Melissa describes her radiation and chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer.
The chemotherapy was great. It was easy. I really didn’t know what to expect with radiation. I had heard all sorts of things and depending on, you know, what types of cancer you have, it’s different for everybody.
Now for me, at that particular time, they were radiating my T8, which is in your back vertebrae, and so I was laying flat on the bed and the beams were kind of circling all around me and the radiation really only took, the actually radiation only took 60 seconds.
So, I was in and out of clinic in about a half an hour. You don’t feel anything. You don’t see anything. You don’t smell anything. The side effects really are just fatigue, maybe a burning sensation in your esophagus and that’s because the radiation is coming up through your back, out the front, and that’s really about it. I felt a little bit of fatigued, but that was it. So I did ten sessions of radiation on my T8 and then about 12 sessions on my femur and it was really easy.
The chemotherapy, on the other hand, was a little bit more difficult. And, again, everybody has their different stories, but for me, the first time I had it, I was actually at St. Joseph’s Hospital and I had my own room and my own bed and it was very comfortable. I didn’t know what to expect either with that one. But what they do is they just put on an IV in you.
I have a port in my chest up here so, what they can do is they stick it right here. They don’t need to fish around and poke you in your arms or anything. It makes it really nice and easy and I sat there for about six hours or so and I scheduled friends to come every hour on the hour. So, it was nice because I was constantly entertained by people and it made time go by so fast, and because I was in this big comfy bed, I was able to sleep as well.
The second time I had chemotherapy I was at the actual doctor’s office and most of the chemotherapy rooms are big and open and they have about 30 people smashed in a room. And, the chairs aren’t so comfortable. And, again, I still had to sit there, less time because it was my second time, but it was about four or five hours. And, again, the same routine--stick an IV in me, and let the chemotherapy flow throughout my body.
And the third one was about the same. I did experience a lot of fatigue, a little bit of nausea, but I didn’t experience symptoms like some people do where it’s horrible nausea and other things, so I was really blessed with that.
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