A Red Christmas

Imagine your worst sunburn. Or not yours, but that of a tourist passed out from too many cervezas under the full fury of a mid-day Mexican sun. A sunburn of the bright red bubbling skin variety.  Now imagine that you have to keep exposing that epic sunburn to the sun for two more weeks. And that after you finish exposing the skin to the sun for two more weeks, it will keep on cooking for about a week and a half.

Welcome to my underarm. Ay carumba. It’s quite something.

The rest of my left chest area has its hotspots too, but my underarm feels like ground zero of the blast radius. The constant friction isn’t helping, but unless I can figure a way to function normally while walking around half naked with my left arm raised all day, there’s not much I can do about that.

My doctor recommended saline soaks four times a day, and this is helping. (Abridged Princess Margaret Hospital saline soak recipe below for anyone experiencing similar problems)

I was under the misapprehension that radiation would be a “cakewalk” compared to chemo. This is a myth. Yes, chemo makes you bald, and that alone is just plain mean. And yes, you can get very sick and your bones may feel like they are going to explode, but there are breaks between these periods of agony and torture; days of respite from the side-effects. Radiation’s daily regime can be extremely wearing and disheartening. And radiation burns notwithstanding, I’m just sick of going to the hospital every day.

On the upside, I have only TWO WEEKS of treatment left. Count ’em.  This is light – clear and bright -at the end of one hell of a tunnel.

SALINE SOAK – do this 3-4 times a day:

Mix 4 cups of water with one level teaspoon of salt & boil for 10 minutes.

Allow water/salt (saline) solution to cool.

Wash your hands and pour enough saline solution in to a bowl to just soak a clean, soft cloth. ( You can save the remainder of the solution in a clean, covered jar for 24 hrs.)

Wring out excess solution, sit or lie down, and place the cloth over the affected area for 10-15 minutes. (Read a book, watch TV, call a friend-)

Remove cloth before it dries ‘ if it dries before 10-15 minutes, apply more solution before attempting to remove cloth from skin.

Allow area to dry for 10-15 minutes. (Read some more, change channel, call another friend…)

NOTE: Do NOT put talcum powder, cornstarch (cornstarch??!) or moisturizer on cracked/open skin. And u se a clean bowl & cloth each time you do the soak.

Good luck, stay strong, look at the light.

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