I’m on a break between the end of chemo and the beginning of radiation, other than a quick and painless CT scan and pillow mold I did last week. I still have some yew-poisoning side effects: the tinglies in my fingers and toes isn’t completely gone, I’m easily worn out, and my finger and toe nails are terrible. That’s not a whine about breaking a nail: they are actually misshapen, discolored, in some places pulling away from the nail bed, and super sensitive. I bet you don’t really think about how much you use your fingernails in a given day (peeling an orange, opening a pop can -yes I’m Minnesotan, it’s pop, shut up). Mine can’t be used for anything right now, because any real pressure hurts. It’s inconvenient and I have to be careful or wear shoes most of the time. Overall, no major life-altering side effects are left except the energy/stamina thing: the rest are lingering inconveniences that just need to fade.
Radiation will be an absolute vacation in treatment after the last five months: I have 20 sessions starting next week, going through the end-ish of June. Treatments are short (10 minutes of positioning, less than a minute of actual radiation) but are 5 days per week. So…essentially my lunch hour will be a run to the hospital and back: no big deal. No side effects other than essentially some sunburn (admittedly it’s sunburn in really uncomfortable places: radiation will go essentially from my collarbone to just under my bra line AND in my armpit) and maybe some tiredness at the end of the week. I’ll always be more susceptible to sunburn on that side, but after THIS experience I may just jump in a vat of SPF 50 every morning for the rest of my life anyway: one cancer is enough, thanks. Also, I’m already pasty pale Scandahoovian, prone to sunburn in my natural, not radiated state. My radiation doc says I’ll feel progressively better the further I get from chemo, even with treatments.
That’s good news, because right now I’m in a whole new post-chemo indignity of being new-kitten weak, and I’m not gonna lie: it’s infuriating. I do normal housework and am so wiped out the next day I can barely get out of bed. I’m wobbly-muscled weak (still) going up the stairs. I have zero patience for this. So, since my legs can’t be trusted to walk around the block without having to stop a while and rest, I’m doing the treadmill thing. And a decade or two of bellydance means I know non-sit-up core exercises for when sit-ups get really boring. And I managed to get from 5 pathetic 1/2 push-ups to 10 pathetic 1/2 push-ups with a side of swearing on the last 2. On the less infuriating side, I can ONLY go up in strength/stamina from here, right?
Also, my hair is coming back. There’s significantly more white and grey than there was pre-cancer. We’ll see if this turns out to be a horror show or really cool, but it’s nice to not feel like I always have to wear a hat. By the time I get to the cabin this summer (assuming we don’t go back on stay-at-home orders) there might be enough to keep my noggin from burning. Related: my eyebrows and eyelashes appear to be last to come back, so my face still looks weird. I MAY have discovered a pink jeweled eyebrow set in my bellydance makeup box…next time I have to be on camera in a work zoom meeting?