Thursday, December 27, 2007

first radiation treatment

Well, I was imaged yesterday and had my first treatment today.

Yesterday, they showed me what to do when I arrive (more on that in a moment), and took me in to the machine. I laid down, they lined up all my dots (I had to point out one of them - they didn't see it, as it's very small and has some freckles around it), drew on me with a magic marker (why are they called magic?), took pictures with the machine (one from the top, one from the bottom) and took a picture with a digital camera. The explanation was that they do this to make sure that everything is lined up the way it should be. If it wasn't, when I went back in today, they would have fixed it.

Today, I followed procedure: parked in the special parking lot (they gave me the gate code), went in, swiped my card (no need to check in with a nurse or receptionist). When my name was (badly) called over the PA, I went back, took a gown out of the heater, took off clothes above the waist, put on the gown, waited. They came back to get me, checked two forms of ID, asked me my birth date, lined me up on the machine, and did the treatment.

It was easy.

I was mildly disappointed with the treatment itself — I was expecting to be able to see a laser or beam of light or something. The only way I could tell that the machine was on was because it buzzed. For maybe 10 seconds, if I round up. Then it rotated around and did the same amount of time on the back. And that was all!

In between getting changed and waiting to go in to the machine, the nutritionist (whose name I forget) came in to say hello. While we were talking, the counselor came in to say hello. I know that she was specifically looking for me - I don't know if the nutritionist was or just happened to walk by and see me.

The massage therapist is there on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings, so she was there. When I was done, I got a nice shoulder/neck/scalp massage :)

The whole thing, from the time I walked in to the time I left (including the treatment, chatting with the two ladies, getting my massage), took half an hour.

One down, 16 to go.

Yesterday, I also saw the doctor. I asked why they do both chemo and radiation. He explained that the chemo is systemic, so it kills cancer cells all over the body, should there be any anywhere else. The radiation is a "backup plan" for the area where there was known tumor. Makes sense.

And that's my story for today. I don't suspect I'll post about every radiation treatment, as I expect them all to be the same, or similar, but if there's anything noteworthy, I'll be sure to let you know :)

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