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Life After Radiation Therapy

Two weeks after radiation therapy, I am finally feeling back up to full energy again. Not sure whether my body just finished detox, or whether the iron supplements I started taking counteracted mild anemia, or whether it was all actually an allergic reaction to the walnuts I stopped eating yesterday. (I've never had a walnut allergy before but hey, who knows?)

Today I finally feel free of the itchies, and the drowsies, and the I'm-supposed-to-be-working-but-somehow-all-I'm-doing-is-puttering-around-sies. Oh, and the house is clean, too.

Radiation Therapy: Detox

One week following the conclusion of radiation therapy, the irradiated region hurts more than before. This shouldn't surprise me, I guess. I've always been the sort to have sunburns get worse for three days before they start getting better. Apparently I react to radiation therapy the same way. (Fortunately, we're still in the realm of "irritating discomfort", rather than "excrutiating pain", so no biggie.)

I have also developed persistent night-time itching which may or may not be related to my body's detoxification process. According to the internet, my mysterious, nonlocalized, rashless itch could be caused by anything from scabies to excess strain on my liver to weird menopausal effects caused by hormone therapy. Joy.

Radiation Therapy is Done


[Pauses. Recollects scattered fragments of appointment schedule. Ignores startled looks from fellow pedestrians.]

Oct. 6th, 2010

Two weeks of radiation therapy left. I am SO counting the days...
(1) You have to go in to the clinic every. single. day.

(2) They mark your body up like a star chart. This helps ensure that you are properly aligned within the machine. They protect the markings with little clear pieces of tape.

(3) You can't take a bath because it would loosen the tape. Showers are ok as long as you don't soap the marked areas.

(4) Did I mention no baths? For six weeks? This is a tough one because I am a borderline bubble-bath addict.

The good news is that therapy itself is running uneventfully. I am so lacking in side effects, in fact, that in my dark moments I wonder whether anyone's bothered to calibrate the machine lately, and whether it is, in fact, emitting any radiation at all.

1.5 weeks down. I eagerly await having my life back.

Adjuvant = Aaargh. Really.

We've spent six hours this week traveling back and forth to Flensburg for consultations, and radiation therapy hasn't even started yet. For the next month and a half, I'll be making the forty-minute drive to the clinic every. single. weekday.

I'm on board with the concept of adjuvant cancer therapy, and I'm all in favor of preventing a relapse, but sheesh... Sometimes it seems like Not-Dying is taking up all my time.




Nancy Fulda -- Hugo and Nebula Nominee

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That Undiscovered Country
Jim Baen Memorial
Award Winner

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2011 Nebula Nominee

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, March 2011

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The Breath of Heaven
Stories from Distant Worlds

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In the Halls of the Sky-Palace
Jim Baen's Universe, June 2009

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Backlash (novelette)
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, 2010

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The Man Who
Murdered Himself

Phobos Award Winner

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Dead Men Don't Cry:
11 Stories by Nancy Fulda

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Nothing This Fun Could be Good for You (article)
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Clarkesworld Magazine

Like Rain From Silver Skies
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Basement Stories

Knowing Neither Kin Nor Foe
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Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Nancy Fulda is a 2012 Hugo and Nebula Nominee, a Phobos Award winner and a Vera Hinckley Mayhew Award recipient. She is the first (and so far only) female recipient of the Jim Baen Memorial Award. Her fiction has appeared in a number of professional venues.

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