Today marks 4 weeks since my first radiation treatment, and two weeks since my last. Those rays should now be coursing through my body at full strength, attacking the heck out of my larger-than-life spleen. And maybe it’s working.
I had planned to sail through this process with no side effects at all, but I’ll admit to exhaustion. Yes, radiation has zapped me of energy. According to my wise and knowledgeable friend, Dr. Mike, patients are often most surprised by the fatigue radiation causes. But I guess it takes some energy to kill off part of your body. On my scale of 1 to 10, I was at a 12 or 13 for a few weeks there, but I believe I may have turned a corner. As J. recently noted, I no longer look like a walking zombie. That’s progress.
Despite all the warnings, the gastrointestinal side effects have turned out to be mild. I hope J. would agree that my toxic cloud is slowly dissipating. I still have my anti-nausea medication at the ready–$20 per pill, thank goodness for drug plans–but I have not needed to dip in to my stash. I’ll hold on to these pills because you never know when you might get nauseous. I’d even consider sharing them with you if, unlike me, you are a puker. Scratch that, since sharing drugs is considered drug trafficking and I’d rather remain out of jail for however long I have left.
Most importantly, I am pleased to report that my girth appears to be shrinking. As of this morning, my waist has gone down by one full inch, and I can assure you I haven’t lost weight. I hadn’t noticed much change on the belly front until late last week, when I took that dreaded side glance in the mirror and said: “Behold! I only look second-trimester pregnant now! It’s a miracle!”
You likely wouldn’t notice any difference, but I do. In fact, I don’t feel so bulky anymore, even though my belly is far from petite. Still, I don’t feel like I have a balloon inside me that could pop at any moment. Would you believe my outie is even reconsidering becoming an innie? Maybe I’ll be back in a bikini sometime soon. Or maybe not, since I have never owned a bikini and don’t plan to buy one even if this treatment works.
But the best part is that my belly doesn’t hurt so much anymore. Maybe my littler spleen is no longer knocking my other overly sensitive internal organs out of the way. Whatever the reason, I feel better day by day.
I’ll admit I was feeling a bit discouraged last week when I had not yet noticed any changes. Then I reminded myself, “Dr. Radi-o does not even want to examine me for at least another 4 weeks because this process takes time.” I’ll undergo a CAT scan soon and Dr. Radi-O will determine whether my spleen is indeed melting away. Since I can now see and feel progress, I can be a patient patient for a while longer.
Who knows? You may not recognize me the next time you see me, but you probably will. The rest of me looks pretty much the same, except for my new zombie strut. But, as I said, even that is lessening with time and lots of naps.