“It feels like you are dragging your feet all the time. You have to take it easy,” said a cancer survivor.
“Radiation drains you,” another warned.
Taking vitamins to get a boost was not advised. UM radiation oncologist Dr. Cristiane Takita, whom I had been meeting with for a weekly hug and a reminder to rub a clear alcohol-free aloe gel on the radiated area, said I should avoid taking supplemental antioxidant vitamins.
“Vitamins C, E, A and D might interfere with radiation’s ability to destroy cancer cells,” Takita said. “Vitamins that come from food are OK. When radiation is finished, you can resume taking your supplements.”
This is because there is a potential conflict. Radiation creates free radicals, highly energized molecules that damage cells. These free radicals target cancer cells. Antioxidants keep free radicals from forming, or neutralizes them.
During our first meeting of 2012, she was unusually enthusiastic.
“Everything is going really well. This is great! Great! Great! Great! Great! And you are almost done,” she said. “There is no time for depression. This is almost over. You are halfway through.”
Part 8: Facing my fears after mastectomy
Part 11: Radiation therapy gives her hope
Part 12: Finding strength from others