Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shocking my doctor

I went to see my radiation oncologist last Friday. He wanted to check me out before they scope me on April 2nd. He walked in with his nurse and when they saw my neck and the area where I’d been radiated, they both were shocked.  They couldn't believe how good my skin looked. The nurse asked what I had done. 

Well, here it goes:  I was watching a documentary on TV about burn victims and how they are treated.  They were showing this guy who’d burned his arms in a car fire when I noticed that some of his burned skin looked like the skin on my neck. (After radiation it turns a chocolate brown color and stays that way.  I've met other neck cancer patients whose skin is still chocolate brown and very rough, two or three years after radiation.) In the documentary, nurses used a loofah-type sponge and warm water to rub off the burn victim’s dead skin off.  The brown skin was gone.

I got out of bed, got into the shower, took a soft loofah cloth and began to remove the dead skin from where I was burnt by the radiation.  I did it whenever I’d see a layer of that dark brown skin.  It hurt a little, but I took my time and got rid of all the burnt skin. Then I rubbed in this medicated ointment called Aquaphor, twice a day.

When I finished telling them what I'd done, there was silence.  Then my doctor said, “Wow, it looks great,” and the nurse smiled and nodded.

On another topic, I've been talking to a number of cancer patients and their loved ones about the treatment I've received and the fight that must be put up to beat this horrible disease-- and notice I wrote "beat" this horrible disease, not "try to beat" this horrible disease. No matter how bad you feel, never give up and never stop fighting. A positive attitude is healing. Do whatever is necessary to make yourself feel as good as you can while you're going through treatment.

I'll say it again:

Take charge of your medical path. Be proactive.

Just because they're doctors and have diplomas on their walls and wear white coats doesn't mean their diagnoses are the way you want to go.

Get other opinions.  Find your path to beating this horrible disease.
(The photo shows me getting drips of pure Vitamin C.)