I sat there dumbfounded and read my doctor’s lips as he spoke. Was he really saying that I had cancer, or was this all a dream? I really don’t remember actually hearing anything beyond the word cancer. It was if a black curtain was drawn, signaling the end of the play before I actually finished my lines. I remember struggling to breathe, unbeknownst to him, of course. This was it! No old age for me, no retirement for me, this was it! Was twenty-five really old? Do people really die at twenty-five?
The most significant treatment other than surgery was radiation. I learned that tumors were made up of cells that reproduced at abnormally high rates. The radiation therapy that I would receive would specifically act against the cells that were reproducing at such high rates. I learned that normal cells were programmed to stop reproducing when they came into contact with other cells. My cancer, my tumor was growing uncontrollably because the stop mechanism that is present in regular cells is not present in cancer cells.
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to damage the DNA of cells, therefore killing the cancer cells and stopping them from reproducing. However, I learned that radiation would also damage my normal cells, but because those cells were growing more slowly, they were better able to repair themselves. In order to give my regular cells time to heal the doctor would give me small daily doses of radiation over the course of a week for seven weeks.
Because radiation therapy is considered to be "local" in that it treats a specific localized area of the body, it was different than systemic therapies like chemotherapy that travel throughout the body. The radiation therapy that I was to receive was called brachytherapy or implant therapy where a source of radioactivity was placed in my body near my tumor. However, there is also another type of therapy called external radiation
I am Janise and I am a blogger, review writer and photographer. My diagnosis is skin cancer. I treated for 6 years and now I have a remission. I want to see the world and find myself.
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