Week 1 of radiation is done, and so far so good. There’s a little bit of redness on my breast at night but by morning it’s gone, and so far my energy has been good. The treatment itself is nothing…it takes more time to get me all situated so I’m in the correct position than the actual treatment. I’m sure it’ll get worse as time goes on, but for now it’s all good.
The Flagyl is doing its job, as are the probiotics and yogurt. I haven’t had diarrhea in a day or two, and that’s always a good sign. I even had cheese dip yesterday, and thus far we’re good. I’ll be on the Flagyl for a few days yet.
Thus far I’m scheduled for treatments until the Friday before Thanksgiving, which is 30 treatments. The typical treatment plan is 33-36; somehow I have the sneaky suspicion that I’ll be getting radiation the week of Thanksgiving. We are planning to spend a quiet Turkey Day at home with one of those complete Thanksgiving dinners so neither of us have to really cook. If everything I hear is correct, by Thanksgiving I’ll be pretty fatigued and all I’m going to want to do is sit at home, eat, snuggle with my kitties and maybe knit. I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner, so maybe I can make Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas. Maybe.
I had my first radiation treatment today. There was more prep this first time – more measurements and some x-rays – and a check by Dr. L. Then the actual treatment, which didn’t feel like anything. I get zapped every day at 3 pm, and on Tuesdays from now on I’ll see Dr. L. He’ll check progress, and make sure my skin is doing okay. I’m to use aloe vera gel twice a day, and if things get worse other creams can be prescribed. I was told not to shave my underarm, and the instructions I received also said to use a low alkaline soap. It’s interesting that I should not use heat or cold, but rather to use topical creams to help with any symptoms. The technician looked at my tan and said it was good that I already got my tan because there’s no sunbathing while I’m undergoing radiation treatment. I also need to watch for an “exit dose,” so one more thing that Ted will have to do for me. He’ll have to check my back for burns.
Since this was my first treatment, I’m not feeling any effects from it. However, I am having a bit of a time with the latest antibiotic, Flagyl (metronidazole). I submitted my stool sample on Saturday morning, and that night the GI doc who was covering left me a message that I’d tested positive for Clostidium Difficile, aka C. Difficile. Ironic that the way to get rid of the ‘bad” bacteria that got into my intestines from too much antibiotics (and chemo, no doubt) is MORE antibiotics, but that’s the treatment. So I started on Flagyl yesterday, and WHAM! my diarrhea is worse and I have terrible gas. It kept me up last night, but I’ve now got Gas-X and probiotics, not to mention yogurt and cottage cheese to help counteract the effects. At least we know what’s causing my diarrhea, and I hope that after the 10 days of Flagyl that my intestines will be back to normal. I’m not sure I remember what normal is!
My hair is definitely growing back. My eyelashes have grown back, and unfortunately they didn’t grow back more lushly than they were before. The hair on my head is also growing back enough that Ted should shave my head at least every other day. I want to shave my head until I’m done with Herceptin, but if it gets too painful to do that, I may start to let it grow. Hair is also growing in places it shouldn’t, or hadn’t in years…which is a little disconcerting!