Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Not As Bad As It Looks

Continuing on with my “30th Anniversary” series posts… at this point, I was nearly 75% of the way through my radiation treatments.  I had blood work done every Monday morning to see if my body was going to be able to tolerate the full dose of radiation treatment.  And to this point, I had been able to do just that.

I started each day the same, going to the radiation suite at 7:30 am, get my minute dose of treatment, making it to work by 8 am.  Physically, the only noticeable thing you could tell about me was that my neck area had begun to develop a skin burn, much like a sunburn.

At this point, internally, I had done as advised, avoiding acidic foods like tomato products and citrus foods.  Because what looked bad on the outside, was nothing compared to what was cooking on the inside.

More importantly, I just kept going day to day, not missing a beat at work, and especially my physical appearance still looked “normal.”  With my wedding just months away, clearly I had made the right decision.

But as the days went on, the skin burn got much worse.

This is not an actually picture of my irradiated area.  But you can imagine, from my jawline, to the balls of my shoulder joints, to the middle of my abdomen, this is what my skin had begun to look like.  Only now the skin was becoming dry and brittle.  I was not allowed to use any kind of skin lotion because most contained alcohol, which of course would cause more dryness.  Instead, I had to use vasoline, and because of its greasiness, ruined a lot of clothing.

Keeping my eyes on the prize, and side effects to a minimum both physically and mentally, I made it to treatment number 30.  Blood work remained strong.  And a scan would show my Hodgkin’s was no in remission.  I could get married without any worries, go on my honeymoon (we altered our plans because we originally planned a Carribean trip, but with all this radiation, felt it was not wise to get more sun), and the doctor would follow up with me upon my return.

It was time to get my life back on track.

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