The long term side effects of radiation treatment didn't concern me back then. I was getting scared and wanted to live.
I focused on the moment and how to survive the immediate effects.
For me, immediately after each treatment I Was Hit Hard. Needless to say, there was no recovery felt during the short break between surgery to radiation.
I never even considered the long term side effects of radiation. I feared what the immediate effects were doing to me.
I wanted to live and only looked at the reasons to live. Any thoughts of future side effects of radiation treatment were not on my mind.
My wife Elena and I had been married only 1 short year and we had a new born baby girl, plus I had the responsibility of a new 11 year old son brought into the marriage.
Yes, I wanted to be a good husband and a good father. I had much to live for and was set on doing just that to the best of my ability.
The initial radiation treatments for cancer were tough and made it hard to fulfill the father/husband role that I wanted to ... but I did survive! ...Cancer Free! ...and it has not recurred since then!
I've learned that the long term side effects can sneak up on you and be quite rough. It's because of these long term side effects from the radiation that the medical doctors give the prognosis of 5 or 10 years.
They eradicate the cancer, but beware, in time the treatments can get you.
Elsewhere on this site I wrote about some Earlier Radiation Side Effects that have been detrimental to my health. These side effects always make me more aware and aggressive when it comes to guarding my health.
Since I completed the initial treatments when the radiation side effects first began, I have brought my daughter to her first day of kindergarten ...and (13 years later)in January of 2012 my wife and I helped my daughter move into her apartment to begin her Junior year at UT Knoxville. (Go Vols!)
With the help of God, I have passed the 5 yr. and 10 year original prognosis given by my oncologist. It's now going on 25 years.
This may not have happened if I had refused the radiation treatments. I know that sounds odd, but the radiation kept me alive for the moment and I believe my strong commitment to a healthy lifestyle has played its part over the long haul (with God overseeing).
My heart goes out to all who have lost their life to cancer of any kind. I can't say how blessed I feel to have survived.
And I continue to share all my skin cancer experiences with you, the negative and the positive.
So what side effects of radiation treatment have followed me to this day?
About the year 2005 I started feeling a very slight loss of feeling in my right hand and also in my left hand to a lesser degree.
Since that time the loss of feeling has progressed slowly and in these last two years at a more rapid pace. My right hand and arm as well feel cold all the time. Of course this is more of a problem during cold weather, but even in the summer I can't stand the air conditioning.
The manual dexterity in my right hand is greatly affected and it's advancing in my left hand also.
I've been to a neurologist and had some tests done, including an EMG test. The conclusion was just as I had thought in the first place, ...Nerve Damage Caused By Radiation. The side effects of radiation treatment ...over 20 years later ...were the cause of this damage.
Both sides of my neck, throat and jaw were radiated, but the heaviest part was done on the right side where the small amount of cancer still visible was located.
With most of the radiation administered to the right side, it makes sense that my right arm has progressed more quickly. I just hope it doesn't go as far on my left side.
It slows down my typing, along with other normal things like buttoning a button, handwriting and many tasks where the sensation of touch is needed, but most of all its aggravating, annoying and very uncomfortable to put it very mildly.
To help counter these cold unwelcome side effects of radiation treatment, my wife cut off some sleeves from some old sweaters and I wear them on my right arm, sometimes just one and sometimes one on top of another. They do help with the cold!
There are some Other Side Effects that I haven't mentioned here.
I'm leaving it up to you ...my visitor ...to continue this page and if you've experienced side effects from radiation, tell us your story below .
The radiation side effects you may have experienced can help someone else and REALLY, I'm open for help myself.
Do you have a great story about this? Have you personally had any side effects of radiation or do you know of someone you'd like to tell us about. Share it here and let's help and encourage each other!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
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"MELANOMA : “NO BIG DEAL ” IT'S JUST SKIN CANCER!
Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick
Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly
Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie
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The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
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The bottom line is to get an expert's opinion about any suspicious mole or lesion on your skin. If necessary, get a second opinion and/or request a biopsy. it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t put your very life at risk!