So, why radiation if there are likely no living cancer cells left?
Because there still could be a few rouge cancer cells left around the chest wall or lymph node areas that surgery didn't find and chemo didn't kill. So radiation is the final weapon in our arsenal to kill any potential cells left. Also, I did have at least one positive lymph node before chemo which often means radiation is often recommended in that case. And because I'm young and have triple negative breast cancer which is known to be aggressive, all three of my oncologists recommend not skipping radiation, so I'm doing it.
I'll have 6 weeks of radiation starting in early October. I'll go every day, Monday through Friday to have my left breast area and lymph node area around it radiated. The actual radiation takes less than 10 minutes each day; the annoying part is going every day.
The radiation is only to one area of my body, so usually the side effects are minimal. There is some burning to the skin (like a bad sunburn) and some people experience a lot of fatigue. But it's nowhere close to as bad as chemo in terms of side effects.
Sometimes radiation can cause problems for breast reconstruction. So I'm definitely praying that doesn't happen. But if it does, I'll deal with it. I'm less concerned with having perfect breasts than I am at being able to live to see Elise grow up.
Once I start radiation I'll do another post about what it's like and how it's going. You can read more about radiation and watch a video about it here if this topic interests you. I know radiation isn't portrayed in the movies/TV shows for cancer treatment like chemo is, so most people have no idea what it is.
|What radiation looks like. That's not me.|
Once I finish radiation I'm DONE with all cancer treatments. It will be so amazing to finally be done!