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Radiation. Remission. Resilience.

October 11, 2017

 

 If you stay that committed to it you just fall down, never fall off.

 

“If you stay that committed to it, you just fall down, never fall off”NOT. One day, I think during week 4, I went into treatment; I wasn’t in the best mood that day. I was wearing my Big Sean ‘I Decided Tour’ shirt. The technicians asked me about it and I told them that he was my favorite rapper blah blah. They strapped me on the table, got the machine prepped, and then started the treatment. Then all I heard wad “last night took an L, but tonight I bounced back”. I. Almost. Cried. That song is so motivational to me, how did he know I liked it so much! So I was all happy on the table and the part came on that said if you stay that committed to it, you just fall down never fall off”.. I thought “omg, that’s so my life. This is my life. 

 

Fast forward to week 6. I am so happy to be finished with Radiation Therapy. It’s like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I have never been committed to anything, ANYTHING in life like how I was committed to completing my treatment. I never missed a day, I was never late, and for the most part I had a good attitude every time I went in there. If you looked at me you would never know I was going through radiation treatment, I liked it like that. I also never missed a day of work while doing treatment. I mean, I was late sometimes (everyday), but I made it there. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t want to talk (still don’t which is a shocker), I just wanted to lay down all day. I spent a lot of time at home lounging. BUT I made it. If you stay that committed to it you just fall down, never fall off.

 

Week 6 of radiation was brutal. My ear was in so much pain, my mouth just felt burned. Magic mouthwash became my best friend that last week.  Magic mouthwash is this prescribed liquid that numbs your mouth. When you put it in your mouth it doesn’t taste like anything, until it touches your throat *pause*. As soon as it touches your throat it tastes like death. It tastes like you aren’t supposed to have it in your mouth. It tastes like there’s a skull and cross bones on the label. It tastes like it could take Superman’s strength away.  It tastes SO bad. I tried to swallow it once, that was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life. Surprisingly, throughout treatment I was never tired. They said that, that would be one of the side effects but I was up, all the time. Overall, the last week sucked so hard.

 

October 9, 2017 was one of the happiest days of my life. I woke up on time. I got to work early. That was the first time in like two weeks (actually 6 weeks but whatever). When I was leaving for work that morning I had a gift on my door! My friend Kate made me a whole bunch of burgundy ribbons for me and my friends to wear! I was so happy about that. I went to work. My friend at work made me two bracelets. They are soo  nice!!! I love them. I left to go to treatment at 11:30. My mom, brother sister, my friends Will, Kate, Efia, Antonette, & Mel, all came to watch me ring the bell. Mel brought these pretty ass flowers, and Kate brought this dope ass piece of art she made. It says “fuck cancer & flourish”.  I had so many emotions! I had been literally counting down the days to get to that moment and it was here! I’m really proud of myself that I didn’t cry haha. Like at our Take 5 Meeting at work, I announced that it was my last day, and almost started crying. Then just seeing all my friends and family watching me made me want to cry.  I kept my composure though. That night I had a little party at my apartment. We played Family Feud and Uno. We talked, listened to music, and ate cheesecake. It was a really good time and I’m so happy for the support system that I have.

 

So, radiation is over. Now what? I’ll tell you. Go back to my regular life. Do you know how much gas I’m saving not going to radiation?! No, but seriously I’m in recovery mode. So basically after surgery you need like 20 weeks to fully heal. I was only healing for 8 weeks before I started radiation. Radiation stops the healing process and comes with its own bag of gifts (that was sarcasm). So from radiation, I lost a lot of hair. I have a big patch missing on the left. Then from that patch there is a line across the back of my head that is about an inch thick. On the right side there is a patch missing. My tongue has sores and my surgery site is swollen. My face has two dark marks on each side. It is darker on the right side than on the left, but on the left side I have a burn mark on my face. It looks like I burned my face with a curling iron. So now I’m just recovering. I bought a few products to help my hair grow back. I bought some facial products to help with the discoloring. I have some vitamins to help with my mouth healing. I’ll be showing my healing journey via my blog (in case you are interested). I know it’s still skin, and hair so it should go back normally. But because I got these things from radiation I’m not sure how they will heal so I am just trying to baby them along. I heard that your hair grows back differently. If your hair is straight it will grow back curly, if it is curly it will grow back straight. So we’ll see how that goes.  Hopefully I’ll be able to eat normally within the next two weeks. I’ve lost 15 lbs throughout all of this. I need to keep that off (because you know, I’m big), so once I can actually eat again, I’ll be eating right and exercising. I know that because I lost the weight so fast I have to pay close attention to what I’m eating to make sure it doesn’t come back quick.

 

So that’s what my focus is right now. Getting myself back to myself. It will take some time, and that I am prepared for. I think one thing that I have learned throughout this whole thing is to have patience. When I came home from surgery I was trying to do THE most. I was upset when I didn’t sound like myself right away. I was discouraged that they couldn’t put teeth on my obturator right away. I was discouraged when I couldn’t breathe through my nose for a month. I just wanted everything to happen so quickly! Now, I’m more laid back and patient about the process. That has made me patient in my own life. I swear God gives us these situations to teach us a thing or two. I have learned/realized so much about my life, my relationships, and  overall how to be a better person. I mean I was good before, I’m better now.

 

First it was radiation, now I'm in remission, next is resilience. Over these last couple months I have been building that resilience. I really truly honestly don’t think I would have been able to do that without my support system. First off, my support system is huge (bang bang cherry gang)! People from all over have reached out to me, given me thoughtful gifts, have listened to me whine for hours, and have done anything they can to make me feel comfortable or happy. I feel like one way to be able to build resilience is to establish your support system. Not make a list of who supports you or of who you wants to support you. Just establish that, that is what you want.

 

It’s very simple to do. Talk to people about what you’re going through.   You have to let people in. People are not going to want to support you if you are pushing them out. They aren’t going to want to support you if you are acting like you can handle the issue all by yourself. They aren’t going to want to support you if you act like you don’t need anybody. In order for people to reach out to you, you have also got to put in the effort.

 

Let people do for you. This took me a little bit of time to do. When I first shared with people about my cancer they wanted to take me out to eat, people wanted to buy me things, or make me things. It would be the smallest thing like paper plates, and one of my friends would say “oh it’s okay I’ll get it for you”. I felt uncomfortable at first but now I accept the love. Your support system just wants to make you feel better. For some people, how they do that is by buying gifts for others. So let them! Also, them giving to you will not only make you feel better, but it will make them feel better too. Don’t block either one of your blessings.

 

Lastly, don’t have ill feelings towards people. There may be people who act like they want to be on your team. They tell you they want to do stuff for you but never do. They inquire about going to appointments and other events with you but never fall through. Don’t have ill feelings towards them. Although some people seem like your cancer (or whatever it is you are going through) is the biggest thing on earth and they will drop anything and everything for you, other people are still living their lives. They still have big things going on. I’m sure they meant to be there for you, I’m sure they meant to get you that gift, but things come up. Life happens. Don’t have bad feelings towards them for that. That is not energy that you want to put into the air for them or yourself. You have learned how they are, now  you move on from that and to the people who are actually supporting you. 

 

Now you have your support system. Next is to build resilience. That just comes with the territory. I truly think these things go hand in hand. The more people you have on your side, thinking good thoughts for you, praying for you, and speaking positivity onto your name, the more you will be lifted up and the stronger you will become. With all of these people looking over you, you have no choice but to be strong for them and most importantly for yourself.

 

So what did we learn here today? Radiation sucks and have a support system because with support comes resilience. Ciao <3

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