This morning was my 4th internal radiation treatment. Only 2 more internal and 3 external to go before the healing begins so that I can have my hysterectamy.
Today, I managed the pain a little differently. I took 800mg of ibuprophine beforehand and had them give me half the amount of morphine then they did last week. The doctor did a much better job today of getting the hardware in place. He didn't catch any skin at all, so I didn't have to yell at him. I did have a lot of cramping, but that is to be expected and it stayed at a managable level. Had a slight headache this time, but nothing too major.
I don't know if it's because I had a lower level of narcotic in my bloodstream or not, but when the radiation was activated, I could feel it more than the other times. I'm not sure how to describe the sensation. Before, it just felt like a little bit of a vibration as the "seeds" (metal chain with beads that are radioactive) were fed into my cervix. This time, it felt warm, bordering on hot for a few seconds at a time. There were also moments where it almost felt like I was wetting myself (which, with a catheter in can't be done). It also at times felt in my privates almost like when you put your tongue on a 9 volt battery, but not as intense. None of these things exactly describe what it felt like, but hopefully, it at least gives a suggestion of it. Like I said, it felt very different today, I made an even more determined effort to be more aware of what was happening. As I was laying there feeling all this stuff, I was moving words and ideas through my mind to see if I could match up words with the sensations, but as I said, nothing matched exactly even during the experience. I also was able to relax my muscles better so that when the doc hooked up the erector set, it was easier to place it.
Because of all of the irritation from the treatments, I appear to have some sort of infection with itching, burning and discharge. I think it's a yeast infection. The doctor gave me a prescription for it. I'll see if it works. Whatever it is, it's really annoying.
After today's radiation, I felt totally sapped out. For the short 3 mile ride home, I had a hard time staying awake. It amazed me how exhausted I was. I came home and slept for about 4 hours straight, sleeping through most of the residual cramping that occurs after each treatment.
I go back tomorrow for my 5th internal treatment, then Thursday for my last one. My last series of external radiation begins on Friday. I guess they are going to be using a similar field to the first 20 external treatments, but focusing more on the lymph nodes this time, to make sure any cancer in there is fried if there is any.
The nurse asked if I had still been having periods when this whole thing began. I explained that I was, and that during the external radiation, it stopped then restarted a week and a half later, and now seems to be done. I told her I figure my eggs are pretty well fried by now. I know that sounds kind of callous, but if I don't joke about it, the mourning of not being a mom may come back again, so that is part of my way of coping with that. There is no turning back now.
I am finding lately that my thought processes are much slower than normal. I feel like when I am talking to people, like my words are coming slower and I'm having trouble finding the right words sometimes. The technical word for this is "chemo brain". This slowness in my brain also makes it hard for me to read much and comprehend what I see in print. I get this from only having the chemo once a week. I can't imagine how out of it I would be if I had chemo more than one day of chemo a week like so many of the others that I have met. I'm not sure how long it takes for chemo brain to wear off once the treatments are done. I know that there doesn't seem to be any letting up of it between, so I figure it has to be at least a few weeks. I even felt it for those couple of weeks that I didn't have chemo because of the PICC infection.