Because our two children's favorite past-time is playing outdoors, this summer might be difficult for this gal. I have never been very good about dousing on the sunscreen on myself. I mean, if I am planning on spending hours outdoors, I am good about putting sunscreen on. But, if I am just going outside for a little while with my children before lunch, I haven't been as diligent. Of course, I am good about putting it all over my children to protect their skin, I just haven't been as good for myself. But, I will definitely need to be good about it from now on--even if I am just planning on being outdoors for a little while. My radiated skin is going to be sensitive for a while. But, I also need to be good about keeping my left arm protected from the sun to minimize my lymphedema risk.
So how is my skin handling the treatments? After one radiation treatment combined with an increased dose of chemotherapy, my skin became bright red, itchy and bumpy. Prior to the increased dose, my skin looked awesome considering I was nearly halfway through my radiation treatments. The nurse practitioner called me on Wednesday morning and told me that Dr. H. (my oncologist) wants me to stop taking the chemotherapy pill altogether. I was ecstatic. Goodbye nausea. Goodbye increased fatigue (radiation alone causes fatigue as well, but the combo with chemo was very rough.) Goodbye irritated skin....I wish. My radiated skin feels very warm to the touch. And although the bright red, itchy skin is still present, the bumps are beginning to go away. I am attributing that to stopping the chemotherapy.
But here is the great news: I only have 5 more treatments of the full area and then 4 boosts to specific areas. This means I only have 9 treatments remaining! Can you believe it? It will be strange not going to the doctor's office every single weekday. I will be in the "survivorship" mode soon. And my radiation oncologist said my skin should become less red starting around two weeks post-treatment.
In summary, my skin is hot. The sun is hot. Radiated skin + bright sun= pain. It might be a struggle to be outside this summer, but I will douse that sunscreen all over and keep my skin hydrated. We love the outdoors as a family, and we will do what we can to enjoy the outdoors safely.
We had some fun in the sun this past weekend with family. My brother, Jeremy and his wife, Brandy and son, Traber visited us. Here are some photos of some of our fun in the sun together.