I'm always grateful to gain perspective from other cancer survivors. And I really loved the detailed way in which Donna shared her experience with radiation..it made making this comic easier.
Chemotherapy often gets the most attention when discussing side effects, but radiation is also worth noting on the pure hell it can also bring. It literally burns your flesh, very slowly, over several treatments. I'm happy that Donna brought some attention to this part of cancer treatment, and did so in a humorous and optimistic manner. She sent me her submission to bring awareness to the experience of those undergoing radiation.
Here's Donna full take on her experience:
Cancer! What??? It could not /would not happen to me. But, then it did. Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer. I didn't even know there were different tupes of breast cancer. At least it was only stage 1 though right? Then I researched triple negative and shot got real. I won't bore you with details.... I preparedyself mentally for the chemo...nothing really prepares you, but we've all heard the horror stories, so you think you're prepared. Anyway, it was bad, but when you expect bad...bad's not so bad. Hard to explain. I did things kind of backwards-so after chemo I had my lumpectomy and whatever it is called when they pull put a lymph node to see if the cancer has spread yet. Triple negative LOVES to travel! Alas , yay, mine had not! :) Thus I was declared "cancer free". My doctor wanted to be aggressive so she set me up for radiation... A walk in the park after chemo...or so I thought. I was so unprepared for radiation. Of course the first couple treatments were easy peasy. Soon though, I began to see a few brown skin, followed by blisters and the my skin began just sliding off. Basically I had third degree burns covering my entire right breast as well as under the breast and about a 5x5 inch area under my arm. I work from home and I didn't take any time off except for the days I had chemo. For about a month during radiation I did my job topless...not a pretty sight, I assure you! I look back and can laugh about it now... I did eventually heal from the burns, but another after effect I was mot prepared for was the hardening of tissue. I could hammer nails with my boob! I think that will eventually subside-no one seems to be alarmed or concerned. I sometimes wish I would have had both boobs radiated though because, at 57, I now have one droopy boob and one boob that stands straight out even when I'm lying down. Weird. Lol. Better than croaking over from cancer though! A lot of people dpn't understand how I can possibly complain...I feel like I'm doing a public service announcement though. The effects of radiation are not nearly as "out there" as chemo, yet I had a much more memorable miserable experience with radiation because I was so naive. If I can help one person mentally prepare for the onslaught of possible side effects- yay! My work here is done :)