Cancer’s burning

I now have more information from scans, and talking with the doctors. Until recently the cancer has been confined to my lymph system. Although this caused problems, I have been grateful that no major organs were involved. Sad to say now the cancer is also not only in my liver but in my spine as well. This new pain is typical of what happens when a nerve is pinched by cancer in the L5 vertebra.

I love hearing the radiation therapist say that one zap can help to relieve the symptoms. No guarantees, but she has seen similar cases and a single treatment can make a big difference. I had that one zap yesterday afternoon!

Radiation therapy seemed a big deal because of having to lie very still on my back. That’s a terrible position for me, but the technicians were very kind and patient. Surely I could get comfortable enough! (Even uncomfortable should be ok for just a few minutes.) I was all lined up, ready and the staff left the room to start the radiation, but I had to give in and wave my arms to signal that I couldn’t keep still any longer.

I wriggled and explained that as my appointment had been much delayed, the painkilling drugs I’d taken in preparation must have worn off. Next thing a nurse appeared with a (cherry flavoured) Fentanyl lollypop for me to suck while they lined up my registration tattoos all over again.

At last, success. There were 3 zaps – successive beams from each of 3 different angles – intersecting in the target zone in my spine.* The first wasn’t hard, the second was pretty awful and the last 33+ seconds were agony and seemed to take forever! I am very pleased with myself for getting through it!

Today I am sore! Initially radiation can cause some swelling, and I experienced a similar pain ‘flare’ after treatment last year. I am taking a higher dose of steroids this time, hoping it will help. I’m told I should feel better in 1 to 2 weeks, while the full benefit may continue to take a couple of months. I’m looking forward to going home when I am able to use the bathroom again without crippling pain.Selfie_200718

* Remember the brilliance of radiation therapy? It works by adding together the energy delivered by those 3 intersecting beams. Each beam is too low a dose to injure healthy tissue when it enters my body, but where they intersect, the cumulative radiation is enough to burn the cancer cells. See my blog from last year for more about this and a picture.

7 thoughts on “Cancer’s burning”

  1. Oh, Alison. Thirty-three seconds can indeed feel like forever. Fingers crossed that the radiation treatment will bring relief and more. Lots of love from us both.

  2. Great news the offending tumour has been zapped and soon you’ll be feeling better. A shame that things are often get worse first but you are such a brave soul with wonderful carers so I’m sure you will get through this latest setback.

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