Radiation Week 4: In the homestretch, just want this wretchedness behind me

Today will mark my 18th radiation treatment. I’m slated to have 25 total (for 45 Gy of radiation in all) so we’ll call this “the homestretch.” Squinting hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The fatigue has gotten worse, as have the food issues. I can’t taste anything now except for a pervasive metallic chemical tang that permeates my mouth whether I’m eating something or not. My mouth is so raw and sensitive, as soon as one patch heals, another takes its place. I guess I should be glad I’m healing at all, but I’m not really in a glass half full mindset these days. I’m getting meals down by sheer willpower, chewing and swallowing because I have to, although I want to gag at every mouthful. I’m trying to keep from losing any more weight by hitting the liquid supplements harder, as my radiation oncologist and his staff have advised.

Yesterday marked a change in treatment radius. The amount of radiation (the fraction) they’re blasting me with on a daily basis remains the same, but the location is now smaller. Before, they were irradiating the complete tumor zone plus a two-centimeter perimeter around it. Now, they’re just zapping the tumor region, so it’s a slightly more concentrated, more focused delivery.

I noticed yesterday a scent perception change during my treatment. Before, I could always smell when the radiation started. It’s a burnt ozone/rancid chemical scent–very distinctive and quite sharp–that I always got for a few moments just as the radiation began. Yesterday, I still got that smell, but it was much fainter, more like a passing whiff than the usual overwhelming barrage. Didn’t occur to me that I was smelling the radiation because of where they were irradiating. I thought it was just the smell of the machinery as it went on. Seems instead that a two-centimeter shift in location changes how the radiation hits my olfactory receptors.

I’ve also finally gotten a date for my stem cell transplant. I’m slated to go into the hospital on the 29th. A part of me is going, “Yay, we’ve finally got a timeline for the main event!” but the rest of me is going, “I’m already at the frayed bits of my endurance, and the stem cell transplant will be even more brutal than what I’ve already gone through. Wah!”

I just want all this behind me already.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Radiation Week 4: In the homestretch, just want this wretchedness behind me

  1. Good luck with the rest of your treatments. I’m amazed at how you’re hanging in there.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Thank you. Think I’m less “hanging in there” and more “teeth gritted, white-knuckled enduring it” at this point.

  2. Martin says:

    My admiration for how you hold up and my best wishes for the upcoming stretches.

  3. Amy Herring says:

    Not going to hate that you’re going through this because I want you to get better. If this is what it takes, enjoy that half-empty glass, knowing that the radiation is almost over and that the stem cell trauma will be over soon. Love you!

  4. Scott Hancock says:

    Passages, passages. This too will change Eugie.
    Might I suggest something that will help and perhaps greatly accelerate the healings of your mouth patches, and that is using a sublingual vitamin B complex. One eyedropper a day into the mouth and hold it in your mouth for 30 seconds or more. The vitamins will deeply penetrate the tissues and cells and significantly accelerate the healing process, plus as an added benefit, sublingual B complex vitamins are also a strong topical antiseptic and will help prevent inflammation due to bacterial action. And not to mention that B vitamins will help you bounce back more quickly from the treatments over all. Do NOT use the sublingual brand that also has vitamin C added to it however. Ascorbic acid on a mouth sore is not a good thing and the presence of high levels of vitamin C can actually impede cell usage of one of the vitamin Bs.

  5. E Krock says:


  6. threeoutside says:

    It takes such strength and courage to endure what you’re going through. I’m so full of admiration for you right now. I’ve been through non-medical things that took such grim determination that it almost seemed like dying would be better, but nothing remotely as hard as your treatment. I think about you every day and I’m rooting for you to get through it all, and come out healthy and smiling. You so, so deserve it! *hugs*

  7. Kelley Harkins says:

    You’ve been really a wonderful guide through this and I am determined to do my best to help others as you’ve helped me. You will get through, even if its gritted teeth determination that does it.

  8. Liz Jones says:

    May it all pass quickly and without hitches. Sending lots of strength your way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *