As if arm pits weren’t bad enough

Well, this radiation thing is getting harder. This past week I have noticed my left arm pit is getting the brunt of the current side affects. Within the first week I noticed that I didn’t need to use deodorant on that side. During radiation, you can’t use “normal” deodorants because they contain aluminum. Not only is that nasty under normal circumstances, but having a metal in the radiation field is completely dangerous. It will literally burn all the skin off your underarm. So, needless to say I made sure I have my natural deodorant (thank you again Lemongrass Spa). There is also no shaving during radiation since a razor on the skin can cause a lot of irritation. It didn’t take me long to realize though that I didn’t need either of these things on my left under arm. The cells getting zapped cause changes in hair growth and perspiration. The right side is, of course, completely unaffected so I still have to maintain that side.

Last week, I started having a really deep pain in my left underarm. It felt as if I had been stabbed without ever having the actual stabbing. Just a super deep pain all the time. The techs at radiation told me it’s the same kind of thing that happens to the skin, only this one is happening on the inside. Since the radiation goes all the way through my body, I can have pains anywhere – even on the inside. So this wasn’t a great feeling but I kept thinking it would go away. Also, with this three day break coming up I was hoping it would get better. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened and now we’ve also got a pretty bad skin burn extending all the way across my chest and under that arm (as I showed in the pics from the last post). The burn hasn’t gone away over the weekend and I’m basically to the point now where any movement of the left arm is ranking on the pain scale. Ice packs are helping some (thanks Lola for the tip!) and I’m just trying to take it easy. Hopefully tomorrow my doctor will be able to give me some prescriptions for the rash/burn and possibly something for the pain.

Also, my dry skin spots (kind of like eczema) are going crazy. The hydrocortisone is not really doing a great job on those or the rash and new spots are popping up all the time. They have also taken the itch up a few notches just to add to the fun. All in all, I have to say it’s still easier than chemo although it’s not easy by any means. I am hoping we can get it under control so the next two weeks aren’t miserable.

This is of course all falling while I’m trying to get a million things done which makes it hard. My daily schedule is helping me remember things pretty well and I’ve been a lot busier and feeling good about getting things done. Our house has been a disaster with a year of no de-cluttering and getting that stuff done makes me feel so much better. Of course it’s spring so I’ve been planting things when I can (in the evenings out of the sun) and trying to exercise some. Of course I can’t really do much without moving my arm so I’m just going to do the best I can the next few weeks and try not to get frustrated. Progress is progress, no matter how small.

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3 Responses to As if arm pits weren’t bad enough

  1. Lola says:

    Hoping you feel better every day! Ask the doctor about high dose (180mg) of Allegra for rash…..an allergist gave me that scoop. Good luck!

  2. Lola says:

    Oh and as the allergist said “pain is one thing, rash is unbearable!”

  3. Laura says:

    Ouch – sounds like radiation has a grip on you. Sorry it’s painful and the long weekend didn’t get you much relief. 2 more weeks…let the countdown begin! I found wearing baggy cotton during radiation helped – also doing anything so that my arm didn’t touch my side/armpit wasn’t closed really helped. So much relief. It will improve. And I guess a great (?) thing about radiation that I’ve discovered is that it DOES change your perspiration and hair growth on the radiated side. Kinda nice, I suppose, if you’ve gotta go through it.

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