Radiation

Things that cross your mind while receiving radiation therapy:

  • How safe is this really if the techs have to be behind a wall when a focused beam of radiation is being directed at me?
  • Part of the radiation machine looks like a Pin Art toy.
  • This beam better not be touching my heart.
  • Is this thing really on?

As of today, I have received 7 of my 30 prescribed treatments. 

I suppose that if this were my first and only course of treatment after surgery, I might have felt a little scared, but that wasn’t the case. After diagnostics and chemo, radiation just doesn’t seem that scary. Of course, I have things that I worry about, like Will the radiation come in contact with my heart? and Will my skin burn over time?, but the truth is that radiation is a cake walk… so far. 

My treatments started on January 5th. I arrived at the cancer center and was guided to the changing rooms. I put on a blue gown and waited. A tech came to collect me, then led me back to the treatment room where I was instructed to lay face up on a table in the middle of the room. My arms were guided into position over my head. The radiation techs lined up my tattoos with the light beam and taped a breathing sensor on my stomach. Photos were sent over to my radiation oncologist for approval of the positioning, then the treatment commenced.

The techs went to the other side of the protective wall and talked to me through a speaker. “Take a deep breath in – hold it,” 10-30 seconds of radiation, “breathe.” They repeated this four times, two from each side. And that was it. You feel nothing. You see nothing. Highly anticlimactic.

So far, my skin seems to be gaining a little bit of color. My left breast, in comparison to the right, is beginning to possess a rosy glow. I religiously apply creams to my skin, drink lots of water, and wash with moisturizing soap.

Brian and I can’t help but make Silence of the Lambs references, but more sinister, if you can imagine… “It puts the lotion on the skin, or else the skin gets burned into a festering, rotting wound.”

Other than feeling aggravated by the driving and the obligation, I’m feeling really good. The hair on my head is filling in all over:

6 weeks of hair growth

The weird part is that my eyebrows have continued to thin, which I’ve read isn’t actually that unusual. Many people with my chemo lost their eyebrows after it was all over. My right eyebrow is hanging in there, but the left is noticeably thinner. I hope they fill in soon, but those hairs grow so slowly! Before chemo, I always felt like such a hairy beast! Constantly taming all of this hair. When you don’t have it you definitely miss it.

I guess that’s all for now. 23 more radiation treatments.

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3 thoughts on “Radiation

  1. Always beautiful, always a class act. Your hair is a force to be reckoned with. Your eyebrows and lashes are hanging in there. Good news is they are typically the last to go and the first to come back.
    Silence of the Lambs….. you and Brian find the fun side of everything.

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  2. You are beautiful!

    Think of radiation this way. You are so radiant, too much so for one person! So, the radiation police decided they have to remove some of it from you because, well frankly, you are hogging it all. Therefore, when you are on that table they are actually removing the radiation from you! It’s all in how you frame it! And, the countdown continues!

    Love you!

    Aunt Deb xoxoxoxo

    Like

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