Radiation Reality


Radiation is the third of three legs of this FBC treatment stool. I am hopeful that that when it’s complete, this stool will be a strong and solid foundation that will last for generations to come.

Today was the first of 25 treatments. Yes, I started today. I know that yesterday I said that today was supposed to be a “dry run”. That’s what I was told…until I arrived.

After taking more x-rays, my Radiation Oncologist came in and said that everything looked perfect and that no adjustments were needed; therefore, we could accelerate the process by starting today. This was actually a Silver Lining (the first of many today) because it means that I have one treatment DONE.

Below is an image of the radiation machine.  My body goes on the black part.  Laying face up. See the blue appendages?  That’s where my arms go.  All tangled up (or so it feels).



Below is a photo of what I see laying on the black table with my arms (in knots) above my head.  All of those little dots that look like kids stickers are exactly that:  kids stickers.  So wonderfully whimsical and perfect balanced with the seriousness of the situation.

I asked permission to bring a specially selected sticker from Finally Five’s collection to add to the group. What a Silver Lining to have a little sticker from her for me to look at every day.



After my first dose of radiation, I was given “Lotion Soft Skin Conditioner” to put on my radiated lady lump region twice a day.  I was told that 3 hours prior to treatment, I should not put on any lotion and (while receiving radiation) I should not use any scented soap to clean the region.  Lots to remember.  And I’m not so good at remembering things these days, as YOU may remember. This is the reason that I write EVERYTHING down!

I’ve had several other Silver Linings today, most of a technical nature.  For example, the HOTY (neither of us known for our technical or gadget prowess) and I figured out how to use Face Time on our iPhones today.  Don’t laugh.  I now know how easy it is.  But I didn’t know how easy it was until today.  Which is why I’m feelin’ awfully proud about getting it to work. Anyway, as I was saying, it is a Silver Lining of my day because I was able to visually talk with the HOTY, Finally Five and even our dog Buzz, which made me feel closer despite being several hundred miles away from them.

The second technical Silver Lining came in the form of my interaction with the cable guy.  I know that Silver Lining and cable guy are rarely, if ever in a million years, used in the same sentence.  However, today was the day.

Victor called 30 minutes ahead of his scheduled 2-hour window and asked if he could come early (Silver Lining).  Yes, I said early.  You did NOT misread that.  Not only did he come, but he was nice, efficient and got my television and wireless up and running in my temporary housing. Here’s something even more staggering about the cable guy :  he even showed me how to use the remote (with 10,000 channel options)! This is staggering because I still think that channels should be changed by hand.  I have never had a positive interaction with a remote control device.  Until today. Silver Lining.

Though I am missing my family, I have had a great start to the last leg of my treatment.  I am hopeful that things will continue to go as smoothly, but I know that if they don’t, I’m in exceptional hands.  The biggest Silver Lining of all!

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.

~C.C. Scott



Leave a comment


  1. Roberta says

    I am so blessed to be able to read about each of you via this blog! I have really just begun this journey – the scar from my first lumpectomy is still sore…the pathologists seem to disagree as to whether I need another op to remove some of the remaining tissue with unclear margins or whether to have radiation. So I am waiting which is difficult. Except I have been concentrating on nutrition choices that support my own immune system…those PAC-MAN type cells I visualize chasing and chomping the FBC cells. I love green and orange vegs and fruits and have learned to enjoy those teas that "support immune system" and the Toxic flush ones as well. Please do keep writing in the blog…I am sure I am not alone in adjusting to living with FBC!

    • says

      Thank you for your note, Roberta. So great that you are focusing on nutrition to support your immune system. This is super important. Which teas do you drink? Look forward to hearing what is working for you. Please stay in touch!

  2. susan says

    thinking of you and am so happy you are off to a good start in this final leg of treatments!!!!!:-) susan

  3. says

    Wishing you a smoothe journey through the last leg of this process!!!! We love you!!!!!!!!!!
    Jody and the Boys

  4. Nan and Hilary Jacob says

    H. I've been out of the country without internet so just getting caught up.Never stopped thinking of u while sailing the healing waters of Greece and visiting the mythological ancient ruins of Athens. I will send separate email as I had one of those incredible small world encounters with shared coincidences of mine and your life experiences with a woman on a plane from Athens to London ( go figure! ) u have met through Breast Cancer Org…have to find her card. I'm in Chicago now and u are in SF. I won't be back until after my daughters birthday. I'm sure u have friends etc there for u when HOTY is not. But when I return, if there is anthing I can do, I am happy to help. Am very familiar with USCF. You are in the best of hands. Take care and thinking of u as always especially with this new treatment. U are doing amazing in spite of all the frustrating FBC annoyances. U inspire the strength in all of us by your example. N

  5. Diane says

    Brave girl, here's to that next leg.
    Is your head clearing. My chemo brain still shows in math and common sense but I'm sure to get a good laugh from friends/strangers when my words and mouth don't match.
    Finally Five is precious. Thanks for sharing her wisdom.
    I have done things backwards of you. Tomorrow I have bi-lateral and oopherectomy. I am relaxing at Mii Amo until the last minute! I'm glad you retreated to this beautiful place too. It's sanctuary.

  6. Todd says

    As an FPC (prostate) survivor with surgery and hormonal therapy, a form of chemotherapy in my therapy resume', I want to mention the fourth leg. Emotional support.

    I looked in the mirror the other day.
    Hundreds of my faces of all ages looked back.
    Only one of them was cancer me.
    You are outnumbered my unkind friend.

  7. Paulette says

    Good morning. I have been following your blog for some time now as I started my chemo treatments shortly after your journey began. I am amazed and appreciative of your openess and willingness to share this experience with me and others traveling this road. God's mercy has abounded during this time and I am so blessed. It has not been easy but I know he has a plan in it all.

    I write today because I have questions and feel like your experience can help to guide me. I too will need radiation therapy, however I have not had surgery yet and am in the process of determining what/how I will proceed with my reconstruction. My concerns are related to the effects of radiation on my reconstruction and whether to wait to complete my reconstruction or have one surgery and get reconstruction at the time. Would you be willing to share your reconstruction type/experience with me? I don't recall seeing a blog post on this topic, however I may have missed it. Thank you in advance.

  8. Amy says

    Hey Hollye – Glad you skipped the dry run & got to it. That stool is going to stand tall! You & JJ & FF are in our prayers.

  9. Jools says

    Face time?! I'm impressed. I've had an iphone for a couple of years now. Never heard of it! I'm still ecstatic that my phone works thru the car speaker and takes pictures. Please go out today and buy lots of lovely unscented soap. Suggestions? Clinique? Put it in all the showers and baths.

  10. Theresa Edwards says

    Oh "H" I am so pleased it went well and had to giggle at the SIL with the Cable Guy! I start on Monday (she says with HUGE butterfly's in her tummy) so hopefully my experiance will be as good as yours!

    Best Wishes