Another milestone – 40% done with radiation treatments. The days really are flying by. I fear that once I’m done with everything that I’ll jump in my car and drive to Christiana instead of work because my brain is on autopilot.
I spoke with another patient on/around day 8 and she said that she noticed her skin started to redden/burn after about 2 weeks. I meet with my nurse and doctor every Monday. So, on day 10 (June 13)they took a look at me and didn’t notice any skin changes. I also again brought up the issue of swimming at this point. The nurse said that I absolutely could swim as long as I apply Aquaphor or A&D Ointment (aka diaper rash cream) to the treated areas before going in the water. What? That’s contradicting what the doctor told me. So, she double checked with the doctor and when he came in, he agreed. However, he still seemed skeptical about me going in the ocean, especially if the area is red and/or inflamed. The nurse also told me to wear a t-shirt over my bathing suit – ha, not happening.
So, I was still a little confused after that appointment. I decided to read some posts on the breastcancer.org and Young Survivor Coalition sites. My research left me just as confused. Some patients’ docs said yes to swimming and some said no. Some patients followed their doc’s orders and some completely ignored them. One point that remained consistent is that chlorine from pool swimming dries out your skin, so the creams and rinsing after swimming are a must.
The nurse gave me a few samples of Aquaphor. I can’t seem to find it any stores near me, so I had to buy the diaper rash ointment. For a few days I applied the Aquaphor to my skin right after treatment as a preventative measure. Then I kind of forgot to keep it up.
On day 13, I woke up and took off my shirt and was convinced my left side was pink (compared to the untreated right side). But the good news is that my skin did not feel irritated. I’m rationing my Aquaphor, but I decided to get back on track with preventative skin treatments and I applied the A&D before bed. It feels greasy, yet good. However, it left grease marks on my t-shirt, so I don’t want to use it consistently. I might have to order Aquaphor online!
Day 14 – We decided to head out to my parents’ house near the Poconos for the weekend. There are multiple pools and a lake. I came prepared with a high (ish) neck swimsuit, SPF 60 sunblock, and my A&D. I sat by the lake all day Saturday, but never felt hot enough to go in the water. I feel that if I’m going to swim, I’m going to make it count – like jump into the ocean (sorry Dr. Koprowski) on a really hot day! I also feared that the A&D would stain my swimsuit.
At this point, my energy level is still good – no fatigue. I’m continuing with all my regular activities and feeling great. I’m super excited that my tastebuds are back to normal. I’m so enjoying whole fruit and wine!!! So, stay tuned for my next installment – especially as I cross the halfway mark!