Oncologist #1: Radiation

The meetings with the oncologists took place in the afternoon (fortunately, the fever Little Miss had spiked the night before had dropped enough for her to get her into her regular day care). First was the radiation oncologist. The majority of the time was spent with his med student and resident minions, who informed us that while the radiation treatments would not make me Radioactive Woman and I would be able to be near and hold our sweet baby, she would be the last biological child I would ever have.

Not only will the radiation pretty much scramble my eggs, but even if I were to harvest them and freeze up a bunch of embryos, my uterus would be so scarred from the treatments that I would not be able to carry a baby myself, and those embryo-pops would have to be implanted in a surrogate. FUCK THAT NOISE.

Even though it was a relief not having to spend time hemming & hawing over that decision, I still was severely shaken. The during our earlier meeting surgeon had mentioned that they could hike my ovaries up out of the radiation field, but apparently the reason for that is to save their hormone function, not eggs. I really hadn't given much thought to the fact that in the process of saving my life, I would become barren. Insult, meet injury.

If the ovaries get toasted and their endocrine function is diminished, I will have to go on hormone replacement therapy to prevent my going through premature menopause, some side effects of which are decreased bone mass, sexual dysfunction, increased risk of heart disease...shall I go on?

But getting back to the radiation side of my neoadjuvant treatment, I will be receiving radiation five days a week for about 30 minutes at a shot over the course of five and a half weeks. I will be receiving chemo at the same time (more about that later), the purpose of which is to maximize the effectiveness of the radiation.

Short term side effects of the radiation include redness/burning at the treatment site, loose stools, fatigue, and nausea, while longer term effects could include chronic loose stools and decreased pelvic bone mass, increasing my risk of hip fracture.

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