As previously mentioned, on Friday, August 22nd, I had what they call a “dry run” radiation session. This means that I went into the radiation room and they lined me up to the machine based on the scans, x-rays and tattoos. My job is to lay heavy on the table and let the technicians move me into position. This is harder than it sounds because it’s natural to want to help. As they moved me, they called out coordinates and someone in another room recorded them. This whole process took about 20 minutes.
On Monday, August 25th, I officially started radiation therapy. This appointment was in the morning. I saw all of the technicians I saw before plus a couple of new ones. One technician was waiting for me when I came out of the dressing room and informed me that I actually need to be ready to go back to the radiation room at my appointment time not arriving at my appointment time. No one had mentioned this to me before so I thanked her for the information. When I get back to the radiation room, the table is all set up and they ask me to sign in. This is where I put the date, day of the week, my pain level and initial it. There is also a place for the technicians to notify the doctor of any skin issues that require attention. Then I go lay down on the table and lay heavy as they adjust me. I just have to make sure I turn my head to the left so they don’t get my throat. Once I’m settled, I’m not to move and everyone leaves the room. Did I mention that the door into this room is probably about 15 inches thick? Anyway, they have a camera on me and microphones in the room so they can see and hear me.
The radiation begins with the machine above me. About 30 seconds pass before it starts and I only know that it’s working because it makes a buzzing sound. Then it moves to my left side at about a 45 degree angle and adjusts the metal things inside (not sure what they’re called but I can see them move). Then it buzzes again. Then the machine moves around me to the right side. I think this one is going for my arm pit but not sure because I’m looking left. 🙂 The machine buzzes again. Each of the buzzing sounds last about 30 seconds. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. Believe it or not, I actually dozed off during my second visit.
After this first appointment, I met with a nurse for an orientation. She discussed the do’s and don’t’s of skin care as it relates to radiation therapy. I am changing my soap to Ivory soap and using my usual Aveeno fragrance free lotion because they are on the list of approved skin care items. She gave me a small Biohazard bag (LOL) full of Eucerine Aquaphor and Udderly Smooth samples. I carry one sample in my purse at all times because I’m supposed to apply some to the radiated area after each treatment.
On Wednesday’s, I meet with my radiation oncologist after my treatment and discuss how things are going. On Tuesday’s, they take x-rays during the treatment to ensure they are still radiating the correct locations. Otherwise each treatment session is the same, with wait times that vary between the technicians waiting for me or me waiting up to 45 minutes for them.
Today was treatment day six and it is the first time that I’ve noticed where they are treating me. My pain level is still zero, as they say, but I can definitely tell where the treatments are focused.
Only 19 treatments to go!!