14
Oct
08

October 14, 2008

Today was my first radiation treatment. I got there 15 minutes early, and was told that their computers were down, but that they expected them to be up any time.

I got a lot of knitting done.

An hour and 15 minutes later, they took me in to start the checking process. They positioned me on my personal mold, and then started moving me around. There are lasers coming out of the walls on either side of the machine, and they use the two side tattoos to line you up. Then they start taking photos of you with the radiation machine – it projects a light in the shape of the area they plan to irradiate, and they take digital x-rays to make sure everything important is out of the way (heart, lungs, etc.). There are three different positions – one to the right, coming in at an angle over the right breast; one down and to the left, so it gets the portion of the left chest and axillary lymph nodes that are “in the shade”, as it were, of the left breast; and a small one that is nearly directly above that is aimed at the upper left chest to get the subclavicular lymph nodes.

Finally, after they got me lined up (with the neck support part of the mold *not* supporting my neck), and a couple rounds of pictures were taken, the two nurses came back in and started drawing on me again (with overhead pens). A guy (I presume he was a doctor, and not just a gawker) came in and looked, said “Yeah, you can go ahead and treat today”, and left – he didn’t even speak to me, and I couldn’t turn my head to look at him. That’s actually the first time anyone has been that rude to me since this whole cancer thing started – everyone else has introduced themselves, and made some effort to at least appear like they recognize me as an individual (and a human being, not just a slab of meat on the treatment table).

Finally, after a couple more rounds of x-rays, the nurse took some photos of me and my topographical map that was drawn on, and said it was time to do the treatment. It only took about 3 minutes, and after 2-1/2 hours, I finally got to go home (the appointment was supposed to be for an hour).

So now I have to go in every weekday morning through the 28th of November (but hey, I get Thanksgiving Day off!  Thanks.) I can’t put any deodorant on before the appointment (on the left side, that is), but can apply it afterwards – *if* I use Tom’s of Maine natural. I can’t have the area in direct sunlight (yeah, like I have really been jonesing to go to the nude beaches – in October and November) (oh, and that mastectomy thing – well, nobody’d notice, right?). I can’t wear a bra with underwires – the only kind I have, because I’m still using the ones I owned before I had the surgery, when I needed them.

Well, at least I’m started now, and can look forward to getting it over with, and having some down time before I start chemo again. Woo-hoo!

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