Friday, 28 December 2012

Radiation. Are my Fears Real or Imagined?

So as you probably know, I am in stage two of my one and a half year treatment plan - Radiation.  Typically someone with breast cancer has surgery first, then radiation and if needed chemotherapy will follow the radiation.  I was told that compared to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are easy.  Perhaps in a normal situation with a less invasive cancer, the radiation would be a little easier, however I still think I might be struggling with the same fears.
I know it is probably irrational, but I am terrified every time I get near this machine.  The sounds are terrible, not nearly as loud as the sound of an MRI, but I can sleep through my MRI's.  For some reason, the sounds this machine makes appear evil to me.  Like some terrible monster with grinding teeth that click and clack and grind just inches above my head.  When I lie in the machine I feel like I'm deliberately allowing myself to be strapped down in the middle of Chernobyl.  It goes against all my instincts to lie there and have this done to me.  I feel sheer terror as I listen to the grinding as the machine positions itself for each of the blasts it is going to administer to my body.

This is wrong I think as I lie there.  Why am I allowing myself to be deliberately radiated when we all know radiation poisoning causes cancer, a drop in blood cell counts, nausea, headaches and death. I mean just look it up on Wikipedia and you'll get all the gory facts.  So why the hell am I continuing with this I ask myself every single time I get into the machine.  It freaks me out knowing that I'm getting a more intense dose for a longer period of time each treatment and over a longer treatment course than almost any cancer out there.  I literally hold my breath and count every time the button is pressed and the radiation beam is turned on to do its job.  It goes forever.  Not 10 or 20 seconds, but forever and my mind thinks all these horrible thoughts about how this beam is killing me, poisoning me, burning my flesh and my insides.  I can actually smell my skin cooking.  It is a terrible smell that I know I will never forget and I also know will get worse as I have only had 5 of the 28 sessions that I am scheduled for and my lily white Irish skin is going to burn like bacon in a hot pan.  To top it off, as you can see from the photograph above, it's not just a small spot that will burn, it is the entire area that is covered by that pink bolus as well as above it up to just above my collar bone, almost the entire way across my chest and a patch around my back.  Already I cannot wear a bra as it's tearing at my skin, and am having to choose shirts that are easy to put on and made of very soft fabric that doesn't chafe, I cannot imagine what I'll be wearing in two weeks arggghhh.

Sorry if I sound a bit like a whining ninny or a wimp, I am not, what I am is scared, so call me a scaredy cat if you like and I'll gladly admit it.  I would be thrilled if after the next month I'm sitting here writing that really this wasn't so bad and I got my knickers in a knot over nothing.  In the meantime I will take each session as it comes, I'll try not to quit it altogether, which is exactly what I want to do right now, and I'll do my best to get through it in one piece.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, off to RADS I go
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho



Steve Deller said...

michelle you'r doin this cause its hard - and right. But doesn't mean you have to go quietly into the frying pan.... so ode on good friend. Our thoughts are with you. sd. (& the vh3).

Michelle Pammenter Young said...

Thanks Steve, I'd rather be running with the VH3. LOL!

Gracey said...

You don't sound like you're whining at all. You sound exactly like any normal human being would sound under this situation. Thoughts, prayers and two thumbs up to you.

Michelle Pammenter Young said...

Thank you Gracey. I'll take those prayers and thumbs up :-)

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