Cancer log 143: …

Cancer log 143: Stressed out edition.

Ten days left of radiation. Today, after the normal treatment, they told me they were going to do an additional CT scan, in preparation for the last week of treatment where they do a boost treatment that focuses on just the area of the lumpectomy, rather than the whole breast. Simple enough  just some more lying down and breathing, basically, but its a good thing I didnt have anything scheduled right after radiation (or rather, I did, but I was able to move it).

So far, almost no direct side effects  theres a slight tan on the breast theyre treating, but no added irritation or sensitivity. They seem pleased and a bit surprised, but apparently, reactions vary widely. My skin is tough. I asked whether the extra melanin might have a protective effect, and they said maybe -- one Indian doctor said that she saw less reaction in her patients in India  but they also had some patients who sunburned easily but didnt react to radiation much and vice versa. Radiation is not exactly the same as the UV rays from the sun. Interesting.

I have continued super-tense for some reason, and have had a lot of trouble sleeping  for the last month or so, Ive needed to take NyQuil or something like it to sleep. Id hoped starting daily exercise would help, and I do feel finally relaxed at the end of each class  but then the tension starts building again, and within a few hours my back is knotted enough that I really appreciate Anands eagerness to pound on it for me.

Im honestly not sure whats causing the tension  theres some interpersonal difficulties at the moment, and theres the end of the semester frenzy, and theres the run-up to Christmas with all its extra (mostly-pleasant, but still) labor, and theres finishing the radiation. Oh, and less internet (by design, meant to help us get more work done and more family time) means that theres less distraction from whatevers bothering me  I cant just go turn on tv and ignore my issues, which I think is how I got through much of the last year. Any and all of the above, I think. Mostly, I figure I get through the end of the year as best I can, see how I feel in January, when many of these things will have resolved, one way or another.

This too shall pass. That phrase got me through the roughest parts of having infants not sleeping, so Im going to hold onto it now too. Immersing myself in work helps most, whether its writing work or domestic work, ditto exercise. Its when Im at loose ends that the weird tension starts to build. Better to do things, and check them off my mental checklist. Marshmallows, two-thirds done. Milk toffee, half done. Goat curry and chicken curry, made and frozen. Christmas cards, printed, and the family ones sent. Tree, lit and decorated. Four and a half weeks of radiation, done. Etc. and so on

Also helpful  snuggling with Ellie and petting her. Ellie says, Chill out. Its all going to be okay. Smart dog.

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