Sunday, December 12, 2010

WEEK 2: Radiotherapy Session 8 - 12 & Chemotherapy Cycle 2

November 29: Week 2 (Session 8 – 12) progressed much as Week 1. Here’s how I look like after one week. This picture was taken at the beginning of Week 2, not too much difference from last week I must say. As Tomotherapy’ radiation is delivered slice-by-slice (tomo is actually Greek for ‘slice’), the radiotherapist told me that I should be anticipating a “bad-case of sunburn” at the radiated area (being my cheekbones down to my collarbones). Everything went smoothly throughout the five radiotherapy sessions so I was quite happy. I am eating well - though my Mom put me on a very strict, healthy diet, I admit I did asked Sara to buy me a McD burger (or two) :)
Guilty as charged!

Back view - Beginning of Week 2

Front view - Beginning of Week 2

Session 8 – 29 November 2010
Session 9 – 30 November 2010 with Chemotherapy
Session 10 – 1 December 2010 (Yikes, it's already December!)
Session 11 – 2 December 2010
Session 12 – 3 December 2010


Skin Care
According to the radiotherapist, I will experience dryness and redness of the skin in the radiated area. When will that happen? Let's just wait and see... I was advised to wash the treatment area with alcohol-free baby products. Therefore I had switched from using my favourite Body Shop’ Passion Fruit body range and L’oreal Hair Care to Johnson’s baby milk bath and Johnson’s baby soft & shiny shampoo. Oh I smell like a baby! (Wish that my skin is as soft as a baby too...)

Avoid very hot or very cold water on the radiated area. Don’t use hair dryer or rub the treatment area too strongly with a towel. Also, I was asked not to wear ANY makeup. Going sans makeup? Oh bollocks!

I was also asked to avoid exposing myself to the sun. Sounds easy but I am the type of girl who believes that an umbrella served as a defense against the rain rather than the sun! As for clothing, I need to avoid tight collars (no round neck Ts for me) and wear loose fitting clothes.

Dental Care
It is very important to care for your teeth during treatment as radiotherapy to the head and neck area increase the chances of mouth infections and tooth decay. One thing that I really regret: Not seeing a dentist prior to starting my treatment! Why? Because once the ulcer “attacks”, it will be too late to see a dentist when all you need at that time are loads and loads of painkiller to ease the pain, trust me.

I was asked to use a really soft toothbrush to prevent gum disease and jaw infections. Initially I’d used the dental care set (includes mouthwash and toothpaste) that was given to me by Ms Eng during my first visit (for RT planning) - OralSeven. But later, I’d switched to Biotene (upon recommendation from Dr Kamal). I personally prefer Biotene to OralSeven.



November 30: I was up by 6.30am, trying to calm myself. I was so nervous, though this is going to be my second chemo session.

My status from FB the night before chemo:
"Feeling a bit nervous for my Chemo Cycle 2 tomorrow. Ya Allah, please give me the strength to go through this ordeal. Amen. On a positive note: Chemo Cycle 1 and Radiotherapy Week 1 Session 1 - 7 (out of 33) = DONE!!!"

I was accompanied by Mom and Sara for my second chemotherapy session. Before we left, Ibu had packed drinks and spaghetti for lunch, but this is no picnic.

Once I'd arrived, like usual, a complete blood count (CBCs) was performed prior to the treatment and my weight was also taken.

P.S.: Today, I had chosen Bed No. 13 as it's Azmir' favourite number!

My CBC result on 30 Nov 2010 (and will always be recorded in My Personal Chemotherapy Diary) :

  • Hemoglobin (HgB) – 12.0 (Previous week: 12.4 - Decrease)
  • White blood cells – 5.38 (Previous week: 5.58 - Decrease)
  • Platelets – 261 (Previous week: 233 - Increase)
  • Weight – 52.1kg (Previous week: 53.6kg - Decrease)
  • Result = PROCEED!

Sara bought me a sunflower during chemo today. Why a sunflower? In the game Plants Vs. Zombies (my official chemo game), the sunflowers are the one that produce sunshine and to get more points and energy, we have to collect all the sunshine produced.

As she saw me feeling a bit down and uncomfortable (because of the administration of the Cisplatin - it gives me a tingling feeling 'down there'), she bought the sunflower and told me that I should 'produce a lot of sunshine and have a lot of energy'. Very thoughtful, in a kooky kind of way. Thank you my dear.

And of course, the 'cocktail' which includes pre-medications that quell nausea magically and the bag of poison - CISPLATIN.


I'd developed a small mouth ulcer on Friday night. I treated it with Bonjela and it seemed to go away, only to come back that weekend in different places! Within a short period, I had such a bad attack of ulcers over the weekend. The ulcers seemed to be everywhere! I'd decided to wait until Monday to see Dr Kamal. It was so bloody painful! Check out the picture below. I'm very sorry if the picture (of the ulcers) is disgusting.

P.S.: Thank you Nadia Suhaimi for the short but sweet catching up session at Tutti-Frutti Bukit Jelutong (Well, at that point of time, I can still eat frozen yogurt. Haha) on 1 Dec 2010. And a big thanks to my PwC colleagues - Hafizah Hamzah, Diyana Rabain, Megat, Nizam, Hafizan, Faizal Farid, Dzulfiqri and Dzulfiqar who came during the week. It really made my week!