A Mother and her Two Daughters

13 December 2010

Random Thoughts About Radiation

 Yes, it’s almost 5 a.m. and I’m up and getting ready for the week.  It’s a busy one – client meetings and projects, more planning for the upcoming Inaugural festivities, and I still have much to do in order to be ready for Christmas.  Anna-Lee is home and activity has picked up considerably here at my house.   

Cancer treatment doesn’t take away from the many other responsibilities of life.  All of this is good – life goes on. 

In about 90 minutes I’ll be at my new home away from home – CARTI.  For those who know me well, you know that being anywhere at 6:30 a.m. does not come naturally for me.  While I’m often awake in the early morning hours, I’ve often said that my body requires me to crescendo into my day.  Before I leave the house, morning tasks usually include several cups of coffee, reading the newspaper, checking emails and a few Internet news sites, tidying up the house, maybe even a little cooking to get ready for an evening meal.  So, in order to crescendo into radiation, I’ve decided to develop another routine – get a shower, put on some sweats, go to Starbucks for a morning coffee, then take off for CARTI.  This seems to be a better plan than what Tim came up with – getting dressed and ready the night before and parking my car in front of CARTI with a thermos of hot coffee. 


I’ve long heard that radiation treatment usually creates skin conditions similar to a severe sunburn.  Well, on Thursday I learned that the trauma to the skin can be far worse.  During my first visit to CARTI Thursday, my waiting room companions included two lovely women, both of them in their sixth week of radiation treatment, one with skin cancers on her neck, the other with breast cancer.  They were both very lovely ladies, but both of them were experiencing radiation burns – peeling skin, raw and open skin in some areas.  Ouch! 

I decided to do a little research, get my skin prepared to NOT have this outcome.  So, I’m now putting 100% aloe gel on my skin area several times each day.  I’m hoping this will help.  We’ll wait and see . . .


Friday night we went to a Christmas party.  Everything was perfect – the home, the delicious food, all the good friends.  Everything was going well – until it hit me.  The nausea.  We quickly left, and the rest of this story will just go untold.  Let me just say it was not a good night.  I spent all day Saturday at home, most of Sunday too.  Nursed my stomach with too many ginger ales and that’s about it, little food.  Tim read where nausea is a sometime side effect of radiation, especially in the beginning stages of treatment.  It’s difficult to comprehend as I always thought nausea was more closely tied to chemotherapy – and I only had nausea ONE DAY during chemo. 


So who was it that told me that radiation is nothing – especially compared to chemotherapy?  Thinking back, it has usually been well-meaning people who have never had cancer or radiation therapy. 

As I go through this final treatment protocol, I’ll continue to remind myself that all of this is only temporary, and stay focused on the benefits that radiation will give me  – only 26 more treatments. 


  1. hang in there stacy! and hopefully you will get the nausea out of the way so you can eat a yummy christmas dinner! thoughts and prayers and have a good week!

  2. Hi Stacy,
    We met recently at the PHUMC Cancer Friends group. I'm the communications coordinator at the UAMS Cancer Institute. I'd like to have you preview a new website/blog we're about to launch, but I can't find your e-mail address. Could you send it to me at susan@uams.edu? Thanks!


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