah 41:10 says, “I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (NLT) Now that is a powerful boost! Deuteronomy 33:27 reads, “The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.” (NLT) I would say that’s an even more powerful lift than rocket boosters. If you are tired and weary, in need of strength or support to go through anything or just to make it another day, allow the Lord to give you a boost and to be your support.
T minus 4, 3, 2, 1 till I’m a”rad grad”!