The freight train of fatigue has taken up residence in my body. Whoaaaaa, Nelly.
Why do x-rays to a small area of my body cause so much exhaustion, you ask?
While radiation is intended to destroy any “stray” cancer cells that weren’t removed surgically or by chemo, it also bombards healthy cells on a daily basis. Therefore, the body requires A LOT of energy for those healthy cells to heal form the damaging effects of radiation.
The best analogy that I can give is it is like spending a day at the beach. Literally. But without the fun.
I remember spending endless days at the local pool (growing up in the middle of Indiana, we didn’t have beaches…unless they were manufactured). I came home at the end of the day fried to a crisp. With my Irish skin, I tended to burn and then peel and then tan. So gross to think about now. But it’s how I rolled.
At the end of those long crispy days, I was sooooo tired as a result of overexposure to the sun’s rays. The radiation from a sunburn damages the DNA of the skin’s cells, triggering these cells to die. The dead cells then trigger the release of inflammatory signals called cytokines that lead to redness, swelling, pain and exhaustion.
The same thing happens with direct radiation (without the sunscreen, I might add!).
Exhaustion is exacerbated by the fact that my body is expending overtime energy to repair the damaged cells. Combine this with the fact that after surgery and chemo, I’m already wiped out. Beyond words.
However, here come the Silver Linings:
- I’m NOT nauseous!
- I’m NOT nauseous!!
- I’m NOT nauseous!!!
- I have 3 weeks to go and I will be DONE with treatment.
Everything worth doing is exhausting.
– John Polanvi