Saturday, August 28, 2021

0 out of 5 Stars… Would Not Recommend

My last day of radiation 2020

One year ago today I completed my radiation. Why radiation? Well… despite them removing the large polyp on the very end of my colon, because of the anatomy of that area unless they remove your rectum completely there is no way to know if they removed all of the cancer.

In my situation the surgeon removed it. Went and removed the section of my colon higher up where the other polyp was and then actually went back and removed more. The notes say “removed in piece meal fashion”. 
See....I even got a certificate 

Basically he removed as much as he possibly could while leaving me without a colostomy. Any more and I’d be baggin it for life. While he was a big jerk face, I’m incredible grateful he was an amazing surgeon. Both my hematology oncologist and radiation oncologist were impressed and said they didn’t know if another surgeon could have done it. So my internal anatomy isn’t quite the same but I don’t need a bag- hallelujah.

Back to radiation. So even though my surgeon did a great job, like I said they can’t guarantee. The standard for all rectal cancer is radiation to the pelvis. And for some lucky people like me they get to take oral chemo at the same time to get more bang for the buck (and I’m talking hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands in terms of bucks). 

The techs took pics and videos for my boys so they knew what was happening

They guessed I’d need between 5-7 weeks of radiation. Thankfully I “only” needed 5. That’s Monday-Friday for 5 weeks. 25 rounds of radiation. I’m not going to go into the immediate side effects of pelvic radiation nor the long term or even the delayed side effects that occur with this type of radiation. You can if you want- but in case you don’t… it’s not pretty. Let’s just say you get lidocaine cream and radiation cream (for burns) and tubs of aquaphor and emu oil for skin burns and a sitz bath and pain meds to name a few goody bag items. 

All of this is cumulative so the last week and the few weeks after I finished were awful. 
BUT the highlights of radiation were that one of my longtime friends is a nurse there and I got to see her weekly. She was a lifesaver throughout this whole ordeal. Her MOM was one of my nurses. My radiation oncologist was incredible. The techs were SO kind and I got to choose whatever music I wanted everyday and be covered in warm blankets. Seeing the same people every day for 5 weeks during COVID means they become your BFFs even if they didn’t know it. I’m hoping to go back for a hello soon. 

Anyway. Cheers to one year removed from finishing radiation. I have side effects that may never go away and require some OTC meds but it fried that cancer right up. 

My squad


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