I think we can all agree that sunburns are THE WORST! All you want to do is enjoy a lovely, usually relaxing day outdoors and not be completely miserable afterwards – is that too much to ask? Apparently it is. I don’t know about you, but I could put on 100 SPF sunscreen and still, somehow get burnt. (Probably because I didn’t apply it correctly or forgot to reapply – oops!) Of course I’ve never worn 100 SPF because I’m trying to get a tan, so I stick to 30 or 50 SPF, so you definitely say that I’m setting myself up for failure – it turns to a light tan eventually. Sadly, people who undergo radiation get a sort of “sunburn” during their treatment – this burn is not chosen. It is not going to tan. It is not avoidable.
During Scott’s radiation he became very red on his chest and back – just like you would with a sunburn. He was miserable and no amount of lotion would help relieve the itch. Not only does radiation affect your outer epidermis, but it burns the inside of you as well. Let’s stop and really think about the word “radiation.” It sounds like something that happens to superheros in order for them to receive their magical super strength, but we all know that radiation doesn’t do that, obviously that was the radioactive lava the hero fell into – duh. But for real – radioactive rays are shooting through the body into the innermost part of you to try and kill a disease, so it obviously will in effect “burn” the inside of you as well.
“It pretty much felt like a normal sunburn, but what made it worse was the unbearable itching and also my throat really hurt because the radiation affected it. It was the worst throat pain I’ve ever had.” – Scott
The doctor prescribed a hydrocodone syrup for Scott to help numb his throat throughout the treatment. I also had to constantly apply lotion to the area the radiation hit to help relieve some of the itching on his chest and upper back.
Through this whole process Scott couldn’t really be in the sun for obvious reasons – he didn’t need a real sunburn to match his radiation “sunburn.”
Luckily for us, Scott had been done with radiation for 2 whole years now! Praise the Lord! We’ve been able to get real sunburns, which are not usually celebrated, but I’m just glad I can get a sunburn along side my husband 2 years later – who had to have the burn of his life and made it through.
We just celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary at Folly Beach, South Carolina! Yes, we took our dogs. Yes, we took professional family photos (below is a snippet). Yes, I was happy.