Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Impressions of the Rash and the Radiation and Now the Back Pain

I am feeling somewhat better today about the prospect of radiation. I am hoping that the rad onc agrees to go slower and/or do less radiation, at least initially, and see how my body responds. This is in the hopes of alleviating any potential problems with open skin wounds and/or losing the implant. I'll see what she says next week.

I think, though, that perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised about the fact that the rash wasn't disappearing. The area has had previous radiation, and as I explained earlier, tissue that has had radiation tends to have less blood flow.

Okay, so this area probably has less blood flow and less lymph fluid due to the radiation, so it's harder for the meds (Xeloda and Tykerb) to get to the cancer in the lymph channels. If the meds can't get to where they can kill the cancer cells, then it seems logical that it'd be harder to get rid of the rash. So, if the meds can't get there, then we try radiation which can probably kill the suckers.

The lymphedema in the area of the rash also seems to be increasing. Dr. Kenyon felt around and it doesn't seem as if the area is trying to grow a tumor. The increased swelling may be related, instead, to the fact that I spent two full days last week-end painting my bathroom. This involved a lot of reaching, cleaning, scrubbing the cabinets, taping everything, and then painting one coat on all surfaces, and then doing more painting over that for the stripes and the random brush strokes.

As I am right-handed, this means that the right side got a work-out - certainly more activity than it has seen in a lot of months. So, the body has to adjust and that just might indeed mean more swelling.

I remembered this morning that my massage therapist said to wear under armor - I've been pretty good about doing that except in the last week. So, I wore it again today and will see how the swelling goes.

In the meantime, yesterday, after hearing the news about the radiation, I went to pick my son up from school. I was in the car about 20 minutes - driving to and fro - and when I got out again, WHOA! My lower back felt like it'd gone out of whack. It feels so tense and tight. I mentioned it to my colleague and I initially told him that I wasn't sure what I did - only get out of the car -and then I told him about painting last week-end and his reply was that sometimes, your back might wait a few days to bug you after doing activities like painting.

Anyway, my thinking is that I overdid it last week-end, but after hearing the news that I'd have to do radiation - and I really don't want to - caused me to tense up so the back responded by kinda locking up like it has.

Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with my massage therapist tomorrow. And, the cancer center in Albany (about 10 miles away) was able to fit me in for another massage (free of charge) next week.

Again, thanks to everyone who continue to read about my journey . . . and for commenting on the blog! I know you're reading it because I can see it on my site meter! Hope all is well with you.


AMBER said...

I too have breast cancer and was researching info on skin mets. I found your site very helpful and I appreciate your willingness to share your experience. I wish you all the best!!!!!

Carver said...

Hi Dee, I hope the massage therapy helps you. I know that I've found that helpful at time. Everything is crossed. I do think it makes sense that the painting aggravated your back as well as the lymphedema so hopefully that will improve soon.

Dee said...

Hi Amber,
Thanks for visiting the site . . . I hope you are doing well with your treatments. What kinds of things are you doing for your skin mets?

Hi Carver,
I'm so looking forward to the massage! It's a bit better today, although not completely. I just wish I could quit slouching. I really need to start yoga, too, or something like that. Just hard to fit it all in, ya know? We are having our first sunny day in about 10 days or something. Yay! Hope you're having a good day!