Mary describes the abdominal radiation treatment she had for uterine cancer, and its side effects.
It was, it was pretty difficult and, you know, what was interesting about it is you will know more women that have had breast cancer than any other type of cancer, and of course, what’s the worst there is usually the chemotherapy, and the radiation tends to have very little impact on them. So one thing I would advise you is don’t get into the comparison war. You know, it’s okay if someone else was sicker than you, it doesn’t make you less of a patient, or it’s okay if you are sicker than someone else, it doesn’t make you less of a patient.
So, you know, people say, "Oh, radiation didn’t bother me at all; at least you didn’t have to go through chemotherapy." One response I would like to have at that time was, "Okay, how many lucky coins do I get," but because radiation in different parts of the body are very different, so radiation that hits the intestines and hits the stomach, hits the colon, no matter how they try to block it, of course they can't totally block it, has a much more devastating effect. And in fact, now I am dealing with some issues, even though it’s almost 10 years after that radiation, where possibly intestines and colon still have some radiation damage.
So again, you know, very embarrassing, very difficult to talk about things, but bring them up so they can deal with them. So as a result of those kinds of comments, I have put together a speech called "The 10 Dumb Things Said to Someone with Cancer," and one of them is "Well, at least you don’t have to have chemo," or "Oh, I know people who had radiation and they didn’t get sick," and so it’s a pretty humorous speech and I give it at cancer events and stuff.
The bottom line of that whole speech though is that nothing anybody says is really dumb. They are saying something because they care, and let's face it, people don’t know what to say.
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