Stopping radiation therapy altogether

I returned to radiation oncology today for another skin check and to discuss things with the radiologist. The burns on my upper left chest don’t look or feel much better to me. The top layer of skin is constantly peeling in that one area, all of the radiated skin is still quite red and painful, and now has developed purplish areas that look something like bruises.

One Lortab no longer helps much with the pain and I can’t use the Prutect cream on that peeling area, it won’t absorb. I use some prescription antibiotic ointment that I already had on the worst spots. I’m still taking Cipro for the skin infection and have another day or so to go on that. The chills and fever have stopped but the weak, shaky feeling and elevated blood pressure continue.

Today I saw Dr. Spence. He looked at the red peely skin, said he thought it was better and advised me to resume radiation today. Last Thursday Dr. Grubb said I only had 3 more full treatments to go, then 6 booster treatments after that. However, Dr. Spence said there were actually 5 more full treatments to go, meaning radiation to the entire field, plus 4 booster treatments.

He showed me the area he meant by entire field, which includes all the painful peeling skin. The booster treatments would be only to the surgical scar under my arm and across my left chest wall, plus a little above and beneath the scar. That is a long scar but it would avoid the peeling area.

I thought about what he said and asked if I could wait another few days before resuming. He said no. He said every extra day off made the overall protocol less effective and I’d had a long break already.

I told him that my shoulder was still very sore from the torn bursa and that the burned peeling area on my chest wall did not stretch much right now. Raising the left arm over my head would be really difficult and painful and I’d prefer that area to heal a few more days before re-starting radiation.

But Dr. Spence wouldn’t agree to waiting a few more days. He told me that he’d had hip surgery in the past and had to force himself to do movements that were painful but were best for him, and that’s what I needed to do – stretch, stretch and stretch, pain or no pain. I needed to resume therapy now so it could be completed by Christmas, and wouldn’t that be a great Christmas present to myself.

He pointed out that the area that had been operated on now had scar tissue under the sore skin and radiation always made that worse, but that working it (exercising) would improve it over time.

He stressed that the protocol they used (total number of treatments) was designed to provide the best chance of preventing a recurrence and stopping now would not be in my best interest, but that he couldn’t force me to finish the treatments. I could do whatever I wanted to do.

I told him I understood everything he was saying (and I did), but that if I had to resume today then I wasn’t going to continue at all. He said okay then, that he’d like me to come back in a month for a checkup. I agreed and they made me an appointment for January 9th.

As I was leaving, the clerk said I needed to re-register (good for the next 3 months)- which I thought was pretty funny since I was discontinuing treatment – but I went ahead and did it.

So, whatever radiation is still working in my body will have to be enough. The effect is cumulative and that’s one reason the painful red and peeling area has continued to worsen for the last number of days. Hopefully the healing process will speed up soon.

I see Dr. Sonfield and Dr. Bajaj both next week for follow-ups. Last week Dr. Sonfield seemed to think it would be fine for me to stop radiation at this point – we’ll see what Dr. Bajaj has to say. He had planned to start hormone therapy after radiation was complete (pills, not IV).


1 Response to “Stopping radiation therapy altogether”

  1. 1 Diane
    December 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Thank you, Lord, for directing the steps of Righteous men and women and being our Healer.
    Bette you are safe in God’s love and Lordship. Rest and continue to heal.
    Standing with you,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 2,642 hits

Bette’s Journal

Bette Cox 2010

Christ is the "Big C" in my life!

That was told to me by a good friend recently, and it's so very true.

Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I believe Jesus. I hope you do too.

I have one request of other believers reading this journal:

Agree with me that the invader will shrink, shrivel, die and disappear from my body, whatever method the Lord uses to accomplish that.

Thanks in advance.


%d bloggers like this: