Radiation: The Nicest People Who Burn Your Skin

I started radiation 3 weeks after my mastectomies and in order to radiate the correct area I had to be able to lift my arms significantly above my head.

This absolutely seemed impossible and was incredibly painful.

I started physical therapy a few days after surgery and had to stretch again and again. I was able to get my arms into the arm holds above my head, but it still hurt.

Radiation was my favorite part of cancer. Yes, let me say it again, my favorite. Not because radiation was fun; it actually seemed like nothing was happening until 4 1/2 weeks in when my skin became raw.

No, it was my favorite because I saw the same team 5 days a week for 6 weeks. We built a bond at 7:30 am every day. They laughed at my jokes, asked what my students were learning about that day, and just were so encouraging. They felt my pain when my skin changed, they got me the right kind of aloe, and celebrated with me when I was finished.

It was so different from chemo: it was a different nurse every time, 3-4 other patients in the room with me, so it was really difficult to build up a rapport. Don’t get me wrong, the chemo people were awesome and “high tea” (yes, like the British) was served every Thursday (when most people get chemo), but it was a different nice person every week or every two weeks.