Why did I need a creative plan for radiation treatment? I took a cue from the woman who discovered radium. Madame Curie knew that her discovery of radiation was dangerous. She and her husband, Pierre were constantly ill with radiation sickness and had severe burns on their hands. And I bet you ten bucks they glowed in the dark. It isn’t safe. So why did I do it? Simple, it’s impossible to get “clear margins” when operating on the brain. I needed a plan if I was going to survive six weeks of this barbaric treatment. Here’s what I did.
Cancer and their treatments sucks. To counterbalance I needed to lift my Spirit every single day. I don’t think I’m alone in that music and singing feeds my soul. I decided I needed a theme song for radiation treatment, something I loved and that inspired me. This Girl is on Fire by Alicia Keys was the perfect song for me because of it’s double meaning. I would listen to it every day before my 3:00 PM treatment and hum it as I crawled on the steel table. It helped keep me calm and focused. If you are going through cancer treatment or any other type of “not so pleasant” treatment, may I suggest a theme song. It really does help.
I needed to be reminded that I could do hard things. I could be tough. To empower myself, I decided to purchase five t-Shirts. One for each day of the week, like a radiation treatment uniform. I bought three wonder woman, one radioactive and one Einstein glow in the dark t-shirts. I would wear each one six times. Wearing each one six times was easier than thinking of thirty days. How I thought about things mattered because thought directs energy and energy directs thought. Each day I would come home, take off the shirt and slip into a lavender Epsom salt bath. The staff at the hospital enjoyed the t-shirts too. Apparently, I was the first to have a uniform.
I researched different food and supplements that could help me through treatment. For food, I stopped eating dairy, grains and sugar and focused on whole foods like lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, avocados, and olive oil. I took supplements that protected my body and brain from radiation. A quick search on Mr. Google will give you a list of foods and supplements to help you through radiation treatment. My nutritional plan worked for me and kept me as strong as I could be during treatment.
I was told I would have targeted radiation. Targeted my ass. There is no such thing. Why do the technicians run out of the room before treatment? Radiation is like light; it travels to all four corners. It can seep into every part of your body. My jaw, neck, back, face, head and eyes would ache after a treatment. That’s when I fell in love with smoothies. And lucky for me I have the best mother-in-law in the world, she bought me a fancy high-end blender. My spouse and daughter made delicious whole food smoothies. I was one lucky girl, even if I was on fire.
No one really tells you that radiation treatments hurt. First, the steel table you lay on is a beast. Second, they bolted my head to that steel table. I had prior back issues and so this was doubly painful for me. Now, I really don’t like “pain killers” because they don’t take the pain away and they constipate me. So, I used a lemonade infused cannabis drink before my treatments. One shot was all I needed. It also helped with the headaches and all the other body aches. And yes, I did tell my doctor what I was using for pain control. Always tell your doctor what you are using. They may not like it; they may not care but don’t be afraid to share what you are doing. Remember, you own your body, not the white coats.
Remember Madame Curie’s skin burns? Yeah, it’s a thing and it can hurt like hell. Radiation can rip the skin right off your body and so I needed a plan. I made a salve of lavender essential oil and aloe. The minute I got out of the “hot room” I put some on my head. In the evenings before bed I used a product called Miaderm Radiation Relief. I did not have one burn or even redness at the radiation site. The hospital staff were amazed. Now, a word about salves and creams. Please make sure you don’t put anything on you before your treatment. Think skillet and hot oil. You don’t want to fry any part of your being.
Cancer and their treatments can take a toll on your mental health. They make you feel bad and bring you down. For me I experienced a lot of anxiety around cancer, surgery, and radiation. I am truly grateful that I made a plan for daily meditation. It helped me stay grounded and tethered my soul to the present moment of now. I use an app called Insight Timer. If you aren’t sure how to meditate this app can help you get started.
I had a solid plan before my first radiation treatment. But honestly, I still wasn’t prepared. Here I was bolted to the steel table, my back screaming in pain while my face was jammed in a mesh mask. I laid there and cried as I felt the hot heat on my head. Yes, they told me I wouldn’t feel a thing, but I did. I had no idea how I was going to do twenty-nine more treatments. And that’s when I heard my grandmother, Canola. She reminded me that the women in my family did hard things. I could do this. And you know what? With the love and support of my family and friends I did all thirty treatments. I not only survived, but thrived. My cancer nurse could not believe I was walking ten blocks a day, every day.
I tell my clients to be an activate participant in their wellness. Doctors don’t have all the answers and it’s not fair to expect them to. Take responsibility for your health. Research, talk to others, ask a lot of questions, ask for help. Get creative and make a plan. If I did it, you can too.