Radiation continued all week. And for me it really did not get easier or better. I took pain medication to handle the pain in my neck and shoulder but it did very little. I also got acupuncture. Ed came to my house and put needles in my ear, leg, and back. It helped my overall mood and disposition. But a lot of the pain persisted. Then Tamara came over and did reiki on me. I felt the huge area of pain shrink down to a “manageable” size. I was filled with anxiety she said. And even though most people feel nothing in the early weeks of radiation I am noticeably nauseous. I feel sick during radiation which I have attributed to the medical smells and the pain in my neck and shoulder. But I can not say why I feel so sick now. Like I mentioned it is said that radiation has little side effects in the early weeks. So either I am super sensitive to it or I am a hypochondriac. Whichever.

In the meantime I do feel yucky and tired. I really need a good massage. I have been making all the kids do it but they are nearly over that and I think they are doing a bad job on purpose so I will stop asking them to rub my shoulders. I have thought about getting a real massage but I can not yet lay on my stomach and I skeeve people touching me that I do not know. Really freaks me out. And I do not like strange men touching me more than strange women. And all these people who can just get naked and let people touch you..good for you. Not me. Totally gives me a bad one. So I am complaining about the pain but I am not sure what to do about it.

Tamara gave me a relaxation tape to listen to during radiation. But the player they have wouldn’t read the cd. So for five days in a row I listened to the best of Frank Sinatra. The lady is a tramp makes no sense to me. He sings about this girl that doesn’t gossip or do cocaine…why is she a tramp? This is what runs through my mind will they zap my cancer . That and .. “damn I can not take this pain in my shoulder I am going to die or pass out.” And sometimes I wonder if all this radiation from the tests and this are going to give me more cancer. It seems like everything they use to identify and treat cancer should cause cancer. You know? So this is what I think about for an hour a day. Sometimes I think I wish they would stop drawing all over me with a sharpie marker.

Sometimes I pray. Desperate pleading prayers to God to heal me. In radiation I rarely feel the Lord’s comfort or peace. In fact the entire hour is totally unpleasant and unnerving. Other people seem happy and relaxed as they come and go in 8 minutes. I tell them every day..I hate this. I liked chemo better. I don’t know exactly why this is so hard for me. It is hard to spend two hours a day at the hospital. I thought I would be in and out. But I am there a long time. And I don’t like thinking about my cancer all day. But that is what I do.There is no time for me to “forget”.

I think it is so funny that everyone tells me I am strong. I am so not strong. And I have so much love and support and help it easy to get through this. If you go back and read what I have written from the beginning it is clear that chemo was hard and I cried and complained. The same is true of my surgery and now radiation. I have managed to keep my spirits up because of my friends and my children. I still find some joy in the day due to loving people who are all around me. But I have not been strong. All this has taken a huge toll on me physically. And emotionally. I don’t know that I am really the same person I was before. Maybe in some ways. But in many ways no. For now I feel like a very lucky weak person who has a strong support system. I love you all.

7 Responses to “Radioactive”

  1. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524
    Nancy says:

    Please do not for one moment think, feel or even enter into the thought that God does not have you in his loving arms. Remember he sees each tear that falls, he knows your every thought and he will never forsake you…
    Never Alone by the Barlow Girls reminded me during a time when the dr’s thought that I had either uterine or ovian cancer that God was and is always with me. I cried, I sang loudly and most of all I was reminded that no matter how my flesh feels I know through faith He is always there.
    Just another Prayer Warrior

  2. leah says:

    Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524

    you know what is strange, when i’m with you i don’t even see you as sick. then i come home and read your blog and i’m like wow, she really is, and i hate that you are going through all this, and i feel bad (not pity )i don’t want you to take it the wrong way, it just makes me so sad to see you go through this, and feel so uncomfortable with the people and all.
    and you are the same person, cancer doesn’t define you, when i see you all i see is andrea with a hair cut.
    you are so great and i love our time together, when i’m in your house i feel so comfortable, i never want to leave (like leaving vienna in the train station) oops! she totally understood, she knows i’m a nut!
    hopefully in time you will start to feel better about the radiation, but you know it’s bad now and then before you know it, it will be over, then you can look back and say thank God that’s over it really sucked!
    i’m so glad you spoke up on the lady is a tramp i never got that ether.
    i love you, and don’t ever hesitate to call if you need anything, really

  3. Jennifer Dunstan (Plunkett) says:

    Andrea, you probably don’t know me. My mother is Irene Plunkett, She is the younger sister of Margaret Collins. I live here in Australia with my husband and 2 small children (Casey 4 and Ava 18 months). We have met but it was a very long time ago. I just wanted to send a quick note of admiration. I think you are incredible. I think of you, your children and your battle, often. x

  4. shayna says:

    I am so glad you are getting reiki and maybe you could try a shiatsu massage- that one you stated clothed for. I know you do not feel strong, but I am still so proud of you. It is so hard to navigate through the medical system and keep your dignity and your optimism, but if anyone can it is you. and because when they are poking and prodding your body, your soul is untouched. We love you so much.

  5. Evie says:

    Hi, Andrea!
    I started radiation for “little breast cancer” (your words, not mine! haha) just about a year ago. I had been through surgery and chemo with barely a pause, and now the “easy” part. Wrong! Your words have brought back so many memories of this time –I think what you are experiencing is more common than you think. And totally understandable. And nobody tells you this, either (until you ask).
    I felt so exhausted and medically “done”, and then you get to take your shirt off once a day! Joy! Bliss!
    I will tell you, that for me it became more routine. I went from freaking out alone in that room to almost falling asleep a few times in the machine. I encourage you to tell the medical staff about your pain in the hopes that they can make you more comfortable. You never know…
    I was in pain at first, but I had had surgery about 4 months before radiation. After awhile, I found the daily stretching actually helped me. I hope it happens for you!
    (One more thing – the people caring for you from day to day in the radiation department don’t always know what you’ve been through so far, and how long you’ve been in treatment. If you haven’t mentioned this already, do so. Get the respect you’ve earned!)
    Wishing you God’s peace,

  6. joshua says:

    Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524

    you are so funny. and you’re my hero.

  7. Wendy says:


    I don’t think there is any way to go through all of this and still be the same person. The nature of your day to day life has changed. Your fears and concerns have changed. Your level of privacy has changed. Your self reliance has changed. Your relationships with those around you has changed. Your relationship with God has changed. You are not who you were but you ARE you, Andrea Collins. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are funny. You are passionate. You are deep. I really didn’t know the pre-cancer Andrea. I know you now and I love you and I thank God for you. Thank you for letting me know you. I am praying for you. Love, Wendy