Week Three-Radiation


I finished the third week of radiation. My skin is “pinking up”. It is beginning to look like I have a sunburn. The skin is very tender and the pressure of the seat belt is uncomfortable against me. The area where the lymph nodes were removed is the most sensitive to touch. I have been able to use my lunch hour for treatments thus avoiding too many sick days from work. I nap most days after work and go to bed early. I am grateful I only have treatment five days of the week. My body gets a rest from the radiation and driving on the weekend.

Since starting radiation I have thought a lot about a co-worker who lost her battle with breast cancer three years ago. Shirley didn’t talk much about her radiation treatments except to mention how hard the table was. Like me, Shirley had lost her spouse and lived alone. We both would come to work early and had time to chat. I would walk by her room each day and say, “Good morning, Shirl.” She would respond in kind. However, some days the happy lilt in her voice would be gone. I would back up a few steps, enter her room and ask if she was ok. One look at her tear filled eyes would answer my question. My friend had pain. Often she would ask me to rub ointment on the tender radiated areas of her body that she could not reach. Other times, she just wanted me to pray with her. I would close her office door, stand behind her chair and place my hands on her shoulders then pray for God’s comfort, strength and peace to fall upon her.  With tears glistening in our eyes we would hug each other. We both knew her time on earth was limited. In the end the only thing besides pray that I could do for my dear friend was rub her feet with lotion and cool her feverish body with cloths dipped in ice water. I think of Shirley on the anniversary of her death each August and in September on her birthday. I miss her robust laughter and I am grateful she enriched my life.

I do not think that I will completely lose my fingernails as I originally thought. Although two thirds have lifted and are loose about one third of each nail has not lifted and there is pink healthy looking tissue underneath. My nails have five ridges on them and I suspect when they grow a little more a sixth ridge may appear. The ridges on my nails feel like an old washboard. I wonder if they represent each chemo treatment that I had. I still might lose my big toenails since there is no pink tissue yet but I am singing thanks for my fingernails.

My appetite is back and my hair is also making a re-appearance. At first only gray hair came in but now dark brown hair is emerging also. It is very soft and fine in texture like baby hair. I will be sporting a “salt and pepper” look. That is one more thing I have to be grateful for; hair of any color.  In a few months I might be saying goodbye to my black Fedora hat that has adorned my baldhead. Woo Hoo!

I spent the last two weekends with good friends and family. My immediate family celebrated October birthdays at P.F. Chang’s restaurant. We returned to Todd’s house for apple crisp and ice cream. Lolly’s brother and his wife also joined us for dessert. Also, last weekend two special friends from Baker City came to visit and this week one of my dear Parma friends came. Of all the things I like to do, spending time with family and friends rank at the top of my list. These have been great times. I am blessed.

4 responses »

  1. We are the ones blessed to have you in our lives…you are a good, kind, generous, loving person with friends stretching far and wide that have been touched by all the good qualities our dear 4′ 11″ friend overflows with. We only want good things to come to you. Three more weeks, marking off the days! And the hair growing back…grey or brown…is GREAT!! No complaining about “bad hair days” ever again! LOL Love you! 🙂

  2. Hugs to you dear Nicki! I was thinking of Shirley the other day. Would love to give you a real hug. Will surprise you one of these days. Hang in there! Praying for your comfort and healing. Have a great week!

  3. I am so glad that you have family and friends there for you. What goes around comes around. You were such a good friend and support to Shirley while she was fighting her battle. I continue to be awed by your strength, going to work each day before and after your radiation treatments. I just don’t think I could ever be that strong. What is it they say? Good things come in small packages! Dynamite comes in a small package too! You are an amazing lady. You are in my prayers constantly.

  4. You know Nicki, that your strength is what builds your chances of beating this disease. You will be the one to get through this for the next person that says…why me. You will be the one that shows how to get through this disease and be a winner – you are to be admired for all that you have gone through and still keep going… like the energizer rabbit! My prayers continue all focus on you and others close to us that are going through this.

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